Bastounakia are from Greece. They are actually shaped like sticks but I will claim them as buns and the direct translation is "Salt Sticks". They are a cross between a grissini and a baguette and they are uber delicious especially if you add fresh herbs - in this case, rosemary - but you can add whatever you like. Delicious with or in a salad or just to munch on, these are perfect for summer picnics and barbeques and are great all year round as nibbles or in lunch boxes. Yum.
Ingredients (makes loads)
For the predough:
Pinch of whatever kind of yeast you have
100 g warm water
150 g plain white wheat flour
For the dough:
1g instant/2 g dry/4 g fresh yeast
200 g water
300 g plain flour
(Note: there is no salt in the dough)
For the filling:
8-10 g coarse sea salt depending on how much you like salt
The needles from 6 big sprigs of rosemary (or any other herb you like)
Day one - make the predough:
Mix together the water, flour, and yeast until they are well blended. Cover with cling film and let sit on a counter for 12-48 hours. The longer it sits the stronger they will taste.
Day two - make the dough:
If you are using dry yeast, measure the flour into a bowl and make a well. Add 100 g of the water and let it sit for 15 minutes. A beige sludge may or may not appear on the top of the dough. Don’t worry - as long as the yeast is dissolved it will be fine. Add the rest of the water and the pre dough and gather the ingredients together into a ball. Pull it out onto the counter and knead well for ten minutes.
If you are using fresh or instant yeast, put all the ingredients - including the predough into a bowl. Gather the ingredients together into a ball. Pull it out onto the counter and knead well for ten minutes.
Once you have kneaded the dough, lightly flour a surface on which you can cut (this will become clear later). Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Paint the top with olive oil and cover it with clingfilm. Let it sit for one hour.
To shape the salt sticks:
Remove the clingfilm.
Scatter 1/3 of the salt and 1/3 of the rosemary over the dough.
Fold the left edge to the middle and fold the right edge in to meet it
Roll the dough flat again, paint some more olive oil on it and scatter another 1/3 of the salt and another 1/3 of the rosemary.
Fold the dough as above.
Roll the dough flat again, paint some more olive oil on it and scatter the final 1/3 of the salt and the rest of the rosemary.
Fold the dough as above, lightly flour it and flip it over so the floury side is down. Flour the top and cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for 45 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 230 degrees
Using a knife, scraper or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips about 2.5 cm wide. If the strips are too long, cut them in half.
Place the strips on a baking tray that you have lined with non stick baking parchment and brush them with olive oil. Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes or so, depending on how big they are.
The recipe for these amazing buns comes from The Book of Buns where there are plenty more delicious bun recipes from around the world. You can buy The Book of Buns on Amazon.
Yeast proofing in the bowl
Finished bastounakia just out of the oven
If you like this recipe, there are more in The Book of Buns available on Amazon