Prep 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook 35 mins
A crusty Greek bread often found at delicatessens.
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon melted warm butter or 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon fine semolina (durum flour; use masa harina or cornmeal in a pinch)
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl and place into a low oven to warm.
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, then stir in remaining water, salt, and sugar.
- Remove flour from oven; take 2 cups of flour from the bowl and set aside.
- Make a well in the remaining flour and pour in the liquid; stir in a little of the flour until the liquid gets thick, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place until the mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Stir the rest of the flour into the liquid, and add the butter/oil gradually, beating with a wooden spoon or mixing with your hands until smooth (about 10 minutes), or alternatively, use a dough hook/mixer for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle a little flour onto a board, and turn the dough out; gradually mix in some of the flour you had set aside earlier.
- Only knead in enough to keep the dough from sticking; dough is ready when it is satiny, and the surface is slightly wrinkled; shape into a ball.
- Oil the dough, and place in bowl, making sure the top side is oiled completely; cover bowl with plastic and allow to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down and make into 2 pieces; turn onto floured surface, and form each into a torpedo-shape.
- Grease baking sheet and sprinkle with semolina; place the dough well apart on the sheet and cut 4 diagonal slashes across the dough; cover with a cloth and allow to proof in a warm place until doubled again, about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom of the oven; spray bread lightly with a mister and bake in preheated oven for approx 35-40 minutes; after first 15 minutes, mist again with water, then again 10 minutes later.
- Cool on a rack when done.
Simple and delicious!
I have made this bread a couple of times and really love it so have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars - but - I get confused every time around the instruction no 4 that says "Make a well in the remaining flour and pour in the liquid; stir in a little of the flour until the liquid gets thick, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place until the mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes". When I make a well in my remaining 4 cups of flour and pour in the 2.5 cups of liquid it still makes a thick dough - nothing that by any stretch of the imagination will turn into a frothing mixture. So should I be pouring the water into the 2 cups of flour leaving 4 cups set aside? And what does it mean when it says stir in a little flour until the liquid gets thick? What liquid? I've just poured it all into my flour. I really get confused by instruction 4 and so am getting by by pouring ALL the liquid into ALL 6 cups of flour which gives me a dough I can work with. As I said, I've made the bread a few times and love it - but would like to understand that instruction a bit better in case I'm doing something wrong and there's something I could do to make it even tastier.
I need to had my 5 stars to this great bread. I made it exactly as directed except before putting in the oven I brushed with melted butter and topped with an artisan bread blend topping. It made 2 lovely big breads so I even had one to share with a neighbor who also gave it 5 stars. The smell in the house while it was cooking was to die for. Loved the idea of warming the flour before using I think that really helped the yeast to work, I'm going to try that trick with some of my other recipes. The end result was that great crusty outside with a soft, wonderful texture inside. Thanks Sue for posting the real thing. 1-24-13 - As an update, I've made this recipe several times since I first reviewed it and it just gets better and better, I continue to add a seed mix to the top after brushing with a whole egg that's been beaten and like the added bite it adds. This continues to be a favorite around here.