PREP TIME: 30 minutes (plus about 2 hours rising time and 10 minutes cooling time)
BAKING TIME: 30 to 40 minutes
MAKES: 1 bread, 4 to 6 servings
1 to 1½ cups warm water (about 100°F), divided
1 envelope (¼ oz) active dry yeast
2¼ cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or grapeseed or other vegetable oil), plus more for coating
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, white or a mixture of black and white
1. In a medium bowl, stir together ½ cup warm water and the yeast until dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and thyme (if using). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the yeast mixture and oil. Gradually kneed in just enough of the remaining warm water to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and kneed about 5 minutes, until dough is soft and elastic. Form into a ball.
3. Coat a large bowl with oil and place dough ball in bowl, turning once to coat the top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
4. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. On a floured surface, knead dough about 5 minutes, then gently stretch out to form an oval or rectangle, about 1 inch thick. If the dough resists stretching, let stand about 30 seconds, then stretch again. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, reshape, and firmly press fingertips all over into dough to create indentations or dimples. Lightly brush dough with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F. Uncover bread and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made ahead. Cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a resealable heavy-duty plastic storage bag and freeze up to 1 month.)
Recipe by Kelly Salonica Staikopoulos
Copyright © Kukla's Kouzina: A Gourmet Journey~Greek Island Style
More about Greek Orthodox Lenten cuisine can be found in our blog, Lenten Cuisine~A Faith Inspired Journey.
I hope you enjoy making this week’s bread for the spirit. Recipes for hummus (four varieties) and other Lenten spreads, dips, and foods can be found in our Meze and Spreads & Dips cookbooks. Stay tuned for future blogs on foods and customs relating to this Holy season of fasting and spiritual awakening.
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
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