I have tried my hand at various recipes for Greek bread over the last couple years. People who visit Greece rave about the wonderful bread and I long to create such a loaf. David (Dmsnyder) has posted his latest improvement which I tried today with a couple of minor modifications. I won't re-post the recipe as David's is all you need to make this wonderful bread.
As David suggested, I lowered the oven temperature to 430F from the beginning. I made two full batches and on the second pair of loaves, I lowered the temp to 420 after 20 minutes and continued for another 20 minutes. After the 40 minutes baking time, I left the breads in the oven with the door ajar for another 5 minuets to harden the crust. The color is less dark, more towards golden although it looks darker in the photo. The crumb image is of the first loaf that was baked more boldly. The second two loaves are destined to be delivered to my son for his Greek dinner with friends.
The inclusion of Durum flour adds a very nice nutty note to the aroma. I almost feel as if I am smelling or tasting the sesame seeds on the outside. The Durum lends an unusual flavor. It is most delicious. The crumb is open well enough and the cells are gelatinous. The dough was 7.3 Lbs in total divided into 4 parts, mixed by hand and folded twice during the 2-1/2 hours of fermenting and proofed in round linen lined baskets. I pinched the dough while in the baskets across the sides to make them oval just before turning on to the flipper board. I spritzed the dough and sprinkled the seeds over all before slashing.
This is a terrific bread. The added honey helps it brown early. Next time I will start at 420F for 40-45 minutes to an internal temp of 205F.