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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greek Restaurant Whole Wheat Bread

At the last Greek festival we went to my parents bought a 10,000 pound can of dolmades (am I exaggerating?). Dolmades, also called dolmas, are grape leaves stuffed with rice and sometimes meat, and they're packed in olive oil and lemon juice. They look like short, fat, slimey green slugs, but they are delicious!! Anyway, my parents bought what I consider to be the world's largest can of them! Then more recently, my mom came home with a GIANT tub of storebought tzatziki. Tzatziki is that deliciously creamy yogurt sauce that comes on gyros... Mmm oh yeah, that's the stuff! Normally I would prefer to make it myself, but how can I let 25 gallons of tzatziki go to waste? Am I exaggerating again??? Oh well. Stay with me.

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)

Finishing Touch
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

28 comments:

celenajustine said...

it's beautiful bread though- sorry about the misrepresentation

Puanani503 said...

wow..looks great:)

apparentlyjessy said...

That's a very good looking loaf of bread, even if it wasn't Greek enough! Yum I love Greek food.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

That's very weird. So, besides the honey and olive oil, what was so greek about it again? Sounds very good, but unless the honey and olive oil are really noticeable they shouldn't have called it greek.

Ingrid said...

I just typed a big ol' long comment and this stupid IE just gave me that abort message, Grrr.

Sorry about the bread. :(
~ingrid

Wellington Jobs said...

so sorry for your bread :(

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I don't know anything about Greek food, so I dont know how that is supposed to look. But it certainly looks great and very 'bakeable' for me.

Amanda said...

Mmm... my mom just added "bread" to our grocery list. I should cross it off and just make some.

Or maybe ideas like that only seem funny after 1am.

In other news, my brother just shaved his beard and went through a series of tragic, awkward mustaches. I received news of each of them through picture texts. Ah, family.

Elyse said...

Talk about a versatile bread. It looks absolutely delicious. You've definitely left me wanting some toasted bread with jam. Delish!

The Purple Foodie said...

The bread looks beautiful! I'm going to start bread baking more seriously and I hope it looks half as pretty as yours does!

Paris Pastry said...

Wow your bread looks like it's bought from a bakery! It looks so professional. Funny those breakfast - lunch - dinner photos :P!

thereddeer said...

You are really rockin the bread lately! This looks awesome as per usual.

Happy cook said...

Wow that bread looks really yumm.
When ever i make a bread i but them in a pan thinking it might not rise, i should bake them like you.

NikiTheo said...

Haha!!! I know what you mean about Greek bread... There is just something about it. But in all honesty, i don't thin I have ever seen a whole wheat Greek bread. Kudos to the woman for trying, but but at least you've got a good while wheat recipe, Greek or not!
Btw, yum for whole wheat bred and butter and raspberry jam...
As for the tzatziki, awesome w/ chicken souvlaki and a great dip for french fries, instead of ketchup!!!

E-Kitten said...

This bread looks delicious, and I love the addition of the whole wheat flour so it is a bit healthier!

foodcreate said...

Greek bread delicious yummy butter and Greek coffee love it...
Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

And you can visit me if I can visit you:)

Welcome!
foodcreate

Adam said...

This is getting weird dude. First, we share brains over animal crackers. And now... I look at your tomato sandwich, and I my grandmother has those same corelle plates. Weird, right? I'm Polish though, so it ends there :)

Anyways, the bread still looks real good, even if it's not legit Greek to you. Good job still :)

Selba said...

The bread looks totally wonderful (my mom will envy you on how wonderful you can bake your homemade bread ;)), too bad it didn't reach your standard.

Carly said...

I can hardly wait to try to make that bread! I too am 25% Greek, is your family as crazy as mine? :) If you have a good recipe for greek rice I would love to hear it, I am on the hunt for a recipe for the best Greek rice, my husband loves it!

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

Sorry it didn't measure up to your hopes, but man, it looks good! I need to bake some more bread...

Snooky doodle said...

the bread looks great! wow! you re amazing. I ust voted for you. Good luck :)

icanlaughagain said...

oh wow this bread looks fabulous and seems like it can be eaten at any/every meal with anything and everything just like my realization about greek/icelandic yogurt ha! sorry it took so long to get back to you about the chai latte powder you had commented on about the difference between the packet i had and the actual chai tea bags... well the chai tea bags are very like spicey and ehhh my pallette just doesn't like it much, but when you use this chai powder it's like chai tea latte gone from okay to AMAZING!!! you should totally try it-- it's how the coffee shops on campus and the one outside campus (saxby's) makes them it's absolute blisssss!

Yummy in my tummy said...

That bread looks divine. I've never been successful in making breads, but you make this looks so good. I may just have to try making this in the hopes it looks as good as yours!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Sorry it was authentic, but your loaf looks amazing. I am craving carbs right now.

Katie said...

I'm glad to see someone else eating tomato sandwiches!! When tomatoes are in season, I eat one almost every day, but get crazy looks from my friends. It sounds like this is the perfect bread for it, too!

Kate said...

Tomato sandwiches in summer are the BEST. And now, of course, having read this post, it is your duty and mission to find the perfect Greek Bread recipe for us. It sounds too fabulous. It's terrible to be disappointed in a recipe, like you were. Nothing "wrong" with the bread, but it wasn't what you wanted. Well thank you, now "I" want the bread you're describing. Please, go forth and find what you seek and bring it back for all of us!

T said...

I made this yesterday, along with the chicken kabobs, and wow! I was surprised at how soft it is, since the loaf is about the size of a football field. It really is huge! But it is so good!And since there's so much whole wheat, I didn't feel bad at all about eating a huge slice of it with lunch with butter and honey on it! I kneaded it by hand, which was a good arm workout (bonus!). :) And the kabobs were totally delicious, I will make those again for sure. Thanks for some great recipes!!

Anonymous said...

I made this bread today and it was awesome! I got 2 huge loaves (probably because I added 2 TBSP vital wheat gluten flour to it) and I baked loaves free-form on parchment and with my broiler pan full of hot water for that extra crispy crust. The crust was great, the crumb was soft and pliable, but held up well as toast or with sandwich ingredients on top. The taste is very nice too. Thanks for an excellent recipe!