Poppy seed stars

24 February, 2006
Richard Bertinet
With their unusual shape and pretty design, these will draw customers to the bakery counter, especially if they are displayed next to other breadsticks and rolls. They are perfect at Christmas.
Makes 36 starsWholemeal flour - 900gStrong white flour - 600gSalt - 30gYeast - 30gWater - 1,050mlPoppy seeds - 150gPreheat the oven to 250C. Mix the flours, yeast, salt and water into a dough in a spiral mixer on a slow speed for four minutes and fast for six to eight minutes. Rest the dough for one hour. Turn out the dough and divide into 12 pieces (about 70g each) and roll into balls. Scatter the poppy seeds on a plate and fill a shallow bowl with water. Flatten one of the rolls with the palm of your hand, dip the top into the water, then immediately into the seeds and press them in with your hand.Place on a lightly floured work surface, seed side up, and flatten a little with your hand. Make a diagonal cut across the centre of the dough the cut should not reach the edges of the roll but should go all the way through it to the work surface. Then make two other diagonal cuts that intersect the first one equally, so that the three cuts form a star shape.Carefully push the roll from underneath, with your fingertips, and turn it inside out, so that the points ofthe star push upwards and outwards, resulting in the points being on the outside.Place the star on a baking tray, seed-side up, cover and prove for about 45 minutes until the stars have nearly doubled in volume.Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

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