Artos – Greek Celebration Bread
Well, I made it past the first week’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge WOO HOO (wiping hand off forehead)! However, there’s no time for me to savor my accomplishment (if you didn’t see my post on my first challenge – Anadmama bread you can read about it here) and now I’m onto week two.
This week’s challenge was Artos Bread – Greek Celebration Breads.There are many different types & varieties of this bread & they all vary from family to family & region. Artos is the general name for these celebration breads. They are given more specific names for specific festivals and celebrations. Our Artos bread choices were: Christopsomos & Lambropsomo.
As a complete novice baker both were a little daunting to me. The Christopsomos called for making a boule (a large round loaf) with an intricate cross & swirl design on top (this one made me a little nervous) or the Lambropsomo which was made into a braid. I chose the braid simply because for me it looked like the more manageable of the two. I thought, hey I’ve braided Miss Priss’ hair before so how hard can it be? (I can’t tell you how many times this phrase has got me in over my head. Famous last words! LOL)
If you’d like the recipes from this challenge, just click to purchase Peter Reinhart’s book: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice – Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. I would love for you to join me on this bread baking journey!
Here were my highlights & observations:
I started this week’s bread baking by making my Poolish starter. It was made the night before I wanted to bake my bread & then was refrigerated to develop it’s flavors. The next morning I pulled out my Poolish & allowed it to come to room temperature & then added the spices & other ingredients. I wish I could insert a scratch and sniff for you. The smells were divine!
Next up, time to mix! I loaded up my trusty Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with all of the required ingredients. It was a bowl full, mind you. I was a little curious to see how I was going to mix all of this without it looking like my 2 year old had been in the kitchen. I started up the mixer and SADLY – BOO HOO the dough mixture was just too much for it to handle! So I had to go old school and do it by hand. WOW! Can I say that although this was not an easy task for me it was, dare I say, a lot of fun. There was something almost therapeutic about kneading the dough between my hands and working it until it was to the right temperature.
Besides kneading at this stage, we added the dried fruits & nuts and then set aside to ferment (double in size for us newbies). Good thing because my arms were pretty tired.
Once the dough had risen to double its size, it was time for the shaping! I was a little nervous here but pushed forward. No time to turn back. The hardest part for me was shaping the 3 strands equally and rolling them BY HAND haha. We were supposed to put the loaf onto parchment paper. I didn’t have any handy so used my Silpat mat instead & it worked beautifully. The braiding went smoothly & it was time to once again ferment.
Just a word of caution ~ I wish they would have mentioned – wink wink – at this point the bread was HUGE! I was a little concerned perhaps I had done something wrong. Maybe I missed a direction, or was supposed to have two loaves instead of one. I even went online to Twitter to consult with some other amazing bread baker apprentice (#bba) participants. They quickly assured me that theirs were cartoonishly large as well. I was literally wondering if it was going to touch the top of the oven during baking!
I patiently waited during the cooking process. Although it didn’t touch the top of the oven, it did touch the door of the oven when it was time to turn it. I told you it was large (okay I couldn’t help myself I actually had to measure it. It was almost 18″ long & 10″ wide).
Once out of the oven, it was glazed with an amazing orange honey glaze that was scrumptious! Again, wish I had a scratch and sniff feature for this picture!
Voila! This is one impressive bread & equally delicious. It was, for me, very similar in texture to Panettone (which I love, naturally I do, it’s Italian ~ LOL). I loved this as a breakfast bread or after dinner with coffee treat!
Are you ready to join me in baking? Again, you can pick up the book here.! Come on, if I can do it, so can you!
Sneek peak: Next week’s challenge ~ Bagels!