Thursday, February 6, 2014

Peinirli -Stelios' Greek Cheese breads

Well, we call the breads Greek, they are however made from recipes brought to Greece by the refugees from Asia Minor after the destruction of Smyrna by the Turks. My late father-in-law, Demetrios Sifniades, was one of those refugees who arrived in Athens in 1922. He became a baker. This is his recipe as adapted by my husband, Stelios.

 Start with lots of onions
 Make your yeasty dough
 Cook the onions in butter(yes, you heard me right, BUTTER!)
 Chop lots of Feta Cheese

 Roll out the breads
 Fill them with the buttery onion, cheese mixture
  Bake at 500 for 14-20 minutes

Ready to eat!


The dough

8 cups all purpose flour + 4 cups water
1 spoonful honey or sugar
2 envelopes yeast
2 teaspoons salt

The topping                                       

1.5 lb feta
6 whole eggs
1 lb onions
½ stick butter (another 1 and ½ stick after baking)
½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven at the lowest setting (mine is 170 F) and turn off the heat. Place a large platter in the oven for a few minutes and let it warm up. Warm 4 cups water to body temperature (about 2-3 minutes in the microwave), add 1 spoonful of honey or sugar and stir to dissolve. Add 2 envelopes of yeast (about 14 grams total), stir and let stand for 5 min. Mix 6 cups of  flour with 2 teaspoons of salt in the large preheated platter, make a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the water with the yeast. Work the mass with a spatula or with your hands (it gets messy) and make a soft and sticky dough. Cover with an oiled paper and place the platter in the oven for one hour, at which time the volume of the dough should be about double the original size (make sure the platter is large enough; if the dough tends to overflow, punch it down).

Remove the platter from the oven (which should be almost cool by now) and heat the oven to 500 F. Spread about 1 cup of flour onto a large wood block and transfer the dough on it. Kneed the dough adding more flour as necessary until you obtain a firm non-sticky mass. Divide into 10 equal parts and shape each one into a ball. Cover the balls with oiled paper and let stand for about 15 minutes. Then work five of the balls into oblong cylinders, flatten the middle with your fingers so that you get something like a boat. Place the boats in a non-stick 11 by 17 baking sheet lined up with the short sides of the pan. If the boats tend to shrink, stretch them some more in the pan and press the middle to maintain the boat shape. 

Fill the boats with half the topping (see below) and place them in the oven, about two thirds off the bottom, for 14-20 min (use the shorter time if you are planning to refrigerate the  peinirli and serve later after reheating; if planning to serve immediately, check after 14 min to make sure the bottoms do not get burned). While baking, prepare the rest of the balls in another baking sheet. Before serving cut the boats into 4 or 5 sections each. Melt butter in a small casserole and pour over the pieces. The recommended amount is 1.5 sticks for the whole recipe, but you can use your judgment.

The topping

While the dough is rising in the oven, chop 1 lb onions, place them in a casserole with ½  stick of butter and half cup of water and saute until the onions are tender and no water remains. Let it cool. Crumble 1.5 lb feta in a bowl and add the onions. Add 6 eggs slightly beaten just before the topping is to be used and mix well with a spatula.


No comments:

Post a Comment