- 1 ½ tsp (7g) dried yeast
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- 310 ml warm semi skimmed milk
- 155g rye flour (I used Doves Farm wholemeal rye)
- 320g strong plain flour
- 1 ½ tsp Maldon salt flakes
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 small fennel bulb, sliced very thinly (reserve the fresh fronds)
- long strips from lemon rind
Lemon, garlic and thyme oil
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves (stripped from the stalk)
- 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest
- 100ml good quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
Place yeast, sugar and milk in a jug and leave for about 10 minute in a warm place to froth up. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and gradually add the frothy milk and yeast mixture until a firm dough is formed. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl (I use a shower cap) and place in a warm place for the dough to rise and double in size.
Make the lemon, garlic and thyme oil by combining all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
Turn the dough onto a floured board and ‘knock back’. Place the dough onto a piece of lightly floured non-stick baking parchment measuring 40cm by 30cm. Roll the dough to measure approximately 30cm by 25cm. It should be about 1cm thick. Turn the dough and paper so that the long side is in front of you. Brush the lemon, garlic and thyme flavoured oil over the dough leaving a 1cm border on the far long side. Brush this 1cm border with water.
Top the dough with fennel shavings and chilli flakes.
Roll the dough firmly along the long side – rather like when you roll a Swiss roll. Using a sharp knife cut the roll in half lengthways leaving 3cm intact at one end.
Twist the lengths together and press the ends together. Lift the twisted dough on to a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the base.
Serve the bread topped with the fresh fennel fronds, drizzle with a little more of the flavoured oil and scatter with strips of lemon zest.