• Buttermilk, Parmesan and braised fennel bread with sweet tomato sauce is surprisingly light despite its powerful flavour punch. This delicate bread is a wonderful savoury bake that’s especially yummy when served with soup. 

    Buttermilk, Parmesan and braised fennel bread with sweet tomato sauce

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 2 hrs


    • Braised fennel

    • 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive/avocado oil
    • 2 large fennel bulbs, quartered
    • 250ml (1 cup) orange juice
    • 250ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
    • 80ml (1/3 cup) white wine
    • zest of ½ a lemon
    • 5 whole black peppercorns
    • Bread

    • 500ml (2 cups) cake flour
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
    • 5ml (1 tsp) salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 300ml buttermilk
    • 125ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
    • 80ml (1/3 cup) Parmesan, freshly grated
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • Sauce

    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive/avocado oil
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
    • 60ml (¼ cup) water
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 garlic clove, diced
    • 400g baby tomatoes
    • 1ml (¼ tsp) chilli flakes
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Parmesan shavings, to serve



    For the braised fennel, preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a loaf tin.


    Heat the butter and oil in a large pot and fry the fennel until golden. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to an oven dish and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Drain the fennel and set aside. (You can keep the liquid to use as stock.)


    For the bread, place all the ingredients except the rosemary in a food processor and mix until you have a smooth batter.


    Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf tin, and place the fennel on top,reserving a few pieces. Pour over the rest of the batter and push in the remaining fennel.


    Scatter the rosemary over the bread and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Do not overbake as it is supposed to be a dense bread. Allow to cool before slicing.


    For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.


    Serve the bread scattered with the Parmesan, with the sauce on the side.