Greek cooking recipes
Cooking Greek bread
Bread has always been very important to the Greeks. For some of the Greek people, bread is so important that no meal can be eaten without it, a laid table is just not complete without the bread basket full to the brim with fresh bread. For elderly people, that have suffered a lot most of their life due to the unlucky events of modern Greek history, bread has been very important, since it was the only edible thing that they could afford and support.
Bread was very important in Ancient Greece also. Still today the Greeks will go out of their way to buy a loaf of fresh crusty bread from their local bakery every morning. Sliced bread is not very common in Greece, people will sometimes buy a packet of sliced bread or bread for toast as the Greek’s call it, but they only use it to make toasted sandwiches and very rarely eat it raw.
Before houses owned their own ovens, Greek women would prepare a few batches of bread; each would have their own recipe and then carry the dough to the local baker in order for it to be baked in his oven. After a couple of hours the Greek women would return to pick up their baked, crusty bread. In our days there is a wide choice of bread, different bread is made for festivals and celebration days, Easter bread, Christmas bread etc.
Here are some of the most popular bread recipes for you to try and bake at home.
|PHOTOGRAPHS OF VARIOUS KINDS OF GREEK BREAD||GREEK RECIPES FOR BREAD|
125 ml olive oil
250 ml warm water
1 teaspoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons dry yeast
450 gr wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 onions finely chopped
10 stoneless olives
1 tablespoon rosemary
Place the water in a bowl, add the honey and stir until dissolved. Add the yeast and set aside for 10-15 minutes until it becomes foamy, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, mix together and then add the salt. Sift half the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture, sift in the remaining flour or enough to make firm dough. Place the dough on to a lightly floured board and knead until firm. Set aside to rise for 2-3 hours, until the size of the dough doubles, then add three tablespoons olive oil to a pan and heat. Add the onions to the heated oil and fry over low heat until the onions are a golden colour then set aside. Add the olives to boiling water and blanch for a few seconds, drain the olives and pat them dry with a paper towel, finely chop the olives. Add the rosemary to the onions and stir them together, add the onions and rosemary to the dough and knead for ½ minute, make the dough into a circular shape. Grease a baking tray with olive oil and flatten the dough on to the tray. Cover lightly with a towel and set aside for one hour. Heat the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, coat the dough with olive oil and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the bread is a golden color.
|Greek pita bread
500 grams of all-purpose flour (17.5 ounces)
4 grams of dry yeast (approx. 1 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 glass of lukewarm water (40C)
To prepare this pitta bread recipe start by sieving the flour into your mixer’s bowl. Add the yeast, sugar and salt and blend with a spoon.
Add a little bit of water and start mixing, using the dough hook. Pour in the water a little bit at a time, at a steady stream, whilst mixing. Wait each time for the water to be absorbed and continue adding some more.
Depending on the flour, the dough may or may need a little bit less water than this pita bread recipe calls for. After mixing for a while, the dough for your pita bread should become an elastic ball. If the dough is still crumbled, you should add some more water. If it becomes too sticky, this means that you added more water than needed. In that case, add 1 tsp of flour and continue mixing.
When done, cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place, for at least 20 minutes, until it doubles its size. This is an important step for this pita bread recipe, so that the pita bread becomes fluffy and soft. If it is winter, turn the oven on for a few minutes, until it’s a little warm, switch it off and then let the dough rise in it for a few minutes.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead a little bit with your hands. Split in 6-7 evenly sized portions.
To form the pita bread, you can either use a rolling pin, or stretch it with your hands, about 1 cm thick. For a more traditional look on your pita bread, use a fork to make some holes on top.
Heat a non-sticking frying pan to medium-high heat (with no grease) and fry each pita bread for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until slightly colored and still soft. To give more color, push the pita bread with a wooden spoon on the pan.
If not consumed right away, wrap the pita bread with an elastic wrap, in order to remain soft. Enjoy!
|Greek lagana bread
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour / variations 1 cup AP/ 1 cup barley flour, 1 cup AP, 1 cup semolina
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 2/3 cups warm water (not too hot!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil (you can omit olive oil and add additional 1/4 cup of water to recipe)
(an additional up to 1/2 cup of flour for kneading)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (white or black or combination of both)
Combine yeast, sugar and water. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate of proof. Small bubbles will form on the surface when the yeast is activated. If no bubbles form after 10 minutes, your yeast may be too old. Do not use unless the yeast has proofed.
Combine flour and salt and add yeast/water once it has proofed. Mix well until you have a sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and holds together in a ball.
Place ball of dough in a large, clean bowl that has been very lightly greased with olive oil (or dusted with flour) and cover with clean dish towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot in your kitchen to rise. This should take about an hour to and hour and a half. The dough will double in size. Gently poke your finger into the dough to test if its fully risen. If the dough bounces back immediately, your dough needs more time to rise. The dough should rise just halfway after you remove your finger.
In the bowl, knead the risen dough a few times to deflate it and then turn out onto your pan. Gently stretch and pat your dough into a rectangle. Use your fingertips to press small grooves in the dough.
Let the lagana dough rest, covered, and rise for another half hour.
To make bread wash simply combine jam or honey with boiling water until diluted.
Sprinkle the top of the lagana with sesame seeds and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
|Greek feta cheese bread - (tiropsomo)
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of warm water
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup of olive oil
Put the warm water in a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir. When it starts to bubble, add the flour and start to stir with a wooden spoon (or by hand). Add the olive oil slowly until the dough is pliable and smooth. Work in the feta cheese, kneading until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and flatten with the palms of the hand.
The dough shouldn't be any higher than about 1 1/4 inches. Score the top lightly in squares or diamond shapes. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 340F (170C).
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. It should be done on the bottom and nicely browned on top.