The traditional ornamental bread of Cyprus (Festive bread)
Cyprus bread is more than food, is a religious expression.
Different types of bread are traditionally made for different occasions, weddings , easter , Christmas, communions, baptism.
Dr. Dorita Voskaridou is a researcher, author and founder of the Decorated Breads of Cyprus museum in Limassol.
Dorita’s book “To Ploumisto Psomi tis Kyprou” (The Decorated Bread of Cyprus) is a collection of historical and personal testimonies. Decorative breads for every occasion, based on various village designs have been re-worked by this talented lady.
“All the symbols came from the ancient times when people used to believe in 12 gods. There are symbols from ancient Greek pots. From excavations we then find the same symbols in bread.
There were Byzantine shapes and influences. Women in villages see icons of churches which inspire them to go home and make the bread. Every village has different kinds of symbols and every woman has a different, very personal style, for example one village may have the same symbol but each woman makes something different. Every woman has her own aesthetic.
Bread is the king of the house in Cyprus proverbs. It is very important still and is the main nutritional ingredient in our culture. In Cyprus’ popular traditions, bread on the table symbolised Jesus Christ himself. So nobody gets up from the table until the bread has been removed. The bread has to move first away from table,” says Dorita Voskaridou
I tried to reproduce one of these ancient and full of tradition shapes. I have no idea if it is a wedding, communion, Christmas or easter bread. I choose it for the presence of the cross and the X of Xrist. (Χριστος in Greek language). So i think perfect for Xristmas.
Follow the instructions step by step. You will need 33 dough cords and a good amount of sesame seeds. Isn’t difficult as appears. Crunchy texture , delicate flavor. Enjoy a Merry Xristmas!
- 500 bread flour
- 250ml warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon dried yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large bowl combine flour, olive oil, yeast and sugar. Add the water & salt. Mix well
- Knead the dough until is smooth and elastic. ( If the dough seems a little stiff add 1-2 tbsp water)
- Place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Leave to rise for 1 hour
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knock back the dough by gently kneading just few min. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Now mould the dough into a 33 thin cords as in the pictures. Follow carefully the step by step instructions. Seal ends by pressing down firmly with your fingertips. Brushing with water, then sprinkling with sesame seeds
- Heat oven to 180°C / 350°
- Bake for 25-30 mins until golden