There are a lot of perks working in the food and beverage industry…namely food and beverage 🙂
At the resort I work the bakery used to make this bread, and when we were lucky enough to score a loaf….it was gone in seconds. This focaccia could be detected from the other side of the building. We even went to great lengths to hide it from the other cooks around the kitchen. It seriously melts in your mouth like cotton candy! It absolutely does not need anything, not a pat of butter, not a dip of EVOO. Plain, beautiful, mouth-watering goodness. It might just be the best thing I ever ate. Ever.
I don’t really have the exact recipe from the bakery, but I picked one of the baker’s mind for a few weeks to figure it out. I also am not an experienced bread maker, but I think this recipe works pretty well and is easy to follow. I do know, that it is totally worth the effort.
- 1½ teaspoon fennel seeds (reserve ½ tsp for topping)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 oz warm water
- 3 packets (1/4 oz each) Instant Yeast
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt (reserve ¼ tsp for topping)
- 1½ teaspoon ground black pepper (reserve ¼ tsp for topping)
- 3½ bread flour
- 1¼ cup water
Toast the fennel seeds in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Remove seeds and grind them in coffee bean mill. In a sauté pan heat olive oil and sauté diced onions until translucent. Transfer the onions and oil into a bowl and refrigerate. Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in Kitchen Aid/Stand mixing bowl and allow to the yeast bloom for 20 minutes.
In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper and fennel, and mix until well blended. Add the onion/olive oil into the water/yeast mixture. Slowly add flour mix into stand mixer bowl with dough hook, alternating water and flour. Mix until well combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl.
The dough should stick to the bottom half of the bowl, and the top half of the dough hook. The dough will be very sticky. Remove the dough and place in olive oil coated large container (tupperware, bowl, ect). Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate and punch ( push) down the dough once it has risen. Refrigerate overnight. The dough is enough for two round loaves, you can split the dough in half and cook both at the same time, or leave one for later in the week. The dough will remain good for 5 days.
When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator and allow to proof (almost double in size), for an hour minutes in warm area (next to the oven or a warm, sunny window). Remove from container and cover completely with flour. Dock (poke) the dough with your fingers and shake off excess flour while placing dough in a round shape on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle reserved salt/pepper/fennel evenly (be sure to save 1/2 for the other loaf if only baking one). Allow to proof another 10 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven, either on the cookie sheet or on a baking stone. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve….at least wait 10 minutes and then dig in…