Xortopita – Greek Greens Pie

Wild greens constitute one of the greatest capital of Cretan cuisine. No one knows exactly how many different species of plants are used for human consumption and helped these people to survive during wars and occupation times.  I read that more than 120 herbs from the coastal zones to the higher mountain regions have been identified and counted.

Picking wild greens is a very enjoyable activity and the prepared meals are super healthy food!

For this recipe I used self-seeded Swiss chard form last year who is sprouting here and there in my vegetable garden. A great gift form the nature.

For the “Cretan” flavourful taste, I added mint and dill and some feta.

Usually these greens pies are prepared in the oven and the dough used for this is the filo.

One of the specialties of Sfakia are the “Sfakianopites”:  round flat pies filled with local mizithra cheese, pan-fried (without oil or butter) and then, served with a generous drizzle of Cretan honey.

For this pies I used the technique of the sfakianopites and worked very well.

For the dough I used my sourdough recipe which, thanks to the long ferment time, turns very elastic for rolling it out. https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/basic-bread-recipe/

For the yogurt sauce see: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/mint-and-dill-yogurt-sauce/

Xortopita - Greek Greens Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print



  • ½ cup sourdough starter (or ¼ cup water + ¼cup flour + 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • 300 greens (I used the green part of Swiss chards)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped, tender green part as well
  • 3 tablespoons cup finely chopped fresh spearmint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 200 g crumbled feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the sourdough starter with the water and the first cup of flour for the first rising into a big bowl, cover and let sit until spongy. The time depends of the kind of yeast (if using sourdough starter often I combine them the evening before or early in the morning) and the temperature.
  2. Add the the other two cups of flour and the salt for the second rising knead shortly and let lit for about 20 minutes. Now knead again until smooth. I perform this step directly in the bowl using a dough spatula and folding over the bread until done. Let rise a few hour until doubled. During this time prepare the filling.
  3. Wash the greens and drain very well. Then slice them.
  4. Heat the oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add the greens and cook stirring from time to time until the liquid is almost adsorbed.
  5. Add the herbs and combine well.
  6. Add the feta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on in a bowl to cool down.
  7. When the dough is soft, divide it into 6 pieces. Make 6 portions of filling. Note: you may make also more pieces/portions and make smaller pitas.
  8. Roll out the dough to the size of about 15 cm on a well-floured surface. Place the filling on it and carefully close the filling into the dough trying to exclude as much air as possible.
  9. Dust well with flour and slowly roll this out to the desired size. I made round of about 25 cm. Do not staple them, but place them on a well-floured surface until cooking time.  Best if you would in team and somebody helps you the roast the pitas while you roll them out.
  10. Heat a skillet and roast dry on both sides until browned. Note: We decided to cook them on the open fire.
  11. Serve if warm with yogurt sauce.
  12. Leftovers may be kept in the fried for a few day or be frozen.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Speckgugelhopf with Walnuts – (Sourdough Version)

Traditionally bakers make this rich Alsatian (southern part of France near the Swiss border) bread in hand-painted earthenware molds, but steel, non-stick-metal or glass molds are fine too. The size of the mold corresponds to about 2 liter. This soft savory Gugelhopf (or Kugelhopf or Gugelhups) is perfect to be served (if possible lukewarm) as appetizer with some wine and it goes always very quickly.


  • substitute walnuts with pecan or almonds
  • add chopped rosemary or thyme
  • substitute bacon by diced cheese
  • add fried onion rings
  • substitute pork bacon by dried smoked beef or turkey bacon

Speckgugelhopf with Walnuts - (Sourdough Version)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


Activated starter

  • 100 g sourdough starter
  • 100 g water
  • 100 g flour


  • 175 ml milk
  • 350 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 150 g butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg

Additions for the taste

  • 200 g country bacon whole, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (pecans works well as well), coarsely chopped


  1. For this recipe, you have to activate the starter combining the sourdough starter you kept in the fridge with the same amount of each water and flour (each 100 g). Best do it the evening before and loosely cover in a bowl; it should be ready after about 10-12 hours at room temperature. At this time starter should be very active and spongy.

