Making a sheaf of wheat from bread dough
Over many parts of the world the sheaf of wheat is a traditional symbol associated with harvest time or thanks giving.
Egg ( for glazing )
If you're making a sheaf at home I would suggest using the combination of dried yeast and cold water in the dough mix.
The process of cutting the wheat ears can be time consuming, so making a slow proving dough will reduce the risk of over proved spent dough ( or an unrecognisable blob ) .
Mixing the dough
Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix together. After which pour the cold water onto the flour and mix with a spatula until a solid dough lump forms.
Transfer the dough onto the work surface and knead thoroughly for ten minutes. You should end up with a nice firm dough as in the fig 1 to the right...
|Leave the dough to rest for about five minutes in a cool location. Then spit the dough into two pieces, approx 60/40 in proportion. The smallest piece will be used for the base, allocating a smaller piece for the base should ensure you have enough dough for the topping decoration.
Roll the base out to a thickness of about 6mm and cut into a mushroom shape as in fig 2.
Transfer the base onto a greased baking tray and prick the entire surface with a fork. We then brush over the surface of the dough with water, this will help the stems and wheat ears bond.
The base should then look something like fig 3...
|Fig 2 ...||Fig 3 ...|
|4..Roll out thin strips strips of dough, these will represent the wheat stalks and should be placed on the base as below..
||5..Pinch off small pieces of dough and make lots of pea size dough balls..
||5..Shape the small balls, by rolling them with the palm of your hand on the work surface..
||6..With a shape scissors it's now time to cut the ears of wheat, staggering cuts either side..
|7..The ears of wheat sould then look something like this...
||8..Place the cut ears onto the base, working from the outside inwards...
9..Another row is completed...
|10..Nearly there, only the middle to fill...
|After the final ears have been place on the sheaf, make a small pleat and place over the middle of the stems. You can even make a small mouse if you have time. When the sheaf is finished, glaze with egg and leave in a warm place to prove. When the dough has proved bake in an oven at 180º c for approx 30 minutes.
Here is my finished product to the right, it was a little over proved, I was making roast dinner for six at the same time...
|If your feeling adventurous why not make a plait aswell.....|