Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Quails in Bread (Peloponnesos)



For the bread:

  • 6 cups bread flour, or more if needed
  • One envelope active dry yeast
  • 21⁄2 cups warm water
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the quail:

  • 4 quail
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Makes 4 servings


1. Make the bread: Start early in the day. Place 1 cup of the flour in a medium bowl. Add the yeast and mix in 1 cup of the warm water. Let stand in a warm, draft-free place until the mixture bubbles and swells, about 1 hour.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the remaining 5 cups flour and the salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the remaining 1V2 cups warm water. Mix and knead with the dough hook until the dough is solid and silky to the touch, about 10 minutes at medium speed. Add a little more flour during kneading if necessary for the dough to be smooth. Remove from the bowl, knead a little by hand on a lightly floured work surface, and shape into a ball.

You can also mix the dough by hand. Mix the remaining 5 cups of flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and remaining 1V2 cups of warm water. Work the flour into the well from the perimeter inward using a fork or large wooden spoon. Knead, either in a bowl or on a lightly floured surface, adding flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and dense. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to prepare. Shape into a ball.

Pour the olive oil into a large bowl and turn the dough in the oil to coat. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the quail: With tweezers, remove any feathers that may still be attached to the birds. Wash and pat dry the birds with paper towels. Using a sharp boning knife, split the breast lengthwise and open the quail so they are butter-flied. Remove the backbone and as many of the tiny rib bones as possible. Remove the innards. Place the quail in a small bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Leave them to marinate in the refrigerator until the dough has risen.

4. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls and punch down on a lightly floured work surface. Flatten each half with your hands, pushing the dough outward with the tips of your fingers to form a large circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Place the quail over one of the dough circles and pour the marinade over them. Cover with the second dough circle, joining the edges by kneading them or folding them under to close. Place in an oiled baking pan and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the quail in bread until the bread is golden, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 20 minutes, and cut into wedges as you would a pie.

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