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Moroccan Anise Bread

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    Posted: 08 April 2012 at 13:25
One hallmark of North African cooking is the wonderful broths and sauces produced as part of each dish. They just call out for bread to sop them. This one is perfect.
There are all sorts of variations on the theme, when it comes to Moroccan bread. This recipe comes from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's really wonderful (and truly unique) book, Flatbreads & Flavors.
Moroccan Anise Bread
2 tsp dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups hard unbleached white flour (bread flour)
2 tsp salt
1 tbls anise seed
1/4 cup cornmeal plus extra for dusting
2-2 1/2 cups hard whole wheat flour
In a large bowl dissovle the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the white flour a cup at a time, stirring in the same directions. Then stir approximately 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to help the gluten develop. Let this sponge sit, covered, for 30 minutes to two hours.
     Sprinkle the salt and anise seeds over the sponge. Add the cornmeal and stir to mix. Stir in the whole wheat flour, a cup at a time, until the dough becomes too stiff to stir. Turn out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Clean and lightly oil the bread bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
     Gently punch down thedough. Divide the dough in half. Knead each piece for about 30 seconds, working it into a ball.
     Lightly grease two small baking sheets (or one large sheet) and dust lightly with cornmeal. With your palms, flatten each piece of dough into a flat round loaf, approximately 9 to 10 inches in diameter. Set the loves on the baking sheets, cover, and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
     Preheat oven to 400F.
     Just before baking, prick the top surface of each bread decoratively 8 or 10 times with a fork. Place in the upper third of your oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned on top. Cool on a rack for ten minutes to allow bread to firm up. Ksta is most delicious when eaten warm.
     Makes 2 round, slightly domed, flat loaves, about 10 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches thick.    
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