Project Description

This recipe comes from episode 1 of Lyndey Milan’s Summer Baking Secrets, airing Sundays (starting Feb 14 2016) at 12:00pm noon on the Channel 7 network.

Makes 2 medium sized loaves
Preparation Time: 10 minutes + 60 minutes proofing time
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

2 teaspoons (7g sachet) instant yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1¼ cups (310ml) warm water
3 1/3 cups (500g) bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt flakes, crushed
1 tablespoon (20ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (150g) plump raisins
½ cup (100g) dried figs, quartered
½ cup (70g) hazelnuts, roasted, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt flakes, extra

1 litre plain, thick yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt

  1. For the labna: Line a sieve or plastic colander with a large piece of damp Chux or muslin.
  2. Combine yoghurt and salt and pour into the sieve. Bring the edges of the Chux together tying them to the handle of a wooden spoon. Stand the wooden spoon over the lip of large bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 2 days. The whey from the cheese will drain away and can be used in casseroles or soups. Either pack the resulting labna into ramekins or roll into small balls which can be preserved under olive oil with flavourings like coriander seeds, peppercorns, chilli and herbs.
  3. For the bread: Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, whisk with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and bubbly.
  4. Place flour and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix slowly to form soft dough. Increase the speed to bread or knead setting and mix for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Otherwise mix and knead by hand.
  5. Lightly oil a work surface, or use a sheet of Glad baking paper. Place dough on top, shape into a large rectangle, sprinkle with the raisins, figs, hazelnuts and half of the fennel seeds. Bring dough together and knead to distribute the fruit and hazelnuts throughout the dough. Shape the dough into a ball. Return dough to mixing bowl. Cover with Glad plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
  6. Punch the dough down with one action and then knead it for 1 minute; divide dough in half and shape each piece into a 30-35cm long, breadstick like loaf. Place loaves on a sheet of Glad baking paper on a board. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. While loaves rest preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Place a baking tray in the oven while it heats.
  8. Make three or four shallow slits over the top of each loaf, sprinkle with remaining fennel seeds and the extra salt. Carefully remove the heated tray from the oven and slide the loaves onto to the tray with the Glad baking paper. Spray or sprinkle the loaves with a little water. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped on their base. Let the loaves cool a little before slicing.

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