Dr Doughlittle | Poppy Seed Bread

Crispy crust, a soft flavourful and fragrant crumb. Delicious on it’s own or with butter!

I baked this bread over the New Year, using my own recipe which I concocted in my desire to use more of the French T65 flour. The first attempt yielded a loaf with a rather hard crust and a dense crumb! So I made some modifications to my recipe and the second attempt produced a delicious bread! Due to having many pictures, I’ve used low resolution images, not as sharp as they really are. My apologies! Here’s the recipe.

300g French T65 flour.* (Or use only bread flour.)
100g Unbleached Organic Bread Flour
1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 sea salt

1 Tbs poppy seeds
1 Tbs McDonald’s pure Maple Syrup
​50g  melted Butter.
220g filtered warm water ( plus 2 Tbs or more, if needed. )

Place the flours, dry yeast, butter, poppy seeds, Maple syrup, into a Kitchen Aid bowl and thoroughly mix. Add in the sea salt. Mix again. Add in the 220g warm water and mix slowly for 5 mins till a firm dough ball is formed. If needed, slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time to the dough till you arrive at an elastic yet smooth consistency that has a firm, soft touch and does not stick to your fingers. This will probably take another 5 mins. more of mixing in the Kitchen Aid. In 10 to 12 mins. the dough should come clean off the walls of the metal bowl.

Dr Doughlittle | Poppy Seed bread

A firm dough ball.

Dr Doughlittle | Poppy Seed bread

Silky, soft, smooth and elastic consistency.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured mat and briefly hand knead a couple of mins. Form into a ball and rest the dough inside the metal bowl, covered with a towel for 40 mins. 

Dr Doughlittle | hand kneading

Hand knead by pushing.

Dr Doughlittle | Kneading process

Stretching the dough.

Kneading process | Dr Doughlittle

Pushing again.

Dr Doughlittle | Dough proofing

Proof inside the bowl, covered.

Dr Doughlittle | Dough after proofing

Dough ball almost double in size.

When almost double it’s size, transfer the dough back to the mat, gently press the dough down to flatten, and then fold from the outside edge to centre repeating this all around to form a ball again.​​​

Dr Doughlittle | Shaping the dough

On the mat, flatten the dough.

Dr Doughlittle | Shaping the dough

Fold, edge to centre.

Dr Doughlittle | Shaping the dough

Repeat for all the edges.

The pictures above and below show you the steps to fold the dough. Fold the edges towards the centre, going around the flatted dough till you form a ball. Turn this over and tighten the dough skin by rotatory – sliding movements using both hands.

Dr Doughlittle | Fold the dough

Second fold.

Dr Doughlittle | Folding the dough

Third fold.

Dr Doughlittle | Fold the dough

Fourth fold, etc.

Tighten the surface skin of the dough ball by circulatory side and forward movements using the palm of both hands as shown, and then transfer the dough ball into a well floured banneton. Proof further for an hour and 20 mins or till depressing the dough with a finger, the depressed part stays depressed. Meantime heat up the oven to 240˚C with a small shallow metal tray inside it for steaming. ​

Dr Doughlittle | Shape the dough

Tightening the dough skin by rotation

Dr Doughlittle | Tightening the skin of the dough

and simultaneously pushing forwards.

When ready, transfer the dough from the banneton on to baking paper, and then prepare the dough for bakeing. Brush off excess surface flour from the dough, spray lightly with water, sprinkle more poppy seeds for decoration, and score the dough surface with a serrated knife. Add 1/2 cup boiling water on to the shallow metal tray. Spritz with water over the loaf once.  Bake for 30 mins. or more at 220˚C until the crust of the loaf is golden brown.

Using a banetton basket | Dr Doughlittle

Proofing in a banetton basket.

Dr Doughlittle

Brush off excess flour.

Dr Doughlittle | Dough double in size

When risen to double its size.

Dr Doughlittle | spray the bread with water

Spraying lightly with warm water.

Reminder: Before placing the prepared dough into the hot oven, add 1/2 cup boiling water on to the shallow metal tray. Spritz with water over the loaf once.  Bake for 30 mins. or more at 220˚C until the crust of the loaf is golden brown. Remove the hot loaf and cool this on a metal rack.

Dr Doughlittle | Poppy seed bread

Sprinkle over more poppy seeds.

Dr Doughlittle | Scoring bread

Score the dough with a serrated knife.

The final product viewed from two angles.

– *If you don’t have French T65 flour, it’s OK to use only bread flour, however, the amount of water will have to be adjusted. The reasons why I like the French T65 flour: French T65 flour is low in protein. I feel it gives a light open textured loaf with a crisp, better colored crust and better flavor than other bread flours.
– If you cannot get poppy seeds, use black sesame seeds.
– I use a brush for glazing to remove excess flour over the dough. The patterns from the banneton basket become more prominent. Do not wash the banneton basket. Just clean with a stiff brush, dry and store.
– Spray lightly over the dough with water before sprinkling more poppy seeds as decoration. Spraying dissolves the surface flour reduces the powdery whiteness, and makes the dough surface sticky for the poppy seeds to stick on.
​- The addition of maple syrup, or any sugar to the dough mix will soften the bread and darken the crust beautifully. The butter also contributes to softness and aroma of the crumb. Enjoy!

“Yeast is to flour as action is to ambition. Rising to success requires adding and alternating starters.” 
​― Ryan Lilly


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