My husband saw a photo of a bread with an irregular crust. He asked me if I could bake a bread just like it. I think what he especially liked about it was that the tips of the opened crust were very dark.
After learning how to properly shape and score a bread I was a bit puzzled how to achieve this crust. Then I had the idea to shape the bread as usual, but let it rest and bake upside down. It worked! When you shape a bread you basically pull the dough smooth on one side and tuck the excess under the opposite side. So when you bake the bread with the folds facing up it will rip open along those lines.
Unfortunately the bread itself was a disappointment. It was a spelt and wheat blend with added herbs: dill, parsley and chives. The bread smelled wonderful when I baked it, but you could barely taste the herbs in the bread at all. So you are probably much better off sprinkling them on your buttered slice of bread afterwards.
For my birthday I received several books about baking bread. One of them called “Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads” by Richard Bertinet has very detailed photos how to shape different breads. When I saw little star shaped buns I had to make them right away.
The dough for these buns consists of 3 parts whole wheat flour and 2 parts all purpose flour, but you can use any firm bread recipe you like.
In the book he used poppy seeds, but I used sesame seeds and Nigella ( black cumin) instead. I know Nigella from Germany where you can find it sprinkled on Turkish bread and I just love how it tastes. You can buy it at the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver.
I want to show you how those little stars are shaped. First you divide the dough in small portions and shape these into little balls, which rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Then you flatten the ball into a disc, dip one side into water and then into the seeds.
Then you take a dough card and cut 3 slits into the disk so that there is still uncut dough around the edge.
As you can see there are now little triangles meeting in the centre. You take these and flip them over so that they point outside.
Now you turn them over, let them rise and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 250˚C or 480˚F.
It turns out that these stars are very tasty indeed. They offer a lot of crust and if you bake many and freeze them you can just pop one into the toaster to thaw it, because they are quite flat.
I think they would also work well with a sweet yeast dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I have to try that.