Horiatiko Psomi, a Greek bread, is a crusty country loaf that’s also known as ‘village bread’. It’s a densely textured loaf and is best paired with dips and rustic stews.
This isn’t some floppy white bread with limp fillings that you find in your lunchbox. No, this is a robust bread, meant to be cut or torn by hand into rough chunks.
Psomi is a bread that meant to be devoured, to the very last crumb, not nibbled politely. Psomi is the bread you eat when you’re with friends and family, enjoying a glass or two, and cherishing every moment of conviviality.
Made in a rustic style, with hands-on mixing and kneading, this bread does take some time to make properly. You can use a stand mixer (I do!), and that can cut down on the effort needed in mixing.
But, the key is in the resting, proving, shaping, final prove, and bake. Get this sequence right, and you’ll be biting into some of the best bread that’s ever crossed your lips!
You’ll find this bread served in just about every restaurant in Greece. It usually accompanies a selection of dips, or on the side of your Stifado or Kleftiko.
This, of course, is also what we’d recommend you eat it with.
What to do with stale Psomi?
How’d did you manage to have stale bread? Amazing, but never fear, stale psomi is great for rusks, or croutons, even turned into breadcrumbs!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your Horiatiko Psomi
Horiatiko Psomi Bread Ingredients
Bread (00) flour: Use this gluten rich flour by Caputo, it’s ideal for developing a strong structure in your bread.
Greek honey: If you love authentic flavours as much as I do, then this Greek honey will have you buzzing!
Olive oil: This Ilada Extra Virgin Olive Oil has to be some of the smoothest, and freshest olive oil I’ve ever discovered. It’s a must for any pantry!
Yeast: I’ve baked with Saf Levure for a while now, and always had great results!
Salt: Is essential to all cooking, be it sweet or savoury. This sea salt is just divine!
Essential Psomi Greek Bread Equipment
Scales: a necessary must when baking, a set of reliable scales will help your baking immeasurably by standardising the quantities and timings.
Mixing bowls: Are an essential piece of kit, having enough of them though is another matter entirely! This set will give you years of good service!
Baking sheet: This baking sheet is perfect for all sorts of baking due to having a perforated bottom – lots of hot air circulation!
Scraper: A bit of essential kitchen kit, great for scraping out bowls, lifting dough off a work surface, and for shaping and cutting dough.
Dish or tea towel: used for more than just drying dishes, a good quality cotton tea towel can be used to help prove bread, remove hot items from the oven, and to keep them warm!
Highly Recommended Horiatiko Psomi Equipment
Stand Mixer: I love my KitchenAid, I lusted after them from my Trade-School days, and was over the moon when I finally bought on. I can’t recommend them enough, and I know this stand mixer is just what you want and need!
Silicone mat: These are a great reusable alternative to parchment paper, just give them a wash in hot and soapy water, rinse clean, and leave to air dry.
Water bottle: often used by hairdressers to dampen hair, bakers use water bottles for much the same reason. A spritz here and there will help with forming a crisp and crunchy crust, and to create humidity while proving.
Now, onto making some of the most delicious bread you’ve ever tasted!
How to make Horiatiko Psomi – the Greek village bread:
- Stand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Dish or tea towel
- Water bottle
- 15 gr dry yeast
- 60 gr water lukewarm
- 60 ml bread flour
- 950 gr bread flour
- 10 gr salt
- 300 ml water lukewarm
- 15 ml milk
- 15 ml olive oil
- 15 ml honey
- To make the starter, dissolve the yeast in a small bowl, add the flour and mix together with the water to make a thick paste. Leave to 'prove' for 20mins.
- In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, mix the flour and salt. Add the oil, honey, and milk to the yeast mixture, and combine thoroughly.Add the yeast mix to the flour, and pour in half the water, begin mixing, adding the remaining water as the flour is incorporated.
- When all the flour and water/yeast mix is thoroughly combined, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth, and forms a tight dough.
- Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, or the stand mixer bowl, and place the dough inside, give it a spritz or two of water. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1.5-2hours.
- When the dough has doubled in size, release the gas by 'punching' the dough. Again, turn it out onto your floured surface, and knead for 5mins.Divide the dough in half, and shape the halves into two loaf shapes – these can be round or oblong.When shaped, place the loaves on a lined and greased baking tray (you can bake them like this), or onto a lightly floured surface to prove – this option is better if you wish to back the loaves on a pizza stone.Leave the loaves to prove for about 1 hour, or doubled in size again.
- Preheat oven to 450F (220C), place a rack just below the middle.
- Just before baking, 'score' the loaf tops with about 2-3 cuts and spritz with water before placing in the oven, as this will help form a thicker crust.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden-brown all over. The loaves will sound 'hollow' when tapped on the bottom when they are cooked.
- Leave your baked loaves on a rack to cool for 10mins before getting stuck in!
Thanks for checking out this post on baking Horiatiko Psomi, I do hope you’ll bake some soon. If you do, please come back and post a comment, or share a photo with the tag: #LarderPantryandGarden.
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