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Traditional Zea Bread


The Greek "Zea" bread has a fascinating history. It's actually farro grain and has been used in Greece forever- it's even been found in ancient excavations. It comes from the ancient Greek word "zeidoron" (which means "life giving") which signifies that it has long been recognized for its nutritional value.


Legend has it that the soldiers of Alexander the Great used to chew on zea seeds and then drink water to fill them up because the grains would swell. The Zea Marina in Piraeus was supposedly named after the grain because it was once cultivated in the area and traded there. The bread is popular to this day in Greece and now the USA because it is low in gluten and has nearly double the nutritional value of other breads. It's also more organic because it doesn't require fertilizer or pesticides to grow.


INGREDIENTS

3/4 OZ Fleischmann's Baker's Select Yeast

2 1/2 cups of water

2 pounds Zea flour ( Zea is also known as farro, emmer, or dinkle)

2 1/4 teaspoons pure artisanal Atlantic sea salt (my mother used Ionian Sea salt)

2 tablespoons EVOO


METHOD

1) In a mixing bowl add the yeast to water and mix gently by hand until completely dissolved

2) Place the sea flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt and oil

3) Pour the water and yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour, salt, and oil; mix by hand to combine the ingredients into the dough

4) Continue mixing by hand until the dough is even in consistency and the flour is completely combined

5) Using flour on your hands, the dough ball, and a clean hard surface like a counter top or pastry board, form the dough into a ball and knead the dough for 3 to 4 more minutes

6) Place the dough in a large mixing bowl, cover with a damp towel, and place somewhere warm and free from draft for 30 minutes.

7) After 30 minutes remove the dough ball and knead for another 3 to 4 minutes.

8) Divide the dough into sizes of your preference

9) Form the shapes you desire and place on well oiled trays or pans. For Maria's breakfast sandwich form 4 to 6 inch boule or baguette shapes

10) Cover the formed dough balls again with a damp towel and return to a warm place for another 30 to 45 minutes

11) Uncover the dough and bake in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50 to 55 minutes

12) Remove the bread from the oven and set to cool on wire racks before serving