Saturday, August 20, 2016

Koulouria Thessalonikis - Greek Sesame Bread Rings


 Man has it been ages since I blogged or what?  Life seems to get busier and busier when you are a working mom, you are lucky to get 5 minutes to yourself, ugh!  Anyway,   I took my mom and my two youngest children to an international store just recently.  We came across sesame bread sticks, but they were dry like zwieback toast.  I bought a package and the kids and I dug in with some Feta cheese, but it wasn't the same.  We were missing the wonderful moist Koulouria from Greece, so I went about to recreate them.


In Greece, you don't have to look far in order to find a street vendor selling these babies.  They are sold almost everywhere! On every street corner, bakery, they are the most traditional and popular of Greek breakfasts along with a cup of coffee.  Eaten with feta cheese, olives as savory, or cut in half crosswise and spread with butter and honey or jam?  Heaven!  They are incredibly crunchy on the outside with a soft and slightly chewy center.  What they are is addicting!

 
While they were baking the aroma of the sesame seeds and dough was simply enticing.  We couldn't wait for them to cool off just a wee bit till we dug in.  And dig in we did.  The recipe made 10, so we enjoyed 5 for a late lunch and 2 days later we had them again as a wonderful dinner with hard salami, more olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion rings.  We enjoyed them with sliced cucumbers drizzled with olive oil, a pinch of salt and sprinkled with dried oregano...
Greece in a bite!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 15-18 minutes
Yield:  10 Rings

Ingredients:
4 cup (500g) all purpose flour
1 (150g) cup raw sesame seeds
1-1/2 cups (300g) lukewarm water
1 packet (8g) of yeast (I used the active)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water for dipping

Directions:
-Using your mixer bowl, can do by hand if desired, add in the lukewarm water, sugar and stir.  Set aside and let yeast proof for about 8-10 minutes.  You will know it is done when the yeast starts to bubble.

-Into the bowl with the yeast add in the flour, salt and olive oil.  
Using the dough hook attachments, mix all the ingredients at low speed for about 7-8 minutes till the dough has formed into an elastic ball.

-Remove dough hook and check the dough.  The dough should be smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky.  If it is too sticky add more flour, if it is too dry add more water.  

-Coat the bowl with olive oil and add back the dough ball and turn so all sides are coated with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

-Turn the dough onto a solid work surface sprinkled with flour.  Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Take one piece of the dough and roll out into a rope approximately 2.5 inches long (35cm).  Form into a circle and join and pinch the ends together.  Place on a non stick baking sheet.  You will need 2 baking sheets.  

-Continue forming and shaping the rest of the dough.

-Using 2 shallow pans/dishes, add water to one and the sesame seeds to the other.

-Dip the rings first into the water, then into the sesame seeds making sure all sides are coated.

-Place back onto baking pans and cover with towels and let rise once more for 30 minutes.

-Bake in a preheated 400F (200C) oven for 15-18 minutes or till nicely golden brown and crusty.


 
 Let them rest in the baking pans till they are cool enough to touch.  Grab one quickly, take a bite and enjoy...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi