“IF YOU HAVE EXTRAORDINARY BREAD AND EXTRAORDINARY BUTTER, IT’S HARD TO BEAT BREAD AND BUTTER.” Jacques Pepin.
I always find bread baking to be an amazing experience. Even Wonder Bread could fill me with wonder! I mean, just look at what you need to make bread. Flour. Yeast. Water. Salt. Can you think of any ingredients more bland than these? Yet with a little time, and a little (ok…sometimes a lot!) of patience, you have a product which is so beautiful and delicious in its simplicity! Add a few extra ingredients and you have something quite extraordinary! This bread took me two attempts today. But I learned a very basic lesson. . . . .
. . . . .sometimes your two hands are your best tools!
I will admit two things to you here. I am a novice bread baker. And I am a coward when it comes to yeast! I don’t know what to expect from it and I approach it like it’s a science experiment about to go out of control! So I have a tendency to want to rush through the process just to see how it will all turn out in the end. Today, that meant using the dough hook attachment for my mixer. The result. . . . .well you could have played basketball with my dough! I guess I let it churn a little too long. So I started all over, mixing the ingredients with a simple wooden spoon and then slowly kneading the dough with my two little hands. The result? The dough was much softer, and the bread definitely more satisfying!
Yields: 1 round loaf
Level of Difficulty: easy (use your hands!)
BLACK & WHITE SESAME SEED BREAD:
- 4 cups of white bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 23 grams of active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 113 grams (about 4 ounces) of mixed black and white sesame seeds
Place the flour, yeast, salt, water and olive oil in a large bowl and blend together with a wooden spoon. When the dough begins to form, place it on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3-5 minutes. The dough will become smooth and pliable. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rest for 1 hour.
Place the sesame seeds in a large bowl and pour about 1 Tablespoon of warm water over them just to dampen them. Mix them around with your fingers a bit and let them sit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub your hands with a bit of olive oil and remove the dough, coating gently with the olive oil from your hands. Place the dough into the dampened seeds and turn to cover completely. Place the dough on the baking sheet and let it rest for 1 more hour.
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Using a knife, place a cut around the middle of the ball of dough and then 2 slits on the top of the dough. Bake this for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
I enjoyed this bread sliced and served open faced with a slathering of mayo and a huge slice of summer tomato sprinkled with a little sea salt! But you could take Chef Pepin’s advice and just serve it with some extraordinary butter. Simple and satisfying and you just can’t beat it!
Inspired by and adapted from 100 Great Breads