Traditional Greek Fried Bread with Feta Cheese / Tiganopsomo
It’s February already. The Holidays are far gone, but thinking about it, these were some bittersweet days, weren’t they?
Still, trying to stay positive, we set up Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners and enjoyed them as much as we could. Not very fancy; but still wonderful and made with love.
What did we have for Christmas? Traditional Greek recipes like the simple pork and celery stew with avgolemono sauce and the fried pork with wine and herbs (pork tigania). And for the first time, we tried a sweet pumpkin pie, made the American way. Now we know why it’s one of America’s favorite desserts! It was delicious, served with a dollop of whipped cream!
For the New Year’s Eve, we made the traditional Vasilopita (New Year’s Lucky cake) to server when the year changed. Funny story: We couldn’t find the flouri (the lucky coin)! We had to take apart the whole cake to spot where it was. We finally did find it, but most of the cake was cut in small pieces. We didn’t worry though. They were consumed with Nutella the following days lol Nothing goes to waste!!! Right?
Good old comfort food (part 2)
As said in our previous post, these non-stop lockdowns helped us rediscover traditional Greek recipes that we love and cherish. We got nostalgic somehow.
The previous month, we posted the recipe for the youvarlakia avgolemono. This time we wanted to share with you another good ol’ Greek comfort food, the tiganopsomo, which is one of our favorites.
We got the idea by the region we now live in, the Evia island. Evia is well known for its tiganopsomo fried bread. It’s a local delicacy. It is served as an appetizer in most taverns and restaurants around the island. You can find similar dishes in other parts of Greece however, and variations of the classic tiganopsomo.
We both vividly remember the first time we took a bite of this delicious treat. The way the crisp-on-the-edges, soft-in-the-middle fried dough tasted with the feta cheese… Deliciousness!!! Who doesn’t like frying dough? Sweet or savory. And this dish can be served both ways. How? Well you have to keep on reading. ;)
Tiganopsomo is basically a fried bread (or pan bread). As simple as that. A fried bread is not an exclusively Greek thing. There are many recipes for fry bread around the world. This was a different way to enjoy a delicious treat, back when living wasn’t that easy.
What makes Greek tiganopsomo so unique though, is the ingredients added to the dough. The feta cheese and the olive oil. How more Greek can a recipe get, right?
The basic recipe is just that. A bread dough (preferably in an almost round shape), with feta cheese fried on medium heat, in a pan with extra virgin olive oil.
Ours weren’t that round; but they didn’t lack in taste. We prefer the rustic shape. So please don’t be harsh! Besides the shape doesn’t matter that much when you taste something so delicious. :)
Our recipe was the one Panos’ mom Eleni gave us, the one she is using for decades. It’s a family recipe, passed down from generations. You see, Panos’ yaya Katina (his mother’s mom) was from Evia, from the mountain village of Agios Georgios in the south of the island, and she used to make these fried breads in many family gatherings. So, this recipe is very special and dear to us.
That being said, there are many variations of the recipe. You can also add gruyere cheese or any melting cheese along with feta, or add spices, making it your own. You can make it airier (more of a bread-like texture) or crisper (more of a flatbread texture). Some let the dough sit to rise for 30 minutes, others for up to one hour. We chose to let our dough rise for the 30 minutes, which make a crispier-on-the-edges dough. The combinations and the variations are endless.
That said, we made some additions ourselves to the original recipe. We added dry thyme and dry oregano. That gave the dough extra flavor and aroma. We didn’t want to overdo it though, because we wanted to enjoy these bad boys as dessert as well. How? Simply served with honey on top!
People, you HAVE TO try it this way! There is no way to describe in words how good that tastes! Trust us.
What makes this recipe the perfect choice for any occasion, is how quick and easy it is. Especially during the summer months, one can prepare the dough, go for a swim, and then get back home and fry the tiganopsomo and serve it with freshly cut Greek salad. It’s one of our most cherished memories, having a meal like this after swimming.
You can serve tiganopsomo as breakfast, as an appetizer, as a meal with a salad on the side, or as a dessert (with honey or maple syrup, why not!). It also makes for a perfect party food, cut in slices. But always, ALWAYS eat it with your hands. It tastes better! Its finger licking good with or without honey and always serve warm. Not sizzling hot, but let it sit for a minute (if you can!).
So, let’s make some fried golden-brown beauties.
For 4 medium size fried breads (tiganopsoma)
- 250g / 9oz (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 250g / 9oz (1 cup), feta cheese, crumbled
- 30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil*
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- a pinch of salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) warm water
- 250ml (1 cup) olive oil for frying*
*You can use vegetable oil instead (in both the dough and the frying), but we strongly believe that the olive oil will make the tiganopsomo taste so much better due to its rich flavor.
Add the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast, the olive oil, the dry oregano, the dry thyme, the salt, and the vinegar (pic.1). Pour in the water (pic.2)
Mix well and knead until you get a soft dough (pic.3). It shouldn’t be too wet, just soft. Grease the inside of the bowl with some olive oil, add the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film (pic.4) and a towel (pic.5). Let it rise for 30 minutes (pic.6).
Place the dough on a floured surface (pic.7). Cut the dough in quarters (pic.8)
Flatten each of the quarters with the palm of your hand (pic.9). Place about 3 tablespoons of feta cheese in the middle of each flattened dough (pic.10).
Fold the sides (pic. 11-12-13) to create a small pouch and slightly knead so that the feta cheese will be incorporated into the dough (pic.14).
Flatten again using the tips of your fingers (pic.15), 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. No matter the shape, the taste will be just as good (pic.16).
Place each tiganopsomo onto parchment paper (pic.17) and repeat the instructions with the rest 3 quarters of the dough (pic.18).
Add the oil into a medium-sized frying pan. Set the heat to medium-high. Once hot (you can verify this by dropping a pinch of the dough in the oil: if it rises and starts sizzling it’s hot enough), place each tiganopsomo in the frying pan. Reduce the heat to medium (pic.19) and fry the tiganopsomo for 3-4 minutes (depending on the volume of the tiganopsomo), flipping every minute or so, until golden brown (pic.20).
Serve warm with a Greek horiatiki salad and cold beer or drizzle with honey.
1. Tiganopsomo can be served as a breakfast, an appetizer, or a meal with a salad on the side.
2. You can serve it cut into slices in a party or a family / friends gathering.
3. Serve it and enjoy it while warm. Cold or in room temperature doesn’t taste as good.
4. You can enjoy it as a dessert as well. Just drizzle some honey on top like you would do on a pancake.
5. You can add some melting cheese like gruyere along with the feta. Remember the basic cheese should be feta or else it’s not tiganopsomo.
If you liked this recipe or like Greek traditional recipes and Greek cuisine, there are more to choose from our Greek recipes section or you can subscribe to our newsletter and have them delivered to your inbox!