2 tsp dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water
3 cups hard unbleached white flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbls anise seed
¼ cup cornmeal, plus extra for dusting
2 to 2 ½ cups hard whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
You will need a bread bowl and one large or two small baking sheets.
In a bread bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the unbleached white flour a cup at a time, stirring in the same direction. 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 2 hours.
Sprinkle the slat 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 ½ hours.
Gently punch down the dough. 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 loaves on the baking sheets, cover, and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the 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 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned on top. To test for doneness, tap with your knuckles on the bottom of each loaf; The bread should sound hollow. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes to allow bread to firm up.
Makes 2 round, slightly domed, flat loaves, about 10 inches in diameter and 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches thick.
Recipe courtesy "Flatbreads & Flavors," written by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 1995
2 tsp dry yeast