Baking, Freezer Friendly, Greek Cypriot dishes, Sides & Snacks

Olive Bread Balls / Χωριάτικες Ελιόπιτες

olive bread balls, greek eliopitta, vegan recipe by itsaplantbasedlife.com

There is nothing more Cypriot than the humble olive. As my father and relatives tell me, traditionally in cyprus, breakfast was usually olives and bread (& fruit if it was summer). [Unfortunately, thats no longer the case, where this humble breakfast has been replaced with cheese, eggs, smoked ham and chronic disease]. The village olive pie (as known in greek) was made to combine these two humble ingredients into one. Local herbs were used to complement the olive and extra virgin olive oil used to bind it. The secret ingredient in these pies is the orange juice, which they used to use instead of sugar in the older days (since sugar was rare to find). And By the way, im not even talking about reallyyy older days; up until the 60s, sugar was still a rarity in the villages (as was chronic disease, again, spot a trend?)
olive bread balls, greek eliopitta, vegan recipe by itsaplantbasedlife.com

These are still sold in every bakery and corner shop here, and i remember eating them ever since i was little. So although they are easily found, there’s something really gratifying (& delicious) about making these DIY, and OMG, i love having freshly-baked-still-warm-home-made-pies. These are so nutritious (especially if you sub some flour with wholemeal flour) as they are packed with herbs, which have multiple health benefits too

I always have a few in my freezer because they are just perfect for those mornings when i dont have time for breakfast. I thaw these in the oven or in the room overnight, and just grab-n-go! They’re also great if you have guests and want to offer something with coffee, as is traditional to do here! I would recommend heating these up slightly before eating – it softens the olives & bread and just tastes much nicer. Enjoy!! <3

Olive Bread Balls

olive bread balls, greek eliopitta, vegan recipe by itsaplantbasedlife.com You can also make this with wholemeal flour; I prefer using half the amount wholemeal because if its made with only whole-meal flour, it can turn out a bit dense. Wrap in cling film and then silver foil and freeze once they have cooled down, so you can have them anytime!

  • Prep Time: 1h
  • Cook Time: 22m
  • Total Time: 1h 22m

Ingredients

  • 1 c orange juice (room temp.) - φλτ. χυμό πορτοκαλιού
  • 1 x 7g sachet dry instant yeast - 7γρ μαγιά σε σκόνη
  • 1 c virgin olive oil * - φλτ. ελαιόλαδο *
  • 4 tbsp. water - νερό
  • 650 g plain flour ** - αλεύρι γενικής χρήσης **
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt - αλάτι
  • 1/2 c sliced spring onions - 1/2φλτ. φρέσκο κρεμμυδάκι
  • 3/4 c black greek olives, half of them pitted & sliced others kept whole - 3/4φλτ. μαύρες ελιές
  • 1/2 c fresh dill (include stalks) - 1/2φλτ. φρέσκο άνιθο
  • 1/2 c fresh coriander (or parsley) - φρέσκο κόλιανδρο
  • 1 tbsp. dried spearmint (optional) - 1κ.σ. αποξηραμένο δυόσμο

* I used half a cup olive oil and half a cup vegetable oil

    **I used half whole-meal flour and half all-purpose white flour

      Instructions

      1. In a large deep bowl, sift your flour, baking powder & salt. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Make a hole/well in the middle & set aside
      2. Make sure your orange juice is lukewarm or room temperature by heating it up if necessary. Put juice in a small bowl & Sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside
      3. While waiting for the yeast to "puff up",roughly chop the fresh herbs and half of the olives. Set aside
      4. By now the juice mixture should have puffed up. Put this in the hole/well you made in the flour bowl. To the same "well" add 4tbsp water and the oil. Start mixing with your hands, drawing the flour in towards the liquid.
      5. Eventually it should start to come together like a bread dough. If its too dry add a bit more water!
      6. Flatten this dough out with a rolling pin, so its shaped like a orthogonal square and put all the herbs and olives on it [see pic] Start folding the dough into the toppings so that they're all mixed up.
      7. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Tear off a "ball" slightly smaller than the palm of your hand, and place on the baking tray. Keep doing this till dough is used up, but make sure you leave space in between each dough ball (cos they will expand). If any toppings are sticking out too much, poke them back into the dough.
      8. Cover with a towel and leave in a warmish place to rise for 45mins-1hour. Pre-heat your oven to 195C
      9. When time is up and they have risen, place in oven. When ready, they sound a little hollow when tapping and are golden on the edges; between 20-25 mins.
      10. Keep them in fridge (if its hot outside) and warm up when its time to eat You can freeze these too!
      print

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Your name *

      Your website *

      Comments *