THE TASTE, aroma and especially the shape of this bread from Lefkas, one of the smaller islands in the Ionian Sea, are remarkable. Like all festive breads, it is not supposed to be cut but pulled apart. Instead of being baked in a loaf, the dough is divided into pieces, with each one shaped into a twist and baked next to one another. As the dough rises, the twists come together but, once baked, they are easily pulled apart. Serve with fresh cheese such as ricotta, manouri or Gorgonzola, or with butter and jam.
In a small bowl, combine the warm water, honey and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until frothy.
In a mortar or spice grinder, coarsely grind the fennel seeds, aniseeds and coriander seeds.
In a food processor, combine the starter,
Process the dough for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until slightly sticky and elastic.
Lightly oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, adding more flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the oiled bowl. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.
Oil a baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces, then divide each piece into quarters. Roll 1 of the pieces into a 20-inch-long rope. Fold the rope in half, twist it and place on the oiled baking sheet. Repeat with a second piece of dough, placing the second twist next to the first, with its folded end beside the loose ends of the previous twist. Repeat with the rest of the dough to make a rectangular loaf composed of adjoining twists. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
At least 20 minutes before baking,
The same bread can be turned into delicious biscuits. Separate baked twists and rebake them on a baking sheet in a
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