This recipe combines two of my favorite things, bread and cheese. I also have a minor obsession with Greece, I am supposed to be taking a trip there with two lovely ladies, Tiffany and Tracie at some point after we have all graduated from college (hurry up on that Tiff, will ya?). Once there I plan on indulging in every phyllo wrapped delicacy I can find and anything that involves feta. But until then I will just have to make do with cooking things from "the bible of authentic Greek cooking," Vefa's Kitchen that I found at the library. This bread is delicious, a little sweet, very tender with pockets of soft, salty cheese.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then make a well and dump in the wet ones. Slowly combine the two.
When they have been combined, tip the dough out onto the counter and knead until it all comes together. This is a very soft dough and can be sticky so make sure to have flour standing by.
After it rises, separate the dough into four pieces. Roll each one out into a long thin rectangle. Pile crumbled feta down the center, the pinch the dough closed around it to make a cheese filled tube. Repeat.
Carefully twist each tube into a spiral. Let them rise again before topping with an egg wash and sesame seeds.
Mount Pelion Cheese Bread (from Vefa's Kitchen, published by Phaidon Press)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cups strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 scant tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
5 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 egg white
melted butter for brushing
14 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Sift together both kinds of flour and the salt into a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the honey, oil, milk, egg white and water. Incorporate the dry ingredients to form a soft, sticky dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with oil, shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl and brush the surface with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm space for about an hour, or until doubled in volume.
Brush a cookie sheet with melted butter.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured work surface into a strip 1/8 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches wide. Place a quarter of the cheese along the center of each strip lengthwise. Dampen, fold, and pinch the edges together around the cheese to form 4 long rolls.
With the seam side down, coil the rolls in individual spirals and place, well spaced and seam side down, on the cookie sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water in a bowl, brush the loaves with the mixture and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake for 30-35 min, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack and serve warm.