Horiatiko Psomi: Crusty Country Bread

Total Time
3hrs 50mins
Prep 3 hrs 20 mins
Cook 30 mins

In villages around Greece, this classic bread is still baked in outdoor wood-burning ovens. This bread is more dense than other types of bread (the loaf at right measures about 13 inches across and weighs a little more than 2 pounds) and can be made with a variety of flours or a combination of more than one. If you have your own sourdough starter, use 1/2 pound (slightly less than one cup for most starters) in place of the yeast in the recipe. I got this recipe on-line for the ZWT Greece from About.com.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  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 center. Add oil, honey, milk, yeast mixture (or sourdough starter), and 2 cups of the water in the well. Pulling in the flour slowly, mix with 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 (wet towel and wring out), 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 several inches apart 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 450F (220C).
  6. For a thicker crust, score the tops of the loaves in 3 or 4 places (see photo). 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.
  7. When the loaves are done, remove from oven and cool on racks.
Most Helpful

5 5

Quite good, although my loaf came out a bit misshapen! The dough was very soft is my excuse, and I am sticking to it, LOL! I baked it at 500 on a pizza stone for 20 minutes. Perfect! Thanks for sharing! Made for ZWT9 Parting gifts.

5 5

Made this recipe for ZWT #6 Hercules Part II challenge. I did cut the recipe in half, baking one loaf today, and retarding the other (in the refrigerator); plan to bake tomorrow. Instead of using a commercial yeast I did convert it to sourdough, however I used used a slightly different method. To simulate the bakers oven, I preheated the oven to 500 with a broiler tray on the bottom shelf. Then slid the bread in on the pre-heated baking stone, added 1 cup water to the hot tray (for steam). It worked perfectly! Thanks so much for sharing!

5 5

Excellent bread! I changed the method quite a bit. First I made the starter as described, then I added all the water, milk, oil, salt and honey to the bowl with the starter. Using my Kitchen Aid dough hook I gradually kneaded 1 cup of flour (all purpose) after another in, reaching to 8 cups (the bowl was quite full at this point). Hereafter I removed from the bowl and kneaded the dough through by hand and it did not need any more flour, just perfect. Followed the recipe from here, my dough rose in 1.5 hours. I made 4 loaves. The bread looks exactly like the picture posted and the first 1.5 loaves were gone in 10 min, no kidding, with a bunch of kids yelling for more and asking me to send the recipe to their moms. Haha. Quite made my day! Made for 1-2-3. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes to bake bread.