Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Feta and Spinach-Stuffed Bread

During our two days in Greece recently we had a taxi driver named Makis as our guide. Our second day he took us to Delphi, about 100 miles from Athens, an area relatively near where he had grown up. Instead of taking the main route with a more modern and faster road, he took us out through the rural Greek countryside through small towns surrounded by olive trees, growing cotton and spinach. After our first day he somehow discerned that I really like food, so this second day he stopped at two small-town bakeries along the way that he knew of that each had their own specialty breads. The first bakery had a large clay or brick oven that was capable of baking 80 loaves of bread at one time.
It was fueled by wood, usually olive wood, which was plentiful in the area. The bread was inserted into and taken out of the oven by a very long wood paddle.
This particular bakery specialized in feta-stuffed bread, according to Makis, and they had a large basket full of it. Makis paid for it out of his own pocket (enhancing his tip from us later) and gave us each a big chunk in a napkin.
The bread was thick and heavy and the pockets of feta melded perfectly into the texture providing a wonderful flavor combination. The feta in Greece is so much better than the feta we buy at home. It was rich, flavorful and filling. After driving along quite a bit farther, Makis informed us that he was going to try and get us some spinach-stuffed bread at a different bakery. He was not sure it would still be available because it usually sells out quite early in the morning. As we got to the small town he stopped at two small bakeries and came out empty-handed. Undeterred, at the third bakery they still had one left. This bread was lighter, more like a croissant, with flakey pastery, but it was stuffed with lots of spinach. The picture below does not do it justice.
Other bites had substantially more spinach. It was even better than the feta-stuffed bread. It was moist, and again, the spinach melded perfectly with the pastry. Baked bread in many different sizes and shapes filled the shelves of the bakery.
My thought, in mulling over this wonderful bread-tasting adventure, was that feta and spinach could be stuffed together into bread for a really dynamic combination. You might even add some kalamata olives. This is the stuff dreams are made of. Sweet dreams.


  1. Will you be posting recipes of that bread here later?

    The spinach bread looks divine. When we travel we always like tasting new foods, and it influences what we eat when we arrive home for quite some time. I wonder if some place in LA might have a version of this?

  2. Judy tried some versions of mixed feta and spinach bread, but they didn't turn out anywhere near as well as what we ate. We decided it needed much more feta than we were using and fresh instead of frozen spinach. We've not yet tried the revised version.

  3. Wow, you can bake 80 loaves of bread in that brick oven all at the same time? It must’ve been big! :) I think it’s amazing to see how the baker drags all the bread in the oven once they’re baked. :p Well, it requires skills and experience for him to do that swiftly and smoothly.