Last night I got back from a really amazing few days on Malapascua Island in the Philippines. It really is a little paradise island, but more about that coming soon! Until then I’ve got one of my favourite new bread recipes for you today. I have to admit that we’ve developed a bit of a problem in my house. I’ve spoken before about my all consuming love of bread before, well, since being able to make decent bread myself, it’s become a bit of a problem. You see, loaves just don’t last any more. They go on the table with dinner, we plan maybe to have a slice or two and save the rest, yet somehow before we know it the whole thing is gone and we’re staring at a crumb covered bread board with a growing feeling of shame and rapidly expanding waistlines. This bread is one of the real culprits. It’s tangled shape is perfect for tearing apart and sharing at the dinner table. It would be wonderful served at a big family table, to dunk into a pot of stew, or bowls of steaming soup. The trouble is there’s just the two of us and somehow we still manage to polish it all off!
(from Lorraine Pascal)
550g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g Wholemeal bread flour
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
350ml warm water
1tbsp sesame oil
25g poppy seeds
Begin by putting the flours, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Combine them together and make a well in the centre. Add in the honey and water and mix in everything until it’s combined into a dough.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes until its surface is springy and an indentation will spring quickly back.
On a floured surface, use a rolling pin (or in my case wine bottle!) roll the dough out into a 40x24cm/15x9in rectangle. Try to use more of a gentle persuasion method rather than brute force. If it’s too springy to roll let it rest under a tea towel for about 5 minutes to let the gluten relax.
Brush the top of the dough with the sesame oil and sprinkle with poppy seeds, covering the whole surface. Cut the dough into 4cm wide strips down the length. You should have six long strips of dough.
Twist each strip up like a cheese straw. When all six are twisted, gather them all together and twist them until you have one twisted rope. Curve the bread together and join the ends together sticking them with water. Lorraine Pascal makes hers into a wreath shape which looks very pretty but doesn’t fit into my oven! The slightly more squashed shape mine turns into still has delicious tangled layers.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Put the dough onto a greased baking sheet, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. It’ll gain about half it’s size again. Bake it for about 35 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap it.
Rip apart the tangles and serve with lots of butter.