Note: his is left to mature (ferment) until ready to be used to mix into a dough.

  1. Now it’s time to add the ingredients for the dough. Add the milk, the 350 flour, the salt, the butter and the egg.
  2. Knead with the hock until it looks smooth and it begins to loosen from the walls. Cover and let rise until it doubles the volume. Depending on the kind of your culture, this can take 4-8 hours.
  3. Dice the bacon into 5-8 mm cubes and roast in in a pan. If it loos to much fat, drain it.
  4. Bring bacon and nuts into the risen dough it over several times. I don’t knead it in order to keep the dough as soft as possible.
  5. Make a hole into the center of the dough and place it in the prepared tin (please butter it before; you may also use the fat of the bacon).
  6. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it at least doubles the volume. This may take about 2-3 hours.
  7. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes in the lower half of an oven preheated to 200°C. If notice that during the baking time the surfaces begins to turn to dark, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  8. Wait a few minutes before unmolding and serve it possible lukewarm.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 27 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Overnight Sourdough Waffles

Who does not dream warm crispy waffles for breakfast?

Our daughter prepared her new sourdough starter and this was her very first recipe with her new “baby”. We enjoyed these super delicious waffles for breakfast with our honey.

This waffles can be prepared with sourdough starter leftovers after refreshment of your culture.

At the end, we got much more waffles than what we needed, but we froze what we did not eat and we will probably reheat the waffles directly placing them for a very short time in the hot iron again! Here other ways to reheat them: https://www.vintagecooking.com/how-to-reheat-leftover-waffles/

Overnight Sourdough Waffles

  • Servings: 20 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Overnight Dough

  • 1 cup active sourdough starter 
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Final Batter

  • 2  eggs
  • ¼ cup  melted butter or vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. Combine and mix all the ingredients for the Overnight Dough in a big bowl. Cover (do not close tightly). Let sit overnight at room temperature or for more or less 8 hours. After this time the dough should be risen and a spongy.
  2. In a bowl, combine the additional ingredients.
  3. Stir or better fold under this mixture into the sponge. The dough should stay soft!
  4. Preheat your waffle iron.
  5. Cook the waffles according to your waffle maker’s instruction.
  6. In our case, we used ½ cup batter for each waffle (about 10 to 10 cm square). This took 5 minutes for each pair of waffles. After this time, they were golden brown, cooked through and crispy outside. To remove the waffles form the iron we used a silicon spatula.
  7. Repeat with the remaining batter. At the end, we got 20 waffles.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 21 Stay at Home or In the Garden: Bread and Honey

Best way to start the morning: a delicious homemade bread, with homemade honey and fabulous coffee.

The recipes:

Sourdough Bread Baked in Wooden Oven

Hot Golden Spiced Frappuccino

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 12: Stay at Home or In the Garden: Soft Sourdough Pretzels

These days we stay more at home and we make all meals with ingredients from scratch.

A few days ago, I began to think about pretzels, I really wanted some and I had a pretzels recipe which worked for me. My old recipe is now 5 year old and in the meantime, I switched for commercial yeast and to sourdough.

It was time to revise my recipe and to adapt it to my currently needs.

I changed also the glaze bath to baking soda to ash soda; I also decided to change the shape from 24 mini pretzels to 12 medium-small pretzels.

Proofing time had to be changed. I started with my work in the afternoon and as I realized that these would never be ready for dinner, we placed the dough overnight in the fridge and continued the next morning in order to have the pretzels for lunch.

The result was awesome; I will make these again soon!

For this recipe, we used soda ash (sodium carbonate) but with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) it will work as well. The important this is respecting the boiling time!

