History of Greek Food

PAPARA (Παπάρα)

Hard, old bread combined with milk or other liquid (sauce, olive oil, butter, stock, wine etc.) is found for centuries all over Mediterranean as a way of transforming leftovers into a dish in its own right. The ancient Greeks gave the name maza to those bread- based foods; later they were called by various names such as papara, panada etc. Being food for rural and poor urban families, for hungry kids and shepherds, they made their first appearance in cookbooks at  the late 20th century,  due to the growing interest in regional and traditional cuisines within Greek national food culture.



Papara is particularly popular among Sarakatsáns, nomads who are found all over central and northern Greece and also beyond the Greek frontiers that sprang up after the Balkan Wars but failed to confine them. Until 1960, they had not villages from which to migrate in search of pasture, though all of them considered some range of mountains as their home.

1 ½ cup bread cubes

 1 ½ cup milk

 3 tbs sheep butter

 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

  hot, red pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add bread and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Gradually add milk, cook, whisking, until mixture comes to the boil and add crumbled feta. Cook, stirring until thickened. Sprinkle with red pepper and serve while papara is still slightly warm.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

12 thoughts on “PAPARA (Παπάρα)

  1. admin Post author

    TasteofBeirut, what’s its name? Is it a shepherd’s dish?
    Ivy, actually there are more than one recipes for papara.

  2. Ivy

    I was under the impression that papapara was only stale bread and milk, soaked together. The addition of butter, feta and pepper makes a filling meal.

  3. admin Post author

    Tobias, it is a dish,a high calorie dish, perfect to fill a hungry stomach and to warm peasants and shepherds up.

  4. admin Post author

    James,hm… I am imagining a delicous bread and butter pudding with the aroma and taste of rich, creamy Stilton! 😉

  5. admin Post author

    Dragana, The word papara is derived either from latin ‘pappare’ (gobble up)or from popara. Despite the probable common root of the two words, homemade bread- based dishes were extremely popular in the past as they were an excellent way to use stale bread.
    The bread/butter/milk papara was something easy to prepare for the shepherds while up on the mountains though the milk/bread or leftover sauce/ bread one was popular among peasants and poor people. Your popara is very similar to a version of spanish migas (bread crumbs/lard or lard, optional sausage etc.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *