What could smell better than baking bread?
Baking spiced bread.
This bread has the most amazing combination of exotic spices. Mahlab a spice made from the kernels within the seeds of the St Lucie cherry. I bought mine online at Gewurzhaus Herb and Spice Merchants. This is a wonderful store in Melbourne can not be passed by. The scent of spices drifts up and down the street luring customers in. I dare you to try to walk past and not be enticed into the store. Go in, it’s worth it!
And so are these rolls. Not just any dinner rolls. These bread rolls are a traditional Syrian bread roll. Gorgeous and alluring just like Gewurzhaus Herb and Spice store!
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons freshly ground mahlab seeds
1 1/4 cups warm water
115g salted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
5 cups bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons anise seeds
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
In a small bowl mix the yeast, mahlab and 1/4 cup of the water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes in which time it will start to froth. While your waiting melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add in the oil. The mixture should be warm not hot. Check it with a thermometre, it should be 50C/120F. Remove the pan from the heat.
To prepare the dough I prefer a stand mixer but the dough can also be mix by hand. In a stand mixer bowl place flour, sugar, nigella, sesame and anise seeds and the cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add the yeast mixture, the butter mixture and the remaining cup of water. Using the dough hook, knead on a medium-low speed for 5 -8 minutes. Scrape down the sides if ingredients get stuck. The dough should be smooth but not sticky. Add more flour or water to get the correct consistency.
Form the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until tripled in size – about 2 hours.
Once risen, turn out the dough on a work surface. Pat the dough down and divide into 18 equal portions. Allow to rest for 10 minutes cover with a clean cloth.
Prepare a large baking sheet or two smaller pans by lining with baking paper. Roll each portion 20cm/8inch long rope then form into a knot.Brush with the egg wash and leave the rolls to rise for another 45 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Bake risen rolls for about 20 minutes.
Delicious warm or a room temperature with a good dose of butter!
Any leftovers freeze beautifully.