• Sarah L Samuels

Cypriot Village Bread

This is a very special recipe to me and one that brings back lots of memories. We have had many holidays, got Married and owned a villa near Paphos in Cyprus.

When we stayed in hotels this bread was always available at breakfast, lunch and dinner! When we had our villa we would always visit the local bakery when we arrived for a loaf or two!!! It has a really unusual taste and the seeds on the top are delicious.


The unusual taste comes from two unusual ingredients. I had to get them on-line but they are quite readily available. The first one is Mahleb it is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, Prunus mahaleb. The cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is about 5 mm diameter, soft and chewy on extraction. The seed kernel is ground to a powder before use. The second is Mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree, like other natural resins, is produced in "tears" or droplets. Mastic is excreted by the resin glands of certain trees and dries into pieces of brittle, translucent resin. Don’t be put off by these ingredients as the loaf really tastes amazing.

This is not necessarily an authentic recipe but it was the nearest I could get to having a bit of Cyprus at home during lockdown when I was making bread three or four times a week! I have tried quite a few recipes that I found on-line and tweaked them to get the taste and texture that I wanted and remember fondly. My Husband said that my final version was definitely the best!

Jump to recipe

Start by grinding the mastic in a pestle and mortar before adding to the flour.


The put the flour, oil, yeast, sugar, salt, mastic & meclebe in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.



Warm the water & milk in the microwave or a pan until tepid. The temperature should be warm to activate the yeast but not boiling hot or this will kill the yeast.

Then put the mixer on a slow speed and add the tepid water & milk slowly until it is all combined into a wet dough.



Put the mixer on a medium speed and set a timer for 7 minutes and knead. The dough will be quite sticky initially and will change to a smooth and shiny dough.



While this is kneading put the seeds in a small heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Mix together then set aside to cool.



Put the dough in an oiled large bowl and cover with oiled cling film.



Place somewhere warm and leave until doubled in size. This could take anywhere between 1- 2 hours depending how warm the temperature is. I find in the winter this takes much longer but do not rush this stage.



On a lightly floured surface take the bread dough and “knock it back”. This means to knock the air bubbles out of the dough. Use your nuckles and fold the dough over and over. You will hear air bubbles popping - continue to do this until all the air bubbles have gone.



Now shape the bread into a round shape by using the palm of your hands keep going around the edges and tucking the dough under until you have a round smooth loaf.



Place the loaf on a baking tray with baking parchment.


Put the seeds all over the top of the loaf and recover with the cling film and set aside somewhere warm to prove again. This should be done for 1-2 hours or until double in size again.



Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade (200 fan).


With a sharp knife or bread lame cut a circle around the loaf about 2 inches in from the edges.



Finally bake the loaf in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes - the loaf should sound hollow if tapped on the base.



Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.



Cypriot Village Bread


Sarah’s servings: 12 slices (approx)


Ingredients:

500g Strong white bread flour

4 Tbsp Olive oil

7g Sachet of dried yeast

1/2 tsp Sugar

1tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Mastic ground

1 tsp Meclebe powder

100ml Tepid milk

200ml Tepid water

2Tbsp Sesame seeds

2Tbsp Nigella seeds

3Tbsp Boiling water

Method:


  1. Put the flour, oil, yeast, sugar, salt, mastic & meclebe in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. (You will need to grind the mastic in a pestle and mortar before adding to the flour.)

  2. Put the mixer on a slow speed and add the water & milk slowly until it is all combined into a wet dough.

  3. Put the mixer on a medium speed and set a timer for 7 minutes and knead. The dough will be quite sticky and will change to a smooth and shiny dough.

  4. While this is kneading put the seeds in a small heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Mix together then set aside to cool.

  5. Put the dough in an oiled large bowl and cover with oiled cling film.

  6. Place somewhere warm and leave until doubled in size. This could take anywhere between 1- 2 hours depending how warm the temperature is. I find in the winter this takes much longer but do not rush this stage.

  7. On a lightly floured surface take the bread dough and “knock it back”. This means to knock the air bubbles out of the dough. Use your nuckles and fold the dough over and over. You will hear air bubbles popping - continue to do this until all the air bubbles have gone.

  8. Now shape the bread into a round shape by using the palm of your hands keep going around the edges and tucking the dough under until you have a round smooth loaf.

  9. Place the loaf on a baking tray with baking parchment.

  10. Put the seeds all over the top of the loaf and recover with the cling film and set aside somewhere warm to prove again. This should be done for 1-2 hours or until double in size again.

  11. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade (200 fan).

  12. With a sharp knife or bread lame cut a circle around the loaf about 2 inches in from the edges.

  13. Bake the loaf in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes - the loaf should sound hollow if tapped on the base.

  14. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.


Download recipe

CyprioVillageBread
.pdf
Download PDF • 131KB

Sarah’s extra slice…….


I bought the ingredients on-line from Sous Chef.


Sometimes the loaf just has sesame seeds on top but I prefer the mix of sesame and nigella seeds on mine.

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