Greek Village Bread

My Grandma was proud to be Greek.
She loved the food and she loved her family, she always called me her "little Greek girl".
But when it came to talking about the country itself, she never said much.
I brought up the idea of traveling abroad to visit Greece with a friend, and she practically begged me not to go.
I don't know which town my family came from or what they went through trying to come to America because it was never talked about.
Questions have gone unanswered since I can remember, and now my Grandma is gone, and I still don't have answers.
I know very little about my Grandma's upbringing, except her mother passed when she was a toddler, and in order to work to provide for his family, my Grandma's father had to pass her and her sister off to other family members and, from what I understand, orphanages at times.
I don't care that I'm not sure of my exact roots, I know I'm Greek, and I'm damn proud of it.
Some day I will travel to see the ruins and live like the Grecians do, but for now, this little Greek girl will stick to making their delicious food.

I went for an old, traditional recipe this time. It's Greek Village Bread, also known as Horiatiko Psomi (ho-ree-ah-tee-koh so-me).

It's relatively easy to make, this was my first time baking any bread on my own, and it turned out VERY (surprisingly!) well.

What you'll need:
2-1/4 tbsp dry yeast (one little packet)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
8 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp olive oil (and a little extra for drizzling later)
2 tbsp honey
2-1/2 cups warm water

1. Stir the yeast packet into about 3/4 cup of warm water.
2. Stir in the whole wheat flour.
3. Let it stand for 20 minutes. It will look like this:

4. In a (very) large mixing bowl, mix the bread flour with the salt, then create a well in the middle.
5. Add the yeast mixture, oil, honey, and milk (in that order, it helps to keep the honey from sticking to the measuring spoon) to the well. It will look like this:

6. Use your hands to mix it all together, adding the 2-1/2 cups of water until it's a thick, gooey lump.
7. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until it's no longer sticky.
8. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the bread and rub it all around, making sure all sides have a thin layer.
9. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl.
10. Make a wet towel sandwich (dry, wet, dry) and lay it over the bowl.
11. Let it rise for 90 minutes.
12. For 5-10 minutes, alternate kneading and punching the dough on a floured surface.

13. Divide the dough into 4 loaves, and shape them (long, round, throw it in a pan, it doesn't matter).
14. Place the loaves (several inches apart) onto cookie sheets and cover with the towel sandwich again.
15. Let them rise for at least an hour.
16. Score the tops of the loaves, with an X or a couple slash lines, whatever you fancy.
17. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and place one sheet in the oven at a time, on the middle rack.
18. Bake for 20 minutes (maybe shorter depending on how you make your loaves), keep an eye on them!)
19. Remove from oven, slice, eat while warm.
20. Save some for later to sop up oil or for the morning to toast and enjoy with jam.

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