Pain d’Epi (Wheat Stalk Bread)

 

Pain d’Epi
Nothing is more comforting than the smell of freshly baked bread. out of the oven. Growing up I can clearly remember coming home and the house was filled with that warm yummy smell of the fresh bread my mother was baking.
Hot fresh bread!

 

 Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Mix the flour, olive oil, water, yeast and salt together in a mixing bowl. When adding the salt take care NOT to put the salt is the bowl so it is touching the yeast but in a different part of the bowl. Salt can stop the yeast from rising fully. You may need to add some water if the consistency isn’t soft enough.
 Dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is a soft dough. If you’re kneading the dough by machine the time is about 6 minutes on low.
Make the dough into a ball,  fold in all of the edges on the underside of the ball. Press a floured finger slightly into the dough, if it springs back it’s ready. Now shape the dough into a long and even tube form. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap on a baking sheet and set in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, about 35 minutes.
Using a pair of scissors cut the dough in sections so that it looks like a stalk of wheat.  Cut the dough at intervals at a 45 degree angles and turn the sections from one side to the next. Don’t cut all the way through just close to it.
Then brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and lightly dust with flour.
I place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. This helps the bread rise beautifully. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the bread is a light golden brown, huhhhhh, just like wheat.