|Braided bread, pesto & labneh|
To go with the bread I had made a chickpea, lentil and quinoa soup but it didn't look photogenic at all so I haven't included it here. But I had also made pesto and labneh as I love both as an accompaniment to freshly-baked bread.
3 cups all-purpose flour+ extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp fine sugar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil+ extra for greasing the bowl and the ball of dough
A mix of seeds like white and black sesame, flax seeds and melon seeds for the topping
1 egg yolk, beaten, for the egg wash
Butter to grease the loaf tin
|The stages of making this braided bread|
- Pour the warm water in a bowl. The water must not be too hot or else it will kill the yeast. Add the sugar and the yeast. Give a mix and set aside for about 10 minutes. It will be ready when the yeast froths up.
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Add the oil.
- Mix well. Tip the contents on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes till the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Scrape off the bits of dough from the large bowl, pour about a tsp of oil and spread it on bottom surface of the bowl.
- Take the kneaded dough and place it in the bowl. Rub the oil in your hand on the surface of the ball.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place for the dough to double in size. This may take about 45 minutes to an hour.
- I usually place the dough near my kitchen window where it's warmed by the morning sunlight streaming in.
- Tip the dough on to a floured surface and knead gently for a couple of minutes.
- With your hands, roll out the dough in an elongated shape on your work surface and cut into 3 equal parts.
- Again with your hands roll out the three parts into long strips. The length should be a little longer than your loaf tin as plaiting the strips will shorten it a bit. But it will snugly fit into the tin.
- Join one end of the strips and plait. When you come to the end, do the same, that is, join the ends.
- Lift the plait and place it on your greased loaf tin.
- Cover it (I used the same large bowl for this purpose) and let it prove for another 20 minutes or so.
- Brush with beaten egg yolk and scatter your choice of seeds on the surface of the loaf.
- Bake at 180C in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or till the loaf is golden. Tap it to see whether it sounds hollow.
- Remove. After 10 minutes or so take it out from the tin and place on a cooling rack.
|A generous slathering of labneh on the bread|