Greek Bread, page 55, February 22, 2016

I’ve been on a bread-baking hiatus for the past several months, so I am coming back with what sounds like a simple, tasty bread from the “Daily Breads” chapter of Ms. Hensperger’s book.  The dairy element in this recipe is evaporated goat’s milk.  It is mentioned that evaporated cow’s milk can be substituted, but that this is more “authentically” Greek.  The author also warns against substituting regular milk for evaporated because you will miss out on the sweetness.  This recipe uses a little bit of whole wheat flour, but I doubt it is enough to cause me difficulties, so I will be keeping this one for myself.

First into the bread machine pan goes 1 cup of evaporated goat’s milk.  (This didn’t use the whole can, so anyone out there how a suggestion for using a small amount of EGM, I am all ears.)  Next comes 1/3 cup water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Flour for this loaf is 2 1/2 cups of bread flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.  (According to the recipe, you can substitute 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour for the whole wheat flour.) Then I add 1 1/4 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of gluten, 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  This loaf uses the “Basic” and “Medium” settings on my machine.

I forgot how great baking makes my house smell; this loaf is rising beautifully and shows no signs of the dreaded “crater loaf.”

My plan for dinner tonight is homemade chicken noodle soup, and I think this bread ought to be great served alongside it.

The machine finished its cycle and I put the bread on a rack to cool while making my soup. It is a really pretty loaf of bread. It has perfect air pockets and the taste reminds me a little of a sourdough, owing to the goat’s milk, I’m sure.



All in all, a very tasty bread to restart my baking.

The soup’s pretty good, too. I used a recipe titled “The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup” by Gina Nistico from the February/March 2016 issue of Taste of Home Magazine.  It makes a huge pot of soup, so my freezer will be full for a good long while.

Feta and Spinach Bread, page 384, June 10, 2015

I am making a loaf today for my friends, Nancy and Jim.   This Feta and Spinach loaf, known as spanakópsomo, in Greece, is traditionally made with wild greens and is supposed to be a delicate loaf, not suitable for sandwiches. I used to love to eat spanakopita, and I know the flavor must be similar.  I will be seeing Jim and Nancy at their son’s graduation celebration, and want to have this baked before I have to head up north for the weekend..

Before putting this recipe together in the bread machine, I first needed to defrost frozen chopped spinach and then squeeze it dry.  I hope I got enough liquid out of the spinach, otherwise we will be looking at another crater loaf.

The other ingredient to be aware of when baking this bread is feta cheese.  Sometimes, feta is stored in brine and must be rinsed in cold water before using.  Otherwise the bread can be too salty.  The feta I picked up at the store was not in brine, so I was able to skip this step. Another thing to note about feta is that it only has about 1/4 the fat found in a cheese like cheddar, making this loaf suitable for a lower fat diet.

Into the bread machine pan, I added 7/8 cup water, 3/4 cup spinach, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cups bread flour. 4 oz crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I used the medium crust and basic bread cycle for this recipe.

It smells incredible as it is rising and baking.  I checked during the final rise and it was lovely, with a smooth rounded top and pieces of spinach throughout.  Then. . . it fell.

IMG_4173

Yes, I did not get enough liquid out of the spinach and we have another crater loaf.  I won’t waste this and start over, so Nancy and Jim’s bread will look interesting, and taste lovely.  (Of that I am sure.)

As usual, I will let you know what they have to say after they try it.  (My friends and family are such great guinea pigs.)

I ended up not being able to make it to Landon’s graduation party.  As I don’t want this loaf to be wasted, I will take it in, along with the Granola Bread, and give it to the staff at my Veterinarian’s office.  Next time I know I will see Nancy and Jim, I will bake something else for them.

Comments from the staff at the Vet:

“Feta was mild”

“Okay”

“Would have like to taste more Feta”

“Not my favorite”

“Very good!”

My thought is, this is a matter of taste.  If you like the flavor of spinach, try it.  But if you are looking for strong Feta, add more or adjust your expectations accordingly.