Demeter was the goddess who taught humanity the art of making bread. After fasting, in commemoration of Demeter's fasting while searching for her abducted by Pluto daughter, Persephone, the participants of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries ate pelanos, a wheat and barley bread. Succumb to the magnetism of the secret rites and feel the magic of turning water and flour into divine food.
In a bowl, stir together with a spatula the flour, the yeast and the salt and add the warm water. Keep stirring together with the spatula until all of the flour is moistened.
Tip the sticky dough onto a floured surface and knead it until the dough becomes smooth, 2’-3’. When kneading, always sprinkle some whole wheat flour on your surface and your hands so that the dough does not stick. Transfer the dough ball into a floured bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at warm room temperature for 3 hours until doubled in size.
Tip the dough onto a floured surface, flour your hands as well as the dough and fold the dough over 2-3 times (maximum 10 times if the dough is too sticky) softly with no added pressure. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and dust it with extra flour. Place the dough ball to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 230°C or 450F. Place a baking dish filled with hot water on the bottom of the oven. Steam is crucial to making a crusty loaf of bread.
Bake for 20’. Remove the baking dish filled with water.
Bake at 220°C for another 30’ until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
How is Pelanos linked to the Eleusinian Mysteries?
In Ancient Greece the Small Rites of Eleusis or Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries were secret rituals that took place during the month of Anthesterion (February). The religious rites celebrated the myth of the goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone. We do not know much about the Rites as the participants were sworn to secrecy, though we are aware of the fact that they fasted in commemoration of Demeter's fasting while searching for Persephone. According to Greek Mythology, Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Pluto, the chthonic god of the underworld. Demeter left the mount of Olympus, the home of the gods, and searched for her daughter on earth for nine days, during her quest she did not eat ambrosia or drink nectar. The etymology of the name Demeter has its origins in the Greek words δα (earth) and μήτηρ (mother) and means Earth–Mother. Demeter taught humanity the secrets of agriculture and the art of making bread. First, she chose to teach the secrets of agriculture and the art of making bread to the hero Triptolemus, then she gave him her chariot drawn by dragons and lots of wheat in order to educate the whole of humanity. The meaning of Triptolemus’ name is “He who Pounds the Husks”.
After the fasting the participants of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries ate pelanos, a wheat and barley bread. I am guiding you through the magical process of breadmaking with an easy pelanos bread recipe. Succumb to the magnetism of the secret rites and feel the magic of turning water and flour into divine food.
In the media
The Ancient Greek Pelanos Bread Recipe For Demeter was first published on March 9, 2018 in Mookychick Magazine.