So for like a week, I've been promising Josh that I'd make Greek food for dinner so we could put a hurting on all the dolmades and tzatziki we've acquired. I knew I wanted to make bread because every time we go out for Greek food the bread is always FABULOUS! At our favorite Greek restaurant, Orapax, I could seriously eat nothing but their bread! It's THAT good! I recently found the book, A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman at Ross for $6.99 (a major steal), and as I was flipping through it I found a recipe called "Greek Restaurant Whole Wheat Bread." My best memories of Greek bread are from a Greek restaurant so this recipe seemed perfect! Now, please excuse me while I step onto my soap box...
I'm usually not particular about where I get my recipes from. I do like them to be from trusted sources, but after that it doesn't matter at all. However, it's a totally different case when it comes to Greek recipes. I want them to be from cookbooks that are all about Greek food. This bread recipe is not from a Greek cookbook, and therefore it doesn't taste like any of the bread I ate while I was in Greece. And most importantly it doesn't taste like the bread I get at my favorite Greek restaurant. It is delicious, don't get me wrong. But it tastes like simple whole wheat sandwich bread. Nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing Greek about it.
As you can see, I take Greek food very seriously. I'm 25% Greek, my dad is %50 Greek, and his grandparents were Greek immigrants. I've also been to Greece, so I know what the food tastes like. I hold my Greek standards very high, and this bread just did not cut it for me. But if you want yummy whole wheat bread that makes great toast AND perfect tomato sandwiches, this is the recipe for you!
*Steps down from soap box...*
Click the photos for details of the step-by-step process:
One GIANT loaf of whole wheat bread... coming right up!! For breakfast, how about some toast with butter and raspberry jam!
For lunch, a juicy tomato sandwich with Dukes mayonnaise and LOTS of salt and pepper!
And for dinner, use it to mop up all that tzatziki sauce!Click here for chicken kabob recipe!
Greek Restaurant Whole Wheat Bread (from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman)
Makes 1 large loaf
“Add a touch of white flour to mostly whole wheat and include a judicious use of olive oil and some honey, and what have you? A heavenly, rustic whole wheat bread. Mop up your Greek salad with it or smear halved garlic cloves on a thick slice, drizzle on olive oil, and lightly grill. Then add some feta slabs and partially melt. Top with sliced tomatoes, minced kalamata olives, salt, pepper, and a dusting of oregano.”2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast
1 cup white bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 cups stoneground whole wheat flour, all-purpose or bread flour, or mixed, preferably organic (I used 3 cups of whole wheat and 1 cup of bread flour)
Whole wheat flour, for dusting
Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Stir in white bread flour. Then mix in salt, honey, oil, and half of whole wheat flour. Attach dough hook and begin kneading on lowest speed of mixer 8 to 10 minutes, adding additional whole wheat flour, as necessary, to form a soft but firm, somewhat tacky dough.
Shape dough into a rounded mass in mixing bowl. Spray inside of bowl and dough lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixer and bowl with a large clear plastic bag (I just covered the bowl with plastic wrap). Let rise about 45 to 90 minutes until almost doubled. (To speed this up, boil a cup of water in the microwave. Leave the bowl of dough in the turned off microwave with the hot water for about 30 minutes, or until doubled.) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Shape dough into an oval and place on prepared baking sheets. Spray dough lightly with nonstick cooking spray and dust with whole wheat flour.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 45 to 70 minutes until dough is quite puffy (This only took about 30 minutes for me. At this point I slashed the top of my dough. The recipe doesn’t say to do it, but it makes it prettier to look at!).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake bread 15 minutes; then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake until it is well browned, another 20 to 30 minutes (I did 25). Cool on baking sheets (I cooled mine on a rack to keep the bottom crust from getting too soggy).
“For the fullest flavor, use organic whole wheat flour for this recipe, if you have it, as well as Greek honey, Greek olive oil, and Greek sea salt.”—A Passion for Baking