Different Kinds of Greek Breads to Eat
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When we eat Greek bread here in the United States, most of us only think of a few types. There’s the white bread with the hard crust that we eat with our meals and maybe also a whole grain version for those who are more health conscious. There’s also the special occasion breads, such as those that are eaten on Easter, and also the flatbread that is used in gyros. However, there is so much more than that! Here is an overview of the different types of Greek breads there are:
The white Greek bread that we know especially well outside of Greece is actually thought of as “city bread” in Greece. This bread is usually made from refined wheat flour or semolina (or a combination of the two). It’s called city bread because these refined flours are more readily available in parts of the country that aren’t isolated, such as the larger cities.
In many parts of Greece, there are only certain types of flour that are readily available. In some of the villages, the people grind their own flour from grains such as wheat and barley. As a result, “country breads” that use these rustic flours are more common in the small villages and remote areas of Greece. They are usually made with yeast or sourdough starter and baked in large, domed ovens that are located outside.
There are two basic understandings of what “paximadia” is in Greek cuisine. Many of us know it as a type of dessert cookie that is similar to the Italian biscotti. However, it also has another meaning. Some refer to it as the twice-baked toasts that allow the bread to keep far longer than if it were stored in its soft state after it was initially baked. The truth is, paximadia originated in the fifth century B.C.E and was a regular staple food since it took a long time for it to go bad. Today, they are made by slicing regular bread and baking it for 20 minutes in an oven that is set at 400 Degrees Fahrenheit. They are also referred to as “rusks”.
Bread rings, or koulouria, are another popular food in Greek cuisine. The nature of these breads changes depending on the time of year or the area of Greece that they were baked. Technically speaking, you can use any type of bread dough that you want to make. Instead of forming the dough in loaves, you just form it into small rings. Mavrokoulouria are made from black barley, and other types of koulouria are coated with egg wash and sesame seeds.
Pita bread is also another type of bread that is common in Greek cuisine. Some form of this bread is popular in several cuisines throughout the world. In Greece, they are most often used to dip into spreads such as tzatziki and they are also used for gyros and souvlaki sandwiches. Greek pita bread is different than other types of pita bread because the Greek version tends to be much softer.
Special Occasion Breads
This is another important type of bread in Greek cuisine. Special occasion breads that we eat during holidays such as Christmas (Christopsoumo), Easter (Tsoureki), and New Year’s (Vasilopita) are made only once a year. The one thing all of these breads has in common is that they are on the sweet side. Because they are only made once a year, they’re a highly anticipated part of the celebrations.
As you can see, there is a high variety of bread in Greek cuisine!
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by GreekBoston.com