Christopsomos — Easy for You to Say

The second bread in the BBA Challenge, Artos, is one that I would probably never have baked were it not for the Challenge.  Why not?  Well, let’s see

  1. I’m not Greek
  2. I can’t pronounce “Christopsomos”
  3. I used to work with a Greek guy, and he was really obnoxious, so I’m automatically turned off to all things Greek
  4. I hated My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Hey, I’m the first to admit those may be shallow reasons, but they’re my reasons nonetheless.  So, here I was, about to embark on a bread I might never have made and against which I already harbored unfounded prejudices.

I decided on the Christopsomos version, mainly because I thought it would be fun to try to shape it like PR’s version, with the cross and curlicues on top of the boule.  In order to accomplish making this bread, I had to spread the baking out over two days.  So I reduced the yeast by about half and, after mixing and kneading the dough and adding the nuts, raisins, and chopped dates (I didn’t have figs), I bulk fermented it in the fridge. 

It rose just exactly on (my) schedule, so I took it out of the fridge on day two and commenced with the shaping.  This is where I ran into my first problem.  I didn’t have time to let it come to room temperature, and was afraid it would over-rise if I did, so I shaped it right out of the fridge.  The dough was a little bit hard to work with chilled; it kept wanting to tear, so it was hard to get a nice, tight boule.  I treated it gently but firmly (like I’m supposed to treat my kids, I guess) and eventually ended up with a pretty decent boule.

Then came the octopus arms.  Again, having the dough chilled made it a little hard to work with, and I couldn’t get the ropes rolled out as tight as I wanted them.  I draped the “arms” over the dough in a cross shape and cut and curled the ends of the dough.  Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt with chilled dough:

Artos Dough

After the final shaping and rest, I baked as directed in the recipe.  And the smell!  Oh, the smell!  So this is Greek bread?  I learned a valuable lesson about the dangers of stereotyping, which I should probably someday pass onto my kids.  But for now, I was more interested in eating this bread.  After it baked, this is what I ended up with:

Arrrgh, ya landlubber!

Arrrgh, ya landlubber!


OK, so it looks a bit like a skull and crossbones.  But it smelled great.  And tasted fantastic.  It made great toast.  I took it to work the day after I baked it, and it disappeared to rave and ravenous reviews.

Like the Anadama, this is another bread I will definitely make again.  And I’m glad for this Challenge, which made me try a new bread that I might have otherwise missed.  Hail to the Greeks!



  1. Sweetcharity said,

    May 25, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Beautiful bread! And you made me giggle~ I hated My Big Fat Greek Wedding too!!

  2. devany said,

    May 25, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Great post, full of humor and honesty. I wish you would have shown a picture of a slice.

    I am baking mine today, I was slowed down by the swine flu… ah fun, what a way to spend a holiday weekend. I am still not well, but I don’t think I can “retard” my dough another day.

    Bake ON!
    devany , Hilo, HI

    • gaaarp said,

      May 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I will try to remember to take crumb pictures next time. It’s weird getting used to grabbing the camera every few minutes while I bake!

  3. May 25, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Such a thought: bake all these and then want to bake them all again ;o) there are much worse fates …
    Cross bones: I say it looks about wonderful!!

    • gaaarp said,

      May 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

      Thanks. It was really good, if a bit funny looking.

  4. Kayte said,

    May 24, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Looking good…just like the octopus hugging itself that it is supposed to look like…LOL. Nice post with all your descriptions, etc. Really nice looking bread.

  5. Paul said,

    May 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Lovely write-up, Phyl, and very nice loaf too. I hadn’t even pondered the curly version, dunno why. You did a swell job.

    But one needs to be careful, we’re at bread #3 and already they’re all “must do again!”. If we’re not careful, we’ll be at bread #43 and have to repeat the whole book top to bottom again.

    Wait… for a moment I thought there’d be something wrong with that. Never mind.

    OK, off to the bagels post…

    • gaaarp said,

      May 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks, Paul. Yeah, I thought about that as I was writing it. I keep hoping I’ll hate one of the breads so I don’t have to make it again, but no luck so far. 🙂

  6. Danielle said,

    May 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    wow! the fancy shape! nicely done.

    • gaaarp said,

      May 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Danielle. It really looks better in the picture than it did in real life.

  7. Susie said,

    May 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Great post and wonderful looking bread.
    You are so right that the smell and taste of this bread is awesome. 🙂
    Great job,

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