Zayt & Zatar Loaf

My brothers and I sometimes share photos with each other –in disbelief- of my mother’s shopping basket which can have up to nine different types of bread in it. It’s not her fault she says, its simply in the blood. Palestinians do love their bread. And so when mama woke from her afternoon nap the other day she was delighted to see that I had used the rare hour that I managed to get both boys to nap together to make some bread.

This bread was inspired by the French nuns in Bethlehem who used to feed me on my way to work by pushing a few thyme buns into my hand as a climbed the narrow steps to my partner’s office. I miss those days so much. I miss Palestine, I miss the friends I worked with, I miss work, I miss how easy everything was back then, even if it didn’t seem that way at the time. This bread transports me back to that life for just a few moments before I get back to mum duty and I love that.

ingredients

bread

550g plain flour

2 teaspoons quick yeast

½ tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

25g butter

375ml milk

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large handful dried baladi thyme

topping

1 dash of milk

method 

  • Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl
  • Heat the milk and butter on the hob until warm and melting then add to the flour and mix with a spoon to a rough dough, then knead
  • Add olive oil and baladi thyme and continue to knead into a silky dough.
  • Leave dough to rise in a greased bowl in a warm place for one hour
  • Once doubles in size, punch the air out of the dough and shape into a large ring.
  • Place on a greased or lined baking sheet and cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200c and make the wash with the beaten egg, salt and milk mix together
  • Once risen, brush all the dough with the milk
  • Put in the oven for 15 minutes

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