If you are in Greece and after some breakfast on the run, Koulouri (Κουλούρι) is a fabulous option for you, as it’s both filling and healthy!
Known as much-loved Greek street food, this round-shaped bread is packed with good carbohydrates and proteins. And if you are wondering what it tastes like, it is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and sprinkled with plenty of sesame seeds on top.
Koulouri is enjoyed by people of all ages around the country and is most popular in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s largest city’s where you are guaranteed to come across a Koulouri stand.
Some historians trace the Koulouri’s origins back to early Christianity and during Byzantine years is when it is said to have first appeared in Constantinople. It then became popular in Thessaloniki, when the Greeks from Asia Minor brought it to the Macedonian city around 1922.
The word 'Koulouri' comes from the ancient Greek word “kollikion”, which means a round bread made with coarsely ground wheat and is mentioned in many Byzantine scripts.
This tasty snack has slowly evolved and now comes in a variety of flavours including multi-seed, tahini, whole wheat and you can also find it filled with Greek cheese or meat.
Lots of people also like to cut a Koulouri in half and spread Nutella, butter or jam on it.
And for those of us who are unable to visit Greece (due to the pandemic), I share with you a recipe on how to make these delicious rings of bread.
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- ½ cup of whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (or honey)
- 1¼ cups of lukewarm water
- 2 packages of active dry yeast
For the coating:
- 2 cups of room temperature water
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- sesame seeds
Method to make Koulouria
- In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast with water and sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes for it foam.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt, stirring together for a couple of minutes.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat well for 10 minutes, until a soft, elastic dough forms. The dough should be easy to handle and it should pull away from the bottom and the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water; if it is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour.
- Lightly grease the sides of a bowl. Transfer dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30-90 minutes. The dough should have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Prepare the coating: Dissolve the sugar with about 2 cups of room temperature water.
- Place the sesame seeds in a separate, shallow pan.
- Lightly grease the kitchen bench. Place dough on surface and divide into 10 pieces. Roll pieces into balls.
- Knead each ball into a long roll (like a sausage shape), then gently turn ends towards each other to form a circle or koulouri. The rings should be roughly the same size.
- Carefully dip each ring into the coating and then into the sesame seeds.
- Place each koulouri onto the tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and place on a rack.
- Enjoy the koulouri while it's still hot and fresh! And don't forget your coffee!
I thoroughly enjoy making koulouria (while singing & dancing), watching them cook in the oven and then eating one hot & fresh out of the oven!