Norma’s Breakfast Breads

Small, easy to make little breads, Norma’s Breakfast Breads are delicious served with butter and jam for breakfast, or with salad meals. oz. fresh yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons lukewarm water

12 oz. strong white flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 oz. ghee or clarified butter

6 fl. oz. lukewarm milk

1 large egg, well beaten

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 egg yolk, well beaten with

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Crumble the yeast into a small mixing bowl and mash in the sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the yeast and water together to make a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour, soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the ghee or clarified butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the lukewarm milk, the egg and the yeast mixture. Using a spatula or your fingers, mix the liquids together, gradually drawing in the flour mixture. When all the flour mixture has been incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab.

With your hands, knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place for H to 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C).

Using the teaspoons of vegetable oil grease two large baking sheets and set them aside.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured board and knead it for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Arrange the balls on the floured board and cover with a clean, damp cloth.

Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

With the heel of your hand, flatten and spread each ball into an oval shape approximately J-inch thick. Transfer the ovals to the prepared baking sheets.

With a pastry brush, coat the top of the dough ovals with the egg yolk and milk mixture. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds if you are using them.

Place the baking sheets in the centre of the oven and bake the breads for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they have risen slightly and are cooked and golden brown.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Let the breads cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes. Remove them from the baking sheets and serve hot, or transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.