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Anise Bread, Moroccan (Khboz) (P)
Source: "The World of Jewish Cooking," by Gil Marks
Yield: 2 loaves

1 2-1/2-tsp. package active dry yeast OR 1 0.6-ounce cake fresh yeast
1-1/3 cups warm water (105-110F for dry yeast, 80-85F for fresh yeast)
1 tsp. sugar or honey
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-3 tsp. anise seeds
4 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 Egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water
3 tbsp. sesame seeds

The World of Jewish Cooking
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the water. Add the sugar or honey and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the remaining water, oil, anise, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Gradually stir in the remaining flour until the mixture holds together.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. Shape each piece into a ball, cover, and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal or fine semolina or grease the baking sheet. Flatten each dough ball into a 6" round. Some cooks flute the outer edge, others leave it plain. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, cover, and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prick the dough around the sides with the tines of a fork or a toothpick. Brush the tops of the loaves with the Egg white and lightly sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Variation:
Whole-Wheat Khboz: Substitute 1 cup whole-wheat flour for an equal amount of white flour.

Poster's Notes:
Author's note: The name of this bread is in Ladino, the language of Sephardic Jews which is a combination of Spanish and Hebrew and written using the Hebrew alphabet. It is traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, the rounded shape representing the cycle of the year, but is also enjoyed by many Moroccans on the Sabbath. Almonds and rose water are sometimes added for Shavuot and Sukkot.

 

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