In the winter or early spring, when the garden is full of greens, both cultivated and wild, like the ominous-looking juicy nettles, I often bake green bread and crunchy paximadia that are quite striking and exceptionally delicious! They are an almost guilt-free snack, and Costas eats them with his coffee in the morning or after lunch; I often serve them with all kinds of salads and spreads as part of the meze; they complement ideally all kinds of apetizers, like Tarama or Smoked Herring spread, Tyrokafteri, and also the festive Liver Pate with Pistachios.
Makes enough biscotti to fill two 3 quart jars
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano, or fresh thyme or rosemary leaves
3 cups bread flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup rye flour
2 packages instant dry yeast (1/2 ounce)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup thick Greek-type yogurt
About 3 cups, as needed, greens’ pulp (see Note) mashed in the blender with water to the consistency of heavy cream
In a food processor grind the sunflower seeds together with the oregano. thyme or rosemary, to get a fine paste.
In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the ground sunflower seeds with the flours, the yeast, the salt and the pepper, and pulse a few times to blend.
Take out the bowl, make a well in the center of the flours and add the olive oil and the yogurt. Work mixture for 30 seconds then with the motor running slowly add enough greens pulp to form a soft dough. Process on medium-low for 5 minutes or until the dough forms a ball that ‘cleans’ the sides of the bowl.
Oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a 13-inch-long baguette and transfer to the baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes.
At least 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the breads start to color. Carefully, because the baguettes could break, transfer to a rack, cover with a clean tea-towel and let rest for 12-24 hours.
With a good serrated knife cut the baguettes into about ¼-inch slices and arrange in rows, on oven racks or baking sheets, overlapping if necessary. Turn the oven to 180˚- 190°F and bake the slices for about 2 hours or more, rotating the racks halfway through, until the biscotti are completely dry.
Let cool in the oven, with the door open, and when completely cool store in airtight containers.
They keep for 3 months or more.
Use any combination of sweet greens: chard, outer leaves of lettuce, spinach, flat-leaf parsley, beet greens etc. Blanch the leaves in boiling water until tender, then drain and pulse in the blender, adding some of the cooking liquid to get a smooth pulp with the consistency of heavy cream.
If you use nettles, prepare as I describe in my nettle soup.