Soft Sourdogh Pretzels

  • Servings: 12 small pieces
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print



  • 1/2 cup active starter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 cup soda ash
  • 5 cups water


  • Coarse salt or better fleur de sell


  1. Put starter, sugar, water and 1 cup of flour in bowl and stir well. Let sit covered for about 2 hours to proof.
  2. Add rest of flour as well as all the other ingredients and knead dough until smooth and not sticky.
  3. Place dough back in bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Note: you can relent this process and place the bowl in the fridge overnight. Next day remove form the fridge and let finish to rise.
  4. When dough has risen, punch down.
  5. Divide dough into 12 portions and form rolls of about 60 cm or the size you like. Take care that the center of the roll should be thicker. Shape the logs into pretzels and place them on greased tray or over parchment foil.
  6. Allow pretzels to rest for about 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the glaze: boil water with soda ash. Reduce heat. Also, preheat the oven to 250°C/ 475°F.
  8. Remove pretzels gently from the trays (2 trays with each 6 pieces), place them one by one into the boiling baking soda solution (I could place max 2 of them in the solution at once). Boil for about 30 seconds on one side, then flip them over and boil 30 second on the other side. Remove them using a large slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper or simply greased.
  9. Score the thicker part of the pretzels and sprinkle with the salt.
  10. Let rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
  11. Bake at 250°C/ 475°F for about 15 minutes or until they are a medium to dark golden brown. Note: bake in two batches if your oven does not allow two trays simultaneously.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Day 7: Stay at Home: Filo Twisted Spinach Pie from Scratch

I made this Greek spinach pie in about 30 minutes working time, thanks my kneading machine. I did not measure the exactly amount of the ingredients for the filo. While the kneading machine was working/kneading, I had the time to prepare the filling. At the end, it was a very simplified version of my post  Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough.  I could have used more ingredients, but at these times, I preferred to skip some and for example save the feta and eggs for other recipes. No shopping excursions now! I will simply list the ingrediens and the procedure. We miss Crete so much!

Filo Twisted Spinach Pie from Scratch

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print



  • 1 1/2 cups four
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespona ouzo
  • about 1/3 cups water water


  • olive oil
  • 300 g spinach, whashed
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • mint, chopped
  • dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablesppons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • salt to taste
  • sesame and nigella seeds


  1. For the filo combine flour, oil, salt and ouzo in the kneading bowl. While kneading add water until you see the dough forms, turns smooth and elastic. Let kneed while you prepare the filling.
  2. Fry the onion in about 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add the other ingredients and let cook until spinach turn soft and the liquid is adsorbed.
  3. Roll out half of the dough to a rectangle of about 20 to 40 cm. Stretch with the back of our hand until about 30 to 60 long.  Brush with oil. Spoon the filling (on the shorter side of the rectangle) but do not go all the way to the edges so that the pastry sheet margins could be folded in slightly. Roll or pack lengthwise. Place the roll in spiral in your round baking tray ( 28 cm diameter). Repeat with the second portion.
  4. Combine the water, oil, salt and flour for the topping. Brush the spiral with this and top with seeds.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes at 190°C until golden and crispy.
  6. Enjoy warm, lukewarm or cold.
Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bread Swirls with Olives

Prepare these savory small breads in advance and freeze them. You will need only 2 minutes in a preheated oven and you have something special to serve as appetizer, as side for a meal or simply for a snack. They will be very much appreciated!

Variation: Add some oregano to the dough or top the swirls with sesame seeds

Bread Swirls with Olives

  • Servings: about 24 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 100 g sourdough starter (or 50 g water + 50 g flour + 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast)
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cups black flour or any whole kind of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  • Olive oil (optional)


  1. The evening before combine well the starter, water, flours and salt. Knead about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place overnight.
  2. The next morning the dough should have risen, stretch it to a rectangle of about 50 to 30 cm on a well-floured surface.
  3. Distribute the olives on the dough leaving 5 cm of the long border free. Roll it so that you get a long (50 cm) roll and slice it into 2 cm think swirls. Place the pieces on a baking tray. Brush with olive oil if you like.
  4. Let rise again in a warm place (this took me about 1 hour, but it depends on the temperature and the kind of yeast).

Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Basic Bread Recipe

Fascination “Bread”! Bread is life and the preparation is magic! I always love to see how the dough is rising and how it grows while baking! I love baking bread so much, that I could stay days in experimenting and baking again and again; if possible in the wooden oven. This is a wonder, which occurs every time I make my dough!

How to knead dough ad how to give the shape to the loaf is something that need to learned and some exercise is needed. I strongly recommend to check the internet and look at videos about this topic.

In this post I give you a simply basic recipe, you should try to follow this and then make your variations.

During the past 2 years I started to make bread with sourdough (100 % hydration aka same quantity of flour and water in the culture), but this does not mean that sourdough recipes cannot be converted in recipes for commercial yeast. Keep in mind: you may substitute “1/2 cup sourdough starter” simply with “1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon yeast (instant, dried or fresh)” and it works perfectly! The rising time will be different: wild yeast (sourdough) is usually slower, but this is only a question of planning and experience.

For standardized baking recipes the exactly amount of the ingredients is required and for this reason the weight of the ingredients is an important factor, but if you do not have the possibility to check the weigh or you need simply a quick recipe, this goes very well and I made very good experiences with this.

In my case 1 cup = 220 ml water and 1 cup = 125 – 130 g all-purpose flour (I checked the weight); the weight of the flour depends on the kind of the flour and the adsorption of water is different.  This dough should not to be too wet (about 60% hydration), for this, I can work this independently of the kind of flour and I seldom need to add more flour or liquid.

I change the kind of flour to my need and inspiration, I can remember the great whole-wheat flour I used in Norway was excellent, but also the mixed grains flour I bought in Italy was superb!

I you need a smaller amount of dough, the simplest way is to use a smaller cup or a glass and I reduce the amount of the needed yeast.

If I know that the flour I will use for the second rising is “heavy” lot of grains and maybe seed, I prefer to use plain white flour for the first rising.

Variations for the dough:

It’s in the mixture for the second rising where I mostly add other ingredients; these may be savory but also sweet or even sugar if I want to make brioches!  Here a few examples: olives, herbs, chopped sun dried tomatoes, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried figs, candied orange zest…

Variation for the filling:

This recipe can be also used for filled breads, e.g. Turkish “pides”; during our holiday in Norway, we filled the bread simply with canned tuna fish mixed with pesto (+salt/pepper).

Variation for the topping:

The easiest way is simply to dust the loaf with flour and make some cuts (aka scoring the bread), but nice results can be get sprinkling some seed , brushing with water, milk or oil for a focaccia after flatting the bread making holes and sprinkling them with water, salt and rosemary.

Some of my recipes based on this water/flour proportions:

Basic Bread Recipe

  • Difficulty: easy-medium
  • Print

For the basic bread you need:

Starter (equivalent to 1/2 cup sourdough starter):

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast

First rising

  • 1/2 cup starter (see above)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

Second rising

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil (if using white flour I love to add some olive oil)
  • Additional ingredients to taste

Topping (make you selection or play with you phantasy)


  1. Check the yeast combining the ingredients for starter and checking after 20 minutes (or according the package) if the yeast is alive.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a big bowl, cover and let sit until spongy. The time depends of the kind of yeast (if using sourdough starter I combine these the evening before or early in the morning) and the temperature.
  3. Add the ingredients for the second rising knead shortly and let lit for about 20 minutes. Now knead again until smooth. I perform this step directly in the bowl using a dough spatula and folding over the bread until done. Let rise a few hour until doubled.
  4. Now it’s time to shape the bread (for the suggestions check at the end of the recipe)
  5. The last proof depends on the temperature, in winter the oven (switched off, light on) is the best place for this step, but the temperature should not exceed 30°C!
  6. When the bread is almost doubled it’s time to preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until begins to turn light brown and if you press the crust you feel it is crunchy enough, if not, bake for a few minute again.

