Barley Rusks (Dakos)

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Malted barley grain is mainly used to brew beer and whiskey but is used here to give the barley rusks a sweet, nutty flavor. Look for it at home-brew stores or order it online, along with malted barley flour. Top these crunchy toasts with tomatoes, olive oil and feta, or serve them alongside dips like taramosalata and tzatziki. For breakfast, do as Cretans do and crumble them in a bowl and top with yogurt, fruit, nuts and seeds.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine all-purpose flour, barley flour, malted barley flour, malted barley grain (or more malted barley flour), aniseed, coriander, yeast, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup oil and grape molasses (or honey and vinegar). With the mixer on medium-low, add water and mix for 6 minutes. The dough should be somewhat sticky, but pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s too dry, add a little more water; if it’s too wet, add 1 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Coat a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, place the dough in it and turn to coat. Coat one side of a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the bowl with it. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • Position racks in middle and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Cut the dough in half and divide each half into 3 pieces. Keeping the remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap, roll one piece at a time into a thick rope, about 18 inches long. Cut in half and coil each half into a round bagel-like bun, with or without a hole in the middle. Press lightly with the heel of your hand to flatten slightly. Place the dakos about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared pans. (Alternatively, shape the dough into paximadia: Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a 14-inch-long log and transfer to the prepared pans.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

  • Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees . Bake until firm and brown on the bottom, switching the pans from top to bottom and rotating from front to back halfway through, about 40 minutes more.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees . Remove the pans from the oven. Cut each dakos in half horizontally. (If you are making paximadia, let the logs cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch slices with a serrated knife.) Place the rounds (or slices) directly on the oven racks, overlapping if necessary, and bake until completely dry, about 2 hours.

  • Transfer the dakos (or paximadia) to wire racks and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

 

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