Bread Baking for Beginners: Soft Enriched Poppyseed Loaf

This beautiful, soft crumb, barely sweetened loaf is made with an enriched dough (eggs and butter are added to the recipe). Perfect for first time bread bakers- it is a remarkably simple loaf.

a loaf of bread with two slices buttered

I absolutely adore bread baking. The most humble ingredients: flour, salt, water and yeast are transformed in just a few hours into something extraordinary and nourishing. There is nothing more comforting than homemade bread slathered with softened butter, honey and flakey salt.

This is a perfect recipe for beginners. You don’t even need a baking tin, just a large sheet pan and some parchment paper. First things first- water temperture- get it right. I microwave my water and then pop a thermometer into it. When it the water hits 110 degrees, I add my yeast. Never fails me.

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An large mixer with an egg mixture and flour in a measuring cup
This dough comes together with the aid of a stand mixer

The most important thing about bread baking is to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Read this recipe and then read it again. Make certain you add the salt towards the end of mixing so it does not retard the growth of the yeast. Give yourself plenty of time to bake this recipe. It takes about 4 hours from start to finish.

a stand mixer with dough inside of it

Soft Enriched Poppyseed Loaf

Recipe by Meggen Arthur Wilson Course: BreadCuisine: American, EuropeanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

2

loaves
Prep time

3

hours 

11

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Calories

77

kcal

This is a simple enriched dough that will yield two loaves of free form bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 cup water at 110 degrees

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 TBSP kosher salt

  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 large eggs

  • 7 cups sifted all purpose flour* see baking notes

  • 1 egg yolk, beten

  • 2 TBSP heavy cream

  • poppyseeds, for garnish

Directions

  • In a glass measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the 110 degree water. Let rest for 3 minutes. Once foamy, pour yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the sugar, butter and eggs and mix throughly. Add in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is sticky but coming together. Finally, add in the salt. Mix on low for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out of the bowl onto smooth surface with a bit of flour (not too much) and knead a few times to bring it into the shape of a large ball. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been buttered all over or greased with a neutral oil- like canola ( I prefer butter). Roll the dough around inside the bowl so all the surface of the dough are coated with the butter or oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area and let rise for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down with your fist and roll it out onto a floured marbled (or smooth) surface to rid it of any air bubbles. Cut the dough into two loaves and shape it free form into two large Batard shapes (or ovals). Place on a parchment, lined rimless baking sheet. Cover with plastic, place in a warm area and let the loaves rise again for a second proofing until they have doubled again- about another 1 to 1 1/4 hours. The dough will be light and springy to the touch.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix egg yolk with the heavy cream and brush the dough/loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle poppy seeds generously on the loaves. About 2-3 teaspoons per loaf.
  • Place loaves on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until they sounds hollow when you knock the bottom with your knuckles. The bottom will be deep golden brown.
  • Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • You will need plastic wrap, parchment paper, 2 baking sheets and a large glass bowl

Serve this bread with honey and butter. Make it into the most divine French toast. And be certain to share the extra loaf with a friend.

A glass bowl of dough rising on a table
First Proof- Let the dough rise until doubled

Baking Notes

  • Flour- King Arthur All purpose unbleached flour
  • Yeast- Red Star Platinum yeast- do NOT use instant for this recipe
  • If you do not have a stand mixer, knead the dough for three minutes until soft and pliable.
  • Chill the dough for 2-3 minutes if it too sticky to work with. Chilled dough can be easier to manage.
  • You can add coarsely chopped apricots, walnuts, prunes or raisins to this recipe.
dough on a sheet panned with paper
This is a lovely plush dough
a sheet pan with dough, a silicone pastry Bruch and a cup of cream and eggs
Brush each loaf with an egg wash
a loaf of bread dough sprinkled with poppy seeds
Sprinkle with poppyseeds after the egg wash
Two loaves of bread on a wire rack
Le the loaves cool completely before slicing.
two slices of bread with butter spread on them
This bread also makes an incredible French Toast

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