Feb 26, 2010

BBA Challenge Round 3: Artos: Christopsomos

The Challenge Bread

This week I tackled Artos which is greek celebration bread.  I chose the first variation which is Christopsomos.

A Little History

Christopsomos is a Greek Celebation bread usually served at Christmas.  It contains fruit and nuts, which I should have realized that it was a lot like Fruitcake.

The Ingredients

This loaf also had a pre-ferment.  I decided to go Poolish instead of barm, but I would like to try that at some point.


  • poolish

  • Bread Flour

  • Salt

  • Yeast

  • Cinnamon (ground)

  • nutmeg (ground)

  • allspice (ground)

  • cloves (ground)

  • Orange zest (minced)

  • almond extract

  • eggs, lightly beaten

  • Honey

  • Olive oil

  • Whole or low-fat milk (I used 2%)

  • mixed raising (dark and golden)

  • dried cranberries

  • chopped walnuts

Corn/Dairy Free changes

In place of the 2% Milk, I replaced it with plain Silk.  Thankfully, the almond extract used real sugar instead of Corn syrup.  That was the one ingredient I was worried about after Robyn reminded me of the Corn-free Vanilla extract search.

Bringing the Ingredients Together

The mixing went a lot easier this week than last week’s bagels.  The dough isn’t as stiff.  I put all of the dry ingredients in first (save for the fruit/nuts) and got them nice and mixed.  Then, I added the poolish, eggs, and the wet ingredients.  After letting the dough knead for a few minutes, I added the fruit and nuts.  I pulled the dough hook out and began kneading by hand.  The dough felt a little too sticky and I added some more flour.  Five minutes later, I had a nice tacky dough.  I put the dough to proof and brought together the Dairy-Free/Corn-Free (DF/CF) dough.

The Shaping

Since I am making the Christopsomos variation of the dough, I needed to cut the dough into two pieces, one piece twice as big as the other.  I took the smaller piece and placed it in a plastic bag to rest in the fridge while I shaped the other piece into a boule.  The smaller piece will become the cross on top of the loaf.

It was when I was getting ready to place the boule on the parchment lined baking sheet that I realized I was going to run out of Parchment paper.  I had just enough for both loaves, but I’ll need to make sure that when I’m prepping the recipe I also make sure I have all the required accessories as well.

I let the boule double in size again and proceeded to make the top cross.

I’m not going to lie, the cross looked more phallic than anything else.  The cross was supposed to have a Fleur-de-lis look to it..but they didn’t Fleur as much as I wanted.  The ends just ended up looking like round nubs.  I’ll admit I need work on my Fleur shaping.

The Baking

Baking went fairly well.  The smell of these loaves baking wafting through the house helped re-affirm my love of baking.  There is nothing like the smell of baking bread to really make a house feel like a home.

The loaves ended up taking about 10 minutes longer than the recommended 40-45 minutes.  This lead to my loaves getting a little darker than I had hoped.  Still, they weren’t burnt.

Results and My Final Thoughts/Notes

After letting the loaves cool, I cut off a piece of the DF/CF loaf.  The cranberries and raisins definitely give this loaf a more “dessert” flavor.  The cloves were a bit over powering for me, so I might reduce the amount the next time I Make this.  The taste reminded me of something, but I couldn’t put my tongue on it until Robyn tried it and said “this tastes like fruitcake.”  She was right.  I’m not a big fruitcake fan, but I could get behind this type!

I learned from my lack of preparation last time and made sure to triple check the ingredients list.  I think this concentration on the bread itself led me to overlook the parchment paper supply level.  I need to make checking on non-edible baking supplies a part of my weekly shopping.

Also, I really need to work on my Fleur shaping…I mean REALLY.  No more cannons!

Up Next…

The next bread in the book is Brioche….this could be interesting! A style I really know nothing about.

Comments?  Suggestions?

So I’m adding another part to this post.  I want to know what you think.  Am I doing a good job describing my baking journey?  Do I need more visuals?  (Pictures are coming, I promise!)  How about an audio podcast form as well?  I’m really looking for ways to connect with you, the reader, and if you have suggestions, let me know!  Comment below!

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