When I heard the theme ingredient was ' Fennel', smoked salmon was the first thing that popped into my head. I wanted to bake bread to go with it and I needed to find some way to infuse a 'smoked' element into my bread.
I ended up smoking my bread flour with Earl grey Tea and granulated sugar... a good accompaniment to many smoked ingredients, in this case, the smoked salmon.
I also used lemon zest, with its tangy refreshing flavor, to tie the smokiness of the salmon with fennel.
Making bread is sometimes very confusing, complicated and difficult to understand, but this method (No knead bread) is very simple and easy! I want everybody to try this bread and have fun with baking your own bread at home! —Yuko Ikeda
Smoke Bread Flour with Earl Grey Tea Leaves & Granulated sugar - Place Tea Leaves and Granulated sugar in the cast iron pan, onto the lined aluminum foil and set a round wired rack over the tea leaves and sugar.
Heat it up with medium heat and when the smoke comes out, put bread flour on the wire rack and cover with the lid.
After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and leave it for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the Fennel seeds in the hot water to infuse the fennel flavor into the water.
Mix Smoked Bread Flour, Instant Yeast and Fennel water into a lump of mass, cover and wrap it with plastic and leave it at room temperature (Autolyse) for 30 minutes.
Add Salt to the dough, use hand to mix until roughly evenly distributed. Mix into lemon zest.
Leave the dough at room temperature for 2-3 hours until the dough grows about third in volume. Do Stretch & Fold every half hour until the gluten has been developed. (It'll be 3-4 times.)
(Please take a look at this video to see how to do "Stretch & Fold" ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oyg8K6J8QM)
Put the dough in the fridge for 18 - 24 hours.
Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it about 1 - 2 hours or sometimes 3 hours until the dough has doubled in size. (The time depends on the room temperature or the season.)
Roll the dough into the round shape and place it into a mixing bowl lined with well-floured tea towel, seam-side up.
Let it proof for 30 - 60 minutes.
1 hour before you plan to bake, preheat the closed clay pot / Cast iron pot / Combo cooker to 500°F.
After the dough has fully proofed, flip the bowl over so that the dough sits on the middle of a parchment paper.
Score the surface and place the dough into the preheated pot.
(Very very carefully open the lid. it’s HOT!)
Bake for 25-30 minutes with lid and then turn the temperature down to 460°F, 10-15 minutes without lid.
Once the bread is nicely brown, take the bread out of the pot and turn the heat off, let it sit in the oven for another 5 minutes.