Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recipe: Greek Sesame Bread Rings

Street Vendor
Photo Credit: Nate Gray

Sesame bread rings, or Koulouri Thessalonikis, are a popular street snack in Greece. Street vendors abound with this snack, and they can be found in every bakery. They are the choice breakfast in the morning rush when headed to work.

These bread rings are crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. And they are coated in sesame seeds. They taste good eaten with cheese. Elle and I set about making a snack of these for ourselves.

Photo Credit: Robert Wallace

 Koulouri Thessalonikis

Adapted from "The Olive and The Caper" by Susanna Hoffman

We halved the recipe, because the original makes 16 rings, and since they are best eaten fresh, that would have been too much for the four of us.

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg)
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk for egg wash
1/3 cup sesame seeds 

First, stir the sugar into 1/8 cup of warm water (it should feel just warm to your pinky). Sprinkle with yeast and put it aside until it's frothy, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Add the yeast, the egg and the rest of the water. Mix it all together and knead on a lightly floured surface until it isn't sticky anymore, about 5 minutes.

Divide your dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece of dough to make a nice long rope. The book recommends ten inches, but ours were shorter. Honestly, it took a long time to get a good "rope" of dough, so we decided our rings would be a bit smaller :)

Pinch the ends of the ropes together, and put them on a baking sheet. We used a silpat, but a baking sheet greased with olive oil also works. Cover the dough rings with a cloth and let them rise in a warm place for 20 min.

Once risen, brush with an egg wash of one egg yolk and 1 tsp of water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. You could also sprinkle some cumin seeds if you like the flavor. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Let the bread rings cool for 20-30 minutes before serving, and Enjoy!

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