I made a poppy seed bread at Christmas to honor our Polish ancestory on my dad’s side. It will now become a permanent addition to my special occasion bread making sessions. It’s a sweet bread that tastes just as good fresh as it does a few days old. On day two or three (if there is any left) dress liberally with slices of cold butter. It’s seriously yum. Almonds, poppy seeds, mixed peel, cinnamon and raisins make up the filling. Today Easter Sunday I made it for the second time and it was even better than my first attempt. For the recipe read the full post
For the dough; 3 cups white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp caster sugar, 3 tsp yeast grains, 1/2 cup lukewarm milk, 2 small eggs lightly beaten, 1/4 cup melted butter.
For the filling; 3/4 cup poppy seeds, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1/3 cup mixed peel, 6 tbsp caster sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
For the icing; 1 cup icing sugar, juice of medium sized lemon, 2 tbsp water.
Into a large mixing bowl sift the flour and the salt. Stir in the sugar.
Heat the milk till lukewarm then stir in the yeast granules.
Add the lightly beaten eggs, the melted butter and the yeast/milk into the flour and mix to a dough.
On a lightly floured surface continue kneading (about 5 minutes) until the dough is relatively soft and malleable. Lightly rub oil over the ball of dough and place back into the bowl, covering with a cloth and leaving to rise in a warm place. The rising time will take about 1 1/2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. The dough should double in size.
While the dough is rising pour boiling water over the poppy seeds and allow to cool. Once cooled, drain the water off through a fine sieve. I ended up using a tea strainer as poppy seeds are indeed very small!
In a small pan melt the butter. Add the poppy seeds and simmer and stir for a few minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and add the raisins, ground almonds, mixed peel, the sugar and cinnamon.?
Mix and leave aside to cool
Turn out your by now risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knock down and knead very lightly. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle shape approx 40cm x 30cms.
Spread the now cooled poppy seed filling over the dough leaving clear a strip of about 2 cms around the edge. Roll up the dough starting from a long edge and tuck/squash in the ends to seal.
Place the roll seam side down onto a lightly greased oven tray. Ever so gently spread a little oil over the dough, lightly cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for about 1/2 hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 190 C. When risen bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack until just warm.
Meanwhile in a small pan mix the icing sugar, the juice of 1 lemon and a little water. Heat the mixture gently until warm. Drizzle the icing over the bread and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. It’s a bit tricky getting the icing the right heat/consistency and not having it all run straight off the loaf. Try with a little first and if too runny let it cool down some more. I have found this bread improves with age, so it’s perfect to make a day in advance of eating. The filling keeps the bread moist and the flavours enhance with time.
Easter treats. Enjoy!