Mastic or masticha in Greek, produces an almost clear crystal, edible substance. It's a type of gum that grows in one place in the world and that is the island of Chios. Masticha is one of my favourite and treasured ingredients. I garnish my bread with poppy seeds as the Ancient Greeks used to do.
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp masticha
- 1 kg self-raising flour, plus extra for flouring kneading surface
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 7 g dry yeast
- 3–3½ cups warm water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 1½ hours
Makes 1 large loaf
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Place the sugar and masticha in a mortar and pestle and pound to a smooth powder.
Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre 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 remaining water, mixing with your hands untila firm dough forms. 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 a further 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. Serve warm.
Text © 2013 Maria Benardis