BBA#2 – Artos: Greek Celebration Bread (Christopsomos)

Well surprise, surprise. I was not expecting to like this bread. I read the basic receipe and weighed the pros and cons of the two variations Christopsomos and Lambropsomos and in the end went with Christospomos full of walnuts, golden raisins and cranberries. I am a fan of tradition, apparently even other people’s traditions, and once I Googled Artos and found out how this bread has a long religious history, I decided to follow PR’s recipe as close as possible.

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 The full cast of characters. The sheer number of ingredients make this bread special in itself.

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Day 1- I started off making the poolish, a mix of bread flour, yeast and water. 

mixin' up the poolish

mixin' up the poolish

I set it out on the counter for a couple of hours until it became bubbly and about the consistency of pancake batter.  Then into the fridge it went.

Nice n' bubbly

Nice n' bubbly

Day 2 – The next evening I pulled the poolish out of the fridge until it could come to room temperature and measured out the rest of the ingredients.

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The recipe only called for 7 oz of the poolish and boy was I surprised at how the gluten had formed while it hung out in the fridge. Like a rubber band almost!! Crazy – just from water, yeast and flour….

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At this point all the ingredients except for the walnuts, cranberries and raisins are combined into a mixer bowl.

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 I set the mixer on the second speed and let it go, after about 10 minutes I was supposed to get to a window pane stage but I could already tell that it was still way too sticky. I gradually added several more tablespoons of flour into the mix.

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 After 5 more minutes mixing I could tell we were close but not quite there. I cleared off the counter and dumped the dough on to the floured surface. I began kneading it but it was still pretty sticky so I added more flour. Finally after adding probably half a cup of flour and kneadingit in, I noticed that the texture was much better. Time for another window pane test….

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This was hard to photograph, so just trust me when I tell you that it was pretty close. I formed the dough into a ball to rest for another 90 minutes and that’s when I noticed the walnuts and fruit still sitting on the counter…oops. Back to the recipe – yep, should have added those in during the kneading. I dumped the dough back on the counter and tried as best as I could to knead the fruit and nuts into the bread. It was a little difficult to tell if I managed to distribute them evenly but I figured it was close enough! Back into the oiled bowl it went for its rise.

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At this point I left the house for a few hours and when I came home it was nearly spilling out of this bowl- I was afraid of making even more of a mess so I didn’t wait around to try and snap a picture. Using my bench scraper I cut off a third of the loaf for the cross pieces then form the rest into a boule. I laid the cross pieces across the top of the loaf and tried to secure the ends with a bit of water.

DSC09105DSC09106 I preheated my oven and baking stone while waiting for the loaf to recover from the shaping. When it had doubled, about 45 minutes, I transferred it to the oven. The oven spring was amazing! It doubled in size again. This was one major chunk of bread!  At 20 minutes I rotated the pan and after 40 minutes pulled out my instant read thermometer and it was still only about 145 degrees. The top was getting pretty brown so I put an aluminum tent over the loaf to give it a little protection if possible. I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and the next time I tested it registered over 195.

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It was so heavy! I decided to go with the honey glaze, so after it was out of the oven I glazed it and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

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I set it out to cool over night and the next morning sliced it up to take it into the willing taste-testers at work. It was received really well. The crumb was soft, chewy and delish. I didn’t think I was going to like the fruit and nuts but with a little butter this bread was nothing less than addicting!

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I loved the way the bread looked when sliced, the fruits looked like stained glass, but tasted much better!

Next up: Bagel, Baby, Bagels

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7 responses to this post.

  1. I loved reading your post. Nice photos and your bread turned out great.
    Great baking along with you,
    Susie

    Reply

  2. Your bread looks beautiful. Wish I worked at an office to take all my breads to. Sadly I am alone in my home office with huge breads to tempt me all day long. Luckily I have some kids and a husband to eat along with me!

    Reply

    • Yes, I think that the officemates are going to be an essential part of this challenge. Can not imagine how I would eat that much bread between just my boyfriend and I, and it would be a shame to let it go stale. Happy baking!

      Teri

      Reply

  3. What a beautiful loaf of bread. Great job!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Julie on May 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Strong work! I am impressed! I tried to do the Greek cross on mine too, but the little circles wouldn’t stay curled up or stuck to the boule. I ended up punching it down and reshaping into a simple boule. Haven’t shared this one with a soul. I love it sooo much it’s all mine!. Sliced and frozen for future enjoyment.

    Reply

  5. Wow, someone else did the fancy cross on top. Looks beautiful.

    Reply

  6. I didn’t expect to not like it but like you I was really taken with how much I really loved this bread. My husband is still asking for it.

    Reply

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