Barley Rusks (Dakos) with Strawberry and Feta


Ingredients for Barley Rusks (Dakos)*:
3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 ½ c. barley flour
1 ½ c. malted barley flour
1 c. coarsely ground malted barley grain or malted barley flour
2 Tbsp. ground aniseed
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 envelopes (4 1/2 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
2 ½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground pepper
½ c. + 2 tsp. Robust EVOO or House Blend Olive Oil (divided)
3 Tbsp. Strawberry Balsamic (additional 2 Tbsp. honey if desired)**
2 c. cold water

Suggested Toppings:

  • Top with minced strawberries, chopped tomato, crumbled feta and a grape or olive. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Mix 1/4 c. of soft feta with lemon juice or 1 tsp. of House Blend Olive Oil. Spread on rusk and top with strawberries and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Mix 1/4 c. of cream cheese with 1 Tbsp. of Strawberry Balsamic for the best-ever strawberry cream cheese. Spread on rusks and top with a drizzle of honey, sea salt and pepper.
  • Spread with bruschette, cream cheese and smoked salmon, tapenade, lentil salad or any variety of spreads and toppings you desire.

In a large bow or stand mixer, add flour, barley flour, malted barley flour, malted barley grain (or more malted barley flour), aniseed, coriander, yeast, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 c. oil and balsamic vinegar (or balsamic vinegar with honey). Mix with dough hook, adding water slowly while machine is running. Mix for 6 minutes or until dough is incorporated, sticky, but pulling away from sides. Adjust with additional water or flour as necessary.

Lightly flour your counter top and shape dough into ball. Rest dough in large bowl greased with remaining oil. Let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough evenly into 6 pieces. Keeping unworked dough covered, roll one piece at a time into a tube-shape, approximately 2 inches wide by 18 inches long. Cut in half, then roll each half into a bun or bagel-shape. Press lightly to flatten slightly. Place the shaped dough 1 1/2" apart on pans. Cover loosely and rise again for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350F. Bake another 40 minutes until dough is darkening and browning on the bottoms. Dough should be fully cooked and very firm, but not crunchy yet.

Remove the pans from the oven and lower oven temperature to 200F. Let dakos cool just until handle-able, then cut each rusk in half horizontally to make thin rounds (or slices). Place rusks directly on oven racks and bake until crunchy and completely dry, about 2 more hours.

Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

*Note: Dakos is a crunchy barley cracker or rusk, similar to crostini, but crunchier, or melba toast. These crunchy toasts can be topped with any variety of spreads or toppings. In the Mediterranean, they are eaten for breakfast, crumbled into yogurt with fruit, seeds, and nuts.

**Note: Can traditionally use grape molasses. Grape molasses is made from reducing grape must into syrup. Traditional makers of grape molasses use freshly crushed grape juice with the skins, seeds and stems, similar to how Balsamic Vinegar is made. You can find grape molasses at Middle Eastern markets or online.

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