Homemade Cypriot Village Bread


500g strong white bread flour 
2 tbsp milk 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 7g sachet instant yeast 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
300ml lukewarm water 
1tbsp Sesame seeds 
1 tsp Nigella seeds 
1/4 tsp Aniseed 


Dissolve the salt and sugar in a jug with 100ml boiling water then top up with 200ml cold water. Leave to one side. 

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then gently stir in the yeast, ground cinnamon and cloves with a fork. Make a little well in the centre of the bowl with the flour. 

Add the milk and olive oil to the jug of water. 

Start adding the water mixture to the well in the flour, a little at a time, bringing the flour and water together with your hands (I pour with one hand and bring together with the other). 

Once all the water has been added, bring together all of the flour (including any little pieces in the bowl) to form the basis of your dough. 

Place the dough on a dry cool surface and start kneading the dough, by pushing it out then bringing it back in with the other hand (you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this entire process, including adding the water mixture to the flour). 

Knead the dough for around 10 minutes until smooth, form it into a large, smooth ball, then place in a bowl that has been greased with a little olive oil. Cover the bowl with cling film, then a tea towel, and allow to prove at room temperature for around an hour and a half. 

After an hour and a half, remove the tea towel and cling film, then gently punch down the dough in the bowl, place the dough onto a surface to quickly shape, then onto a floured baking tray (that you will cover with a deep baking tray OR into a large Dutch oven lined with baking paper). Cover with the deep tray or the Dutch oven lid to prove for another hour. 

Preheat oven to 210C fan / 230c conventional 15 mins before the second prove is complete. 

Once the dough has had it’s second prove, brush with a little water (or milk if you want a shinier crust), or flour and water mix, sprinkle over the seeds, and gently score deep, long slits into the dough (don’t push down too hard but make sure the incisions are clear).  

Place in to oven on the middle shelf, and cook covered for 18-20 mins, then remove the covering tray / lid and cook for around another 12-15 mins more until golden brown. 

Remove straight onto a rack and allow to cool completely (at least an hour, if not 2) before cutting into it. 

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