Cretan DakosJun 20th, 2008 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Baking, Bread, Cretan, Greek, Herbs, How To, Meze, Olive Oil, Snacks
This makes Greece a peninsula but one cannot forget the hundreds of islands that dot the Mediterranean and host as Europes’s playground each summer.
Greece’s largest island is Crete (South of the mainland). If you ask any Greek, they will tell you Crete is a “must see” island.
Cretans are an independant bunch, leaders rather than followers and if one took a look at their lifestyle, you’d think their motto would be ” why fix something that’s not broken”. This is certainly true of the Cretan Diet.
Although most Greeks eat much of the same foods on a daily basis, Cretans are steeped in the old ways…buying and consuming locally sourced produce, meats and other goods that arrive on the kitchen table. The Cretans are blessed with still being able to live off the bounty of their land.
Here are the basics of the Cretan Diet:
- Eat local and eat seasonally.
- Incorporate as much wild greens into your daily diet as possible.
- Eat a moderate amount of dairy and milk products.
- Limit the consumption of meat to once or twice a week.
- Eat a moderate amount of seafood.
- Olive oil is the principle fat in the diet.
- An abundance of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables are consumed.
I have not been to Crete (yet) but I will go, perhaps next year. It’s a big island and I believe that a two week tour of the island will do it justice and give me a good taste of what I like of the island. That way, I can pinpoint where to visit on Crete during future visits.
For a few months now, I’ve been getting a daily glimpse into Cretan life through the eyes and words of Maria of Organically Cooked. Maria is an ex-pat New Zealander of Greek extraction who now lives permanantly in Crete with her husband and children.
Maria writes in depth accounts of Cretan life, diet, recipes, traditions and the struggle of an ancient society trying to buck the changing world around them. It’s an uphill battle but Cretans are strong – they will prevail.
One of Crete’s most popular gifts to Greek cuisine is the Cretan Dakos. Dakos are a twice baked rusk made of whole wheat or barley flour and bread has always been an important part of Cretan and Greek diets.
Dakos or Paximadi have been known in Crete since the Middle Ages. These rusk-like rolls are shaped into rings and baked once before being sliced in two and dried slowly in a cooling oven.
After searching on the ‘net for a Dakos recipe…all I would come up with are instructions with how to dress a Dako…DUH!
This recipe is from a chef named Ioannis Lappas. Three types of flour are used here: regular all-purpose, whole-wheat and barley.
If you’re wondering where to find barley flour, check out a health food store or a bulk food store (that’s where I found mine).
Dakos are Greece’s own Bruschetta. When preparing a Dakos, be generous with the extra-virgin olive oil and allow a couple of moments for them to become thouroughly impregnated. Not only does it provide the bread with a great taste but it prevents the juices of the tomatoes from making the bread soggy (crunchy is good here).
Finally, although most Cretans wouldn’t do this, I recommend mincing some garlic into the grated tomatoes or brushing the Dakos with a clove of garlic to impart some flavour.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup barley flour
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
some warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3 cups of warm water
- In one bowl, add your yeast with some sugar and tepid water and allow for the yeast to activate for a few minutes.
- In another bowl, add all three of your flours and salt and mix well.
- When your yeast is readyand active, add the olive oil to your yeast mixture and then make a well in the middle of your flour and add the yeast mixture into the flour and gradually add your warm water while drawing in more flour.
- Knead the mixture on a work surface that’s been treated with bench flour for about 5 minutes. The dough should be moist but not stick to the work surface (add flour as needed). Form into a ball then cover with plastic cling wrap and a tea towel and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes (room temperature).
- Divide into small balls and then roll each out into a long piece of dough, then form into a ring.
- Place each ring onto a oiled baking tray and cover. Allow the dough to rise (expand) for another hour or so.
- Place your tray in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes and bake in batches. When the bread is still warm but safe to handle, cut each ring into half and place back on the baking tray.
- Turn your oven off and place your trays of Dakos back in the oven for about 40 minutes to dry up in the oven’s residual heat.
- When the Dakos have returned to room temperature, you may dress your Cretan Dako.
4 Cretan Dakos
Extra-virgin olive oil
clove of garlic
1 large very ripe, sweet tomato
crumbled feta cheese
dried Greek Oregano
- Take a clove of garlic and use it to scrape on the Dako to impart the garlic flavour on the bread.
- Now generously drizzle extra-virgin olive oil onto each Dako and allow for the oil to soak in for a few minutes.
- Make a puree of fresh tomato using the side of your box grater with the largest holes and discard the skin.
- Spoon the tomato puree onto each Dako.
- Now top with crumbled Greek Feta and finish off with dried Greek oregano.
- Serve as an appetizer, meze or snack.
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© 2008, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.