I love to try different presentations for bread and I also like going out of the beaten track so when I saw this bread on a French blog a few weeks ago, I went “wow!”. This bread is a show bread, it’s a kind of bread you want to make when you invite people over for a nice meal and wait for the amazed look on their face when they see it. And it’s not that hard to make either. It needs a little bit of patience but with this step-by-step, you will be able to reproduce this beauty with ease and it’s fun! Oh and it doesn’t just look good, it’s gorgeous too! I love peeling each petal as a slice of bread and I even used it to make fancy sandwiches for tea!
15g fresh yeast or 7 g of dried fast action yeast
100ml of oil (I used mild olive oil but sunflower oil seems appropriate )
700g strong white bread
2 tsp sea salt
30g melted butter
1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk for the eggwash
Sunflower, sesame, poppy seeds for the decoration
- Non Thermomix: mix the water, milk and oil and warm in the microwave for a few seconds until luke warm (do not heat it too much or it will kill the yeast). Thermomix version: place in the bowl along with the yeast and mix 3 min/37C/speed 3. Skip step 2.
- Mix in the yeast until dissolved.
- Add the flour, salt and knead (use a stand mixer with the dough hook, a bread machine or by hand) until the dough is soft and non stick. Thermomix version: mix 20 sec/speed 3 then knead 1min30.
- Cover with a wet tea towel and leave in your oven slightly heated at the lowest temperature so it reaches about 40C, then turned off. Leave for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Take out of the bowl and cut the dough in half. Reserve one half and cut the other in 5 equal portions of dough.
- Roll each one to a 20cm circle. Brush 4 with melted butter (pic 1 below) and stack them on top of each other. Do not brush the 5th one with butter and roll it slightly bigger so it covers the stack.
- Place on the stack as shown in the picture 2 below (at this stage, I moved the stack on the baking tray covered with my silicone mat or use greaseproof paper).
- Using the flat end of a dough scraper (or the back of the blade of a knife), cut the stack in 8 triangles but don’t go all the way to the edge, keep a good inch uncut (pic 3).
- Now fold each triangle outward (pic 4).
- Now, take the reserved dough half. Cut in 4 equal pieces and reserve one (this will be the center of the flower) (pic 5). Reform a ball with the 3 remaining pieces and cut in 5 (pic 6).
- Roll in 15cm circles. Stack them as previously, only brushing 4 with butter and the last one being sligtly bigger than the others.
- Place that stack in the hole of the first stack (it should fit quite neatly but don’t worry if there’s a little gap: pic 7).
- Cut in 8 triangles as previously, making sure each cut is bang in the center of the petals in the first stack (pic 8). Fold outward: the new petals should sit between 2 of the first stack’s petals.
- Roll the last bit of dough between your palms to form a ball and place in the center. Cover with the wet tea towel and return to the warm oven for a second proving (about 1 hour).
- Brush the dough with some eggwash and sprinkle with seeds (pic 9).
- Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then reduce to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes.