Featured recipe: Sweet Provençal Flatbread with Anise Seeds

In my vision of an ideal weekend morning, there is fresh dark roasted coffee in the French Press, crisp cut fruit of the season, and something bready, chewy and tummy warming. That bready thing could be waffles, cinnamon rolls, or any number of similar breakfasty concoctions. However, when you're tired of the "same old" and looking for something a little different, but no less yummy, try this recipe for a sweet flatbread flavored with orange juice and anise seeds.

The recipe comes from my favorite bread cookbook: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoey Francois, and it's "vegan by accident" without requiring any additional substitutions.

Sweet Provençal Flatbread with Anise Seeds
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Note: Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with rising bread.

Ingredients for a full batch:

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seeds for the dough, plus more for topping
1/3 cup sugar
Zest from half an orange, removed with a microzester
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can swap out 1 to 2 cups whole wheat or rye)
Flour for dusting
Water to paint on top crust

Mix all ingredients together in a bucket or mixing bowl, cover loosely and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate for up to two weeks, removing portions as needed for daily loaves. The wet dough can be used at room temperature but is easier to handle when cold.

Cut off a pound of dough (about the size of a grapefruit) with a kitchen scissors or a serrated knife. Gently form a smooth ball by generously dusting the ball with flour and stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Using your hands, a rolling pin, and enough dusting flour to prevent sticking, flatten the ball to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Like pizza (1/8-inch thick dough), these don’t need to rest after you roll them out. Keeping your work surface well-dusted with flour, use a pizza cutter to make eight triangular flatbreads.

Using a spatula or your fingers, lift the triangles onto a greased cookie sheet, a silicone mat, or a pizza peel well-dusted with flour or covered with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to paint the triangles with water and sprinkle with anise seeds.

Slide them onto the pre-heated baking stone (or place the cookie sheet or silicone pad on the stone). Pour 1 cup of tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until richly browned and firm.

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