My variation, inspired by various traditional recipes.
For 16 large (4 1/2 Inch) biscuits
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/3 cup warm water or more if needed
2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon green aniseeds
2 – 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole barley flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Mavrodaphne or Port
1/2 cup dry red wine
Olive oil to brush the dough and the baking sheets
In a 4 cup bowl, dilute the honey in 1/3 warm water. Add the yeast, stir and let proof for 10 minutes. I
In a mortar beat the salt together with the aniseeds to get a coarse powder. In a large bowl stir together the wheat and barley flours and the aniseed-salt powder. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil, the sweet and dry wine, the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup warm water. Draw the flour towards the center, mixing it with the liquids to form a rather sticky dough. Knead patiently, adding a little more warm water or flour to obtain a smooth dough.
(Alternatively, work this dough in a food processor, equipped with dough hooks. Add all ingredients to the processor’s bowl, and process for 1 1/2-2 minutes, at high speed. Scrape the bowl with the spatula, let rest for 5-10 minutes, and process another 1-2 minutes).
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and continue kneading, folding, pushing, turning and folding, for another 2-3 minutes. You must end up with a soft, very slightly sticky dough. Form a ball, oil it all over with a few drops of olive oil, place in a 3 quart bowl, cover with plastic film and let rise in a draft-free place for about 1 1/2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Cut the dough in half and divide each piece into quarters. Form each piece into a 1-inch-thick cord, then shape each cords into a small circle with overlapping ends (like a large doughnut). Place them on lightly oiled baking sheets, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover with plastic film and let rise for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
When you place the bread circles in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the breads are light golden on top and sound hollow when tapped.
Let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to its lowest setting (175 F). Using a very good bread knife slice the circles in half horizontally. Place the halves on the oven rack and leave for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they are completely dry. Let cool and keep in tins in a dry place.
Cretan Barley Paximadia will keep for up to 6 months.