The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

recipe or name for greek daily bread with sesame on top

  • Pin It
MommaT's picture

recipe or name for greek daily bread with sesame on top



I had the very big pleasure of spending the last two weeks in a tiny village on the coast of greece, south and east of Kalamata.

The primary bread at the local grocery store, and every taberna we visited, was the same simple loaf. Oval or torpedo shaped, it had a moderate to fine crumb with white-bread taste (although quite yellow inside) and sesame seeds all over the top.  It did not taste overly milky or egg-y, but more like a loaf with quite basic ingredients.

My kids (and I) really enjoyed this bread.  Does anyone know the name of the bread or have a recipe?



AnnieT's picture

Hi MommaT, in a book called "Bread, the breads of the world and how to bake them at home" there is a Greek bread called Daktyla, but its main characteristic is the "liberal addition of nigella seeds in the bread itself". You didn't mention seeds in the crumb and indeed they don't show in the photograph. Then there is a comment that there are a rich variety of white breads in Greece, often sprinkled with sesame seeds. As they don't give a recipe for Daktyla this isn't terribly helpful. However, from your description it sounds very much like the Scali bread several members have baked lately. It has a fine soft crumb and although braided it could probably be baked in any shape, A.

MommaT's picture

Indeed it looked a bit like Scali bread (aside from the shaping), but had this yellow inside, which was different from the other 'country bread' looking breads that did not have sesame on top.  (the yellowish flour described in the next post's link may explain that.

Will experiment and report back!



dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Momma T.

I'm betting that the bread you had was "Tsoureki," also known as "Churek" or "Cörek." This is an egg bread, which would account for the yellow color of the crumb, and is generally coated with sesame seeds. It is made in a variety of shapes - rounds, coiled or braided.

There are recipes for this bread in "A Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glezer and in "The Cookbook of the Jews of Greece" by Nicholas Stavroulakis.

My second choice would be "Pan de Horaiki," but the recipes I've seen for it don't have the sesame seed coating. In this case, the yellow color probably comes from the use of durum flour.

If you have more questions, I can check with my Greek daughter-in-law. Her father's family comes from the Peloponnese, so she may well know exactly what the daily bread of the Kalamata area is. (She also knows Nicholas Stavroulakis quite well.)


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, MommaT.

I sent my daughter-in-law a copy of your original post. Here is here response:

I know exactly what bread she's talking about but I don't know a special name for it.
Artos is Greek for leavened bread. But now Artos usually refers to special Easter and Christmas breads.
Psomi is the modern Greek word for bread.
Greeks don't eat the same enormously wide variety of loaf breads that we do here, but they eat a very wide variety of smaller crusty dipping "breads" and cracker-like treats.
Your average sesame "psomi" is denser than American white bread, holds jam  and honey really well and has a very hearty satisfying feel in the belly.
It is not sour, and not sweet, and not very salty. It tastes subtly plain, not buttery, not too eggy. The essential core of flavors: olive oil, milk, egg, and sesame... a super combination.

I looked online and this is the best recipe that I found... some sites that offer a "Greek Sesame Bread" recipe propose using sugar or butter which is NOT how it's made in Greece.
the olive oil is essential and it should be very young and, of course, Greek, for the perfect sweet yet bitter flavor.

This recipe looks good to me too... a woman I knew used to add a little honey, but not use sour dough...
This one has no egg, which is right if there is no sesame.
Maybe it's the olive oil and milk together that catalyze into that amazing flavor?!

I hope this is helpful!!
I sure miss that bread. Foti makes the sesame bread in Portland, actually, and his is excellent!!


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, MommaT.

More info from Stephanie ...

Hi David, I took a look at both books and in Spoerri's too.
I have no memory of the best breads containing sugar, and they were  
not "feathery" as described in
"A Blessing of Bread" on page 172. The breads I loved and ate were  
denser, like the one MommaT is describing.

Also, just looked in Reinhart's "Apprentice" - and on page 112 is a  
recipe for Greek celebration bread. If you remove everything on the  
ingredients list from cinnamon to almond extract, you have a recipe  
very similar to what I remember, though I would cut down a bit on the  
honey.... so the foundation of the Celebration bread, the "horiatiki  
Psomi" or Country Bread here seems right on to me, and it is very  
similar to the first link below" flour, olive oil, milk, eggs, dry  
yeast, sesame, etc....

Love, Stephanie

I hope this helps.