Episode 5: The great Australian Bake Off – Bread

 Its all about BREAD!

I cant help but love this episode, bread is such a staple in our home. My signature bake is a bread that I bake often and it always takes pride of place on the dinner table and equally for a picnic served hot or cold. Although I have always enjoyed the traditional flavours of the Spanakopita filling I don’t feel restricted. I have added roasted pumpkin, sun-dried tomatoes and chorizo to this mix and the result has always been delicious.

This morning I baked on the Channel 9 Mornings program, with a backdrop of Greek flags and Ben and Sarah having lots of fun smashing plates and the Zorba music playing in the background I felt a real sense of pride for my Greek heritage.  A proud overwhelming feeling of joy that I am able to share this recipe with you all!


Watch a very quick step by step taping on how to make the Platted Spanakopita Bread



Platted Spanakopita Bread – Free Form Yeast Loaf

Ingredients List:
2 t Dry yeast
1 t Caster Sugar
2 1/2 c Bakers Flour
1 teaspoon Bread improver
1 t salt
1 c Water
1 T olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 T Milk
2 T Sesame seeds
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach
300g Danish Feta
3/4 cup Grated Mozzarella, Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Fresh Dill (Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint (Chopped)
1 Spring Onion (thinly sliced)
2 Tablespoons Pine nuts
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1: To make the dough. Attach the dough hook on your standard electric mixer. In the mixing blow add the dry ingredients, yeast, sugar, flour, bread improver and salt in a bowl. Mix all ingredients very well then add the water and oil.  Should take about 5 minutes.
2: Mix all the dough ingredients together till the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl this should take about 5 minutes.
3: Once the dough looks elastic, place it into an oiled bowl cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying and set aside in a warm place draft and light free till doubled in size.
4: Meanwhile to make the filling. Wash the spinach leaves and remove all of the stalk. Slice the spinach taking care to remove excess moisture from the leaves place in a large bowl. Add to this the crumble the feta the pine nuts,  grated cheeses chopped fresh mint and dill and thinly sliced spring onion. Mix all well.
5: Preheat the oven to 200C (please note that most ovens need about 15 – 20 minutes to reach maximum temperature)
6: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or onto a piece of baking paper (the same size as the baking tray you are going to use) and flatten out the dough with the palms of your hands to form a rectangle shape approximately 40cm x 30cm allow the dough to rest for a minute before adding the filling.
7: To cut the dough ready for the braid first remember to leave a 10cm width of dough uncut down the middle of the dough as this is where the filling will sit. Cut with a knife 8 by 8 cm lines on the left and right side of the dough creating eight fingers on either side these will be used to wrap over the filling creating the braid.
8: Add the filling straight down the centre of the dough. Then pick up one strand at a time alternating as you go and criss cross pushing each braid finger into the inner edge to anchor down.
9: Line a flat baking tray with baking paper place the braided bread onto the tray and allow it to rest for a further 15 minutes (this is the proving time) lightly cover the braided bread with some plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area that has little draft or light.


10: Once the dough has rested and almost doubled in size again brush on the egg wash sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden.
Orange and Walnut Rosettes makes 12 (large muffing size)
For the dough
  • 3 x 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 250ml lukewarm milk
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 5 cups plain flour, sifted, plus extra for kneading
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 125g butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2½ tablespoons caster sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the topping
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for the egg wash
  • 1 x 12-hole large muffin tray, lined with paper muffin cases


Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, beat in the eggs, and then mix in the flour, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and vanilla and mix until evenly combined (it is easiest to use your hands). Cover and leave in a warm place until risen by half (about 30 minutes).

Combine the orange filling ingredients and chill to keep firm but still spreadable.

Gently flatten the dough and cut it into 12 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a rectangle about 8 x 24cm. Spread the orange filling ingredients along the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over the filling to encase it.

To make the rosette, tie the dough into a knot, wrapping the top loose end of the knot under the roll and pushing the bottom loose end firmly into the centre of the roll. Place each rosette on the baking tray. Cover and leave somewhere warm until almost doubled (approximately 30 minutes).

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts (if using). Bake for 25 minutes or until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

7 thoughts on “Episode 5: The great Australian Bake Off – Bread

  1. 2paw

    Your beautiful plaited loaf looked so delicious and I loved the lattice fold over effect on top. My word, there were some interesting flavours!! I am just conquering my fear of yeast and I have baked some bread and some cronuts!! I am so sad your bread bowl broke. La night I baked Amy Johnson slice for Morning Tea. I am sneaking an edge trimming now!!! Good luck with cheesecakes, though I know it has already happened. I love raspberry and white chocolate.

  2. Looby

    Loved your spanakopita loaf! I’m living near Athens & want to make this but fresh spinach isn’t in season just now. Can I use frozen spinach? If yes, how much? I really enjoyed the show.

    • Maria Vella

      Hi, if you dont have spinach you can use silverbeet or baby spinach, you can use the frozen one but you will need to squeeze as much water out of it as you can I think most frozen packets are about 200 grams so a little more than half of the packet should be enough for this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do at home. Kali Orexi (Bon Appetite) 🙂

      • Looby

        Thanks Maria. I’ll have to try it with the frozen spinach as silverbeet doesn’t even exist here! I’m sure my Greek mother-in-law will be impressed 😉

  3. Nerissa

    Oh yay!,I’ve been watching GABO on youtube and your spanakopita bread looked SO amazingly good. It got all my Greek taste buds going! I’m going to the store in the morning to get some fresh spinach. I bought a new range/oven and it will be delivered later this week so this will be the last thing baked in my old oven, a great send off I think. Thank you from Hawaii for the recipe!

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    • Maria Vella

      Hi there Kerry, Im so glad you enjoyed the posts a few sections are like a stroll down memory lane with The Great Australian Bake Off. Stay tuned! It really is a small world.Cheers Maria 🙂

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