Turmeric Fennel Bread


  • 1/2 c lukewarm water
  • 1-1/4 oz package dry active yeast
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil + extra
  • 2-2.5 c bread flour
  • 1 2/3 c semolina flour + extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water with yeast and sugar. Set aside about 5 minutes or until bubbling and frothy. If the yeast doesn't bubble up, START OVER. You need nice bubbly yeast for a delicious end result.

  2. Stir in 1 cup water, olive oil, bread flour, semolina, turmeric, fennel seed, and salt, and mix until well combined but still tacky. 

  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft but not sticky, about 8 minutes. 

  4. Shape the dough into a ball. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the bottom of a clean bowl. Put the dough into the bowl and roll to coat it in oil. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and put in a warm, non-drafty spot (I like to put it in my oven while it's turned off, with the light on) to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  5. Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Cover and let rest 5-10 minutes. Shape into two equal sized balls. 

  6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with semolina flour. Place the dough balls onto the sheet, cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

  7. Adjust the oven racks so that one rack is in the lowest position and the other is in the position above it. Set a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish on the lowest rack. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  8. Once preheated, carefully remove the rimmed baking sheet, add 2 cups of ice to it and return it to its place in the oven.

  9. With a sharp knife, slice an X into the top of each loaf. Place baking sheet with the bread on the second rack. Bake bread 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. You'll be able to tell if the bread is done by tapping on the underside. If it sounds hollow, it's cooked through.

  10. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to COOL COMPLETELY on a wire rack before slicing it. Serve with olive oil for dipping and lentil stew. Enjoy!