Monday, May 26, 2008

Celebratin' Good Times

This weekend our friends Stacey and Brian hosted a celebratory barbecue for our friend Joe, who recently gradated from UIC. What better way to celebrate Joe's graduation than with Greek Celebration Bread? There are many different versions of this bread from what I've seen, I chose to make the Christopsomos, using raisins and toasted walnuts. The bread was devoured, a good time was had by all at the party, and I was finally able to work from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, which Steve gave me for Christmas.

Christopsomos - Greek Celebration Bread
Recipe adapted from the Bread Baker's Apprentice
1 C poolish
1 1/4 C unbleached bread flour
3/4 C water, room temperature
1/8 tsp instant yeast
3 1/2 unbleached bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 C honey
1/4 C olive oil
3/4 C whole or low-fat milk, lukewarm
1/2 C raisings
1/2 C chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
2 T water
2 T sugar
2 T honey
1 tsp lemon or orange extract
1 tsp sesame seeds

Combine ingredients for the poolish until it looks like pancake batter. Let it ferment at room temperature for 3-4 hours and then put into fridge for up to 3 days. Make at least 1 day in advance.
Combine flour, salt, yeast, spices in mixing bowl. Add the poolish, extracts/zest, eggs, honey, olive oil and milk. Stir with spoon or on slow speed with mixer using paddle attachment, until forms ball.
Knead teh dough on the counter or use dough hook at medium speed. Use extra milk or flour as needed to form soft ball. Knead for 10 minutes, adding in raisins and walnuts.
Oil a bowl and place dough in, oiling all sides. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes, or until doubles.
Divide the dough into two pieces, one twice the size of the other. Take the smaller piece and place in a plastic bag and put in fridge. With the large piece, form into a boule. Place on parchment-lined baking pan, mist with with olive oil and lightly cover with place wrap. Let rise for 60-90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When loaf has doubled in size, take the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and divide into two pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope. Cross the two ropes over the top of the boule. Split the ends of each rope and coil them.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees and then bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and makes a hollow sound.
To make the glaze, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the honey and extract, turn off the heat. Immediately glaze the loaf after removing from the oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cool bread on a wrack for at least an hour before serving.


kooky said...

This was so good. If you make it again, we should go crazy adding dried fruit and nuts into it!

Amara said...

Yours held its shape soo well! It looks beautiful.