Adapted from Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.
Yield: 24 babka rolls
• 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
• ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
• 1 large egg, plus 3 to 4 yolks (enough to make ½ cup egg and egg yolks total)
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 ¼ cups pitted black picholine olives
• 2 canned anchovies, drained
• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, pulverized
• 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the dough, put two and a half cups of the flour, salt, and all but one tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment.
Put the yeast and one tablespoon warm water and the reserved tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl, and stir just until the sugar and yeast have dissolved. With the mixer, using the dough hook on low speed, pour into the bowl the yeast mixture, the milk, and the egg and egg yolks. Knead the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed.
Add the pieces of butter a little at a time, until it is incorporated, then knead the dough on low speed for about five minutes, until it is silken and rich. Transfer it to a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for two hours. When the dough has risen, press it down, and put it in a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one to two hours or overnight.