Hands-On Time
20 Mins
Total Time
2 hours 5 minutes
Yield
2 loaves

We went behind the scenes at Hot Bread Kitchen in Harlem and learned how to bake some mind-blowing bread. And you can make it at home, too. Not only does Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK for short) make delicious breads, but they're breads with a cause: HBK, founded by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, trains immigrant and low-income women in baking, and empowers them to find employment in New York City’s top bakeries. Watch for a special (easy!) technique and try your hand at making one of their most popular breads, Nan-E Barbari.

How to Make It

Step 1

To make the dough: Mix the water, yeast, flour, and salt until well combined. Knead the mixture — using your hands, a stand mixer, or your bread machine set on the dough cycle — until you've made a smooth, fairly soft dough. The dough should barely clean the inside of the bowl, if you're using a stand mixer, perhaps sticking just a bit at the bottom.

Step 2

Put the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Step 3

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into two pieces. Shape each piece into a rough log abut 9" long. Tent the logs with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rest for 30 minutes.

Step 4

While the dough is resting, prepare the glaze. Combine the flour, sugar, oil, and water in a small saucepan, bring to a bare boil, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon; this should take less than a minute. Remove the glaze from the heat, and set it aside.

Step 5

Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, set it on the lowest rack or oven floor.

Step 6

Working with one piece at a time, gently deflate the dough, and pat/flatten it into a 14" x 5" rectangle. Use your fingers (or the handle of a long wooden spoon) to press five lengthwise grooves into the dough. Press firmly, but don't cut through the bottom of the dough.

Step 7

Spread half the glaze onto the dough, rubbing it all over. Sprinkle with half the seeds.

Step 8

Slide the bread onto the stone and bake it for 15 to 18 minutes, until it's golden brown. If you're not using a stone, place the bread on a baking sheet and bake it on your oven's middle rack. Remove the bread, and cool it on a rack.

Step 9

While the first loaf is baking, prepare the second loaf. Bake as directed.

Step 10

Serve warm, or at room temperature; traditional accompaniments are olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese.

Step 11

Store leftovers, well wrapped, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Chef's Notes

Reprinted with permission from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez (Clarkson Potter).

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