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Jack Sturgess’ apricot, sunflower seed and yoghurt batard

This bread by Real Bread Campaign ambassador ‘Bake With Jack' Sturgess is essentially a savoury dough, with the sweetness coming from the fruit and nuttiness from the seeds.

Photo © Meze Publishing Ltd.

Photo © Meze Publishing Ltd.

Jack says: “It’s delicious to have as hot buttered toast for breakfast and equally would be perfectly in place with a baked Camembert or as part of a cheeseboard.”

The origin and the name bâtard is uncertain, but perhaps is due to its ‘illegitimate’ shape: not quite a boule and not quite a baguette/flute.


Makes 2 small loaves
200g water at room temperature
12g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast)
150g Greek yoghurt
15g olive oil
375g strong white bread flour
125g wholemeal flour
8g salt


150g sliced dried apricots
75g sunflower seeds, plus extra for topping


In a mixing bowl whisk together the water, yeast, yoghurt and oil until the yeast has dispersed. Add both flours and salt. Mix with a dough scraper just until it just comes together. Cover with a dry cloth for 20 minutes. Turn it out and knead for 4-5 minutes with the heels of your hands, pushing the dough across the table, stretching gently and then folding it back onto itself. Take care not to tear it and resist the urge to dust it with flour. Rest it for 3 minutes while you clean your hands.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour, turn it upside down and push your fingertips into it, spreading it into a circle. Sprinkle half the apricots and sunflower seeds over and spread evenly to the edges. Pat them slightly to stick them down. Lift the furthest edge of dough and fold it towards you a third of the way over the circle, then do the same with the side closest to you, folding it up and over the top of the first fold, with the edge of the dough meeting the other folded edge at the top. You now have a landscape (ie wide) rectangle. Turn it portrait (ie tall) and flatten it a little more. Sprinkle the remaining seeds and apricots over. Repeat the folds. Turn the dough over and, with cupped hands, tuck in underneath to make a ball. Place it into the bowl, smooth-side up, cover with a clean cloth and let rise for between 90 minutes and 2 hours.

Dividing and shaping
Turn the dough out onto a dusted surface sticky-side up. Flatten it slightly and cut it in half. Pinching a piece of dough from the edge, lift it and fold it over the top. Press to stick it down just past the centre point. Work your way round the edge, doing the same thing and you should end up with a tight ball after 8-10 folds. Roll the ball over, smooth-side up. Repeat with the other piece. Dust both balls and rest under a clean cloth for 20 minutes. Dust the top of a dough ball, flip it sticky-side up and press it flat into a circle. Roll up the dough from the top edge towards you into a tight sausage. Pinch the seam together. With the palms of your hands, roll the dough gently to even out any bumps. Roll the ends with a little more pressure to make them pointy into a classic batard shape – see photo. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Brush both batards with water and sprinkle over extra sunflower seeds. With a serrated knife, make 7-9 diagonal cuts, 5mm deep.

Cover loosely with dusted cling film and let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas 6, place a baking tray in the bottom and boil a kettle full of water. The dough is ready to bake when feels a little fragile, no longer bouncy and firm. Place the bread on the middle shelf and carefully pour the boiled water into the tray below. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Tap the base and if the sound resonates, it’s ready.

Cool on a rack before slicing.

© Jack Sturgess / Meze Publishing Ltd

Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder.

Taken from The Surrey Cook Book, part of the Get Stuck In range of regional cook books, published by Meze Publishing Ltd.

Published Wednesday 4 March 2020

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