Artos the Greek Celebration Bread
The second bread in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice (BBA) challenge was Artos, a Greek celebration bread typically enjoyed for Christmas or Easter. While I added the fruits found in the Christmas version, I stuck with the basic Artos shape rather than adding the decorative cross design.
The recipe begins with a starter, either a barm or a poolish. I chose the poolish as it was the simplest of the two, and I’d never made either before! The poolish is simply yeast, flour and water allowed to ferment for several hours. You then refrigerate it overnight and then are supposed to pull it out of the fridge an hour before mixing the rest of the bread’s ingredients. I took it out Memorial Day morning thinking I would mix it up before brunch, but of course that didn’t happen. When I returned five hours later (brunch was followed by playground and errands), it had exploded through its plastic wrap, over the top of its jar and oozed all over the place. After scraping off the crusty top, there was just about a cup left in the bottom of the jar which was precisely the amount needed for the bread.
Artos had a pretty long ingredient list, including a number of spices and extracts. I used cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg (no ground cloves). After mixing the dry ingredients, I plopped my gooey poolish-monster into the bowl….
… and added the beaten eggs, warm milk and almond extract. I had neither fresh citrus nor extract, so had to do without that. I mixed it in my Kitchen Aid again, but it was so sticky that I sprinkled an extra tablespoon of flour around the sides of the bowl so it would fully pull away from the bowl to knead. I added the organic dried cranberries and sultana raisins for the last two minutes of mixing.
After kneading, the dough went into an oiled bowl and was left to rise for 90 minutes …
Yep, more than doubled. I shaped it into a round boule and left it on the baking sheet for another 60 minutes. I was a little concerned that it rose outward at that point, rather than up, but went ahead and put it in the oven after 70 minutes as other BBAers had commented about humongous loaves.
Sure enough, 43 minutes later this fragrant beauty emerged from the oven … loved the cinnamon fragrance while it baked! And it was a moist, delicious bread.
- Note: I haven’t used spray oils in years, but after slathering oil on the Anadama dough by hand I decided I should pay attention to Mr. Reinhart’s instructions. I was happy to find spray grapeseed oil at my organic grocer. They also had organic olive oil spray but the grapeseed was recommended for baking.
- N.2. My bread shrunk a little while cooling, leaving a few wrinkles in the crust. (Any baking gurus out there know why?)
- N.3.: I hate to take a bye week so early in the challenge, but we’ll be traveling next week so bagels will be posted the following week, along with bread #4. Come back and see what’s baking!
You can see a (lovely) authentically-shaped Christopsomos loaf at Appoggiatura; or check out the enormous braided version by the Engineer Baker. And be sure to visit the BBA homepage at Pinch My Salt to check out other’s successes, failures and advice as we bake our way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.