This week, the BBA group, which is baking its way through Peter Reinhart’s classic, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, made Artos, or Greek Celebration Bread. Originally, I had planned to make Christopsomos, which includes fruits and nuts, but as you will see, my brain was on cruise control while I was making this bread, and I completely forgot to add them, even though they were sitting on my counter. I also used the poolish option in the recipe.
I won’t keep you in suspense: I loved this bread. Phenomenal flavor, and while it baked it perfumed the entire house. Lesson learned: pay attention when you’re baking, or you will over-proof your dough. My sourdough-only breads (I don’t use any commercial yeast in them at all) take a long time to rise so, out of habit, I was a bit absent-minded when I was making this, and let it rise for an hour longer than it should have. When I wandered into the kitchen again, an ENORMOUS loaf of dough greeted me. I popped it into the oven, and was surprised to find that it did not collapse, at least not right away. That happened while the bread cooled on the counter, but I still had a gargantuan loaf of bread on my hands. You can compare the size in this picture to my kettle and my 6-quart Dutch oven (sorry the pic is a tad blurry):
It was at least six inches high, and about a 10 inches across. My husband’s eyes bugged out when he saw it.
Here is a photo of the slight collapse:
I will definitely make this bread again; it’s easy, and packs an enormous flavor wallop. The bread is delicious plain or toasted. And be sure to make simple glaze, because it send the loaf over the top. I had orange oil on hand, instead of orange extract, so I used 1/4 tsp. of that in the glaze. I sprinkled flax seeds on top because I couldn’t find my sesame seeds at the time. I have since tracked them down. All three pounds of them. One can never have too many sesame seeds on hand.
You can find a list of those participating, here, and you can find the recipe on-line, here. Until next week, when we bake bagels, which I’ve never made before, so I’m looking forward to it! And please check out Susan’s bread baking roundup every Friday: Yeastspotting.