This is not the full, traditional recipe, but it’s what I made when I really wanted a small loaf of bread to go with soup, and also wanted that particular Cypriot flavour. For the full recipe go here.
Mastic is probably not something many people associate with food, more than likely people think it’s to do with DIY and pipes, but masticha is a lovely but unusual flavouring. The mastic tree grows on Chios, and these ‘tears’ come from that tree. Usually this bread has both mastic and mahlep, but I was in a hurry and only added mastic because I couldn’t be faffed with rummaging about in the depths of the cupboard.
TAKE HEED: For this amount of bread, you only need one tear. No more, or it will be too bitter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Yes, this is in cups. My cup measures were bought over 20 years ago when I started reading US cooking blogs. So long as you use the SAME cup throughout, it’ll be fine. No, I’m not going to convert it into grams for you.
Oven temp: Moderately hot / 400F / 200C / Gas 6
1 level cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 level tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water – but do NOT pour it all in at once, you will probably only need 3/4 of it
1 tear of mastic, finely ground or add a few drops of vanilla extract
Sesame and nigella seeds for the top.
Put everything except the oil and water in a bowl and mix to combine.
Add in the oil, then add half the water.
Mix to form a rough dough.
If it is too dry, add water a little at a time until the dough comes together in a ball and there’s no dry bits of flour.
Add 1 tsp more of oil, and coat the dough.
Cover and leave to rest until it’s doubled in size.
Take it out, press the air out and form it into a rough rectangle.
Roll it up and shape it into a torpedo/oval with the seam underneath.
Pop it onto a lined baking tray.
Mix 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp water into a slurry and brush the top.
Sprinkle on sesame seeds and nigella seeds.
Cut the loaf into sections using a dough scraper, or a knife, or even a side plate. However you want to get the sections. They will push together again as they rise.
Let it rise again for 15-30 minutes, then pop it into a preheated oven.
Bake for roughly 20 minutes, until it’s golden brown on the top.
It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Yes, that is a teaspoon for scale.