The Fresh Loaf

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Fig Fennel Light Rye Sourdough with Hazelnuts - explosion of flavor

txfarmer's picture

Fig Fennel Light Rye Sourdough with Hazelnuts - explosion of flavor

Sending this toYeastspotting.
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A couple weeks ago Phil's Fig & Anise bread caught my attention, sounds like a great flavor combo to try. Went out of my way to buy nice and moist organic figs just for this purpose, only to discover last minute that I ran out of anise. Oops, had to use fennel instead, which I think has a similar flavor to anise, but less intense? Also throw in some really delicious toasted hazelnuts since I love the nut&dried fruit combo in breads.

- Levain
rye starter (100% hydration), 9g
water, 68g
rye flour, 86g

mix and rise at room temp for 12 hours.

- Dough
bread flour, 510g
dried fig, 100g, chopped
fennel, 4tsp
hazelnuts, 100g, toasted
water, 350g
salt, 12g
levain, all

2. Mix flour, levain, water, together, autolyse for 20 to 30min. Add salt and fennel, mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope. Mix in hazelnuts and dried figs by hand.
3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120min.
4. Shape into batard, put in basketes smooth side down, put in fridge over night.
5. Next morning take the dough out to finish proofing, about 60min for me. Score.
6. Bake at 450F with steam(either put in preheated cast iron pot and cover with lid, or put dough on preheated baking stone and pour water in another cast iron pan to create steam) for the first 15min, take out the pan with water, keep baking for another 30-35min. Turn off oven and crack the door open a bit, and leave the breads inside for 10min before taking out.

Can you see the hazelnut peeking out from under the "ear"?

Fairly open crumb for so much add-ins

Fennel, hazelnuts, and figs play well together in this bread. However, this means I still haven't tried the "fig & anise" combo, soon...


LindyD's picture

You are the absolute maestro of fermentation.

txfarmer's picture

Blushing...Thank you.

dmsnyder's picture

This bread looks and sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, my wife is not fond of anise, so I will leave that out. I share your like of nut and dried fruit combined in sourdough breads. I note your use of a rye starter.


txfarmer's picture

Looking forward to your result! My husband is not fond of anise/fennel taste either, oh well, the more for me. :P

dabrownman's picture

Wonderfully;  executed, photographed and written.

My apprentice, the Countess Von Sniglucyfrizen, possibly one of your royal relatives way removed, might beat you to the fig and anise bread but will also probably go overboard as usual and be putting in some sprouts and pistachios.  Or she might do a sprout and pistachio bread and a fig and anise one if she is not too lazy.  The levain is near ready, the multi-grain flours autolysed just waiting on the sprouts.

We too were taken by Phil's Fig and Anise bread post.  Your's is just as beautiful - and more nutty too - a good thing.

Very nice baking Empress Ying!

txfarmer's picture

Sprout and pistachio sounds like another great combo! Hmmm, getting ideas.

chayarivka's picture

see subject line

and wow

txfarmer's picture


Isand66's picture

Beautiful looking bread as always.

Bet the combo of nuts and spice must taste wonderful.

txfarmer's picture


PiPs's picture

Looks beautiful!

Fig and fennel is a great combination too ... The anise will be a bit stronger and you won't notice the texture of seeds as much. Adding the hazelnuts was inspired ... yum!

... come to think of it ... I can't remember the last time I used hazelnuts in a bread ... hmmm


txfarmer's picture

Yeah, anise would have been a bit stronger indeed. Hazelnuts are my favorite nuts to use in bread, walnuts come a close 2nd.

Janetcook's picture

What a wonderful looking loaf.  I have a friend who loves Phil's Anise Fig loaf - in fact I just made a loaf for her last week but she didn't get much of it because her husband discovered he loved it too....

Well now I can give your version a try.  I love making loaves with the fruit and nut combo too.  I just might try proofing overnight  if I feel brave since I will be using whole freshly milled grains.... Fun to try something new and I never thought of using a rye leaven with it.  How did that effect the flavor since there wasn't any other rye flour in the dough?  

Thanks for the posting :-)

Take Care,


txfarmer's picture

I love my rye starter, it has a stronger flavor than white starter, especially after an overnight proof.

AnnaInNC's picture

Question though:  How do you eat it ?  A touch of unsalted butter ?  A light jam ? Or dip it into a hot cup of cocoa with whipped cream on top ....  ?


txfarmer's picture

I eat it as is. :)