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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 10 October 2015
FOOD 20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM The Greek ead in our culture is the equivalent of pasta for Italians: a necessity ZOE THOMAÚDOU If there is one shop in Greece that will never go out of business, even in dire financial times, it is the local bakery. Bread has held a prominent place in our diet from ancient times through to the modern day, and has often been given a cultural context through traditional feasts and religious customs. Up until the fifth century BC, bread was made of barley and spelt - also known as dinkel wheat - and would be cooked on charcoal. The cultivation of common wheat came to Greece after regular trade relations were established with Egypt. According to historian Herodotus, Egyptians kneaded bread using their feet, while dreaming of white bread was considered a good omen. During the Thesmoforia festival, the biggest celebration in honour of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, women would offer bread to please the deity. The transition from homemade production to the establishment of the first eries took place around the second century AD, while written records suggest that ancient Greeks used to make more than 70 different kinds of bread. An interesting story connects the origin of the word paximathia (rusks) to Paxamus, a Horiatiko (crusty country bread) All you 'knead' to know about baking bread the Greek way is in this recipe. Do not be put off by the time you have to invest; the penetrating aroma of freshly-baked bread in the house will compensate your effort. Ingredients 30g of fresh yeast or 2 tablespoons of dry yeast 1/2 cup of lukewarm water 1/2 cup of flour (extra, the same type as used for the bread) 8 cups of bread flour (whole wheat, barley, white, corn, or other) 1 tablespoon of salt 2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water 2 tablespoons of milk 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 tablespoons of honey Method 1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of flour and mix until all lumps of flour have dissolved, to form a thick liquid. Allow to rise about 15-20 minutes. 2. Sift the remaining flour with the salt, put in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add oil, honey, milk, yeast mixture, and 2 cups of the water in the well. Pulling in the flour slowly, mix with your hands until it's a cohesive mass. (If more water is needed, add in small amounts from the remaining 1/2 cup.) Turn out onto a floured surface and continue kneading until the dough is nice and smooth and no longer sticks to the hands. 3. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled mixing bowl and roll until all sides of the dough are lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with 3 dishtowels: one dry, one dampened with warm water and the other dry. Place in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 4. Punch down and knead for 5-6 minutes on a floured surface. Divide the dough into the number of loaves you want to make (this works well in 3-4 loaves), and form into round or oblong or baguette shaped loaves. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and cover with 3 clean dishtowels (the middle one damp). In a warm place, allow the loaves to rise for 1 hour. 5. Preheat oven to 220°C. 6. For a thicker crust, score the tops of the loaves in three or four places. 7. Otherwise, bake as is on the rack just below the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes until browned. When tapped on the bottom, bread will sound hollow. 8. When the loaves are done, remove from oven and cool on racks. Ingredients 3 sachets active dry yeast 1/4 cup sugar 7 to 8 cups bread flour 2 1/4 cups warm water 1 tablespoon salt 5 tablespoons vegetable oil sesame seeds for sprinkling Method 1. In a medium size bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the flour in the warm water. Let stand covered for 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam and bubble. 2. In a large size bowl, combine 7 cups flour with the salt. Make a well in the centre with your hand and pour in the oil and the yeast mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well combined. 3. Turn the dough out on to a counter or table dusted with flour and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth to the touch but not sticky. 4. Shape the dough into a ball, brush it with oil and allow it to rise in a covered bowl for about 2 hours or until doubled in size. 5. Punch the dough down and knead it for another 6 or 7 minutes. Shape it into 2 equal loaves. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on to two lightly oiled baking sheets into flat ovals about 40 cm long and about 15 cm wide. 6. Brush with oil, sprinkle with sesame Lagana (Greek flatbread) This bread is so easy to make that there is no point waiting until 40 days before Easter to try it. If you feel like doing it the traditional way, pair it with tarama dip and olives. seeds, and allow to rise again until a finger poked in the bread leaves an indentation without springing back. Preheat oven to 200°C. 7. Using your index finger, poke holes across the surface of the bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bread is a deep golden colour.
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