Dakos, pizza re-invented

 

Dakos, Barley Rusk Pizza

Pizza, as we know it, is basically a baked flatbread with edible toppings. The origins of pizza, supposedly, are in Italy. It was common for the poor of the area around Naples to add tomato, introduced into Italy around the late 18th century, to their yeast-based flatbread and so the pizza was invented. 300 Years later and the pizza transformed from a healthy meal into cholesterol bomb.
The origin of a flatbread topped with whatever was available to make a meal goes back 1000's of years. The Greeks have their 'pitta', The Jews 'matzah', other parts of Italy 'focaccia' and in the Balkans 'lepinje'. India, China, the Americas - think of tortillas, all have their own versions of pizza.
These days the Italian pizza is worth a staggering 150 Billion US$ as an industry worldwide. Pizza maybe one of the most much loved foods on the planet but a pizza pie with its tasty toppings is highly calorific. Pizza no doubt makes people fatter not fitter and clogs enough arteries to support a whole army of heart surgeons.
Today I will show you how to make 'Dakos', a Cretan speciality, that turns the whole concept of pizza upside down.
Dakos is delicious, filling yet low on calories, healthy in every way, ready in less than 5 minutes (once the Rusk is done) and may even have a future of sending some of those heart surgeons looking for a career change..who knows?
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Drying time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Balkan, Greek
Keyword: Bread, easy, healthy, Quick meal, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 14 portions
Cost: 3-4 EURO/US$

Equipment

  • oven
  • baking tray
  • Whisk
  • bowl
  • spatula or spoon
  • Baking Paper
  • oven rack

Ingredients

  • 500 gram spelt flour use organic if possible
  • 500 gram barley flour use organic if possible
  • 750 ml luke warm water Chlorine kills yeast so if your tap water contains chlorine you can evaporate this chemical by boiling the water for up to 15 minutes.
  • 10-12 gram yeast dry yeast is more stable than fresh, which is why I use dried.
  • 1 tsp sugar sugar activates the yeast. You could use honey instead.
  • 2 tsp sea salt fine grain

Instructions

  • First we make bread
  • Boil water and let it cool to less than 26°C (79°F). Add sugar (or honey) as well as the yeast to the water, mix and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.
    In the mean time add both flours and the salt to a bowl. keep a handful on the side for later. Mix by using a whisk to get a homogeneous mixture.
  • Add the yeast water to the flour. At first use a spatula or spoon or even a chop stick then, when a mass starts forming use your hands to knead this mass into a dough.
    Keep adding a little flour if too wet or a little water if too dry.
    Here is a picture of a dough that was too dry. I added some water to fix the problem. Be careful to add a little at a time.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for about an hour so that the yeast can do its work.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size it's time to remove dough from the bowl and gently knead again for a minute or so.
    Keep kneading till you have a dough that's neither wet nor dry. The ideal dough is soft, not rubbery and doesn't stick to your hands, as you can see in the picture below.
  • Shape the dough into a long loaf that will fit your oven tray. Cover the tray with baking paper, sprinkle with some left over flour and place the loaf on top. Rub the rest of the flour on all sides of the loaf. We do this purely for cosmetic reasons. The Rusk will look delightful with a little coating of baked flour.
  • Using a (sharp) knife cut 3cm/1inch slots into the loaf. This helps bake each slice evenly as well as, after baking, to separate each slice from the loaf.
    Then leave the (sliced) loaf to rest and rise for an other half an hour or so, till it looks like this
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 240°C (465°F), then for 30 minutes at 200°C (392°F). Total baking time around 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let the loaf cool, on a rack, till you can touch it with your hands.
  • Now it's time to make the Rusks
  • Separate the slices from the loaf. Place the slices onto the oven rack and dry, at 100°C (212°F) for about 4 hours or till rock hard dry.
  • Your rusks are now ready for the toppings of your choice and creating your first Dakos.

Notes

If the rusks are properly dried they are best stored in a plastic (zip lock) bag. That way they keep for many months.
Traditionally Dakos (pizza) is prepared as follows;
Sprinkle the rusk first with a little water to slightly soften the bread. Then on top place diced tomatoes, pitted olives, crumbled feta cheese and finish with a generous amount of the best extra virgin olive oil, mixed with a little red wine vinegar. Garnish with sea salt, dried oregano and freshly cut parsley and/or mint.
Suggested other Toppings for Dakos:
Veggies & Herbs:
Marinated red peppers, cucumbers, boiled chickpeas, canned kidney beans, pickled sweet corn, radishes, dill, chili.
Protein:
Grilled Chicken, cured salamis, sauteed minced beef
Dressings:
Oil and vinegar, blue cheese, ceasar
Cheeses:
Grated Gouda, shaved Parmesan
Enjoy!
Dakos topped with tomato, cucumber,red onion, green chili, radishes, feta cheese, dill, parsley, spring onion, green Greek olives and wild oregano from Halkidiki

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