Sunday, March 31, 2013

Greek Homemade Bread

Psomi Spitiko

Greek Homemade Bread

A Fast & Easy Stand-Mixer-Kneaded Yeast-Risen
Round Bread for Normies

3 to 3 1/2 cups Bread Flour 
        (unbleached organic white flour)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm Water (about 100°F; at least 75
° & not over 115°)
1 Tbsp Dry Yeast
(1 packet, or 1/4 oz)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt

In your stand mixer's bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

If you aren't certain your yeast is still active, ie alive, ie not dead, you'll want to proof it first. To proof, dissolve 1/8 tsp of sugar in with the water and yeast and it set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes, then check; it should be foamy - if not, your yeast is dead, toss it out and run to the store for fresh yeast. I found out my yeast was dead by wasting my ingredients on a pair of hockey pucks; this way is better.

To the yeast and water, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, and the oil and salt, and whisk in until mixed well.

Use a thermometer to check water temperature or test on the inside of your wrist.

Cover the bowl with a clean plate or towel, set in a warm place and let it rise for 30 minutes. 

I have to create a warm place. To do so, I fill my Yogourmet Multi yogurt maker with lukewarm water and put a large prewarmed bowl that sits stably on top. I put a washcloth on the bottom of this bowl, cover it with a small bath towel, plug in my yogurt maker, and leave it plugged in until I turn my oven on. I set the bowl with the dough on the washcloth in the large bowl and cover it all with the towel. It works wonderfully. I do not know of any other yogurt maker that works in a manner you could do this with. I thought of using a crockpot but I'm sure that would be too hot.

Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook. In a separate bowl measure out another 1 1/2 cups of flour. Keep out your 1/2 cup measuring cup.

Pour the first 1/2 cup of flour into the dough.

Turn on your stand mixer to the LOWEST speed. It may take a minute or two to mix in. Once everything is mixed (it may look lumpy) add another 1/2 cup of flour.

Repeat 1/2 cup at a time until the flour is gone. 

Turn the mixer to the second lowest speed. Set the timer for 5 minutes.

After a minute or so, look at the bottom of the bowl. If there is unincorporated dough, you need to add more flour; measure out another 1/2 cup but only add a little of it - depending on how your dough looks perhaps between 1 Tbsp and 1/4 cup. Let it continue to run another minute and check again. Repeat until all the dough is incorporated.

When the five minute timer goes off, feel the dough to see if it's
ready. Well-kneaded dough is smooth and elastic, there should be nothing loose on the sides of the bowl (a scrape of wet clinging to the side is okay) and the bottom of your bowl should be clean. If the bowl looks good, but the dough on the hook feels sticky to the touch, add a little bit more flour and turn it back on for 3-5 minutes.

After kneading, your dough should come off the dough hook easily. 

Sprinkle a work surface with 1/4 cup of flour. Quickly form the dough into a ball-ish shape and turn it out onto the floured work surface. 
Roll the flour about to form it into a ball and lightly flour the entire outside.
You can cut the dough in half  and roll it about again to make two loaves or leave it as one big round loaf.

 Oil a baking pan and sprinkle it lightly with cornmeal (organic nonGMO please!).

Place the dough on the oiled baking pan, allow space for the loaves to rise, and place in middle rack of the cold oven (without turning it on) for 15 to 30 minutes to rise - I think this is assuming your oven has a pilot light and/or an oven light to give the yeast a touch of warmth so it can rise a bit. My cold oven is cold as tomb and the yeast does nothing in it, so I set the pan on top of my bowl on top of the yogurt-maker setup and cover it with the towel.

The dough will continue to rise after you turn the oven on.

Just before baking, make 3 scores across the tops of the loaves. 

Turn the oven on to 425°F (220°C) and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until the bread begins to turn golden and sounds hollow when tapped. 

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.


Use a thermometer to check water temperature or test on the inside of your wrist. 

Buying yeast in bulk is a huge savings over buying it in individual packets. It  will keep for a year in the fridge or freezer. 

Hubby was very happy when I served him a nice big fresh slice with Feta cheese accompanied with a glass of red wine, as suggested here.  

Recently I have begun baking this wheat flour bread for my grain eating gluten gluttons normies. It is also very yummy (so my normies tell me), plus I can make it at a frugal $1 per one pound organic loaf and I know exactly what's in this good quality bread.

The dough can be made by hand, but my neck obliges me to knead it in my stand mixer; since I've only made it with the stand mixer those are the directions I've put here.

I'm going to start experimenting with making Psomi Spitiko with wheat flour and try out some other normie-bread recipes.

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