Ramadan bread – Chef in disguise

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Today is the 3rd of Ramadan 🙂 . Ramadan mubarak to those of you who observe the holy month. As Jordan struggles with wave 2,we are back to a daily curfew from 7 pm to 6 am and a full lockdown on Fridays. For the second year in a row, this means no get togethers for iftar and no taraweeh prayers.

Instead of focusing on all the negatives, I thought it would be better to share some of my family’s favorite Ramadan recipes with you . Starting with these beautiful loaves of Ramadan bread (Just in case if you need some baking therapy like yours truly!).

I am starting with this particular recipe because the mere sight of Ramadan bread makes me smile. It reminds me of all the kids I used to see in the bakery in the final hours before iftar, happily reaching for these loaves, bouncing with excitement chatting about their day and their plans for Ramadan and eid. Beaming with innocent smiles.

These loaves are soft and fluffy on the inside with an irresistible golden crust. The little bursts of sesame seeds and nigella seeds add texture and nuttiness. The brushing liquid, as odd as it may seem, adds a beautiful golden colour to the baked bread without the need for an egg wash. It also adds an interesting depth of flavour that you just have to try.
This bread is the perfect companion for soups and salads on the iftar table or you could simply enjoy it with some jam and butter for suhoor.
The recipe as written makes 2 loaves, 25cm in diameter each. You can use the recipe to make one larger loaf. I personally prefer the smaller versions

Ramadan bread
3.5 cup all purpose flour
1.5 cups warm milk
2.25 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For brushing
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup water

Topping
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons nigella seeds

1.In a bowl mix the flour, yeast, baking powder and salt.
2. Add the warm milk slowly and knead till you get a smooth dough ball.
3. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place till it doubles in size
4. During this time, mix all of the (brushing) ingredients in a pot and place it over gentle heat. Stir till the mix comes to a boil and thickens.
5. Remove from the heat, set aside.
6. When the dough doubles, punch it down, divide it into equal balls, cover and set aside for 15 minutes
7. Using your fingertips or a rolling pin roll out each ball into a circle 2.5cm or 1 inches in thickness. Cover again and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes
8. Brush the dough with the brushing liquid that you have prepared earlier
9. Dip your fingertips in the brushing liquid and use them to make indentations of the dough. You can do any pattern that you like, but traditionally the pattern is the one you see in the picture.
10 Heat your oven to 200 C placing the rack in the middle for 15 minutes
11 Bake the bread in the oven till the underside and the top are golden brown
12. Cool on a wire rack covered in a clean kitchen towel.

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