This is a very simple bread inspired by an old artisan bakery we came across on the harbour side of Corfu old town. I love its light chewy texture and the natural sweetness of the dough. The addition of the olive oil and egg yolk glaze scattered with sesame, fennel and nigella seeds makes this bread deeply satisfying and absolutely irresistible served alongside a dozen small sharing plates including a chunk of warm baked feta with organic thyme, lavender florets and a drizzle of thyme honey.
Yields two medium loaves (the size of the one pictured) or one large one
For the dough:
500g strong white flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
7g dried yeast
1 tsp natural unrefined golden caster sugar
For the glaze and garnish:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp Raphael’s Cretan extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
Half tsp sea salt flakes
How I make it
Start the dough the day before by mixing together the flour and sea salt in a large bowl.
Add the yeast and sugar to 325ml lukewarm water, briefly whisk to mix everything together and leave to bubble away for 10 minutes. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix everything together until you get a rough dough.
Turn out onto a cool lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth and springy dough. Place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside until it’s doubled in size. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
The following morning, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead again for a couple of minutes. Shape into two medium-sized loaves or one large one and place on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise again.
When you’re ready to bake, heat an oven to 220C.
Using your fingers, make a few irregular indents in the dough – as you would if you were making focaccia – to form little wells for the glaze and seeds.
Whisk the egg yolk with the oil and brush over the top of the dough making sure that you’ve covered as much of the surface area as you can. Sprinkle liberally with a mixture of the seeds and sea salt flakes.
Bake for around 10-15 minutes (for two smaller loaves) or 15-20 minutes for the larger one removing from the oven when the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.