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Sunflower Bread/ Pane Girasole/ Pain Tournesol
  1. I used my food processor with the plastic blade but you can knead the dough by hand if you prefer. Put 1 1/4 cups flour, yeast and the milk in the processor bowl and run the processor till these are well mixed and form a very sticky dough. Leave this covered, to rise until u201cpuffyu201d. This should take about an hour.
  2. Now add the remaining ingredients except the melted butter and chocolate chips and knead, until the dough is soft and smooth. Take the dough out and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough double in volume (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
  3. Lightly grease your baking tray or line it with parchment paper. Your tray should be large enough to comfortably take an 11u201d (in diameter) round sunflower bread.
  4. Now the dough has to be shaped. Gently deflate the dough and shape it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into half, and then divide one of the halves into 1/3rdand 2/3rd to give you three portions in all.
  5. Start with the big portion of dough (1/2) keeping the others aside. Divide this portion into five equal portions. Dusting your work surface with a little flour and roll out each portion into a circle thatu2019s about 7 1/2″ in diameter. Make sure all the 5 circles are of the same size.
  6. Place one circle in the centre of the baking tray. Brush the surface completely with melted butter and put another circle of dough over this so it fits exactly on top of the first one. Brush again with melted butter and cover with another circle of dough. Repeat this till you have a stack of the five circles but do not brush the top most one with butter.
  7. Using a sharp knife, pizza or pie wheel cut a cross that intersects in the centre through the 5 layers stopping about an inch from the circumference of the dough stack (See the photographs). Make sure your cuts are neat and cut right through to the bottom of your baking tray.
  8. Cut another cross exactly in the centre of the first cross, also intersecting at the centre and stopping at about an inch from the circumference.
  9. You should now have a sort of star shape with 8 spokes to it, forming 8 equal triangular segments cut into the dough separating only on 2 sides.
  10. Slowly peel back each triangle from the centre, and fold it back outwards so the the u201ctipu201d of the triangle is extending a little beyond and resting on the edge of the dough circle. When done, you should have a circle of dough u201cpetalsu201d pointing outwards and an empty circle in the middle.
  11. Now take the 2/3rdpiece of dough and divide it into five equal pieces. As before, roll each piece out into a circle, but about 6u201d in diameter this time. The diameter of this set of the circles should be equal to the diameter of the u201cemptyu201d circle from the first set of u201cflower petalsu201d on the baking tray.
  12. Repeat the same process by brushing melted butter over the circles and layering them one over the next. Do not brush the topmost circle of dough. Place the stack of dough circles in the middle of the u201cpetalsu201d on the baking sheet. This should fit into that empty space exactly. Now cut two crosses, as done earlier, leaving about 3/4″ from the edge/ circumference. This time however make the cuts so that they lie adjacent to the middle of each u201cpetalu201d in the outer ring of dough. This will ensure the second inner row of petals is alternate to the first one.
  13. In the same manner peel back the triangular segments outwards, resting them such that they form an alternate row of inner petals. Take the 1/3rd portion of dough, roll it smooth and flatten it to fit the centre space of the inner row of petals.
  14. Brush the remaining melted butter all over the surface of the u201csunfloweru201d. Sprinkle black sesame seeds or poppy seeds in the centre and bake the bread at 200C (400F) for about 12 minutes. This will cause the bread to puff up and brown a bit. Then turn down the oven temperature to 180C (350F) and bake it for another 20 minutes till the bread is done and a beautiful golden brown.
  15. Cool the bread on a rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.