2 March 2008

Long time but a promising return - Polish Poppy Seed Bread (or Makowiec in Polish!)

Well it has been ages since my last post! Have you missed me? I have been super busy with my work at the library. But I have also had problems with my computer that meant getting a new one.

So what have I been up to? Well a lot of baking and trying new things. I have recently been trying to perfect a bread that I had as a child at around Easter time. It was full of lovely poppy seeds and sweet but not sickly. So I found a recipe that sort of had what I wanted in it and made that. It came out good but wasn't quite what I had in mind nor remembered.

So back to the drawing board and trying to remember what it tasted like, etc. So new recipe thought of and devised and again another set of trials. I've made about 5 or 6 of them now and I think it is about as good as I'm going to get without getting the recipe from the source.

Polish Poppy Seed Bread

250 grams strong bread flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons caster sugar
50 grams unsalted butter
about 90 ml tepid milk
1 1/2 teaspoon easy-blend yeast
1 medium egg

150 grams poppy seeds
250 grams marzipan
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract or half a vanilla pod (with seeds first removed and put in with poppy seeds) and then both blitzed in food processor with the poppy seeds

1 egg, beaten
flaked almonds(optional)
pearl sugar (optional)

Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast together. Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is of the size of small peas. Add tepid milk and egg and mix until a ball forms.
Knead for about 10 minutes and place into a bowl to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, add poppy seeds to a bowl and cover with boiling water - let sit for 5-10 minutes (more is OK - they will just soften more). Drain in a fine sieve and put into food-processor and pulse for 2-3 minutes. Add marzipan and vanilla extract or pod, and blend until it is a smooth paste.

Roll dough into a rectangle, 1/2 inch thick and spread poppy seed paste to within 1/2 inch of border. Roll up jelly-roll style and seal edges by pinching them together. Roll ends under roll and seal. Place on a cookie sheet (seam side down) lined with parchment paper. Cover with cling film and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. Pre-heat oven to 190 C (375 F). Glaze outside of dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds or pearl sugar and place in oven. Bake until golden brown (about 35-45 minutes) and remove from oven. Cool on wire rack immediately.

Makes 1 medium loaf and will keep 4-5 days in a paper bag. Not suitable for freezing.

So there you have it - Polish Poppy Seed Bread and I hope it was worth the wait. I will try to be better about posting but I am going away for 3 weeks to America. I'm going to finally see my niece who is now 3 1/2 years old for the first time! What excitement.

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