THE DOUGH for these crunchy bread rings is enriched with olive oil. In Kythera, the same dough is shaped into a loaf and deeply slashed before baking; the slices are then taken apart and baked again, until completely dry, to become the famous savory olive oil biscuits of the island.
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until frothy.
Place the starter in a food processor, add 3½ cups flour, salt, oil and the yeast mixture and pulse a few times. With the motor running, pour in
Process the dough for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until slightly sticky and elastic (add a little water if the dough is too stiff).
Lightly oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, adding a little more flour as needed until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled bowl. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.
Lightly oil 3 or 4 baking sheets. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces. Cut each piece into quarters. Work with 1 piece of dough at a time, keeping the re maining dough covered. Roll 1 of the pieces under your palms into a 24-inch-long rope. Press the ends together to form a ring. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet. Continue forming rings with the rest of the dough, placing them at least ½ inch apart on the baking sheets. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Let rise for 30 minutes.
At least 20 minutes before baking,
Transfer to racks and let cool completely. They keep for at least 3 months in a tightly covered tin.
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