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Arabian Bread-Ka'kat

2 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups warm water
4-5 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp mahleb, ground (a spice available in middle eastern groceries)
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
3-4 tbsp sesame seeds

You will need a medium sized bread bowl, 2 large baking sheets,
and a pastry brush. In the bread bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar
in the warm water. Add 2 to 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, stirring
constantly in same direction until a thick dough begins to form.
Then stir 100 times in the same direction, about 1 minute. Let rest
for 10 minutes. Add the salt, butter, and mahleb, and stir; contiue
to add flour using a wooden spoon to stir it in. When the dough
will no longer take any more flour, turn it out onto a lightly
floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 mihutes, or until smooth and
elastic, adding flour only when necessary. Rinse out the bread
bowl, oil lightly, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with
plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in volume, approximately
1 and 1/2 hours. Punch down dough and divide into 16 pieces. On a
lightly floured surface, roll each piece under your palms into a
cigar shaped rope 6 to 7 inches long. Pinch together the ends of
each rope to form an oval shaped loop. Place the ka'kat on lightly
oiled baking sheets, at least 1/2 inch apart. Cover and let rise
for 30 minutes. Place the racks in the upper part of the oven, and
preheat the oven to 400 F. Just before baking, brush the breads
with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes,
or until nicely browned; switch the baking sheets after 10 minutes.
Cool slightly on a rack, then wrap in a cloth to keep warm. Serve


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