Zaatar bread

I can finally bake again! The worst things about moving houses have been 1) not knowing where anything is as we are surrounded by boxes 2) not having a functional kitchen. The best things about having moved are 1) we have our own home 2) the kitchen is taking shape and looks just like I planned. We had our first guests for dinner last weekend and although I was feeling rather anxious about having a dinner party in a house that seems far from ready, I successfully over complicated things by baking both a loaf of bread and a cake, besides two stews. I say successfully because in the end it was all just fine. Zaatar and pimenton (Spanish paprika) have to be my favourite spices at the moment, they go in everything savoury I make/eat these days. Zaatar smells like you are walking up a mountain of thyme and oregano, it’s like the Mediterranean summarised in a spice jar. This bread goes with everything, and I mean it, we had it with cheese, dipped in the stew and also for breakfast with bacon. It does require patience (all bread does) but it’s easy, has a great taste, texture and crust.

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Ingredients (makes enough bread for 6 people) 
400g white bread flour
1 tsp quick yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic puree
1 tbsp zaatar
2 tbsp Spanish extra virgin olive oil
400 ml warm water

Method
1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the olive oil and most of the water. Retain a bit of the liquid as you may need to add more later to get the right consistency.
3. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring together to form a soft dough, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth. Add more water if needed.
4. Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place for approximately one hour to rise, until doubled in size.
5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead it again for 3 to 5 minutes.
6.  Mould the dough into the loaf tins or shapes you desire and glaze with a little olive oil and sprinkle over some sea salt. Allow to rise again for a further 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C.
7. Bake the loaf in the oven for about 25-30m.

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