Bara Hâd Pabi (Pain aux Graines de Pavot)

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Bara Hâd Pabi.....or Pain aux Graines de Pavot....or Poppy Bread, if you like. 

Adding poppy seeds to bread is popular throughout Central Europe and in certain areas of South Asia. The seeds are rich in thiamin, folate and essential minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. That's not bad when you think that there are over 3,300 poppy seeds to the gram and between one and two million to the pound. 

The poppy seed we use in bread and cakes is the same oil seed that is derived from the opium poppy. The Ancient Egyptians used them as the basis for a sedative as far back as 1550 BC. The Minoans mixed the crushed seed with milk and honey to calm crying babies. 

Although they are readily available in the west, the further east you go, the more difficult they are to locate. Until 2019,  they were banned in Singapore because of their morphine content and they're still banned in Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the UAE. 

Poppy seeds give this bread a slightly nutty taste.


675 gms of strong white bread flour

7 gms crushed sea salt

25 gms unsalted butter

130 gms tepid water

280 gms tepid milk

15 gms dark brown sugar

7 gms of active instant yeast

233,333 poppy seeds (if you don't want to count them out, then 60 gms will be enough!)  

For the glaze

5 gms tepid water

1 egg white

(whisk both together)


Mix the flour and the poppy seeds together. Add the sugar, salt and butter and mix. Add the yeast and mix. 

Combine all the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Turn out onto a work surface and knead vigorously for about 8 minutes or so until you have a silky and soft dough. 

Place in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in volume. 

Decide whether you are making a boule, a batard or a tin loaf. Do you want to divide the dough into two? Do you want to make some rolls? 

Prepare a baking tin or tray accordingly. 

Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and then knock back.

Weigh and divide as you wish and then shape accordingly. 

Place on a tray or in a tin and cover. 

Return to a warm place and allow to double in volume (about 45 - 60 minutes at 24⁰C)

Preheat the oven to 190⁰C (fan) or 200⁰C conventional. 

Glaze the top of the loaf 

Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath

Cool on a rack. 

Happy baking. 



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