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Fennel, Chianti and Raisin Bread


These combinations of flavours are everything I love about Tuscany. The wild fennel, the grapes and let’s not forget the amazing red wine of Tuscany. When you bring these three ingredients together you get a delicious tasting bread and it is one of my favourite breads to bake. If you make extra raisins in the wine and fennel, keep them in the fridge and try serving them on your next cheese board, or add to a frying pan of sizzling sausages with a drizzle of honey for the most amazing bangers !



Makes one loaf 

100g of raisins
175ml of red wine
1 tbsp of fennel seeds

450g of strong bread flour

7g of dried yeast
10g salt
325ml of water


Here’s how:

Place the raisins, fennel seeds and wine into a small sauce pan and warm through gently.
The raisins will soak up the red wine and become even more plump and juicy. Meanwhile place the flour, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl and stir together to blend all the ingredients.

Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water. Make your hand into a claw like shape and stir the mixture into a soft dough. It should come away from the sides of the bowl and form a soft ball of dough in your hand.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.

A simple way to do this is to hold the dough with one hand and stretch it away from your self with the other hand, then roll the dough back towards yourself and repeat the process until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy.

Transfer the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove and double in size. It should only take a couple of hours.

When the dough has doubled in size, scoop it out onto a clean work surface. Stretch the dough out and add the soaked raisins.
Roll the dough up to encase the raisins and knead for 1 minute to help distribute the fruit evenly.

Add a little flour to the dough to help you shape it as the added moisture from the red wine will soften the dough a little.
When you have rolled the dough up into a nice loaf shape either transfer to a baking tray or place in a 2lb loaf tin and leave to prove for 30-40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Pre heat the oven to 200c before putting the bread into the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes. A nice tip is to add a couple of ice cubes to the bottom of the oven as you put your bread in to bake. This will create steam and help develop a nice crust on the bread.

Try serving with some nice local cheese and a glass of Chianti wine


Recipe by Peter Sidwell

Fennel, Chianti and Raisin Bread

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