loaves

Halloumi, Sumac & Black Sesame Pull-Apart Bread

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.

Recipe

Ingredients
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

Method

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.

Honey & Saffron Loaf with Labneh and Fresh Figs - The Carton Magazine Issue 14

I always yap on about my love for Middle Eastern food culture, so I think I found my magazine soulmates at The Carton, a beautiful bi-annual magazine dedicated to food culture and the Middle East. They're based out in Beirut in Lebanon, with contributors are placed all over the world. I've been busy working with them over the last few months on their Decus in labore issue (No. 14) to create a series of 8 original Middle Eastern loaf recipes, so snap up a copy here and try your hand at baking them. For now, though, here's a sneak preview of what you can expect...

recipe

ingredients

250g clear honey, and extra to glaze
225g unsalted butter, cubed
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
300g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp saffron threads
100g fresh labneh (optional)
5 fresh figs, quartered

method

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC and grease a 2lb loaf tin. Grease and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
2. Place the butter, honey, sugar and ½ tsp saffron threads into a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat. When the mixture becomes liquid, bring to a boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
3. Once cooled, beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture with a wooden spoon.
4. Using a freestanding electric mixer or electric whisk, combine the flour and remaining threads of saffron with the liquid mixture at a low speed. Beat for 2-3 minutes at a medium speed to form a smooth and runny batter.
5. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven and leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, top with the labneh if you are using it, along with the figs, and a drizzle of honey.
7. If using labneh, this loaf is best served the same day it is made. Otherwise, it will keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days.