The Staff of Life on Foodie Friday

A few months ago, I posted a Greek menu of white bean salad, lamb, and roasted tomatoes and feta. If you’re inclined to try the menu, this is the Greek bread just made to go with it.

Daktyla – A Traditional Greek Bread (30 October 2003)

This is a hearty country-style bread with these ingredients. It makes very good toast and great bread to accompany stews, soups, or other Winter comfort foods.

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package dry yeast
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
1 tablespoon sea salt
Olive oil

Mix the milk, water, honey, and olive oil together, then heat the mixture to about 110° F. (no more than 120° F.) Add the yeast and about 1/4 cup of flour, mixing well, and let the yeast begin to foam for about 20 minutes.

In the meanwhile mix the remaining all-purpose and whole wheat flours, corn meal and salt together in a large bowl, making a well in the center.

When the yeast is well activated, add the liquid to the flours and mix well, finally turning out onto a kneading surface that has been dusted lightly with whole wheat flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Clean the original large mixing bowl well, dry it, then add a little olive oil and turn the dough ball in the bowl to coat it. Cover with a clean towel and place into the oven with the light on (NOT the heat). Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading for a couple of minutes to make it smooth. Oil a standard bread pan (8.5×4.5×3 inches) very well, form a loaf from the dough, and place it into the pan. Cover it with the towel again, and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).

Remove loaf from oven, then preheat the oven to 375° F.

A couple of tablespoons milk
1 or 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Sweet Hungarian paprika to taste

Mix the sesame seeds and paprika. Using a basting brush, coat the top of the dough with milk, then sprinkle the seed mixture onto it. Place into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until loaf is baked a golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

Richard Jehn

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