One bowl, one pan, four ingredients and no kneading – no joke! This scrumptious traditional Greek bread recipe will make a home baker out of every one of you 🙂
The roasted garlicky-goodness, perfectly distributed in each bite of this beautiful loaf of bread, is perfection. And baking it in the wrap-around heat of a cast iron pan? Well, that makes it just that much more amazing. Yes, I am a fan!
Traditionally, this bread was baked in a clay pot or pan. For today’s home cook, a cast iron skillet is a perfectly fine substitute. The even baking heat from the cast iron (or enamelware) pan gives the whole loaf a lightness that usually only comes with kneading so do try to bake your bread in a good, heavy pan or skillet. A 10″ cast iron or enamelware pan is ideal for this loaf size.
Crunchy sea salt flakes (sometimes called finishing salt) are absolutely glorious on top so make sure you sprinkle them generously over your loaf right before it goes into the oven! If they aren’t available, Kosher salt with it’s big, rough pieces is just wonderful too.
The dough is super-simple and I would only emphasize that you pour the water in one cup at a time. After adding the first cup, very thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients before adding the second cup of water. This helps to remove any of the tiny dry flour pockets or bubbles that sometimes form in no-knead yeast recipes. This can affect the texture of your bread’s finished crumb so do take the extra few seconds and mix well! The dough takes anywhere from 8-12 hours to rise, basically a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ overnight or daylong rise.
The trick to evenly distributing the mashed roasted garlic is to mix it into the dough by hand. I’ve tried it with spoons and spatulas but none are ever as good as getting right in there with your hands. To be honest, it’s actually kind of fun. Another good tip – unless you have a very sharp knife or utility blade, try using a kitchen scissors with open blades dipped in flour to cut the cross in the top of your loaf. The risen dough is a kind of loose, a little bit wet type of dough and sometimes not the easiest to slice with a less than super sharp blade. The kitchen scissors work every time and, blades dipped in flour, there’s just a quick rinse to clean.
Think a working person doesn’t have time to bake their own bread? This is actually a fantastic recipe for working home-bakers.
Just take (literally) a couple of minutes in the morning to mix the dough together, cover and set dough to rise. When you get home at the end of the day, it takes only a few minutes more to pop the risen dough into your skillet and into the oven. In less than an hour, you’ll have a gorgeous, golden, warm loaf of homemade bread on your table Couldn’t be easier to work into a working-day or any-day schedule!
- 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
**you can use whole wheat in equal amounts, bread will just be more dense
- 2 1/2 tsp salt for dough
with additional 3-4 tablespoons sea salt to cover the top
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm (neither hot nor cold) water
- 1-3 tbsp mashed, roasted garlic – depending on your preference (1-2 heads of garlic)
make your own roasted garlic in just 30 minutes or buy, jarred, in supermarket
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl no smaller than 3 quarts to give dough room to rise.
Add water 1 cup at a time, combining all dry ingredients with first cup of water before adding second cup. Important so take your time to incorporate first cup completely before moving to second.
Add the mashed roasted garlic and, with your hands, incorporate evenly into the dough.
Cover and let rise at room temperature anywhere from 8-12 hours – overnight or morning to evening.
Right before uncovering the risen dough, flour a clean cutting board or counter surface lightly and prepare kitchen scissors with blades dipped in flour. Then preheat oven to 400 degrees and put cast iron or enamelware skillet in over to preheat at the same time. I like to keep the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes so usually a few minutes after the oven has preheated.
WITH OVEN MITTS, remove hot pan from the oven, wipe bottom of pan lightly with olive oil and set on stove top.
Turn out risen dough onto floured surface, a rubber spatula can help here, and gently – you don’t want to accidentally punch down the rise! – shape into a ball. Transfer dough ball from the floured surface to hot pan, a dough scraper is helpful for this.
Use prepared kitchen scissors to cut a cross in the top of your loaf, sprinkle generously with sea salt and bake for 45-50 minutes until the loaf is a beautiful golden brown and the bottom, tapped, makes a slightly hollow sound.
Remove from pan immidiately and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before cutting. This is important because, with cast iron, the bread will continue to cook if left in the pan.
Serve and enjoy this beautiful bread all on it’s on or with – EVERYTHING!