Greek Easter Bread / Lambròpsomo/ Λαμπρòψωμο
Lambròpsomo is a bread from the Byzantine times that continues to exist to the present days throughout Greece as a traditional Easter bread. It is used to package it in various forms on Holy Thursday. The shape of each bread varies according to local traditions. The best known and the most used shape is the braid, on which a red egg can be placed. The braids and knots on the bread, derive from pagan times as a symbol of the removal of evil spirits.
<Warmest thoughts, deep affection to all people who suffer from pain, fear, loneliness, emptiness. No words enough. Blessed Orthodox Easter>
- 250 g water lukewarm
- 8 g yeast
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 20 g olive oil
- 500 g hard flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk, diluted with 1 tablespoon water or milk
- 30 g sesame seeds
- In a mixer’s bowl add the water, the yeast, the sugar, and mix with a hand whisk until the sugar and the yeast are dissolved.
- Add the olive oil, the flour, the salt, and beat with the hook attachment at medium-high speed, for 3-4 minutes, until there is an elastic dough.
- Transfer the dough to a floured bowl, sprinkle a little flour on top, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour to double in volume.
- Transfer the dough to your working surface and roll it out into a sheet 30 cm in diameter, dusting with flour.
- With a pizza cutter, cut the dough in a snail shape and spread it on your working surface. Braid it in a cross shape (see photo gallery bellow) and transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180ο C (350ο F) set to fan.
- Spread the egg wash over the whole surface of the dough, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove and serve.
See the procedure step by step in the gallery below. (For full functionality of this gallery it is necessary to enable Java Script)
Not as difficult as it may appear. This decorative bread is made from the same dough as any other hard flour bread. The only difference is the use of a well – sharpened blade with which incisions are made everywhere and all around on the bread. Flowers, ears of wheat, a sun, a smile, geometric lines, initials of a name or whatever else your fantasy desires. The only tip before cutting is to cover the loaf with flour. Dusting the top of your loaves with flour prior to scoring will ensure maximum contrast between white flour and dark baked crust. Follow instructions and have fun!
- 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting *
- 2 tsp salt
- 7gr fast-action yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml water
*Strong flour, also commonly known as strong bread flour, is made from hard wheat varieties. It contains more gluten (12% to 14% gluten content),than other types of flour which gives it its elasticity and enables the dough to rise with a good structure.
- Heat oven to 220°C/ 428°F
- Mix 500g strong white flour, 2 tsp salt and a 7gr of fast-action yeast in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre, then add 3 tbsp olive oil and 300ml water. Mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add another 1-2 tbsp water and again mix well.
- Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for around 10 mins.
- Once the dough is satin-smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Knock back the dough (punch the air out and pull the dough in on itself) then gently mould the dough into a ball.
- Place it on the baking parchment to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
- Dust the loaf with some extra flour
(Dusting the top of your loaves with flour prior to scoring will ensure maximum contrast between white flour and dark baked crust.)
With a sewing thread form a cross on the dough. Then on each fourth format, draw 2 other lines as in the gallery photos
With a sharp razor make small incisions on the sides of each line – from the top to bottom- so that it looks like an ear of wheat.
Bake for 25-30 mins until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
Stuffed bread / Γεμιστο ζυμωτο καρβελακι
Stuffed bread. Transform the usual bread dough into a savory meal that you can enjoy for brunch, lunch, dinner, at school or at work. Great idea for Easter picnics. Easy, flavorful, fragrant. Feel free to use different ingredients as options such mozzarella, bolognese sauce, bacon, sausage, salami, meatballs, peperoni etc.
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- In a large bowl stir yeast into 1 cup lukewarm water until dissolved. Let sit until small bubbles form around edges.
- Whisk in sugar &salt until blended.
- Gradually add flour and olive oil , mix with your hands until a soft dough forms . Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead in remaining flour, continuing to knead for about 10 min until the dough is very soft.
- Return dough to cleaned bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn out dough onto work surface and gently squeeze out air bubbles.
- Fill and shape as desired. Feel free to use different ingredients as options such mozzarella, cheddar cheese, Greek feta, bolognese sauce, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, salami, peperoni, asparagus, olives, meatballs etc.
- Brush every bread with olive oil . Bake in hot oven at 200°C (375° F) for about 20 min or until surface is golden brown.
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 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
BASIL FLATBREAD CRACKERS
SOURCE: MARTHA STEWART LIVING, SEPTEMBER 2010
A mix of chopped and whole fresh basil transforms ordinary crackers into herb-infused snacks.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus 40 whole basil leaves
- Coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten for egg wash
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse flour, chopped basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add cream; pulse until dough forms.
Briefly knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; shape into rectangles, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a very thin rectangle (about 12 by 16 inches). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt. Press 10 whole basil leaves into top.
Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Repeat 3 times with remaining dough, egg wash, salt, and whole basil leaves. Break into individual crackers using your hands.
Salami & cheese bread/ Ψωμι με σαλαμι και τυρια/ Pane con salame e formaggi
SALAMI & CHEESE BREAD
Ingredients: 500 gr flour for bread – 300ml water – 150 gr salami cut into cubes- 150 gr mix of provolone , cacciocavalo , cheddar (cubes) – 3 tbs olive oil – 10 gr fast action yeast – 2 teaspoon salt
Method: Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease and line a loaf pan with baking parchment
- Into a large bowl sift together flour , salt , yeast , oil, water -until dough is formed
- Knead the dough for 20min , add cheese & salami cubes and form it into a ball
- Let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place until doubled in size
- After 2 hours knead it again for 10 min . Place it on the baking parchment & let it rise again for 1 hour
- Bake for about 40 – 45 ‘ until golden