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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Toasted Fennel Bread

3/4 cup warm milk
4 teaspoons sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour plus flour for kneading
Glaze: 1 egg yolk combined with 3 tablespoons milk

Place warm milk in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand 5 minutes or until dissolved and puffy. Add salt, eggs, butter and toasted, crushed fennel seeds and Asiago cheese. Add half of the flour, moisten, then blend on low speed. Add remaining flour and continue beating, at a higher speed, until it forms a ball.

Transfer to a floured surface and knead until bread is smooth and elastic, adding additional flour to hands or board if necessary. (Jane Citron warns never to dump flour on dough -- put it on fingers or board. "Kneading is like handwriting -- everybody has a different style.")

Turn into a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until double, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Punch down, turn into a 1 1/2 quart casserole or 9-inch round cake pan and let rise again until doubled in bulk.

Brush with glaze and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35 minutes. You may wish to glaze again after bread has baked 25 minutes.

Makes 1 round loaf.

New Year's Day Menu 2000 with Sendall and Citron

Monday, December 27, 1999

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