This simple whole wheat bread requires no yeast or rising time, so you can have a freshly baked loaf in practically no time at all! The combination of whole wheat and bread flour imparts subtle nuttiness and extra gluten, resulting in a baked loaf that's both chewy and airy. The generous addition of buttermilk also tenderizes the bread without any detectable tang. Finish the dough off with a decent sprinkle of za'atar and white sesame seeds for a perfectly crisp and flavorful crust.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a large sheet of parchment, pressing it into the edges of the pan and leaving an overhang on 2 sides (the extra parchment will help you unmold the loaf later).
Whisk the whole wheat flour, bread flour, sugar, za'atar, lemon zest, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and egg together in a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture into the center. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the mixture until it starts to come together in a shaggy mass.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough mixture out onto the floured surface and knead a few times to bring it together. Shape it into a domed disk that’s about 7-inches in diameter. Place the dough into the prepared pan and cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep into the center of the dough using a sharp knife. Brush the top and sides with more buttermilk, then sprinkle with a few good pinches of za’atar and the sesame seeds.
Bake until the top is puffed and lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and use the parchment overhang to lift the bread from the pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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