Moroccan holiday bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Measure Ingredient
1 pack Active dry yeast
¼ cup Olive oil
½ cup Granulated sugar
1¼ cup Lukewarm water
4¼ cup Unbleached flour
2 teaspoons Salt
1 tablespoon Orange flower water
1½ teaspoon Anise seed
1½ teaspoon Sesame seeds
Cornmeal

Soften the yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water. Let stand 2 minutes, then stir and set in a warm place until the yeast is bubbly and doubles in volume. Meanwhile, mix the flours with the salt in a large mixing bowl.

Stir the bubbling yeast into the flour. Add the olive oil, sugar, and enough lukewarm water to the flour and salt to make a stiff dough.

(Since flours differ in their ability to absorb moisture, no precise amount can be given.) Knead well: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead hard with closed fists, adding water if necessary. To knead, push the dough outward. (It will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to knead this dough thoroughly and achieve a smooth, elastic consistency. If using an electric beater with a dough hook, knead 7 to 8 minutes at slow speed.) During the final kneading, add the orange flower water and spices. After the dough has been thoroughly kneaded, form into one large ball or two small balls and let stand 5 minutes on the board.

Lightly grease a mixing bowl. Transfer the dough ball(s) to the greased bowl and form into a cone shape by grasping the dough with one hand and rotating it against the sides of the bowl, held by the other hand. Turn out onto a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Flatten the cone with the palm of the hand to form a flattened disc about 5 inches in diameter with a slightly raised center. Repeat with the second ball of dough, if making two loaves.

Cover loosely with a damp towel and let rise about 2 hours in a warm place. (To see if the bread has fully risen, poke your finger gently into the dough - the bread is ready for baking if the dough does not spring back.)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Using a fork, prick the bread around the sides three or four times and place on the center shelf of the oven. Bake 12 minutes, then lower the heat to 300 F. and bake 30 to 40 minutes more. When done, the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and let cool. Cut in wedges just before serving.

Adepated from Paula Wolfert, "Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco". Posted by Cathy Harned.

Submitted By MARK SATTERLY On 10-12-94

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