A Greek tribute to flour
Flour is a substantial part of every cuisine in the world. It comes in many types, and people around the world consume it almost in daily basis. Do you know its meaning?
Flour drives us to the word “flower” which is derived from the French “fleur”, with the literal meaning “blossom”. This describes the fine product of flour, which was produced during milling. In Greek the world for flour is “alevri”. It is derived from the verb “aletho” which means grind. Flour is obtained by grinding the seeds/nuts/cereals and is thoroughly used in pastry, bakery and cooking. It is an ingredient that plays an important part in global nutrition, and in the past it was used as a measure defining nations’ prosperity. The lack of flour had vast economic and social results for the country.
It is not known when man started experimenting with the milling of wheat, producing flour. In his transcripts, Homer often referred to millstones and milling, as something very common for that time.
The milling works like this: 2 large heavy stones of cylindrical shape, put together, are pressing between them the seeds. The pulverized product is pushed to the sides and eventually is being collected. There were many types of mills used for the flour production. Starting from the hand mill, where the upper stone was hand moved, to mills which functioned with solar or wind energy. Nowadays, the procedure is completed with the help of automated machinery.
Flour also is derived by a large variety of nuts and seeds. Semolina, hard, soft, cornmeal, oatmeal, rye, barley, chickpea, almond, soy are a sample of flour types that can be produced. The most common types of flour are: Bread flour, pastry flour, all purpose flour and self-rising flour.
The quality of the flour depends on 3 characteristics:
In Greece, there is a vast variety of delicacies, made with flour. The most significant is bread, which is an integral part of our diet for centuries. Every kind of dough/pastry (phylo pastry, puff pastry) is made with flour. Dough is used in a vast variety of dishes both sweet and savory. Traditional pies, pasta, bagels and breadsticks, cookies and biscuits, various pastries, traditional cakes, halva or semolina pastries and many more, are a small proof of how important flour is to Greek cuisine.
Examples of typical Greek dishes used with flour or flour products
Below you will find the recipe from the Greek traditional Halva, which is made with semolina flour.
1 cup olive oil
2 cups coarse semolina
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
Heat the olive oil in the pot, and add the semolina. Slowly roast the semolina, constantly stirring. When it has a darker richer color, add the sugar and water. Be careful, big hot blisters of halva are going to pop, so use an oven glove and protect your hands. Stir constantly over low fire until the mixture is detached from the pot. Add ½ spoon cinnamon, some pine nuts, almonds and raisins and give it a few more stirs. Pour the mixture in a form and let it cool. Serve and enjoy!
What’s your favorite flour delicacy?
Waiting for your thoughts and opinions.
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