If you’re looking for a tasty Greek treat, don’t miss out on Koulouri Thessalonikis – The Greek Sesame Bagel. These Vegan round bread rings, covered in sesame seeds, are a staple street food enjoyed by both locals and visitors. They can be found at bakeries and street vendors all over Greece. Whether you have them for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day, Koulouri Thessalonikis is a must-try.
You can enjoy them as they are, but there’s more! You can also fill them with cheese and ham for a savory twist. However, my personal favorite is to cut them open and spread cream cheese and a drizzle of honey. It’s a delightful combination that adds a touch of creaminess and sweetness to the already delicious Koulouri Thessaloniki.
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The perfect Koulouri -Thessalonikis has a golden crust, chewy texture, and nutty flavor. And to make these you need to find the perfect blend of flour.
Strong flour, also called bread flour, contains a higher amount of gluten, usually around 11-14% gluten protein. This extra gluten gives it exceptional elasticity and strength, making it perfect for baking bread. The increased gluten provides structure, helping the dough maintain its shape, resulting in bread with a chewy texture. Strong flour is specifically designed for yeast-based bread recipes that need a sturdy gluten network for optimal rise and structure. In summary, strong flour is excellent for making delicious, chewy bread with a perfect texture.
All purpose flour
All-purpose flour typically contains around 8-11% gluten protein. The gluten content may vary slightly depending on the brand and specific type of all-purpose flour. This moderate gluten level strikes a balance between the high gluten content of bread flour and the lower gluten content of cake or pastry flour. It makes all-purpose flour versatile for a wide range of baking applications, including bread, cookies, cakes, and more.
How to make Koulouri Thessalonikis – The Greek Sesame Bagel
Preparing the Dough
- In a bowl, simply combine water and yeast, giving it a good stir until the yeast completely dissolves. Allow the mixture to rest for approximately 5-6 minutes until you notice the yeast becoming foamy.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients (strong flour ‘bread flour’, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt) to the mixing bowl of an Electric Stand Mixer with a dough hook* attached. Beat the ingredients on medium/high speed using the mixer. Keep an eye on it as it should take approximately 7-8 minutes for the dough to transform into a soft and elastic consistency that is easy to handle. You’ll notice the dough pulling away from the bottom of the bowl, a sign that it’s ready for the next steps.
- If you don’t have a Electric Stand Mixer with dough hook, you can knead by hand. Knead the dough by hand for approximately 15 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic. Watch for the dough pulling away from the surface, indicating it’s ready.
- To ensure the dough doesn’t stick, generously grease the interior of a bowl with oil. Transfer the prepared dough to the greased bowl and cover it securely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest undisturbed for a period of 1 – 1 ½ hour, or until it doubles in size.
Shaping and Coating the Koulouri Thessalonikis
- Preheat at the oven to 200°C (392°F).
- Start by filling a bowl with water. Add the sugar to the water and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. In a separate bowl, place the sesame seeds, ready to be used for coating the Koulouri Thessalonikis.
- Prepare a clean work surface . Take the dough and cut it into approximately 10 pieces.
- If the dough sticks too much to the work surface, lightly brush work surface with olive oil instead of adding more flour to the dough.
- Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and cover them with a towel to prevent them from drying out while you prepare the remaining dough.
- Then, using your hands, knead each ball into a long roll. Join the ends of the roll together to form a circle, ensuring that all the rings are of similar size and shape.
- Take each koulouri and dip it into the bowl of water, ensuring it is fully coated. Then, immediately transfer the wet koulouri to the bowl containing the sesame seeds, gently coating its surface evenly using a spoon. This process will help the sesame seeds adhere to the koulouri, giving it that characteristic sesame-covered appearance.
- Place 4 Koulouria on baking pans lined with parchment paper. Bake them in a preheated oven for about 17-20 minutes until they turn golden in color. Keep an eye on them to prevent over-browning.
Freeze and Bake Later
Koulouri Thessalonikis are best enjoyed on the same day, but you can also freeze them before baking for later use. After coating the Koulouri Thessalonikis with sesame seeds, place them on a tray lined with parchment paper and place the tray in the freezer. Once they are fully frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezing bag, ensuring to place parchment paper between each bagel for easy separation. When you’re ready to enjoy fresh Koulouri Thessalonikis, simply let them thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour. Then, place them on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake them in a preheated oven at 200°C (392°F) for 17-20 minutes. Alternatively, if you prefer to use an air fryer, set it to 180°C (356°F) and air fry them for 10 minutes, turning them once after 8 minutes to ensure even baking on both sides.
If you prefer, you can choose to use sunflower seeds or poppy seeds instead of sesame seeds to cover the Koulouri Thessalonikis- The Greek Sesame Bagel. This will give them a different taste and a distinct look.
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