Artos: Greek Celebration Bread (Sourdough Version). Hurrah!

30 May 2009

Artos: Greek Celebration BreadThis week’s bread in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is called Artos and it’s a Greek celebration bread. It’s a spiced-up bread that’s usually served as a boule with a decorative cross over top. There are variations, such as ones that include fruit and nuts. I initially opted for the plain version and made it into a loaf simply out of laziness and for no other good reason. 🙂 Except for pain…

I halved the recipe and converted it into grams. I also omitted the instant yeast, instead going entirely with my 100% hydration sourdough starter for the poolish. I omitted the cloves because cloves do not react kindly with me and allspice because we can’t get it here. I added mace, ground as fine as I could (it comes whole at the grocery store – chunks of holey plastic-like alien blobs) – as well as ground cardamom. I further halved the almond extract because ours is vey very strong and a huge mistake to add too much, as I have learned – repeatedly – from prior experience.

Here’s my list of ingredients:.

  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 38 grams (1.34 ounces) honey
  • 29 grams (1 ounces) olive oil
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon key lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 360 grams flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

I was going to add raisins, dates, and cashews, but I threw my back out doing the kneading. The dates would have required pitting and chopping while the cashews would have required chopping & toasting. I just wasn’t upfor it. Next time…

Usually when I make bread, I go with low-knead or stretch-and-fold techniques that are not hard on my very problematic joints, but because the whole point of doing this challenge, for me, was to learn about making better bread, I decided to follow Peter Reinhart’s instructions, including all the kneading, getting a better feel for the texture and handling, and also figuring out the window pane test.

Unfortunately, my back is a huge problem. Here it is, an hour later, and I’m still in massive pain. My hands are, too, but they don’t make me want to curl up in a ball and whimper. And no, no decent mixers in this country. A cwappy one I have, and I’ll have to start using it next time…

At 1 1/2 hours for the first rise, the bread had definitely doubled in volume. I created a fake, uh, whatchamacallit, free-form loaf shaping thing. Two sets of rolled up towels to either side of an aluminum 9×13″ cake tin, plastic sheet coated in oil on top, and shaped loaf wedged in the middle. I have no idea if the ends are going to end up misshapen, or, for that matter, the whole thing. 🙂

Life is an experiment. 😀

At somewhere around an hour to an hour and a half (the alarm on my phone got shut off by accident), the loaf had risen to at least double. Hallelujah! I dumped it onto a baking sheet, whereupon it immediately and unceremoniously spread out. I slit the top of the bread – slashed would be the proper term, but either way, it’s beginning to sound a bit like a cliche from a horror film. 😀

And then I dumped it in the oven. And since I’d forgotten to mist it, opened the oven door a minute later, dragged it out, misted it, and shoved it back in.

Did the turn-turn-turn thing at 20 minutes (nice oven spring!), checked on it 20 minutes later, and yep, it’s got great color. Declared it done sans thermometer and let it cool.

I didn’t cut into it until this morning. Nice, tight crumb, slices evenly and thinly. Smells fruity. I like! Fahim, the hubby, thought it was a little spicy – too much cinnamon, possibly. He doesn’t like cinnamon. I love cinnamon. I would have doubled the cinnamon. I guess I’ll leave the cinnamon levels where they are, or possibly a bit less to appease him. 🙂

We mostly ate it for breakfast with butter and jam and liked it! And I’m going to make the fruit & nut version. Fahim loves fruit and nuts in his breakfast bread and I’m all about making the boy happy. 🙂

Additionally, I’m submitting this post to Yeastspotting, a weekly showcase of truly drool-worthy breads. In addition to this being part of Sourdough Saturday here on my blog. 😀

[pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”happy sourdough starter, raring to go ” alt=””] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”mace (orange), nutmeg (brown), cardamom (green)” alt=””] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”ground spices” alt=””] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”just-mixed dough” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”beginning of first rise” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”beginning of first rise, side view” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”end of first rise” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”end of first rise, side view” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”fake banneton/free-form loaf shaping thingie” alt=””] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”beginning of second rise” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”end of second rise” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”slashed and waiting to bake” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”side view – finished loaf” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”cut loaf” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”] [pg-image src=”” link=”” caption=”thin slices” alt=”Artos – Greek Celebration Bread”]

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7 Responses

  1. #1

    Beautiful loaf. Congrats. Creative work-arounds. How do you keep your sourdough – refreshed everyday? In the fridge? Do you have two? One liquid one stiff?

  2. #2

    Thank you kindly, VirtualLee. 🙂

    I’m basically a lazy sourdough person. It stays in the fridge when not in use. When I need it, I take it out of the fridge and feed it, and when it’s ready, get the bread going, then back into the fridge it goes. I usually make bread about every 3 days, so it gets fed every three days.

    I have just the one sourdough starter – 100% hydration, meaning it’s equal amounts of flour and water by weight. I can’t be bothered to use two, and honestly, I don’t see the point for me/us. We don’t like sour at all and my starter isn’t, so we’ve got perfection already. 🙂

  3. #3

    You did great. Hope your back gets better real soon. I would be the same shape but I have a bread machine and a kitchen aid mixer.
    Loved reading your post.

  4. I had no idea that’s what mace looks like. Really great loaf but sorry your back had to suffer for it. Feel better soon!

    Susan/Wild Yeast’s last blog post..Fig and Fennel Bread with Rye Sourdough

  5. Your loaf looks really lovely! How did you like the combination of flavors with mace and cardomom? I had a good workout kneading this dough too – hope the result more than made up for it 😉
    .-= Danielle/Bon Vivant´s last blog ..BBA Challenge #2 – Artos, Greek Celebration Breads =-.

  6. #6

    Susie, I am officially jealous of your bread machine and mixer. I’d be happy with just the mixer… They’re starting to become available here, but low-end brands that will likely burn out in a matter of months, so probably not really worth the money.

    Susan, before living here, I had no idea that that’s what mace looked like either. When I bought it, I wasn’t entirely sure I wasn’t being duped! But it all worked out. 🙂

    Danielle, thank you. 🙂 I loved the mace with cardamom and cinnamon. Loved. I thought it was beautiful. 🙂 How did yours turn out?

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About LMAshton

Howdy and welcome to my site! I'm Laurie and I'll be your, er, hostess today. :)

I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

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