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Greek Celebration Bread (Artos)

from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (pg 112-114)

NOTE: You have to start this process a day ahead of time if you don't already have a pre-ferment made.

Also you may see my first Artos attempt for the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge here.


1 cup (7 ounces) pre-ferment such as poolish or sourdough starter
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs (slightly beaten)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup milk (lukewarm, 90-100 F)


1 cup dried fruit (combination of two including raisins, apricots, figs, cherries)
1/2 cup nuts (lightly toasted chopped walnuts or slivered almonds)


2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon orange extract
sesame seeds

You will also need:

Stand mixer with paddle & dough hook attachments
Large bowl
Spray oil
Pastry brush


Take your poolish or other pre-ferment out of the refrigerator at least an hour ahead of time to let it get to roughly room temperature.

In bowl of stand mixer, put flour, salt, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Mix with paddle attachment for a few minutes until all ingredients are incorporated.

Add room temperature pre-ferment, orange extract, vanilla, eggs, honey, oil and milk. Continue mixing with paddle attachment until the dough becomes a rough ball then switch to the dough hook. Knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes adding flour if necessary. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and be soft and tacky, but not sticky. It should also pass the windowpane test.

If you are adding dried fruit and/or nuts, add them toward the end of your kneading time or turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the fruit/nuts in by hand.

Spray or drizzle some oil in a bowl and transfer to dough to that bowl. Lightly coat it with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and ferment for about 1 1/2 hours (until it doubles in size).

After fermentation, remove the dough from the bowl and prepare to shape. You may simply shape into a boule, but I like to braid this bread. I am working on instructions for braiding but you can view a quick video here of some Greek women braiding bread to get an idea of what to do. You can also look back at my original Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge post here for instructions.

Three strand braid:

Five strand braid:

Spray with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes (dough should nearly double in size). Preheat the oven to 350 F during the last 15 minutes of proofing time.

Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. When done, it should register 190 F internally and make a hollow sound when thumped. You can brush the glaze on as soon as it comes of out the oven.

For the glaze, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the honey and extract, turn off the heat and stir together. Brush on the loaf straight out of the oven with a pastry brush then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Before glaze:

After glaze:

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