Sunflower LoafPosted: February 22, 2013
Very short and sweet this week!
This week I’ve got some instructions for you to make a showstopper of a loaf. There is a recipe, but really, you could make this from any bread dough you fancy.
In terms of variations, this works fabulously as a pull-apart bread, so layering in some additional flavourings such as cheese, butter, garlic, onions (spring and/or caramelised), chili and herbs when brushing the dough with the olive oil can turn it into a great accompaniment as well as an eye-catching table centrepiece.
2 sachets fast-action yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
60ml olive oil
250ml warm milk
2 large eggs
warm water if required
olive oil for brushing
beaten egg for glazing
dark seeds – e.g. black sesame, poppy, caraway
- Mix the flour, yeast sugar and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk the oil, milk and eggs together and mix into the dry ingredients until the mixture comes together into a soft dough.
- If the mixture is too dry, add sufficient warm water to bring the dough together.
- Knead for 10 minutes until smooth.
- Cover and set aside to rise until doubled in size. Due to the richness of the dough, this may take up to 2-3 hours.
- Tip out dough and pat down.
Constructing the Sunflower
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
- Set one half aside.
- Divide the other half into three equal pieces.
- Set one of these pieces aside.
- Take the two pieces of dough and divide each in half, making four equal pieces.
- For each of these four pieces of dough:
- Roll out thinly into a circle.
- Brush with olive oil.
- Stack the four circles of dough on top of one another. Set aside.
- Divide the remaining large piece of dough into five equal pieces and repeat the rolling/stacking as above.
- For each stack of dough, make cuts to divide them into eight equal pieces. DO NOT cut through the edges of the dough circles. To get a nice sharp cut, use a dough scraper and then finish off by snipping with scissors.
- Now for the slightly tricky part:
- Slide the smaller stack onto some parchment paper.
- Slide the large stack of dough onto the small stack.
- Arrange the large stack so that the cuts DO NOT line up with the ones underneath, by rotating it 22.5 degrees. Obviously I don’t expect you to get out a protractor, just make sure the cuts in the large stack of dough are between the cuts in the smaller stack of dough.
- Now to open up the flower petals.
- Fold out each section of the large stack of dough, easing the layers apart as you do so.
- You will end up with a ring of dough and a star-burst of petals radiating outwards, and the smaller stack of dough is visible in the centre of the dough ring.
- Repeat the unfolding with the smaller stack of dough, remembering to ease the ‘petals’ apart, but being careful not to distort their shape.
- Take the remaining piece of dough and shape it into a smooth ball.
- Drop the ball of dough into the middle of the flower.
- Brush all over with beaten egg. Try and avoid the cut surfaces as the egg might accidentally ‘glue’ the petals together.
- Scatter the middle with dark seeds to make the centre of the sunflower.
- Slide a baking sheet underneath the parchment and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until crisp, golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cool on a wire rack.