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Biscuits. (Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya, via Unsplash)
Baking bread can be a therapeutic experience, if you have the time to wait a few hours to enjoy the results. The proofing of the yeast, the mixing of the ingredients, the kneading, then waiting for the dough to rise, and then waiting for it to rise a second time before finally baking can take about three hours for some bread recipes, while others can take even longer. There are, however, some quicker options that can be mixed and baked in a fraction of the time it takes to bake traditional yeast breads. In the following beer bread recipe, the beer lends a yeasty flavor to the resulting bread. If Greek beer is not available, try other readily available types, but note that darker beers will impart a richer, more pronounced flavor than lighter varieties.
4 cups all purpose, unbleached flour or Zea flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1 can or bottle Greek beer
Greek extra virgin olive oil
Greek dried oregano for topping
1/4 cup pitted olives of your choice (optional)
1/4 cup feta, crumbled (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the baking pans by drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil in each of two 9 or 10 inch diameter Pyrex pie pans and set aside. Loaf pans may also be used. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the can or bottle of beer and using a rubber spatula, stir together until a sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into two discs, placing one in each of the prepared pie pans. If using olives (pits removed), add them to the center of the dough disc, and fold the edges of the dough over until the olives are covered in the middle of the dough. If using feta, add it to the center of the dough disc, fold the edges of the dough over until the feta is covered in the center. Sprinkle the top of the bread with oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the bread is lightly golden brown and produces a hollow sound when you knock on it about 45 minutes to an hour. This crunchy bread is best consumed the day it is baked.
Biscuits with Greek Olive Oil
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt
A pinch of sugar, optional
1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar, if using. Make a well in the center and add the olive oil and almond milk. Stir using a rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms. Drop by a generous tablespoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet to make about 9 biscuits. Bake in the preheated oven at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the biscuits crack and are golden brown at the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature with Greek honey, jam or jelly, of your choice.
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Visitors to one of Florence’s most iconic monuments — the Baptistry of San Giovanni, opposite the city’s Duomo — are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see its ceiling mosaics up close thanks to an innovative approach to a planned restoration effort.
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