Fried Cheese Bread: Tiganopsomo

“Where’s your yeast?” My Greek friend was asking. “I need to show you something.” Then, like a third rate football player I was relegated to the sidelines of my own kitchen. I have become accustomed to my friend’s assertive behaviour, almost welcoming the intrusions just for the wealth of knowledge they contain. “It’s Tiganopsomo…you know, fried bread.” The tone of voice betraying amazement at my complete lack of knowledge. What my friend showed me has changed my life and my waistline. Made with a basic yeast dough, fried in olive oil, stuffed with cheese, tiganopsomo tastes like a savoury cheese yeast donut. Dare I say food perfection? Easy to make and probably extremely fattening (I have yet to see a nutritional guide), let’s just say that it’s a good thing I have self control.

What you need:

  • 500g (2 cups) of flour
  • 1 package (8g) of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 300-350 ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200-250g feta cheese (you could use any cheese here but feta is perfect)
  • Olive oil (enough to fry the bread)

How it’s done:

  • Dissolve your yeast and honey in half of the water and let sit for a few minutes
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt
  • Make a well in the centre of your flour and add the yeast/water mixture
  • Using a fork slowly combine the flour into the water with short circular movements until all of the initial water is incorporated
  • Add the remaining water and work the dough with your hands until you have a nice ball of elastic and alive dough
  • Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes
  • Grease a large mixing bowl
  • Place your ball of dough in your bowl, cover with a towel and put it in a draft-free place
  • Let rise for an hour or so or until it has doubled in size
  • Divide the dough into 10-14 balls (depending on the size of your pan)
  • Take two pieces of dough and roll each out in a circular shape until about 1/8″ (3mm) thick
  • Divide your feta equally and place a piece on top of a piece of dough
  • Place another piece of rolled out dough on top and gently seal the edges with the heel of your hand or a rolling pin
  • Continue with the rest of the dough until it is all  rolled out and stuffed with cheese
  • Heat about a 1/4″ of oil in your pan and fry each of the breads on both sides until golden brown
  • Place the breads on a paper towel to mop up any extra oil
  • Serve warm (they are good cold too!) and enjoy
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