Forcaccia and the first of the Autumn Soups

My last post raved about the beauty of autumn, but does anyone else feel the slight pressure to cling to the light meals of summer still?  It is that strange phase of change where my body just has not had a chance to adapt yet.  The weather so far has swung between summer sunshine to waking up to a sparkling frost blanketed scene.  Autumn's harvest bounty is steadily growing though so I thought I would introduce the first of my experimental autumn recipes.  Naturally it would be soup, and naturally I would find inspiration for it by rummaging through my fridge.  Stupidly though after a thorough search through my house, the scrap of paper containing my recipe is gone (for good? who knows?) so I will have to just let your imagination fill in the blank!  It involved carrots, parsnips, celery, mushrooms and soya sauce, partially blended to make a thick earthy broth.

The other night as I was on a baking spree, I decided to make some bread again.  I feel the bread section of this blog needs padding out and bread making is just the most satisfying experience.  This time, after being tempted to make some Mediterranean forcaccia I settled for some aromatic fennel forcaccia instead which has a milder flavour so more potential for different sandwich fillings!  Happily I discovered that fennel forcaccia and ugly root vegetable autumn soup marries together beautifully with lashings of butter.

I also love it sliced in half with butter and yeast extract for breakfast, hummous with St-Paulin cheese for lunch or spread thickly with yummy jam as an any-time snack.

Fennel Sandwich Forcaccia:
(Serves 8-10)

  • 2 Cups Warm water
  • 1.5tsp/7g Sachet Dry yeast
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • 3Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
    -plus extra to glaze
  • 1.50tsp Salt
  • 1Tbsp Fennel seeds
    -plus extra to spirinkle
  • 1 Cup Wholemeal/Brown flour
  • 5 Cups Plain/Bread Flour
  • About 2Tbsp Cornmeal/Polenta to dust
  1. Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water and leave until foamy - at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix togehther  along with the yeast mixture, wholemeal flour, salt and olive oil.
  3. Gradually add the remaining flour until a dough forms and turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Return the dough to an oiled bowl, coat in the oil by rolling then cover with a damp tea towel or cling film.  Leave the dough to rise until doubled in bulk - At least an hour.
  4. Oil a baking sheet/pan and dust with fine cornmeal/polenta, then roll out the dough to roughly fit the pan.
  5. Press the dough into the pan until about even, cover and let rise for another hour or so.  The dough should be tender to the touch.
  6. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/400F during the last 15 minutes.
  7. Dimple the dough with fingertips, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with fennel seeds and bake for 30 minutes in the bottom third of your oven, or until lightly golden.  Cool on a wire rack. 


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