Artos: Spiced bread

September 12th, 2014 § 0

I know I haven’t been around lately, let’s keep it up with a mouth watering and easy to do Greek spiced bread.

In ancient Greek artos meant loaf of bread, nowadays it is generally used for celebration bread generally in church.

It is a kind of spiced bread with mastic and/or mahleb flavours. This recipe is only with mahleb.

  • 40 gr fresh yeast
  • 2 orange (freshly squeezed juice)
  • 1/4 cup a good quality cognac
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t mahleb
  • 1 t anice seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 t cloves powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 900 gr all purpose flour
  • Put the water, anice and cinnamon stick in a bowl and boil at low heat for 15 minutes.

    Remove the cinnamon stick and let cool the syrup.

    Activate fresh yeast cube by mixing it with 1/4 cup of luke warm water and 2 T flour.

    Add orange juice and let it be foamy or show signs of expansion (about 10 minutes).

    Add sugar, cognac, mahleb, vanilla and cloves powder. Wait 5 to 10 minutes.

    Add olive oil and stir.

    Mix baking powder and flour. Add this mixture to the liquid mixture gradually.

    Make a soft dough.The dough should not stick to your fingers.

    Put the dough in a large greased round tray.

    Let rise in a warm place about an hour until double in volume.

    Bake in 180° C pre-heat oven until golden brown for about an hour.

    A perfect bread for breakfast!

    Easter bread 2014

    April 18th, 2014 § 0

  • 1 kg flour (unbleached especially for pita and baklava)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 gr butter + 50 gr extra virgin olive oil
  • 190 gr luke warm milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 t. mastic powder (Mortar the mastic or the resin to have mastic powder)
  • 2 t. ground mahaleb or mahlab (mortar the mahlab until you get its powder)
  • 40 gr fresh yeast
  • a pinch of salt
  • Combine yeast cube into luke warm milk. Stir 1 t sugar and let it stand to proof until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.

    Mix butter, olive oil, the rest of the sugar and eggs, beat well.

    Add flour, the rest of the milk, mastic powder, mahlab powder, a pinch of salt to the egg mixture. Finally add the yeast and knead well.

    Make a soft dough. Dough will stick to the bowl, but should not stick to your fingers.

    If you are kneading by hand; turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead about 10 minutes by using only enough flour necessary to prevent sticking to your hands.

    Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place, about 2 hours or until double in volume.

    Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.  You can weight each piece of dough to have equal piece of dough.

    Make 20 cm long strips from doughs and put together 4 of them to make a braid.

    Place each braid in a buttered or parchment paper covered baking tray. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes.

    For the top:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 t. sesame seeds
  • 1 T hazelnut (slim sliced ~optional)
  • Beat together 1 egg  yolk with 1 t milk.

    Generously brush the top and sides of the bread with the egg mix just before baking.

    Bake them in 190° C pre-heat oven until golden brown for about 20- 30 minutes.

    Aniseed rusk

    April 13th, 2013 § 1

    • 250 gr flour
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm bottled water
    • 15 gr fresh yeast
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 t. sugar
    • salt
    • 1 t. aniseed

    Stir yeast in lukewarm water.

    Combine water yeast mixture with olive oil.

    Add gradually flour then sugar and salt.

    Add aniseed and knead well. The dough should be soft and smooth.Push the dough gently and flip it over to the other side.

    Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise about 30 minutes.

    Put in half and shape into rolls(like a log.

    Bake at preheated oven with 180° C for 25 minutes on un greased cooky sheet.

    Put the baked rolls onto a cutting board to slice them diagonally about 2 cm in diameter.

    Bake in a 120 ° C oven for one hour.

    Home made sourdough starter and sourdough bread

    April 3rd, 2013 § 0

    I have been experimenting to make our own bread at home for seven years.

    My passion to make my own bread has begun when I purchased a starter from a sourdough bakery in Burhaniye town of  Turkey named Evin Ana, which is near to our summer house.

    It is like having a pet. You feed it and care for it, carry with you where you go. It becomes a member of the family.

    Recently, I felt up to try my chance of making my own sourdough yeast starter. So the adventure started!

    It is a flour and water combination. The yeast ferments this mixture by eating the sugar in the flour and converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.

    The carbon dioxide is what will cause the bread to rise. The bubbles in your starter get trapped into the structure of the bread as little holes.

    The sourdough starter or mother dough also known as levain, in Greek  prozimi (means pre-knead)- ??????? while in Turkish the word ekşi maya (means sour yeast) is used.

