Herb Sesame Twist Bread With Za'atar

Herb Sesame Twist Bread With Za'atar

This tasty bread was created by Kate Gilbert.  Kate is a recipe developer and content creator who loves teaching home cooks how easy it can be to make beautiful meals. 


  • Makes about ¼ cup
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • ½ teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or crushed hot red pepper (optional)

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat until hot. Toast the sesame seeds, stirring to avoid burning. Add the coriander and cumin and heat, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool completely. Grind the spices with a FinaPod PRO Plus into a small bowl.

2. Add the marjoram and oregano, sesame seeds and sumac and stir well. Add the red pepper, if using. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Sesame Twist Bread
Makes 1 loaf, 8 servings

🥖 Poolish

  • 1 cup/135 g bread flour
  • ¾ cup/180 ml water
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast

🥖 Poolish

  • ½ cup/120 ml water
  • ½ cup/125 g plain lowfat yogurt (not nonfat)
  • 4 teaspoons Za’atar (see recipe)
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3¼ cups/435 g bread flour, as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • Olive oil for the bowl and Dutch oven
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Make the poolish: Stir the bread flour, water, and yeast well in a medium bowl until fairly smooth. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 and up to 12 hours. The poolish will rise and be very bubbly.

Make the dough:
1. Add the water, yogurt, Za’atar, and yeast to the poolish in the bowl of a standing heavy-duty mixer and mix with the paddle on low speed until combined. Add 1 cup/135 g of the flour and the salt and mix. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. (To make by hand, mix the water, yogurt, Za’atar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup/135 g of the flour and the salt. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until you can’t stir in more. Spread the remaining flour on the work surface and turn out the dough. Knead in enough of the flour by hand to make a workable dough. The dough can be tacky, but not so wet as to stick to the surface.). Change to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. (Or knead by hand for about 8 minutes.)

2. Oil a large bowl with the olive oil. Shape the dough into a ball and put in the bowl, round side down. Turn right side up to oil the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a moistened kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place (a turned-off oven with just the light on is a good choice) until the dough is doubled in volume, about 90 minutes.

3. Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll each portion into a rope about 16 in/40 cm long. Brush one rope lightly with water and roll in the sesame seeds to coat. Pinch one end of the ropes together and crisscross the ropes to braid them. Bring them together into a circle and pinch the ends together. Lightly oil a Dutch oven. Place the loaf in the pot. Reshape the loaf into the circle. Cover tightly with the lid. Let rise in a warm place until the dough looks puffed, about 45 minutes.

4. About 20 minutes before the dough is ready, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350ºF/180ºC. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190ºF/88ºC, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes. Loosen with a metal spatula and turn out to remove from the pot. Let cool before slicing.

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