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Author Notes: This bread gets its packed-with-flavour punch from anise and cumin seed. It pairs great with salty cheeses -particularly Greek and Cypriot cheese like kefalotyri, feta and Cypriot halloumi cheese. This bread is a traditional Cypriot Christmas bread called "Christopsomo", but it can be enjoyed at any time. —[email protected]
Makes 4 small loaves or 3 large
bread & seed topping
kilo (about 8 cups loosely packed) bread flour
teaspoon ground anise seeds
teaspoon ground cumin seeds
2 & 1/2
cups warm water
For the Seed Topping: 5 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 tsp anise seeds, 1 tsp black cumin seeds, 1 tsp (regular) cumin seeds
grams fresh yeast (buy from a local baker)
cup warm water
- Prepare the yeast. In a small bowl, add the fresh yeast to 1/2 cup of warm water. Then add 1/2 cup flour and stir together the ingredients together. Cover the bowl with kitchen towels to keep it warm, and let it rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the yeast will have risen and will have begun to foam.
- Stir together the flour, anise, cumin seeds, and nutmeg. Once the yeast is ready, add it add to the flour. Begin to add 2 cups of water and start gathering the dough. You may need 2 & 1/2 cups of water, but you need to see how your dough feels and looks. Keep adding water until a pliable dough has formed – it shouldn’t stick to your hands, but it also shouldn’t be too dry. It should look like the bottom left hand picture, in the first collage picture above, just before you start kneading the dough.
- Then knead your dough by hand for twenty minutes. Or, use a dough hook on a mixer for about ten minutes to knead the dough. Knead the dough until it is nice, stretchy and has a shine. Form a ball with the dough.
- Place a little olive oil (1/2 tsp) in the bottom of a large bowl and place the ball of dough inside and roll it around so that it is coated in the olive oil. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap on top and let rise (in a warm place) for 2 hours.
- Punch the dough down and form four round loaves of bread. If you wish, roll them in a mixture of 5 tbs sesame seeds, 1 tsp anise seeds, 1 tsp regular cumin seeds and 1 tsp black cumin seeds before you place them on a baking paper on a baking tray. You can also leave the round loaves plain, and simply cut a shallow cross with a knife on the top and sprinkle some flour over top. This will produce a loaf like the one in the picture at the very top on the right. Cover well with kitchen towels and let rise (in a warm place) for another 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 204C. Bake the bread at 204C for 20 minutes, then turn down the heat to 175C for another 10-15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.