Spanakopita literally means “spinach pie” in Greek. So why do I call this “bread”?
Wanting a different bread for our Thanksgiving dinner, I cobbled together this bread recipe from my Spanakopita filling and my pizza dough recipes. After a couple of tries, I think I got it right. If you make this for your Thanksgiving feast, let me know how you like it.
1 cup lukewarm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
2½ cups tipo “00” flour (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pour water into a small bowl; sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.
Place two cups of the flour in a large bowl along with the salt and olive oil. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour yeast mixture into the well. Using a fork, stir until dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl, adding enough extra flour to form a slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes. Transfer the dough back to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a draft-free area until doubled, about one hour.
Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured work surface and shape into two long loaves. Cover and set aside while you make the filling.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for green onions)
6 green onions (sliced thin)
8 ounces fresh baby spinach (stems removed)
1 small lemon (for zest and juice)
½ cup crème fraîche (sour cream will not do!)
2 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions; cook and stir until tender and fragrant, about two minutes. Gradually add the spinach, stirring until wilted, another two minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Drain and squeeze the spinach mixture to remove as much liquid as possible. Coarsely chop the spinach mixture and set aside.
Zest and juice the lemon. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, crème fraîche, dill, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in chopped spinach mixture and the feta.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Form dough into two 14-inch logs. Roll each log out to 6×14 inches – a little less than ¼ inch thick. Spread filling equally between both loaves leaving the edges bare (about 1-inch or so). Roll up into logs and place, seam down, on a baking sheet or on a baguette baking pan. I like to use the baguette pan because it gets crusty on all sides. Brush with olive oil.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and slide the loaves onto a wire rack to cool before slicing and serving.
Tip: If making the day before, be sure to let the bread cool completely before wrapping it up for the next day.