Fast-rising makes these moist, fragrant breads quick to prepare. Serve them warm, accompanied with butter or with olive oil for dipping.
- Melt ¼ cup butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add onion and sauté until very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer fitted with dough hook.
- Add 1 cup warm water to onion.
- Mix in yeast, sugar and salt.
- Using mortar and pestle, crush 2 teaspoons fennel seeds. Add to onion mixture.
- Mix in enough flour ½ cup at a time to form medium-soft dough.
- Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
- Allow dough to remain on floured work Surface; Cover with towel and Let stand until Beginning to Rise, about 20 minutes.
- Butter a heavy large baking sheet. Knead dough briefly.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into ball; Flatten into ¾-inch-thick round, about 5 inches in diameter.
- Arrange rounds on prepared baking sheet.
- Rub tops with remaining 2 teaspoons butter.
- Sprinkle remaining 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds evenly over rounds and press gently to adhere.
- Cover with towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until puffy, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F.
- Bake breads until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.