Poppy seed bread isn't like lemon-poppy seed bread, which is a quick bread where all the seeds are mixed through the batter, nor like a roll, where all the poppy seeds are on top. This sort of bread is more like a nut roll, where the bread is rolled around the poppy seed, creating a swirl. Using ground poppy seed, you cook it up in a liquid to soften it up (normally milk, but I used water and olive oil), then add sugar, then add egg. I made a mild mistake as I milk isn't entirely water, so I wound up working harder to get the liquid to absorb. The added liquid was just enough so that when the bread baked, the sugar-water leaked out and caramelized the bread to the pan. Not good. The filling also came out a tad too moist.
As for the bread, I now understood what the recipe was aiming for and not just what it said. I could parse the steps with far more confidence than when I learned to make the bread from my father. Warm the ingredients (get them not-cold), mix, knead, and let proof. Easy-peasy. I do think that I under-kneaded the bread, which made the results a bit softer and fluffier than normal. That wasn't quite the texture that I was aiming for, but I felt quite pleased at the result.
The worst issue was getting the dimensions of the loaf roll down. I needed to roll out more of an oval. The first loaf came out a bit long and skinny, while the second one came out with better proportions.
All in all, I give myself a B+. For a first time, that's pretty good.
POPPY SEED BREAD (2 smaller loaves)
Poppy Seed Filling
1 cups ground poppy seed
5/8 cups water (about ¾ cups -2 tbsp)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 teaspoons vanilla
Bring water to boil in a sauce pan. Add poppy seed and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until water is absorbed. Add sugar until dissolved. Stir 1 tbsp of poppy seed into beaten eggs, then add eggs to poppy seed mixture, cooking until thickened. Add vanilla. Remove from heat and let cool.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (warm)
1/8 cup oil (melted margarine, vegetable oil, etc)
1 egg (beaten)
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (for brushing top of loaves)
1 tsp yeast proofed in 2-3 tbsp water, 1 tsp sugar, for 5-10 mins.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Combine water, oil, beaten egg, and yeast. Add to flour. Mix. Knead for several minutes. Place back in bowl, cover, and let rise for 1-1½ hours (until doubled in volume).
Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll out one half into an oval/rectangle shape. Spread half of the filling onto the dough. Roll up like a cinnamon roll. Seal the edges with water. Repeat for the second half.
Cover loaves with egg yolk + enough water to make it spreadable (about 1 tsp).
Bake on cookie sheet. 350 degrees for 30 mins.