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I recreated this recipe following a friendly challenge and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the taste, texture and uniqueness that poppy seeds impart. Besides, they’re good for you! This poppy seed roll is Eastern European in nature and has a pleasing balance of sweet (from the poppy seed paste) and savoury (through the yeast dough) flavours.

If you don’t own a pestle and mortar, it might interest you to know that you may also blend your poppy seed mixture after you’ve made it, rather than crushing the seeds before starting.

The method might look fiddly, but it is rather quick and easy once you’ve got your ingredients set up. Don’t be put off by the fact that you’re essentially making a bread dough, because no waiting time is necessary. That was a very nice surprise ūüôā

To make 2 loaves, you will need:

For the poppy seed paste

  • 225 g poppy seeds, ground/crushed (I had 200g, it was fine)
  • 150 g white sugar (that’s 3/4 cup)

  • 15 g butter, melted (1 tablespoon)

  • 5 ml lemon juice

  • 120 ml hot milk¬†

For the dough

  • 7 g active dry yeast

  • 120 ml warm water (100 degrees F/38 degrees C)
  • 25 g white sugar (2 tablespoons)

  • 250 g all-purpose flour, or more if needed

  • 3 g salt

  • 55 g butter

  • 1 egg, separated – white reserved

To make the filling:

Crush the poppy seeds in a pestle and mortar or omit this step for now.

Add the hot milk, melted butter, lemon juice and sugar to form a paste. If you haven’t crushed the seeds, pop your paste into the blender now. Let it cool, cover and place it in the fridge whilst you’re making the dough.

To make the dough:

Heat up 120ml of water, then add the yeast and sugar and let it sit until a froth forms at the top. (If the water isn’t warm, the yeast won’t do it’s thing)

Mix the flour and salt with butter and (after washing your hands and nails well) use the pinch method i.e. rub flour and butter between thumb and fingers to blend in the butter until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Pour the egg yolk and yeast mixture into the flour and stir until you get a soft dough. Add a little bit of flour if the dough is sticky after mixing completely.

Knead until smooth and slightly spring (about 5 minutes).

Cut dough into two parts and roll out into a rectangle. Spread the poppy seed paste all over, leaving a 1 inch border.

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Fold in all four sides, pinch the corners shut and roll up starting from the shorter end.

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Whisk the egg white until frothy and brush over the top.

Bake at 175 degrees C for about 30-40 minutes until it gets brown at the top. Let it cool and cover with a kitchen towel to keep the crust soft. 

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