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Fennel Seed Focaccia with Olives
Fennel Seed Focaccia with Olives
(Focaccia con Seme di Finocchio e Olive)
 
 
Ingredients:

For the Starter:
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water (95 F to 100 F)

For the Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (105 F to 115 F)
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cool water (85 F to 90 F)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 teaspoons coarse salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
3 2/3 cups (about) bread flour

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives; 2/3 cup chopped, 1/3 cup quartered  

Directions:

Prepare the Starter:
Mix flour and yeast in 8 to 10-cup bowl.

Using wooden spoon, stir in 3/4 cup water; beat until smooth soft dough forms, about 3 minutes.

Scrape down sides of bowl.

Cover with plastic; let stand 30 minutes.

Chill overnight.

Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

Prepare the Dough:
Stir 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add starter and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cool water.

Using wooden spoon, mix starter and water 1 minute (mixture will look milky and foamy).

Mix in 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons salt, milk and fennel.

Add 3 and 1/3 cups bread flour, about 1 cup at a time, mixing until very soft sticky dough forms.

Knead dough gently on floured surface until dough comes together but is still sticky, sprinkling with more flour and loosening dough from surface with pastry scraper, about 5 minutes.

Return to same bowl.
 
Cover with plastic; let rest until firmer and less sticky, about 20 minutes.

Knead dough gently on floured surface until supple and elastic, sprinkling with flour to prevent sticking, about 5 minutes.

Push dough out to 12-inch square.

Sprinkle with 2/3 cup chopped olives; fold dough over olives.

Knead gently to distribute olives; shape into ball.

Oil large bowl with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.

Add dough; turn to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Let dough rise until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Uncover; fold dough edges in toward center.

Turn dough over, releasing some air but deflating as little as possible.

Cover; let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425 F.

Oil 17 x 11-inch baking sheet and line with parchment paper.

Turn out dough onto pan.

Without deflating dough, gently stretch and push dough to cover pan.

If dough springs back, let rest 5 minutes, then stretch.

Repeat resting and stretching until dough stays in place.

Press quartered olives over surface.

Indent dough with fingertips in several places.

Let rise until puffy, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle dough with 1 teaspoon salt.

Place pan in oven.

Spray oven with water 8 times.

Close door 1 minute.

Open and spray several times more.

Close door; bake focaccia 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.

Bake focaccia until golden and crusty, about 12 minutes longer.

Cool focaccia on rack 30 minutes. Makes 1 loaf; 6 to 8 servings.
 
That's it!
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