The sesame seeds on this Italian bread provide a crunchy crust while the inside of the bread is wonderfully fluffy and soft. Though it may look complex, baking this bread is actually quite simple. All you have to do is braid three rolls of dough to make the elegant shape. Now go forth and be the artisan bread maker you've always dreamt of being!
Sesame Italian Bread [Vegan]
For the Dough:
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup and 2 to 4 tablespoons warm water
For the Topping:
- 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
For the Wash:
- Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add olive oil and mix well.
- Add yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir so that it dissolves.
- Add yeast/water mixture to flour mix. Knead for 6-8 minutes. Keep adding more water till you get a soft and supple dough.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around so that it is coated with oil all over. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled.
- Transfer dough to a floured counter. Divide into three equal parts. Roll out each part into a 20-inch long rope slightly tapering at the edges. Braid the pieces, pinch the ends together, and tuck them under. Place on the greased baking tray. Cover and keep for 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 390°F. Brush the braid with the milk wash (which is made by stirring all ingredients together) and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.
- Bake for 20–25 minutes or until it is golden brown. Tent with foil if the top is browning too fast.
- Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.
- Sesame Seeds