Greek sesame bread rings filled with tachini and dried grapes. A recipe you will love, and will make again and again during Lent and not only.
As a food blogger based on Thessaloniki I could not resist on posting a Greek sesame bread rings recipe (koulouria). The recipe for koulouria is well known and has its origin in Thessaloniki. Koulouria can be served with either sweet or savory delicacies, while they have a crunch when you bite into them.
Greek sesame bread rings
A Greek sesame bread ring is a healthy snack that may be eaten also as quick breakfast. You can find it almost everywhere, in bakeries or on the streets. Especially here in Thessaloniki, in almost every street corner there is a street vendor who sells Greek sesame bread rings early in the morning.
It’s traditional shape it’s like a ring form and is covered with sesame. Nowadays, you may also find it twisted or braided and filled with feta cheese. Koulouria should be eaten fresh, as they tend to turns hard after a few hours of exposure to the air.
During my research I have found that almost all the recipes use hard flour. But why there is the need for using hard flour? Hard flour is rich in gluten and gives elasticity to the dough. It is considered to be the frist choice when it comes to bread recipes as it gives elasticity to the dough.
In this recipe, however, my goal was not to confuse you with different types of flour. That’s why I used only one, type 55 flour. It’s the same flour I use for my recipe for easy Greek phyllo pie dough, and the type of flour that I use in most of the dough recipes.
Recipe notes for Greek bread rings
In this recipe there are two points where the most attention is required, yeast and filling.
You have to give the yeast the needed time in order to be activated. Begin with the activation of the yeast before starting the recipe. In a bowl mix lukewarm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. We use lukewarm water, not hot. If we add hot water the yeast won’t be activated, will die.
Also, yeast hates salt. On the contrary, yeast loves sugar. So you may add a pinch of sugar to the bowl of the activation. Sugar will help the yeast to be activated.
It will take about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. In order to be sure that your yeast has been activated check if there is any foam on the surface of the mixture. If we see bubbles on the surface and not foams then we have done something wrong. For instance, the water may not have had the right temperature, or the room temperature is low.
So it’s best to make a new mixture or to wait another 10 minutes.
Koulouria may be baked without any filling. If you still wanna add filling make sure it is not too liquid. A liquid filling will give to the koulouria dough excess moisture, while been liquid it will be difficult for handling the bread rings.
Before you begin
- This recipe is for 8 bread rings, 4 with filling and 4 without. If you want all the bread rings to be filled, then you need to double the amount of respective ingredients.
- Bake the bread rings in a preheated oven at 200 *C. In order to avoid useless electricity consumption I don’t write it at the beginning of the recipe. Turn the oven on after our dough has double in size.
- If you want to get the most out of them you should do half the dose unless you plan to eat 8 bread ring in one day. Why? Because these bread rings tend to dry out relatively easily. So on the day after baking them, will not be the same.
Greek sesame bread rings filled with tachini and dried grapes
For the dough
- 285 ml lukewarm water
- 15 gr dry yeast
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar, plus 1 pinch
- 500 gr flour, type 55
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil
For the filling
- 4 tbsp tachini
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp dried grapes
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 400 ml lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- sesame, seeds
- In a bowl mix the water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir until the yeast dissolves. Leave in a warm environment and wait for the yeast to activate. It will take about 10 minutes.
- Check if the yeast has been activated, (see recipe notes above) if yes, prepare the dough.
- Add to the mixer bowl the flour and the yeast mixture. Beat for 1-2 at medium speed and then add the salt. Beat for another 5-6 minutes, until an elastic dough forms.
- Coat the mixer bowl with olive oil and leave the dough to rest in it. Cover with a bee-wrap and a towel and set aside. Wait about 1 hour until the dough doubles in size.
- While waiting prepare the filling. Chop the dried grapes and mix them with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 200 *C fan.
- Fill one bowl with water and sugar and mix until sugar dissolves, and another bowl with sesame.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 100 g. each one of them.
- Coat a surface with olive oil and form the dough into elongated shape. Bring the two edges together to form a circle.
- In order to add the filling, by using your hands flatten the surface. Spread the filling along and close the two edges. Bring the two edges together to form a circle.
- Dip each bread into the water, hover the bread ring above the bowl in order to drain a little bit. Then dip the ring into the sesame seeds.
- Place on a baking tray that have been lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
So this was my recipe for Greek sesame bread rings filled with tachini and dried grapes. A recipe that I hope you will love and make it again and again. Remember that it is important that the yeast is activated properly, and not to choose a very liquid filling.
Whereas, if you want to get the most out of them you should do half the dose unless you plan to eat 8 bread ring in one day. Why? Because these bread rings tend to dry out relatively easily. So on the day after baking them, will not be the same. Bread ring should be fluffy on the inside and crunchy in their outside.