One such blog, and I know I have mentioned it before, seeing as, well, I constantly want to (and do!) make things from her blog, is Chef In Disguise, written by the wonderful Sawsan. Aside from being an inspiring chef and baker, she is a mother, an artist and an all around sweet person.
Recently, Sawsan re-posted a recipe from her blog onto her facebook page (are you on facebook? follow it!!) that she'd originally posted over a year ago. It was for a delicious looking sesame bread, and one look convinced me that I had to make it myself.
So I did!
This is a very straightforward recipe, though is a bit different from other breads I have made.
It starts with proofing some yeast...
...while, in a separate bowl, combining flour, salt, eggs and vinegar.
Vinegar? Hmm... that's a new one!
But once you knead everything together, the results is a beautiful, silky, smooth (yet slightly sticky!) dough.
But an hour later...
And this is where the bread gets fun. The dough is divided into four pieces, and each piece is rolled out into a thin rectangle. With help from some little hands, if you can manage it.
(sorry about the lighting in that photo - it was a bright afternoon and our work surface is directly in front of a window. I love the sunshine... except when it does that to my photos...)
Each rectangle is then rolled up (as if you're rolling a cinnamon bun or jelly roll) and then shaped into an oval.
The oval is then brushed with thinned out molasses (Sawsan used an egg-wash, but a comment on her post indicated that you could use diluted molasses, and with three eggs in the dough, I didn't want to add more egg...) and then liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds.
And then the bread bakes in a very, very hot oven. Turning it into a beautiful ring with a gorgeous color and amazing smell.
And, considering all of the eggs enriching this dough, the crumb is amazingly light and fluffy and utterly delicious.
Little man and I ate half of one of the loaves as soon as it was cool enough to touch. Little miss liked the inside of the bread, but not the thick crust or sesame seeds as much. Either way, I definitely want to make this again, possibly play with a little bit to make the crust more pleasing to little miss... but, truth be told, I loved this bread exactly as it was. Toasted up the next morning and spread with strawberry jam? What a delicious breakfast.
Sawsan, thank you once again for yet another amazing recipe. I can't wait to continue learning from your blog - you are a true inspiration!
(only slightly adapted from Chef In Disguise)
For the bread:
3 to 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 to 1 cup warm milk (it should feel slightly warm to the touch not hot) (I used coconut milk)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 table spoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
2 tablespoons of molasses diluted with water to be thin
Proof the yeast by mixing it with the sugar and 3/4 cup milk. The yeast should bubble and foam, if it doesn't you need to discard it and start over with new yeast.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, salt, eggs and vinegar. Rub the eggs into the flour with your finger tips.
Add the yeast water mixture and knead the dough on low speed for 10 minutes till you get a smooth slightly sticky dough (you may or may not need to add more liquid, depending on the type of flour you use. I needed only about a tablespoon or two more).
Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover it and allow it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, approximately one hour (depending on the temperature where you are).
Cut the dough into 4 parts.
Roll out each part into a rectangle.
Using your finger tips, roll the dough starting with the long side of the rectangle.
Form the dough into a ring or elongated oval shape.
Mix together the molasses and water and brush the tops of each oval with the mixture.
Generously sprinkle the tops of each bread with sesame seeds.
Allow the breads to rest for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 500 degrees (or as high as your oven can go).
Place the dough on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes at 500, then lower the heat to 400 degrees and bake until the bottom is golden brown (this requires another 7- 10 minutes).
Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.