Gluten free, I am not! I adore bread every which way and no doubt I inherited this gene from my Grandma. Grandma always told me that you could take away her cake, but never her bread. She loved her bread and had many bread cookbooks to prove it. She probably said this…
Or may have said this…
But I say this…
So… whenever I bake any type of bread I am reminded of her. The truth is I love bread probably as much as she did. Growing up we only had one type of bread in the house and that was sandwich bread. My mom once bought the squishy white bread sold in primary colored plastic bags. The squishy white bread contained lard, which we quickly discovered when we proceeded to toast the bread. It seems my dad had no problem eating bacon, but bread with lard is a no-no! After that it was strictly Pepperidge Farm, which I still enjoy to this day.
It’s kind of crazy when I tell you what I have on the bottom shelf of my fridge. Besides various left overs, I have a lot of bread. I have corn tortillas and flour tortillas. I have left over foccacia from the farmer’s market. I have brioche buns that I used for burgers. I have leftover garlic bread from a party last weekend. I have an unopened box of English muffins that I thought my mom would eat when she was here, but they still remain unopened, and I have an Italian wheat bread by Udi’s, that I use for my every day toasting bread. Yesterday when Manservant wanted a sandwich I didn’t have regular white bread, so I had to use the brioche bun. But today when he wanted an egg sandwich I was able to make it on bagels, that I bought from Bruegger’s last week. I hate to see what is in my freezer because I know I could add to this list!
Last week we had a friend over for dinner and it was so hot I didn’t feel like cooking. I decided to grill a Greek chicken and while doing that I remembered I had two rolls of this Greek olive bread in the freezer. It was perfect with the chicken and Greek salad and I’m so glad I remembered them. It is often that my food that is relegated to freezer land, meets freezer doom. Especially now because I am afraid to open the freezer as it is still collecting water at the bottom, which means a thick sheet of ice is forming. Manservant will fix it any day now I am sure, because soon he will get tired of walking through the puddles of water that leak out of it.
But let’s forget the freezer and talk about Greek food. I adore Greek food and people often ask me if I am Greek. (I am not…but they do have beautiful women, do they not? Hence, make me Greek!) Every year in Kankakee we used to attend the annual Greek picnic. Or maybe it was the stops we often made going home from Chicago in Greek town. We always ate at Greek Islands and I still can never get over the fact that we don’t have a Greek town in Denver. We have Greek restaurants, but I’ve never found one quite the same as those in Chicago.
I love reading Greek recipes and discovered this one and pinned it years ago from here, who found it here! Check out this site for some great Greek recipes! I finally found time to bake it and am so glad I did. It is easy to make and roll and would work perfectly with a variety of fillings. It would make a perfect appetizer also and with chocolate would make a great accompaniment with tea or coffee. I love that it made 4 rolls because that way I was able to store several in the freezer. The orange juice in the recipe made the dough quite tender, but it did not give off a strong orange taste. In fact, I could not detect any orange taste.
Have fun with this and let me know what variation you came up with. And also I’d really like to know…do you keep as much bread around as I do?
No Yeast Greek Olive Bread Rolls
Time to Make: About 60 minutes
Bread Dough Pastry
4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1 c olive oil
1 c fresh orange juice
Olive Filling: Enough for 4 rolls
4 T olive oil
2 c scallions, finely chopped
3 c olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (I get mine from the olive bar)
1 1/2 t oregano
8 T fresh mint leaves, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 c sesame seeds
2 c water
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the topping by soaking the sesame seeds in water and set aside.
Make the pastry: In the bowl of a stand mixer add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Mix together the olive oil and orange juice in a large mixing cup. With mixer running, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead with the dough hook until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Make the filling: In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallions and sauté until they soften, about 4 minutes. Add in the olives and oregano, and sauté for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat, and add the mint. Season the mixture with pepper flakes.
Roll and fill the pastry: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour your surface. I use a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten the first piece into a rectangle that is about 5 inches wide by 10 inches long. Fill with your preferred filling. Using the waxed paper, slowly slide the paper off the dough as you roll the pastry dough over the filling as you would a jelly roll. Make sure to pinch the sides in and under, and lightly pinch the seam to ensure that the filling is enclosed. Using both hands you can shape the roll by pressing in on the ends or slowly pulling the ends out.You should have a tight log.
To make the topping, drain the water from sesame seeds on a colander, and spread them on a tray. Lightly roll the log on the tray to cover with the sesame seeds. Place the log on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the other dough and fillings, to make 4 logs.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the logs are a light golden brown. Move the logs to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.
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