Spinach and Ricotta Filled Bread
For the Bread dough:
2 eggs, plus 1 beaten egg for brushing the loaves, divided
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup Crispa Gold
Heaping teaspoon salt
¾ cup warm water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat or whole spelt flour
2 tsp active-dry yeast Sesame seeds, for garnish
For the filling:
600 g chopped blanched spinach
1½ tsp Fresh Oregano
½ tsp Thyme
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, from about 20 leaves
3 to 4 garlic cloves chopped
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan
2 cups chunky ricotta cheese
¼ cup flour Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drain the spinach well, squeezing out any excess liquid.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach with the oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, pine nuts, ricotta, and flour.
Season with a scant ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Cover and refrigerate the filling until needed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, sugar, Crispa Gold Oil, salt, and water.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and wheat flours along with the yeast. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients.
Mix together with a wooden spoon until the dough is uniform but still somewhat sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and soft, and when you poke the dough with your finger the hole springs back immediately, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled, about 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 180°Celsius.
Line two baking sheets with Baking paper and remove the filling from the refrigerator.
Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a baking sheet (if the dough is sticky, flour it lightly). Stretch each half on the diagonal of the baking sheet into an oval measuring roughly 40 cm long by 20 cm wide. Use your fingers to pat and stretch the dough, or a small rolling pin if desired.
Place half of the filling in a strip down the centre of each oval, packing the filling tightly so the strip is no more than 2½ inches wide, and leaving a little space at the top and bottom of the dough to fold it over the filling.
Use a sharp knife, scissors or a pizza cutter to cut strips 6-8 cm wide down the side of the dough on the diagonal, like a feather. Fold the top of the dough over the top of the filling, tucking the edges under.
Braid the bread: Overlap one strip from each side over the other side and the filling, pinching the tips of the strips down where they land. The filling will show through. Before you get to the bottom, fold the bottom of the dough up, and braid the remaining strips over it.
Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until the dough is puffed and nicely brown, about 30 minutes. Serve the Bread warm or at room temperature.