Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Glystarkes (Sweet Sesame Rusk’s)


  • 4 kg plus 4 cups of soft flour (pastry flour)
  • 6 cups of hard flour (bread flour)
  • 6 tsp of salt
  • 4 cups of vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 7 cups of warm water
  • 1 level tsp of powder cinnamon
  • 1 level tsp of powder cloves
  • 4 level tsp of crushed anise
  • 1 heaped tsp of mastic crushed with flour
  • 2 level tsp of mahlab cherry kernels crushed
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 500gr of sesame seeds
  • 2-3 heaped tsp of anise (whole)
Glystarkes (Sweet Sesame Rusk's)

Glystarkes (Sweet Sesame Rusk’s)


  • One day before start baking Glystarkes, refresh the sourdough starter whish you can buy from your bakery shop, make your own or have left over from the last time you needed some.
  • Refresh the sourdough as follows:
  • Place the sourdough starter (1cup) in a bowl, add 1 1/2 level tsp of salt, 2 cups of warm water and dissolve with your hands.
  • Gradually add 6 cups of hard flour (Bread Flour) (see Types of Flours), or as much needed and knead until the dough is no longer sticky.
  • In another bow add 1/4 cup of hard flour and place the dough starter shaped into a ball.
  • Make a cross with a knife on the center of the dough ball, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of hard flour, cover with a kitchen cloth and a woollen blanket and set aside for about 15 hours to rise and crack.
  • Boil the sesame seeds for 5-6 minutes, drain, sprinkle with some lemon juice and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Drain and place on a kitchen towel to dry overnight.
  • Wash the whole anise, drain, place on the kitchen towel with the sesame seeds, mix and leave overnight to dry.
  • The following day and after the 15 hours for the sourdough to rise has past, put the flour in a bowl, add the vegetable shortening and rub with your fingers until is crumbly.
  • Add the sugar, crushed mastic, crushed mahlab and salt and stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Make a hole in the center by pushing the flour to the sides and place in 1 cup of the sourdough starter.
  • Whatever of the sourdough starter is left, sprinkle some salt on the bottom of a plastic container, place it in it, with a knife make a cross cut in the center, cover it with a kitchen towel and set aside for 2-3 days until it rises and cracks.
  • Cover the plastic container and place in the freezer for future use.
  • Add the warm water to the bowl with the starter and flour and knead into stiff dough.
  • Add the crushed anise, powder cinnamon and powder cloves and knead until well combined.
  • Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for about 20 minutes.
  • Take a piece of dough and shape into a roll about half as thick as your little finger and about 70 cm long.
  • Roll into the sesame-anise mixture, form a circle and press the two ends to join.
  • Make some more thin rolls, roll into the sesame-anise mixture and form a cross in the center of the circle and two more to make an X, dividing the circle in 8 parts.
  • Make 1 or two more circles and place them inside the bigger circle.
  • Continue the same way making Glystarkes until all the dough has been used.
  • You can follow the above directions for making the Cyprus traditional Glystarkes or you can shape them to any design you wish.
  • Lay a blanket on the table and kitchen towels over it and place the Glystarkes on the kitchen towels.
  • Cover them with kitchen towels and a blanket and leave them to rise for about 5 hours.
  • Place the Glystarkes on baking pans and bake at 170 degrees Celsius (see conversions) until golden brown.
  • After baking them all, reduce the heat to 140 degrees and place them back in until they are dry and hard.
  • Glystarkes are usually baked until they are dry and hard but it is up to your preference to serve them hard or soft.

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