Already widely loved in the context of salad, the incredible trio of bright orange, sweet and earthy fennel, and salty olives shines in this impressive focaccia loaf. Want to take it up a notch? Enjoy this wow-worthy bread warm, with generous smear of softened goat cheese.
3/4 cup warm (about 110°F) water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange), warmed to about 110°F
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups (about 11 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons orange zest (from 1 orange)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large fennel bulb, sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
3/4 cup sliced pitted Castelvetrano olives
How to Make It
Combine warm water, warm orange juice, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl; let stand until bubbles form, about 10 minutes. Whisk together flour, orange zest, ground fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons of the oil into yeast mixture, and add to flour mixture. Stir until well combined and dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and stretchy. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and place in a warm place to rise until dough has doubled in size, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Turn dough out onto a work surface, and punch down dough. Place dough on a lightly oiled 15- x 10-inch rimmed baking sheet. Press and stretch dough to reach edges of baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and let stand 15 minutes.
Uncover dough, and make indentations over surface of dough with the end of a wooden spoon. Top evenly with sliced fennel and olives. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
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