The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Horiatiko Psomi

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

The competition at this year's Leavenworth County Fair bread division was sparse. As I posted a few days ago, I entered a sourdough and a horiatiko psomi loaf. Because place ribbons aren't handed out for the entrants' self-esteem, I'm pleased that both of my loaves won blue ribbons.


Horiatiko Psomi

The sourdough, I was told by a junior judge, was up for consideration for the Bread division grand prize but it lost points because of the holes in the crumb. The master judge prefers a denser crumb. The winner was an outstanding looking cinnamon roll that made the rating a little easier to take. I wish I could make a cinnamon roll like that one.

I'm not discouraged in the least since no one provides judging guidelines. Armed with the knowledge of how the judges work, one of my loaves for next year will be a Sourdough Kansas Pioneer Bread. I've thought that the bread was a little dense in the crumb so far but I've got another year to see if I can outwit the judges and grab that purple ribbon.

As for the gratuitous goat pictures, I just find goats to be great subjects. When we go to fairs, my wife likes to see the varieties of chickens and I've taken to the goats. It's a fair after all.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

dmsnyder's picture

A couple weeks ago, I made Greek bread (Horiatiko Psomi) for the first time (See: Greek Bread - I finally make it with my Greek daughter-in-law). I based it on this recipe, which my Greek daughter-in-law said seemed closest to the bread she had had in Greece. It was good, but I felt it could be improved. I had intended to make the bread with some durum flour, but forgot to use it. Although everyone enjoyed the bread, I felt the crumb suffered from slight under-development of the gluten. Everything I'd heard or read said this was supposed to be a dense bread, but I felt it would be better, even if less authentic, with a more aerated crumb.

Today, I made another batch. I remembered to use some durum flour this time. I used a combination of mechanical mixing and stretch and fold to develop the gluten. I had planned on making it as a sourdough, but, because of time constraints, I did spike it with some instant yeast. I think it turned out well.

Horiatiko Psomi (pronounced hoh-ree-AH-tee-koh psoh-MEE)


Liquid levain




Mature sourdough starter

28 gms (2 T)

Bread flour

85 gms


113 gms


Final Dough




Durum flour

200 gms

Bread flour

775 gms


600 gms


2 T

Olive oil

2 T


2 T


1 T


All of above

Instant yeast (optional)

½ tsp

Sesame seeds

About 1 T



  1. To make the liquid levain, in a medium bowl, dissolve the mature starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl tightly and ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

  2. To make the final dough, mix the water, instant yeast (if used), milk, oil, honey and levain in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  3. Mix the salt with the flour and add 2/3 of it to the liquids. Mix until smooth. Add the rest of the flour and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and allow to rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Mix at 2nd speed until you have an early window pane. (About 4-6 minutes in a Bosch Universal Plus mixer.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and do one stretch and fold. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough in the oil. Cover the bowl.

  6. Ferment the dough until doubled in bulk with one stretch and fold after an hour. (About 2-2 ½ hours)

  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape as balls.

  8. Cover the pieces and let them rest to relax the gluten for 10-15 minutes.

  9. Shape the pieces into boules and place them in floured bannetons.

  10. Proof the boules until they have expanded to 1.5-1.75 times their original size.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  12. Pre-steam the oven.

  13. Transfer the loaves to a peel or to parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Brush the loaves with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Score the loaves with 3 parallel cuts about ½ inch deep.

  14. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Immediately steam the oven. Close the oven door, and turn the temperature down to 450ºF.

  15. After 12 minutes, remove the steam source. Continue baking for another 20-25 minutes. Check the loaves every so often, and, if they appear to be darkening too fast, turn the over down to 430-440ºF. (Note: I did not turn the oven down from 450ºF, and the loaves turned out a bit darker than I wanted.)

  16. The loaves are done when the bottom sounds hollow when thumped and their internal temperature is 205ºF.

  17. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  19. Cool thoroughly before slicing and serving.

As noted above, the breads turned out a bit darker than I had wished. Next time, I'll bake at a lower temperature or turn the oven down a bit half way through the bake.

The crust was thin and chewy with a nice flavor from the sesame seeds. The crumb was quite open, considering the low hydration. It was very pleasantly chewy but did not have a dense mouth feel. The flavor was marvelous! It had a mildly sweet flavor from the honey and nuttiness from the durum flour.

I'm not sure I'd change anything, other than baking at a lower temperature and having my daughter-in-law here to tell me how far I'd strayed from Greek authenticity.


Submitted to YeastSpotting.

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