Masticha bread recipe (psomi me masticha)
- Cuisine: Greek
- Prep Time: 1 hr(s) 50 min(s)
- Cook Time: 45 min(s)
- Makes 1 large loaf (8-12 people)
Bread making was passed on to Greece from the Egyptians and then the Greeks taught the Romans how to make bread. The Ancient Greeks considered bread making an early mark of civilisation that lifted them above other people. The Romans were unfamiliar with bread until they met the Greeks. They favoured gruel (porridge). The Romans grew to love Greek bread so highly that almost all the bakers in the entire Roman Empire were Greeks. Author and chef Maria Benardis of Greekalicious shows us how to prepare this traditional bread.
Mastic (mastic the root of the verb to masticate) or “masticha” in Greek, produces an almost clear crystal edible substance. It is a type of gum that grows in one place in the world and that is the island of Chios. It is also used in the church for blessing. It is believed that the tears began to cry in sympathy when Romans tortured a Christian martyr and left him to die in a mastic grove. Herodotus however had noted their behaviour in 5th century BC, more than 7,000 centuries earlier.
Masticha is one of my favourite and treasured ingredients. I use it in most of my dishes because of its healing and therapeutic properties. I have garnished my bread with poppy seeds as the Ancient Greeks used to do.
Ingredients1 tsp sugar
1 tsp masticha
1kg self-raising flour, plus extra for flouring kneading surface
½ tsp sea salt
7g dry yeast
3–3½ cups warm water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
1 tbsp poppy seeds, to garnish
PreparationPlace the sugar and masticha in a mortar and pestle and pound until you get a smooth powder.
Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the sea salt and masticha mixture. Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water and pour it into the well in the flour. Add the olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and gradually add the remainder of the water, mixing with your hands until you form a firm dough. Knead for at least 10 minutes, using your hands, not an electric mixer or bread maker.
Cover the bowl lightly with a towel and set aside for at least an hour, until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Form the dough into a round roll and place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a towel and leave for another 30 minutes.
Brush the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkle the poppy seeds on top. Place in the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes, until golden brown.
©2012 Maria Benardis
If you enjoyed this Masticha bread recipe (psomi me masticha) then browse more Greek recipes, bread recipes, greek radio recipes, baking recipes, prepare ingredients in advance recipes and our most popular hainanese chicken rice recipe.
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