In Albania, a fresh loaf of bread is a
mandatory item of every household. This is why, in days that one cannot make it
to the bakery, knowing how to whip one up at home becomes a life-saving skill.
One thing is for sure, Albanians don’t like to eat any meal
without accompanying it with a, preferably crusty, steaming hot, fresh loaf of
bread. With hundreds of bakeries in each city, bread is the most accessible
food item in the country. For other times, the simple recipe below, from the
trusted AgroWeb.org, guarantees delicious homemade bread that will have your
home smelling like a rustic dream.
1 package baker’s yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 cups flour
1 glass water
1 ½ tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Extra flour to work in the dough
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, 2/3 cup flour and
water. Mix well using a wooden spoon. The dough should be thin at this point.
Leave the dough aside, in a warm place. Do not cover the bowl. Wait until the
dough is foaming somewhat. For the best results, we recommend to let it sit for
up to 2 hours.
Afterwards, blend the leftover flour and salt with a wooden
spoon while you add the dough to the mix. After the dough achieves a uniform
consistency, sprinkle some flour on your clean counter and work it in the dough
for about 5 minutes. Add pinches of flour continually until the dough is soft
but not sticky.
Spread olive oil evenly in a pan. Place the dough in the center
and brush olive oil on its surface. Cover the entire pan with a plastic bag and
place a clean towel over it. Let the dough set for about 2 hours, depending on
room temperature (the warmer, the faster it sets).
Return the dough to the flour-covered counter and work the dough
for another 2 minutes. At this point, the dough should feel very pliant. Give
the dough the desired shape (round is recommended), pout a dab of olive oil on top
and place on an oven sheet. Leave aside for one hour, until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Sprinkle some water on the dough’s
surface and place inside the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
Take it out, sprinkle with water, and return to bake for another 15 minutes.
Take it out and leave to cool for five minutes before slicing and serving.