Friday, 10 April 2009

Cypriot Eliotí (Ελιωτή)-Olive Bread

approx. 400gr flour (wholemeal or white)
1 sachet of yeast
400ml lukewarm water
Olive oil
approx. 1 cup pitted olives
chopped fresh coriander (or parsley if you prefer)
dried mint
1 large onion, chopped

Add the yeast to the water and allow to stand for about 20 minutes, until it forms a foam at the top. In the meantime, prepare your flour in a large mixing bowl, or a skáffi if you are lucky enough to own one. When the yeast is ready, add to the flour with some salt and mix well. Add about 1/2 a cup of olive oil. Knead until you have a nice dough which isn't too moist. If it's too moist add some more flour. When the dough is ready, let it rise in a dark place (I use the oven-off of course) for about 30-40 minutes.

When the dough has risen, take your bowl, lift the dough and throw underneath the onions, parsley, mint, some more olive oil and of course the olives. Let the dough drop on top, press it so it picks up some of the ingredients, and then turn, turn, turn until all your ingredients are nicely spread in your dough.

Place your dough in a lightly oiled metal oven tray as in the picture. Again allow to rise for as long as you can, but no less than 40 minutes. I once left it for over 90 minutes and the result was excellent, as the dough rose very well. When you are ready, bake the bread in a preheated oven at about 200 degrees for roughly 40 minutes. If you want to check whether it's cooked well inside, slide a knife into it and check the blade when it comes out. If it's very moist it needs to bake longer.

When you're happy with it, take it out and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes before devouring. Lovely. Store well and eat again and again for breakfast, preferably accompanied by Cypriot coffee (or Turkish/Greek coffee as some people call it) and some halloumi perhaps...

In Cyprus you can find this bread with the olives in it whole, stone included. This makes the bread slightly bitter, but it balances well with the sweetness of the onion. You can also make it with white flour or a mixture of the two as you like. If you use olives kept in salt, they usually melt slightly in the kneading, making the bread even tastier. But be careful not to add extra salt, as this will make it lyssa as we say in Cypriot, very very salty. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I have tried to make it following exactly the instruction..and I ended up with an oily dough which neven after 2 h wasn't i had to throw everything away...I am not a good at all at improvising in the kitchen so that's why i follow the recipe as the bible.However I believe that the amount of water and oil was too much for only 400g of flour.

Blackbeard said...

Hi Anonymous. I usually let it rise for a good 2 hours, it gets there in the end, but it takes a lot longer than conventional bread. Haven't done this in a while, thanks for reminding me.