Baking bread really is a labour of love. It's a long, age-old process, but probably still one of the most satisfying things you can do in the kitchen. It's only right that after putting all your love into making it, your bread should be shared - but also because let's be honest who is going to chomp down all of those carbs by themselves. This pull-apart loaf from my feature for The Carton magazine's Decus in labore issue makes sharing a little bit easier for you by cutting out the knife (ironic). Get your hands on the mag here.
375ml warm water
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
525g plain flour
¾ tsp salt
Olive oil, to grease
3 tbsp sumac
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp black sesame
80g halloumi cheese, thinly sliced
1 tbsp milk
1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
2. In large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Combine using a wooden spoon or spatula, and then use your hands to bring the dough together.
3. Transfer the dough to a freestanding electric mixer with the dough hook attached and beat for 5-7 minutes, OR, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Brush a large bowl with oil, place the dough into the bowl, and cover with cling film. Set aside in a warm, draught-free area for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 210°C. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf pan with oil.
6. Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until it has returned to its original size.
7. Divide the dough into 18 equal portions, and roll each into a 5cm disc. Place 6 discs at the bottom of your prepared tin.
8. Combine the sumac and olive oil together in a small bowl to form a paste, and spread one third of the mixture over the 6 discs. Place a few of the halloumi slices randomly over and in between the discs, and sprinkle with 1 tbsp black sesame seeds. Continue layering the remaining dough, 6 discs at a time, topping with the remaining sumac, halloumi and sesame. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free area for a further 30 minutes.
9. Brush the dough lightly with milk, and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
10. Remove from the oven and leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
11. Serve hot or cold with an extra drizzle of olive oil. This loaf is best eaten the same day it is made.