About this recipe:
Create this wonderful centre-piece at harvest time. The dough has less yeast than normal bread dough which will delay the rising while you assemble it. Making this can be a fun activity for children and you can either eat it after the first cooking or preserve it with further cooking.
large baking tray, scissors and mixing bowl
500g Doves Farm Organic Strong White Bread Flour
½ tsp Doves Farm Quick Yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
300ml tepid water
water, for brushing
200°C, Fan 180°C, 400°F, Gas 6
- Pre-heat the oven.
- Line a large baking tray with a baking liner or parchment paper.
- Put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a large bowl and blend them together.
- Stir in the water.
- Using your hands, gather everything together into a doughy mass.
- Knead the dough until it feels smooth and pliable.
- Divide the dough into three pieces.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour, put one piece of dough in the middle and sprinkle lightly with flour.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle, the size of your baking tray.
- Cut out a large mushroom shape with a long stalk.
- Gather the dough off-cuts together and roll them into a ball for use later.
- Transfer the dough mushroom onto the baking tray, keeping its mushroom shape.
- Brush water all over the dough.
- Put the second piece of dough on the lightly floured work surface and cut it into 30 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a 23cm/9” length.
- Lay the dough lengths onto the mushroom shape to create the stalks of the wheatsheaf.
- Take the third piece of dough and cut it into three pieces.
- Roll each into a long thin cylinder, then cut each one into twenty small lengths which will form the ears of wheat.
- Working inwards from the outer edge quickly press the end of each small length onto the round part of the mushroom shape.
- Using scissors, make several snips into the end of each small dough length to create the impression of grains in an ear of wheat.
- Take the dough off-cuts, and divide them into three pieces.
- Roll each piece into a 25cm/10” length.
- Plait the dough lengths together.
- Brush the middle of the ‘wheat stalks’ with water and lay the plait across them to create the impression of string around the sheaf.
- If you have any remaining dough form it into a mouse, brush the underside with water and place it on the wheatsheaf.
- Beat the egg well and brush it all over the dough.
- Bake immediately for 25-30 minutes.
Preserving the Wheatsheaf
If you plan to keep the wheatsheaf as a decorative item, lower the oven temperature to 140°C, Fan 120°C, 275°F, and bake for a further 3-5 hours. When quite cold you could brush the wheatsheaf with varnish.