Koulouria me Maidano ke Maratho

Crisp Parsley and Fennel Bread Rings

I FIRST tasted these crunchy, spicy bread rings in a bakery in Chania, on Crete. They are an ideal accompaniment to wine. You can also serve them with a soft cheese, such as cottage or farmer’s.

Ingredients

  • cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup packed coarsely chopped fennel fronds plus tender stalks, or fresh dill
  • About 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Method

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and sauté the parsley and fennel fronds or dill over medium heat until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add ½ cup of the water and the fennel seeds and process until smooth. Transfer the parsley mixture to a medium bowl, and clean the food processor bowl.

Combine the flour, yeast, salt and pepper in the food processor and pulse to blend. With the motor running, pour in the parsley mixture and the remaining cup oil, then slowly add enough of the remaining ½ cup water so a soft dough forms. Process until it forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.

Oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more all-purpose flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, 1½ to 2 hours.

Oil 3 or 4 baking sheets. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces. Divide each piece into 10 pieces. Work with 1 piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. Roll each piece into a 7-inch-long rope and shape it into a ring, pressing the ends together to seal. Place rings on oiled baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Let rise for 30 minutes, until almost doubled.

At least 20 minutes before baking, Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rings in batches for 25 minutes, or until light golden and hard. Transfer to racks and let cool. Stored in airtight containers, they will keep for up to 3 months.

,