Bread baking is a wonderful skill and, indeed, an art form when you see the wonderful creations by Greek Bakery Chef Xaris Papalitsas in his first cookbook, ARTOS: H Techni tis Artopoiias (the Art of Bread Baking). Papalitsas and the book’s publisher Gastronomy Essential graciously shared two of the delicious recipes included in the book, just in time for baking during the holiday season.
It should be noted that the recipes below have been translated into English from the original Greek and measurements have been left in grams for accuracy.
The book is available in Greek online: www.Cucina.gr.
Ingredients for the dough:
800 grams all-purpose flour plus 200 grams
4 large eggs
160 grams butter
130 grams whole milk
60 grams fresh baker’s yeast
130 grams water
45 grams invert sugar or honey
3 grams freshly ground mastiha
3 grams mahlepi
2 grams cardamom
Grated rind of half an orange
315 grams granulated sugar
Slivered almonds or decorative sugars
The traditional tsoureki is probably the most delicious pastry in Greek culture. Fluffy, chewy, full of fiber, and full of aromas. Follow the recipe to the letter and you will enjoy tsoureki at its best!
For the dough:
Heat the water to 45 degrees C (113 degrees F) and break up the yeast in the bowl of the mixer with the water. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and the spices (mahlepi, mastiha, cardamom) and set aside to become foamy.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, butter, invert sugar, milk, and grated orange rind. Be careful not to exceed 50 degrees C (122 degrees F). Then remove it from the heat, add the eggs and beat to combine. Pour the remaining flour over the yeast mixture and start kneading with the dough hook attachment of the mixer, adding the liquid mixture from the pot. Knead, for 25-30 minutes, on low speed.
First Dough Proofing: 60-90 minutes, at 30-32 degrees C (86-89 F), 1-2 times.
Shape at 120 grams each for individual tsourekia or two large loaves at 300 grams each.
Leave on the stove, for 90-120 minutes, to rise. Then, brush with egg white and decorate with slivered almonds or decorative sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F until browned.
Baking Times: 15-20 minutes, for individual tsourekia and 25-35 minutes, for large tsourekia.
Rye Bread with Port Wine, Fruits and Nuts
Ingredients for the dough:
2500 grams rye flour
1650 grams Liquid Yeast (included in the book’s basic recipes)
65 grams salt
1250 grams water
650 grams hazelnuts
650 grams almonds
650 grams toasted walnuts
1000 grams raisins
1000 grams golden raisins
2000 grams cranberries (Soaked in 750 grams Port wine for 30 hours)
Rolled oats, old-fashioned type, not instant
This particular bread is one of the most delicious I have ever made. This recipe was shown to me by Gerard Hardeman, a baker in a village outside Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Hardeman is the founder of the Dutch Organic Bakery School. I wanted to include it in this book, because I consider it very special. The result is a very thick bread, with great shelf life, and a very rich taste.
To make the dough:
Mix the flour, salt, yeast and water for 5-6 minutes, on low speed in the bowl of a mixer with the dough hook attached, until a smooth dough forms. Then, add all the remaining ingredients and knead, until everything is combined evenly throughout the dough.
Dough Temperature: 28 degrees C (86 F).
Cut straight into 3 kilogram pieces (depending on the form), roll in oats and bake directly, in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour and a half until browned.