The Professional Bakeries
In Larissa, during the Ottoman Occupation and in parallel with the domestic bread production, there were many traditional professional bakeries that produced massively bread, serving a part of the population. After the liberation of Thessaly, the professional bakeries supplied with bread and the army that remained in Larissa. At the first decades of the 20th c., there was an incensement of the percentage of the urban households that did not prepare bread in their houses.
Bakeries were considered a family company as there was working only the members of the baker’s family. In the bakeries, the bread that was produced had the same weight and almost the same form.
The bakery was a building without specifications. Its basic element was the bakery oven, which was a big constructed oven, in order to hold 50-80 okas bread. Its dome had an enormous opening of 3-5 or 4 6 metres without internal supports. The oven was manufactured to be heated in such way so that the bread to be cooked uniformly and in a short time. It was heated by putting woods inside the space where the bread was cooked.
The tools of the oven were:
a) An iron long tool, gravalo, that mixed the woods for the heating of the oven,
b) A long wooden tool, paniera, which was used for the cleaning of the oven. This was a hard but necessary work.
c) The shovel with which they put the dough in the oven and put out the bread when it was ready.
d) A basin with cold water and a brush. The baker used the brush to spread water to the bread that came out of the oven.
e) The tezaki, an enormous bench with dimensions 2x3 or 3x4, where the bread was placed after it came out of the oven.
f) The baker used for the kneading of the bread an enormous kneading-trough of 2-4 metres.
g) An essential tool was the scraper with which the baker scraped and cleaned the kneading-trough from the remains of dough and also he cut the dough in pieces.
Three components were used for the bread-making: flour, water and salt. The preparation of dough began from the evening. During the night the baker added water and flour to the yeast. Then the kneading began in the long wooden kneading-trough and when the oven was inflated, he put the dough in the oven. The baker regulated the quantity of production of bread according to the needs of the neighbourhood.
In the 50s, the old bakeries revived their traditional form and technology from some conservative bakers. However in the same decade, the new technology of the German ovens - heating with electric energy - was imposed in the city of Larissa. Today the majority of the bakeries are heated with electricity, but there also exist some bakeries that they still use traditional wood-ovens.
1. Gourgioti L. and Mitrofanis G., Thessaly. Wheat - flour - bread. Tradition and modernisation, Ethnographical Historical Museum of Larissa, pub. KAPON, Athens 1999
2. Pavlopoulos P., Out of my memories and what I lived. The history of Greek postwar craft-based breadmaking, Livanis publications, Athens 2003