My delicious Cypriot, village, sesame bread with mastic-gum and mehlepi, is very easy to make, it’s light, fluffy, crispy and looks gorgeous too! My kitchen is filled with the beautiful aromas of the exotic spices and it reminds me of my Yiayia’s house back in Avgorou, Cyprus.

Ingredients (makes one round loaf):
500g bread flour
4 tbsp fine semolina
½ tsp of ground mastiha (mastic gum)
½ tsp of ground mehlepi
A pinch of ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1 ½ tsp of sugar
1 x 7g sachet instant fast action yeast
50ml of olive oil
300ml lukewarm water or more

4 tbsp of sesame seeds
1 tbsp nigella seeds (mavrokokos)
1 tbsp aniseed seeds (gliganiso)

Put the flour, semolina, sugar, salt, yeast, olive oil and water in a large bowl and mix together. Add the spices, mix until it comes together, then knead for 5 minutes. You can use an electric stand mixer with a dough hook to make it easier.
Place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm or a tea towel, leave to prove for around 2 hours until doubled in size.
Tip the seeds into a cup and pour over a little boiling water. Drain them and spread onto a tray lined with a clean tea towel.
Tip out the dough and shape it into a ball, then roll the bread dough in the sesame mixture until covered with the seeds all over.
Place the dough on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave it to rise again for a further hour.
Preheat your oven to 190c. (Place a small saucepan of warm water on the bottom of the oven; it adds steam during baking, enabling a great rise and helps develop a beautiful, crackly crust.) Using a small sharp knife, make a cut all the way around the middle of the ball and one or two cuts across the top.
Place in the middle shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes, until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the underside; turn the tray once or twice so the bread browns evenly.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, covered with a clean tea-towel on a wire rack, for at least 30 minutes before cutting. The bread is delicious warm with some halloumi.

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