I love fresh fennel, the taste really grew on me through culinary school but it’s not a flavor that pairs with everything. So when I was on an airplane a few months ago watching a cooking show with no volume, my daughter had borrowed my headphones, and I saw the host make a bread with fresh fennel and citrus I knew I wanted to try something similar at home. It went on the meal plan list and I played with the flavors when we got home from our trip.
Focaccia is such a delicious bread and easy to add a variety of toppings and flavors to I knew it would be a great vessel for my fennel and citrus.
Add the water and yeast to the mixer, allow the yeast to get foamy before adding the rest of your ingredients and starting your stand mixer on low. Once the dough has started to pull together after 6-8 minutes, turn the mixer up to medium and knead for another 6-8 minutes until the dough is not longer sticking to the bowl and is a soft ball. Move the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
Leave the dough in a warm area to rise anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size. When gently pressed with your finger the dough should mostly spring back.
Once the dough is ready stretch it onto a greased sheet tray. Be gentle it might need some coaxing to stretch out.
Cover the pan and allow to rise again until doubled in size. Another 30-60 minutes depending on how warm your house is.
While you’re waiting for the dough to rise again get the toppings ready and preheat your oven to 400°.
Slice the fennel and mandarins as thinly as you can. A mandolin would come in handy here.
When your dough has doubled in size once again, press some of the air out with your finger tips and then brush with olive oil.
Then sprinkle on kosher salt, garlic powder, italian herbs and a small bit of fennel seed.
Then top with the fennel and mandarins.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400°
Prep: 2 hours 20 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Preheat: 400° Standard Oven
- 2 1/2c. Flour
- 3/4c. Warm Water
- 4tsp. Active dry yeast
- 1tsp. Salt
- 1tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 Fennel bulb
- 3 Mandarins
- 1tsp. Kosher Salt
- 2tsp. Italian herbs
- 1/4tsp. Fennel seed
- 1/4tsp. Garlic powder
- Olive oil for brushing
- Add warm water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Once yeast is foamy add the flour, salt, and olive oil.
- Start the mixer on low until dough becomes a sticky mass and has started absorbing the flour, this can take about 5 minutes.
- Once the dough is beginning to form turn the mixer to medium speed and knead with dough hook for another 6-8 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic.
- Move the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Leave in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size, or when gently pressed with a finger springs back.
- Spray a sheet tray with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil.
- Stretch the dough to fit the sheet tray, it may take a bit of coaxing.
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to double.
- Thinly slice fennel bulb and mandarin oranges.
- Put italian herbs, salt, garlic powder, and fennel seed into a bowl.
- After dough has doubled again poke uniformly with finger tips then brush with olive oil, italian herbs, garlic powder, and salt.
- Evenly disperse the fennel and mandarin slices across the dough.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Using a pizza wheel or kitchen shears cut the focaccia into pieces and enjoy!