It is late morning. Grassy odour permeates the air. Our lawn is being mowed. As the machine moves and gnaws the juicy grass, a swarm of grasshoppers and nymphs and a dozen other tiny moths and winged creatures rise like smoke. They disperse and settle on the distant blades of grass till the machine reaches far end forcing them to move further.
A Brown Rock Chat is perched on the ledge of the window. She lets out a shrill whistle and swoops down to catch her prey which is in abundance here.
The weather is warm and perfect to bake bread. I braid the dough and dress it up with sesame seeds. As it rests to rise, some more mowing is done till the Sun gets strong and makes it difficult to work.
The bread rises well and is placed in the oven. Grassy odour faints and yeasty aroma dominates. The bread is in the final stages of baking.
Sesame seeds gives a crunchy crust while the crumb is soft. This is Italian Sesame Bread.
Italian Sesame Bread
Recipe source – www.kingarthurflour.com
I used milk wash in place of egg wash as mentioned in the recipe
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup and 2 to 4 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Milk wash ( ¼ cup milk, 1 tablespoon butter,2 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt. Boil together for 5 minutes on low heat)
Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add olive oil, mix well.
Add yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir so that it dissolves.
Add to flour mix. Knead for 6- 8 minutes. Keep adding more water till you get a soft and supple dough.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around so that it is coated with oil all over. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hour or until double.
Transfer dough to a floured counter. Divide into three equal parts. Roll out each part into a 20 inch long rope slightly tapering at the edges. Braid the pieces, pinch the ends together and tuck them under. Place on the greased baking tray. Cover and keep for 1 ½ hours or until double in size.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Brush the braid with milk wash and sprinkle sesame seeds.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or till it is golden brown. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.
My Notes - Avoid milk and butter to get a vegan topping. Boil water and sugar.Cool before brushing.