    If you stir the starter often, at room temperature the yeast and the lactic acid bacteria will be happy and work together. The lactic acid bacteria creates an antibiotic that kills the unwanted organisms that might grow in the starter.

    The flavour of sourdough bread varies from region to region according to the method used.

    I found the below mentioned recipe from a small Greek village and adapted with the recipe I have learned from the Burhaniye baker.

    I recommend you to make your starter in a glass container or a clay pot.

    Store in a glass container in the refrigerator after fermentation has occurred.

    Day 1:

    • 1/4 cup flour (2 T whole wheat, 2 T all purpose flour)
    • 1/4 cup lukewarm bottled water

    Whole wheat flour works best. Try to find freshly milled flour. I bought all purpose flour from Mitillini shop.

    The lukewarm water must be clean, non chlorinated as you can get.

    Mix flour and water in a glass bowl or a clay pot. Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 2:

    • 5 T  all purpose flour
    • 5 T  lukewarm bottled water

    Mix flour and water in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 3:

    • 5 T flour (3 T rye flour, 2 T all purpose flour)
    • 5 T lukewarm bottled water

    Mix flour and water in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 4:

    Keep the sourdough starter at room temperature without feeding it.

    Day 5:

    • 6 T flour (3 T rye flour, 3 T all purpose flour)
    • 8 T lukewarm bottled water

    Mix flour and water in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 6:

    Keep the sourdough starter at room temperature without feeding it.

    Day 7:

    • 5 T all purpose flour
    • 5 T lukewarm bottled water

    If it has, remove crust.

    Mix flour and water in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 8:

    • 5 T all purpose flour
    • 5 T lukewarm bottled water

    Mix flour and water in a bowl. Stir vigorously to combine everything and incorporate more oxygen into the mixture.

    Cover with a kitchen cloth and place in a warm place in your kitchen.

    Day 9:

    • 500 gr all purpose flour
    • 3 cup lukewarm bottled water
    • salt

    After a long fermentation, something magical happened! The 9th day it ripened visibly. It happily bubbled.

    The starter will be ready to use. The surface will look frothy and fermented. It also sour smells.

    Add 500 gr flour, salt and lukewarm water to the sourdough starter. Knead and fold well.

    Leave about 400 gr of the dough as a starter in a glass container and store in the refrigerator. The starter will keep indefinitely as long as you feed it every week.

    If you see a clear liquid on the top, just stir well. But if the liquid has a pinkish hue, it indicates that the starter has spoiled.

    Before making a sourdough bread, allow the starter to rest at room temperature for 5- 8 hours. It gives the yeast a chance to warm up and get feeding.

    After making your bread, refrigerate the starter.

    To make a bread, put the rest of the dough into a greased round pan. Flour top generously. With a sharp knife or a razor score on top of the loaf.

    Let rise until double.

    Bake at pre-heated 200° C oven for 40 minutes and 190° C for 10 minutes in order to have a little bit thick crust.

    Geeek flat bread ~Lagana

    March 16th, 2013 § 0

    A flat bread that looks like our pide, reminiscent of Italian focaccia as per contents.

    The flat bread lagana appears once a year in Greece, on the first day of Orthodox lent, that is Clean Monday.

    It is a sine qua non of Clean Monday.

    The dough is made with flour, lukewarm water, olive oil and yeast. The original was unleavened but over the years, yeast has added to the main ingredient.

    Lately I found an adapted recipe of lagana, with a wonderful taste.

    • 500 gr flour
    • 1 cup lukewarm bottled water
    • 15 gr fresh yeast
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 T tahin
    • 1 small clove masticha (mortared)
    • a pinch of salt and sugar

    Stir yeast in lukewarm water.

    Combine water yeast mix with olive oil and tahin. Add gradually flour then sugar and salt. Finally add mortared mastiha.

    Knead well. The dough should be soft and smooth.Push the dough gently and flip it over to the other side.

    Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise about 30 minutes.

    Divide the dough into two.

    Form into two flat loaves with your hands.

    Place into a greased oven tray.

    for topping:

    • sesame seeds
    • black cumin seeds

    Sprinkle with sesame seeds and black cumin seeds for colour.

    Let rest to rise again for an hour.

    Mark rows of deep indentations across and down the length of the dough with your finger tips, leaving a narrow border.

    Bake one by one in a preheat oven at 200° C for 20 minutes until done.

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