Greek Paximadi – By Angelina Spathopoulou

#recipe #paximadia #greekrecipes #bread

Paximadi is the singular. Paximadia is the plural. It depends on how many of them you eat!

The name originates from Paxamus, a Greek author who among many things wrote a comprehensive cookbook in the 1st century. I will always be grateful to him for his delicious invention!

Paximadi is the Greek hard bread that is typically made with whole wheat, chickpea or barley flour. Since we are in quarantine mode, I used plain flour as that’s what I had in my pantry. So, fear not! The dough recipe is perfectly flexible.

Paximadia require some time to prepare, but as most of us have plenty of time on our hands… these paximadia are a fantastic addition to your pantry. Here is why:

1. They last for a while, much longer than bread. Put them in an airtight container and enjoy them for at least a week or 10 days after. Realistically, they last longer than that, but they lose their freshness and become softer, they are perfectly edible though.

2. They make a great savoury snack/ dish or can be eaten with sweet additions, too. For me, the most amazing combination is with a juicy tomato, a fresh green bell pepper, some feta and a few drops of olive oil. Or in big chunks in a Greek salad. Yummy! But I won’t say no to paximadia with some strawberry, fig or apricot jam if you’d offer!

Ingredients:

  • 500 – 600g flour (all purpose or whole wheat or any type really)
  • 1.5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground herbs e.g. oregano, basil or any herbs you like to add extra aroma (optional)
  • 50g olive oil
  • 350g lukewarm water

Method:

1. The dry yeast needs activating. To do this, dissolve the yeast into 100ml of lukewarm water and leave it for 7-10 mins until you see bubbles on the surface.

Note: Water temperature is important when dealing with yeast. If the water is too cold then the yeast won’t be activated. Too hot water and the yeast will die.

2. Mix all ingredients together: 500g flour (for start, don’t use all 600g), salt, herbs, oil, the yeast mixture and remaining water. You can either mix them in a bread mixer for 5-10 minutes or do it manually with your hands which will take a bit longer.

Note: At this point you realise whether you need to add more flour. I usually have to add 60-100g more flour (so in total that’s 560-600g flour). The dough has to be elastic, not very strong/ firm and it should not be too sticky.

3. Cut the dough in half. Form 2 baguettes, roughly 25 cm long each depending on your tray. Place a baking sheet/ greaseproof paper on the tray and put the baguettes keeping some distance in between as they will expand.

4. With a knife slice through the baguettes every 2 cm but do not cut through to the bottom of the baguette as we still want them in one piece.

5. Cover the tray with cling film or a clean (!) towel and leave in a warm room for about an hour or until the baguettes double in size.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

7. When the baguettes have doubled in size place them in the pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Note: If the sliced marks are not very clear after the dough has expanded, I slightly redo them so that it’s easier to cut them when I remove them from the oven. Attention! Cut them again carefully, don’t overdo it or you will lose the air in them.

8. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 2-5 minutes. Then, with a knife cut all the way through the slices you marked in Step 4. You can now drizzle them with a few drops of olive oil for extra taste.

9. Reduce the temperature in the oven to 120°C and put the tray back in for 20-25 more minutes so that the baguettes get crispier.

Ta daa!

Your fresh homemade paximadia are ready! Store them preferably in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Enjoy them as they are or with any toppings/ sides you like.

Life-changing tip: If they are too hard for your teeth, hold the paximadi under running tap water for literally one second, no more as they will get very soggy 😉

I hope you enjoy your paximadia snacks the same I do.

Until next time, stay safe 🙂

Angelina xx

To read about how Angelina has been storing her fruit and veg during lockdown visit here – https://metmunch.com/hints-and-tips/store-your-fruit-and-veg-for-longer-by-angelina-spathopoulou/

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