- 400g Strong white flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons oil (sunflower is good)
- saffron (optional)
- 180 ml warm water
- 1 tsp milk
- 1 tsp white sugar
- Poppy seeds – or seasame
Keep back one egg yolk for glaze.
Mix everything flour, the rest of the egg, yeast, salt, oil, water and saffron if you are using it and kneed well. Leave to rise for half an hour or more in the bowl in a warm place (should double in size). Then kneed lightly, split into three, roll into lengths and plait. Or you can make one big roll and then slice it into three leaving a bit joined at one end, and then start plaiting (it just makes one end of the loaf neater).
Put on an oiled baking tray and leave to rise again – put oven on to 200 C (fan oven) or a bit more if it isn’t a fan oven.
When the bread has risen nicely again beat the spare egg yolk up with 1-2 tablespoons of milk and the sugar. Paint it gently over the top of the bread using a pastry brush or your fingers if necessary. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top – they should stick.
Bake for just 15 mins at the full heat and then turn the oven down. This bit is a bit trial and error, depending on the oven. The original recipe said 45 mins at 175 C but that can be too much – try 30 mins at 150 C. If the bread looks ready take it out and, using a tea towel turn it over and tap the bottom – if it is done it will sound hollow. If it doesn’t give a good drum-like sound put it back in the oven for a bit.