Bread and rusks


Bread and rusks
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Traditional Cretan bread and rusks are an important part of Cretan culture. Among the Minoan findings unearthed in the island are the earliest occurrences of simple barley bread. Quite a few traditional baking methods and recipes have survived to the present day, with some even acquiring a mystic tinge (such as the making of a specific rusk, the eptazimo). The wide variety of Cretan baked goods may be an essential part of the daily diet, though special breads are also associated with religious worship and local customs. Christopsomo is made to honor Jesus Christ, and there are breads specially made for women after birth, for christenings, and weddings (ksompliasta, round decorated breads). 

The making of rusks is similar to that of regular bread, but the loaves are cut into slices and baked for a second time to dry out. The Minoans called them "dipiritis artos", which in modern parlance means "double-baked bread". Cretan rusk, dakos, has been awarded PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status. They appear in many modern recipes, most famously in variations of the trademark Cretan koukouvagia (=owl, for some reason), the simple rusk, tomato and soft cheese salad, which makes rusks well-known beyond the confines of the island.

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