This recipe can be used for rolls or a loaf. If you find plaiting too difficult then shape it into a loaf or round rolls.
If you prefer you can leave the poppy seeds off or use sesame seeds instead but the poppy seeds give it a lovely nutty taste.
Yield – 6 Rolls or 1 Loaf
1. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Place the fresh yeast in a small bowl and add the sugar. Mix to a smooth cream with 2 tablespoons of the water. (If using dried yeast follow the manufacturer’s instructions)
3. Tip the yeast mixture into the well. Rinse the yeast bowl with a little of the water, then tip all of the water and the butter into the well.
4. Stir the mixture with a table knife or dough scraper to make a soft dough, adding more water or flour as necessary.
5. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface. Knead for 10–15 minutes by hand or for 5–7 minutes in an electric mixer, adding extra flour if the dough is too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it over to coat the surface with the oil. Cover the bowl with oiled cling film and place in a warm place to rise.
7. When the dough has doubled in bulk, take it out of the bowl and place on the work surface. Knead for a couple of minutes to knock it back. Divide the dough in to 3. Roll each piece of dough in to a sausage shape (approx 20 – 24cm in length), then plait together and compress slightly to fatten the plait. Place on an oiled baking tray
8. Cover the dough loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove (rise again) until nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 2000C/ Fan oven 1800C/ Gas mark 6.
9. Brush the dough with the beaten egg glaze carefully. Sprinkle with the poppy seeds.
10. Place the dough in the middle of the oven Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden-brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the underside. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Note: if making rolls at stage 7 divide the dough evenly into 6 pieces. Divide each piece of dough into three and roll the pieces into sausage shapes (approx 10 – 12cm in length). Plait each one together and compress to slightly compress the plaits. Place on an oiled baking tray leaving some space between them. Allow to prove as above, glaze, sprinkle with seeds and bake for approximately12 – 15 minutes.