Episode 57: Seeds Everywhere, on Everything: Crunchy and Chewy Seedy Breads

Koulouri – Cypriot Village Bread

  • 7g fast-action/ instant yeast
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 piece of mastic
  • 2 pieces of mehlepi/mahleb
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp nigella/ black onion seeds
  • 1/2 tsp aniseed

Grind the mahlepi/mahleb finely with 1 tsp flour. Do the same with the mastic. Mix the salt, mahlepi/mahleb, mastic, cinnamon and 1 tbsp sugar into the remaining flour (minus 1 tbsp). Mix in the yeast. Mix in 330ml warm water and the olive oil. Add more water if you need to to bring the dough together. Rest for 10-30 minutes (just 10 if your kitchen is warm). Knead in a mixer or by hand until it passes the ‘windowpane test’. Leave to rise until doubled.

Roll into a long sausage, around 30cm / 12 inches. Place onto a lined or oiled baking sheet. Cut the dough into 20 and gently pull them apart so there is a small gap between each piece (2mm/ 0.01inches). Mix the remaining tbsp flour with 2 tbsp warm water. Brush the dough all over with this. Mix the sesame seeds, nigella seeds and aniseed together and pat all over the dough, including underneath. Cover loosely and prove again until roughly double.

Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / 400F. Add a dish of boiling water to the oven to create steam (I have a gas oven which produces steam anyway so I skipped this.) Bake for at least 22 minutes then check, it will probably need more time but it’s good to check It wants to be golden brown. Mine took about 30.

Covrigi – Salty Poppy Seed Twists

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 7g fast-action/ instant yeast
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 3 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3/4 tsp flaked salt
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes or Nigella/ black onion seeds

Mix the sugar and salt into the flour. Mix in the yeast. Mix in 260ml warm water and 2 tbsp oil. Rest for 10-30 minutes (no more than 10 if your kitchen is pretty warm). Knead in a mixer or by hand until it passes the ‘windowpane’ test. Cover and leave to rise until doubled.

Divide into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage and cross over the ends for a pretzel shape. Transfer to an oiled or lined baking sheet , cover and leave to prove until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C fan / 420F. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the bicarb/ baking soda. Mix together the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flaky sea salt and onion seeds/flakes. Lower the pretzels in the water for 30 seconds a side or submerge the whole thing for 30 seconds using a mesh strainer. Return to the trays. Brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle liberally with the seeds. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Lagana – Clean Monday Bread

  • 7g fast-action/ instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp fine salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix the half the sugar and salt into the flour. Mix in the yeast. Mix in 275ml of body temperature water and the olive oil. Mix to a shaggy dough. Rest for 10-30 minutes (no more than 10 if your kitchen is pretty warm). Knead in a mixer or by hand until it passes the ‘windowpane’ test. Cover and leave to rise until doubled.

Stretch or roll out the dough to fit a 30 x 25cm / 12 x 10 inch lined or greased tin. Cover loosely and leave to rise again until roughly doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C / fan 200C / 420F. Dissolve the remaining sugar in 2 tbsp of just-boiled water.

Press the dough to make indents all over, a bit like a focaccia. Brush with the sugar water. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and a good pinch or crumble of salt. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Rye, Caraway and Poppy Seed Bagels/Beigels

Adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s Crumb

For the tangzhong:

115ml/ g water or milk, 25g strong white flour

For the dough:

  • The tangzhong you made
  • 300g strong white flour
  • 125g dark/wholemeal rye flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 8g diastatic malt powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flavourless oil
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • Flour or polenta, to dust
  • 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda
  • 2 tbsp barley malt extract/ syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp flaky salt, crumbled up
  • 30g poppy seeds
  • Oil, to grease

Make the tangzhong by putting the liquid and flour in a pan. Heat and stir until you get a gloopy mass. Transfer to another bowl if you like so it cools more quickly.

Once your tangzhong is warm but not hot, or room temperature is fine also, get on with the dough. Mix the salt, sugar and flours. Mix the yeast in. Mix in 250ml warm water, tangzhong and the oil. Mix to a shaggy dough. Rest for 10-30 minutes (just 10 if your kitchen is warm). Knead until it passes the ‘windowpane test’ then knead in the caraway seeds. Cover and leave to rise until doubled.

Turn out, divide into 8 and shape into bagels by rolling into a ball, push your finger through and twirl around a bit. Prove again until puffy and 1.5x in size. Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / 400F.

Put a large pan of water on to boil, add the baking soda/bicarb and malt extract, if using, to the pan and stir to combine. Lower the bagels in and boil for 60 seconds per side then transfer to a greased or lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds, if using.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

Herby Sesame Twists

Adapted from Benjamina Ebuehi’s A Good Day to Bake

  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 9g instant/ fast-action yeast
  • 6-9 tbsp finely chopped herbs (Benjamina suggests tarragon, chives and dill)
  • 40g olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 80-100g sesame seeds

Mix the salt into the flour. Mix in the yeast into the flour. Mix in the herbs. Mix in 240ml lukewarm water and oil to form a shaggy dough. Rest for 10-30 minutes (just 10 if your kitchen is warm). Knead until smooth and elastic. Prove until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 6. Split each piece in half and roll each into a long sausage. Twist the strands together and bring together to make a loop, pinching to seal. Line a baking tray.

Mix the honey and 100ml lukewarm water. Dip each twist in the honey water and then into the sesame seeds. Place on a prepared baking tray. Loosely cover and prove until around 1.5x the size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / 400F.

Once proven and the oven is at temperatue, bake for 18-22 minutes until golden.

Published by Kate

Home baker and now podcaster!

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