Preheat oven to 350°F.
Toast fennel in oven with pinch of salt on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Mix together dry ingredients saving ½ cup of flour for later. Set aside.
Thoroughly cream butter and sugar in standing mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, incorporating completely. Combine dry ingredients and butter mixture until just blended, adding enough of the flour set aside earlier to create a dough you can handle easily.
Equally divide the dough and form each piece into four smooth balls. Refrigerate for ½ hour. Remove dough from fridge and roll into even cylinders about 12 inches long. Add a small amount of flour if needed to roll the dough.
Bake dough cylinders on a cookie sheet until lightly brown, approximately 30 minutes.
Allow dough cylinders, which are now loaves, to cool completely. Cut loaves into thin slices with a serrated knife.
Turn down the oven to 300° and lay the biscotti cookies on baking sheets in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until they achieve a golden color. Cool and serve.
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Joseph Bercovici is a cook, baker and classical pianist living in the Indianapolis area. He began baking bread in 2007 and has continued learning about the craft ever since, which includes developing his own sourdough starter. Contact him at indybakerJB@gmail.com.