Makes 4 long flatbreads about 16 by 5 inches.
About 1 pound risen bread dough made of 50-50 whole wheat and unbleached all-purpose flour
Scant 2 tablespoons olive oil (see Headnote)
Unbleached all-purpose flour for surfaces
A generous 1/4 cup sugar, preferably coarse crystals
About 3 teaspoons anise seeds
The recipe makes for long narrow breads (about 9 by 3 inches). You can of course make smaller breads if you wish.
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven, put on a large baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if possible, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Pull the dough together and add the olive oil. Knead the oil into the dough, along with a little flour.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into four equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, flatten gently with lightly wetted fingertips until it is a rectangle approximately 9 inches long by 3 inches wide. Spritz lightly with water. Sprinkle on about 1 tablespoon sugar and a generous 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, then use the palm of your hand to distribute them evenly and press them into the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork, about a dozen times.
Transfer to a peel or the flour-dusted back of a baking sheet and use it to transfer the bread onto the hot baking surface, then repeat shaping and transferring with a second bread if there’s room for it in the oven. Alternatively, if you don’t have a stone or tiles, then transfer onto a lightly greased baking sheet. If there’s room for a second bread on the sheet, then repeat with a second piece of dough before placing the sheet in the oven; otherwise place in the oven.
This is a version of the sweet crispbreads, heavily flavored with sugar and anise, that I came across at a bakery in Barcelona many years ago. They are best made with a slow-rise dough; if it already includes olive oil, then no need to add extra.
Bake until lightly touched with golden color at the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool and crisp up. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
Dawn Woodward is a grain activist, committed to putting sustainable regional grains back on our tables. She started Evelyn’s Crackers in 2008. Evelyn’s, named after her daughter, is located in Toronto, Ontario.
Dawn sources directly from Ontario farmers and millers and is constantly developing different formulas for breads, crackers, pastries, baking mixes, cookies and more. In addition to leading the production at Evelyn’s Crackers, she has taught baking at George Brown Culinary College and was a keynote speaker at the WSU Grain Gathering in Mt. Vernon, where she has lead whole grain baking workshops for the past several years. Dawn can be found behind the cracker table at the Wychwood Farmers Market every Saturday and offers her services to businesses wanting to shift to small and regional grains.