|Whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting||488||100|
Sprinkle the yeast into a small bowl, add the sugar, and mix in 2/3 lukewarm water. Leave for about 15 minutes for the mixture to become creamy and frothy.
Mix the flour with a pinch of salt in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture, and gradually add another 2/3 of lukewarm water. Mix until it comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead for about 10–15 minutes until smooth and elastic, then knead in the fennel seeds and cracked black pepper.
Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil. Sit the dough in the prepared bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and leave somewhere warm for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and knead for a few more minutes, then divide into six pieces and shape each into a roll. Place them on an oiled baking sheet, cover, and leave to rise again for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Brush the rolls with a little water, then sprinkle with fennel seeds* and bake for about 25–35 minutes until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
*To give these rolls a more subtle flavor, replace some of the fennel seeds with celery seeds or sesame seeds.