The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Blessing of Bread

dmsnyder's picture


Pan de Horiadaki

Maggie Glezer describes this Greek Country Bread as the “daily bread” of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, almost all of whom were deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis during WW II. Glezer got the recipe from Riva Shabetai, who was a Holocaust survivor. Thessaloniki is currently the second largest city in Greece. It was settled by Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and thrived for almost 500 years. Its culture had many Spanish influences in language, cuisine and customs.

The dough is 67% hydration and is enriched with sugar and olive oil. It is formed into boules, then, after bulk fermentation, it is proofed and baked in oiled cake pans, a technique I have not seen used except with Greek breads. Glezer provides both a yeasted and a sourdough version of Pan de Horiadaki. I made the sourdough version. The method is remarkable in that the bulk fermentation is short relative to the proofing time.



Bakers %

Firm starter

30 g


WFM Organic AP Flour

135 g


Warm water

80 g



245 g


  1. Disperse the starter in the water, then add the flour and mix until fully incorporated.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours 

Final dough


Bakers %

WFM Organic AP Flour

875 g


Warm water

595 g



20 g


Olive oil

30 g


Granulated sugar

30 g



170 g



1720 g




  1. The night before baking, mix and ferment the levain.

  2. Mix the flour and water and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Add the starter in pieces and mix at Speed 2 until the dough is smooth for 10-15 minutes. The dough should clear most of the sides of the bowl after about 5 minutes. If needed, at 1-2 T of flour.

  4. Add the salt, sugar and oil and continue mixing until fully incorporated. The dough should be sticky but smooth and should yield a nice window pane.

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment, covered, for 2 hours. (I did a stretch and fold in the bowl after 1 hour.)

  6. Oil two 8-inch cake pans generously with olive oil. (I did not have two 8 inch pans, so I used 9 inch pans. As a result, I'm sure my loaves were flatter than if proofed in the smaller pans.)

  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form each into a tight boule.

  8. Roll each boule in the oiled pans and leave them, seam side down, in the pans.

  9. Cover the pans with plasti-crap or place in food safe plastic bags.

  10. Proof for 5 hours or until tripled in volume and risen above the pan sides. Glezer says to proof until the dough stays indented when poked with a finger. This was at 3 hours for me.

  11. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF.

  12. Bake at 400ºF for 50-55 minutes until deeply browned. Rotate the pans, if needed for even browning, after 35 minutes.

  13. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool completely before slicing.


Pan de Horiadaki crumb

Note the dull (not shiny) crust. This is from baking without steam, as Glezer specifies. I personally prefer a somewhat shinier crust, so I may bake this bread with steam next time.

The crust is relatively thick from the long bake and very crunchy. The crumb is chewy. The flavor is exceptional, enhanced I'm sure by the sugar and olive oil. There is no detectible sourdough tang, just a sweet, wheaty flavor. I expect this bread to make outstanding toast and sandwiches, but it is delicious just as is.

Note to brother Glenn: If you liked the other Greek bread I made, you will love this one. I don't suppose it would be a crime to coat it with sesame seeds either, but the flavor is so nice as it is, it would be almost a shame to mask it with other strong flavors.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture


I'm rather fond of challah, but my wife isn't. Most challah is too rich and too sweet for her taste. The closer to brioche it tastes, the less she likes it. So, when I made “My Sourdough Challah” from Maggie Glezer's “A Blessing of Bread,” and both my wife and I loved it, I was delighted.

Of course, all challah was made with sourdough before the introduction of commercial yeast. Since then, according to Glezer, challah has tended to be made sweeter and richer. Sourdough challah has a “moister, creamier texture” and stays fresh longer that the yeasted variety. Glezer's version has a delightful sourdough tang which lends it an almost “sweet and sour” flavor. It is wonderful plain, as toast and as French toast.



The starter

Amount (gms)

Active firm sourdough starter


Warm water


Bread flour




The final dough

Warm water


Large Eggs

3 eggs + 1 egg for glazing the loaves.



Vegetable oil


Mild honey


Or Granulated sugar


Bread flour


Sourdough starter

All of the above+

    * I added an additional 3 tablespoons or so of flour during mixing, because the dough seemed too wet. This may have been needed due to my using more starter than Glezer specifies. See below.

    + Glezer says to use only 200 gms of starter, but I used all of it (250 gms)


  1. The night before baking, mix the starter and ferment it at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

  2. In the morning, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the starter in the water, then mix in the 3 eggs, salt, honey and oil until completely combined.

  3. Mix in all the bread flour until it forms a shaggy mass.

  4. Knead the dough on the bench or in a stand mixer until it is smooth and there is moderate gluten development. Add small amounts of water or flour to achieve the desired consistency. The dough should be quite firm.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it tightly. Ferment for about 2 hours. It may not rise much.

  6. To make two 1 pound loaves, divide the dough into two equal portions, and divide each portion into the number of pieces needed for the type of braiding you plan to do. (I did 3-strand braids.)

  7. Form each piece into a ball and allow them to rest, covered, for 10-20 minutes to relax the gluten.

  8. Form each piece into a strand about 14” long. (I like Glezer's technique for this. On an un-floured board, flatten each piece with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece to about ¼ inch thickness. Then roll up each piece into a tight tube. Using the palms of your hands, lengthen each piece by rolling each tube back and forth on the bench with light pressure. Start with your hands together in the middle of the tube and, as you roll

    it, move your hands gradually outward. Taper the ends of the tube by rotating your wrists slightly so that the thumb side of your hand is slightly elevated, as you near the ends of the tube.)

  9. Braid the loaves.

  10. Place each loaf on parchment paper in half-sheet pans (I used a quarter-sheet pan for each loaf.) Cover well with plasti-crap or place the pans in a food grade plastic bag, and proof at room temperature until the loaves have tripled in volume. (Glezer says this will take “about 5 hours.” My kitchen was rather cool. I proofed for 6 hours.)

  11. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the upper third of the oven.

  12. Brush each loaf with an egg lightly beaten with a pinch of salt.

  13. Optionally, sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds.

  14. Bake until done – 25-35 minutes for 1 pound loaves.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.


Submitted to YeastSpotting on SusanFNP's Wildyeastblog


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