The second Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge (from the book by the same name authored by Peter Reinhart) was Artos: Greek Celebration Bread, found on pages 111-114.
There are three varieties of the Artos in the book, and we were encouraged to bake whichever one we wanted. Compulsive that I am, I made all three.
The overall spicing for the base recipe is the same for all three varieties, so the Artos boule was the basic recipe with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, lemon/orange zest, and almond flavorings.
The Christopsomos (Christmas bread) was the basic boule plus add-ins of raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried figs, and toasted walnuts.
The bread was shaped as a boule, reserving a third of the dough to make a cross shape with curls at the base to fit over the boule, which I thought resembled an octopus hugging itself. The curls were supposed to hang tighter to the bread, so that needs some work yet.
The Lambropsomo, the Easter bread version, was a braid with dyed red eggs intertwined and the add-ins for that were golden raisins, dried apricots, and almonds. I can't braid...let's face it, I have boys here, and I never learned how to braid, so this is the best I can do on the braiding deal, needs more work obviously.
Nancy had some trouble with the red dye bleeding into her bread, so acting on her suggestion, I baked the bread with white boiled eggs, and replaced them with the bright red dyed ones after the baking process. Worked great, no red dye on the finished product.
The Christopsomos and the Lambropsomo have a sweet honey glaze on them, so they were good just eaten out of hand, and also both of those made great French Toast.
I was happy to have had the experience of shaping the dough, and while it was my first attempt and could use additional experience and work, I was happy with the results and the guys enjoyed the taste of the bread. This would not be an every week type of bread, but something, as it says, for a celebration and festive occasion. The loaves are quite large so would be good to have additional people around to help eat the bread.
While the main group of 200 bakers are baking weekly, the Slow & Steady group consisting of Nancy, Cathy, Audrey, Jessica, Melissa, and I are baking and posting every other week to better fit into our schedules. If you would like to see their Artos breads, click on their names and visit their sites, or you can visit the main group and marvel how they are all already on brioche. We'll get there...Slow and Steady. Our next challenge: Bagels. These will be posted in two weeks.