Weekend baking - rich poppy seed bread

If you're feeling creative this weekend, give this simple and forgiving poppy seed loaf recipe a try. It makes the best bacon sandwiches and, if there's any left after a day or two, it makes lovely golden toast.

Rich poppy seed bread

Ingredients             Total          Biga          Balance

Strong white flour              250g               80g                  170g

Water                                    50g               50g                     0g

Milk                                       90g                 -                       90g

Egg (lightly beaten)             20g                 -                       20g

Butter                                     19g                 -                        19g

Poppy seeds                           15g                 -                        15g

Sugar                                        8g                   -                       8g

Yeast                                         6g                   1g                     5g

Salt                                         3-4g               -                       3-4g



Make a biga by mixing the quantities of water, flour and yeast listed in the column "biga" above. You can make this up to 48 hours before you want to bake and refrigerate it until needed. Giving the biga 12 or more hours to ferment gets the enzyme action going. 


When you are ready to make the loaf, sift the remaining flour and salt together into a bowl. Add the poppy seeds.  Rub the butter in.  Add the sugar, remaining yeast, egg and milk.  Mix together to form a shaggy dough. 

Knead the dough for a minute to bring it together.  Leave it alone to relax for 10 minutes, then knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and passes a window pane test.  Let the dough rise in the bowl until doubled in size.  Knock it backShape to fit your tin and leave to rise again in a warm place until doubled size.  Keep an eye on it as the dough can rise quickly. 

Brush with an egg wash and bake at 210C  for 28-30 minutes.  Place a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven before you add your loaf to create some steam if you want a bigger crust. Allow to cool on a rack and enjoy.