Daktyla: A Greek Delight

Daktyla is a leavened ‘country’ or ‘village’ bread from Greece. But it is also quite popular in Cyprus and Turkey. Daktyla has this weird shape that makes it look like fingers of bread, which give it its name of ‘finger bread. The finger look is made by making deep slashes in a loaf before baking, or making a row of rolls of dough and allowing them to become attached to each other at proving stage.

Daktyla is traditionally made from a ‘country’ flour, which is a mix of wheat flours and fine cornmeal, which gives it a light yellow color. The bread is then topped with nigella and sesame seeds. Positively delicious, right? 

To make Daktyla, here’s what you need to make the sponge and the dough; 

To make the SPONGE, you need;

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups water

To make the DOUGH,you need;

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, plus 1 tablespoon to sprinkle over the loaf
  • 1 tablespoon nigella seeds, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle over the loaf

To make DAKTYLA, you need; 

 

  • To make the sponge. Mix the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, yeast and water in a bowl.
  • Let the mixture sit for 1 hour, or until it’s foamy and full of bubbles.
  • To make the dough: Mix the remaining ingredients into the sponge and knead — by hand, mixer, food processor or bread machine — to form a soft, supple dough, adding a small amount of extra water or flour as needed.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover it with a proof cover or plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s almost doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Divide the dough into 8 pieces.
  • Round each piece into a ball, then shape each into an oval about 4″ in length.
  • Select a sheet pan that’s about 18″ x 13″ in size, and grease it lightly, or line it with parchment.
  • Place the ovals of dough side by side (long sides almost touching each other) on the sheet, leaving about 1″ between each; they’ll fill the pan end to end.
  • Cover the pan and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it’s expanded enough so that the ovals are touching each other. (At this point, the whole thing may remind you of a caterpillar).
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Brush the top of the dough very lightly with water (or spray it gently), and sprinkle with a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and nigella seeds.
  • Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s golden brown.
  • Store, well-wrapped, for 3 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Voila! Your highly delicious daktyla bread is ready. Comments, people?

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