Shaping bread suggestions;

Reipe: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

Today I do not pretend to bring you a completely new recipe. Once again as in the…. I will bring a variation using a different kind of flour: an Italian flour blend of mixed grain.

The proportion are similar:  ½ cup starter + 1 cup water + 3 cups flour and salt.

Take care to refresh your sourdough starter with white flour as usual!

Enjoy this beautiful crunchy bread!

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
  • Print

You need:


  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour


  • 2 cups flour mixed grain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • Flour fort he working surface and to coat the bread


  1. The evening before or early in the morning combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature), add the mixed grain flour and the salt. Knead shortly and let lit it sit until you see that it begins to rise.
  3. Knead well again, cut into two pieces and shape each of them to a ball (boule) giving strengths to the walls.
  4. Dust well with flour and place them on the well-floured tray where you bake them.
  5. Make 3 long incisions: about 1 cm deep and crossing in the center of the bread.
  6. Last proof depends on the temperature. When the breads are at least doubled, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until well browned, this takes about 30 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a grid.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Sourdough Brioches with Orange

Our delicious oranges from Crete (the best I know!) inspired me to prepare homemade candied orange zest and since then I am using them for different recipes.

Just before Easter, I prepare my “Colomba” again (Easter Italian Dove Cake) and this week these easier version perfect for breakfast and for giveaway!

In recipe I mentioned the soft candied orange zest; I made it at home boiling the cleaned orange peels (after easting the orange first) in water, throwing away most of the liquid and adding the sugar (same weight as the zest). I’ve boiled until the water was evaporated and the zest quite dry but still soft. I spread it on a baking tray and the next day I sliced it and placed it in small jars.  In order to prevent mold, I placed the closed jars in a pot with boiling water (covering half of the height of the jars) and after simmering for at least 30 minutes, switched of the heat and waited until cooled down in the pot. This is not the conventional way to prepare the zest, but it’s easy for me and I love to have this wonderful ingredient ready to be used.

If you don’t make the candied orange zest yourself, I suggest soften it for a few hours in little hot water prior use.

We know that not everybody has his culture of sourdough, for this reason a placed the alternative directly in the ingredients!

Sourdough Brioches with Orange

  • Servings: 40 pieces
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

You need:


  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration), alternative: 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup flour + 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 orange grated zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for the dough)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup of soft candied orange zest (best if made at home)
  • Additional flour for rolling out
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter for brushing


  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar for clear glaze


  1. Combine in a big bowl the sourdough starter, stir well, add the first cup of flour and stir well again. Cover and place in a war warm place to rise (I use the oven with only light on). The best temperature is around 26-27°C.
  2. When the mixture is foaming add the orange zest, salt, the first 1/4 cup of butter, the sugar, and the egg. Stir well. Mix together 3 cups of four with the orange zest and add them to the dough. Stir and knead until well combined. You may stir/knead with the dough spatula in the bowl or use the kneading machine. The dough should result wet but not too sticky. If necessary, add some more flour.
  3. Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place (see above).
  4. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out the first portion onto a floured surface to the size of about 50 to 40 cm. Brush with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and roll the dough form the longer side. Now you have cylinder about 50 cm long. Cut the cylinder into 2.5 cm slices and place each one in a prepared muffin mold (I use silicone ones so I don’t need to prepare the surface). Repeat the same with the second part of the dough.
  5. Place a heat-resistant bowl of warm water into the oven and place the molds in the oven to rise. Depending on your yeast/sourdough and the temperature, this takes 1 hour to a few hours!
  6. Let rise until they rise (I let them rise until three fold volume!) and preheat the oven to 170°C (let the bowl in the oven.
  7. For the glaze combine the hot water with the sugar and stir until the sugar almost completely melted. Gently brush the risen brioches.
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown!

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.