Horiatiko Psomi: Greek Country Bread

Horiatiko Psomi (Crusty Country Bread)

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Rise Time: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 3 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
292 Calories
3g Fat
56g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 292
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 402mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 91mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Greeks love bread. You can find so many forms, ingredients, and flavors in hundreds of types of bread all over the country. A staple on all tables, bread is a key accompaniment to Greek meals. Made from wholesome ingredients and a hint of honey, one of the most beloved Greek loaves of bread is the horiatiko psomi—χωριάτικο ψωμί, pronounced hoh-ree-AH-tee-koh psoh-MEE—which is perfect as a side for soups and stews, as it's dense and perfect for picking up the juices of saucy preparations. Although it's best when left to prove overnight, our version can be made with just a three-hour rise. Fresh yeast and high protein flour are recommended to achieve the chewy texture.

In villages around Greece, this classic bread is still baked in outdoor wood-burning ovens, but a conventional oven will still yield a perfect loaf. This bread is ​denser than other types of bread and can be made with a variety of flours or a combination of more than one. If you can find semolina, use it on your work surface to add that crispy country touch to the loaves.

If you have your own sourdough starter, use 1/2 pound—slightly less than one cup for most starters—in place of the yeast in the recipe, and be aware that the starter needs more time to rise, so the total preparation time will go up by two full hours. Serve this bread at breakfast with butter and honey, or slice it as a side for salads, pasta dishes, soups, stews. Sandwiches on it are fantastic, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce fresh yeast, or 2 tablespoons dry active yeast or 1/2 pound of sourdough starter

  • 3 cups lukewarm water, divided

  • 8 1/2 cups bread flour, divided; plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing

  • 2 tablespoons honey

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Horiatiko Psomi (Crusty Country Bread) ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.

    In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup of flour and mix until all lumps of flour have dissolved to form a thick mixture. Allow it to rise about 15 to 20 minutes.​ If using a sourdough starter, make a sponge with 1/2 pound of starter, 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, and 1/2 cup of flour, allowing it to rise for 2 hours.

    add flour to the yeast mixture

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Sift the remaining flour with the salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the milk, oil, honey, yeast mixture or sourdough starter, and 2 cups of lukewarm water.

    add the flour, milk, oil, honey, yeast mixture, and lukewarm water to a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Pulling in the flour slowly, mix with your hands until you have a cohesive mass. If more water is needed, add in small amounts from the remaining 1/2 cup.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and continue kneading until the dough is nice and smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.

    knead dough on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Place the dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl and roll until all sides are greased. Cover the bowl with 3 dishtowels: first one dry, one dampened with warm water on top, and lastly one dry as well. Place in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Shape the Loaves

  1. Punch down and knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 to 4 balls, and form into your preferred shape.

    dough balls on a wood board

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Place the loaves several inches apart on top of an ungreased cookie sheet and cover with the 3 dishtowels as before—dry, damp, dry. Keep the loaves in a warm place and allow proving for one hour.

    bread dough on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Bake the Loaves

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F/220 C.​ Score the tops of the loaves in 3 or 4 places. Bake on the rack just below the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until browned. When ready, if tapped on the bottom, the bread should sound hollow.

    score the tops of the loaves

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Remove from oven and cool on racks. Serve warm.

    Horiatiko Psomi (Crusty Country Bread)

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Enjoy.

How Can I Make Bread Flour at Home?

Making your own bread flours is very easy. Bread flours have a high protein content, which in return augments the gluten content, meaning the bread will have more elasticity, a higher rise, and a better texture in its crumb. To make bread flour:

  • Measure a cup of all-purpose flour and extract one tablespoon of flour from it.
  • Replace the missing tablespoons with the same exact amount of vital wheat flour. Keep the same ratio if you need two or more cups of bread flour for your recipe.