Some Secrets of Cypriot Breadmaking

The common ingredients of bread are well-known—flour, salt, water, yeast—and their use in different proportions

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The common ingredients of bread are well-known—flour, salt, water, yeast—and their use in different proportions and with varying techniques and additions yields a marvelous variety of breads. Yet it is often an unexpected ingredient or two that give a bread its distinctive aroma and taste, according to Doros Nearchou, baker at Annabelle. Consider the hotel’s Country Bread, which is seasoned with cumin, caraway, and mastiha—the bittersweet liqueur made from the resin of the leafy evergreen mastic tree common to the Mediterranean region. Who would have thought a liqueur would be present in this rustic bread? Yet mastiha is also included in Annabelle’s Village Bread, which is further flavoured by the addition of ground mahlep. Mahlep is made from the stones of ‘Prunus mahaleb’, a species of cherry tree; the stones are cracked to remove the seed kernels which, when ground, taste of bitter almonds and cherries. The Coriander and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread uses two elements of the coriander—the leaves, which have a sharp, bitter taste, and the seeds, which are ground into a lemony powder. Annabelle’s Hiromeri Bread (hiromeri is a Cypriot cured meat like prosciutto) is seasoned with pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and basil. The Whole Grain Bread gets its dark colour from extra barley flour; sometimes, this bread is sweetened with molasses. Annabelle’s bakery regularly prepares 80 distinctive baked good recipes. Sample a fresh piece of bread and try to guess the secret ingredients that gives it that special scent and flavour.