At the beginning of this month I wrote about the tradition of baking Christopsomo (which translates as “Christ’s Bread”) and I baked one so that the readers of my blog could actually see the whole procedure beforehand and bake one on Christmas Eve, if they liked. Today however, is the day we are actually baking our Christopsomo and I have baked mine earlier this morning. The original Christopsomo I baked could actually be eaten just as we eat our usual bread with the only difference that it has a wonderful flavour with all the ingredients included in it.
This time I have added more raisins, nuts, dates, sugar and some dried spoon sweets in it. We usually eat most of it on Christmas day but as I had it cut for the photo, we’ve started eating it. As this quantity makes two loaves of bread you can cut one of them into slices and roast them in the oven again, at a low temperature and make it similar to biscotti, which can be stored and preserved for a long time and they are great to accompany our coffee in the morning or as a snack later in the day.
This is my entry for the event Bread baking Day No. 5, hosted by Chelsea at Rolling in Dough.
Christopsomo with a twist – Christ’s Bread. Recipe by Ivy adapted from the original bread
Preparation time: All morning!!!
Baking time: 1.30 hours
Makes 2 breads
Ingredients for the basic recipe:
- 2 kilos all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dry yeast (18 grams)
- 1 cup lukewarm warm water (105F, 40C)
- 1 cup warm red dry wine
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup brandy
- Grated orange zest
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped or pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon pounded mastic resin or 1 tablespoon crushed anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
For the Topping
- 2 whole walnuts
- sesame seeds
- ½ cup of walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup of almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup of dates, stoned and chopped
1 cup of spoon sweets (or fruits glaces) finely chopped
- Mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water and ¼ of flour, stir until dissolved.
Cover with plastic membrane and clean napkins or even a small blanket and leave it to rest all evening.
- Next day, in a large mixing bowl, sift the salt with 2/3 of the remaining flour.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, the warm water and wine.
- Mix until a soft dough forms, cover with plastic membrane and a damp towel, and set aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down and knead for several minutes until any air pockets are gone. Sift in the remaining flour, add the oil, orange juice, brandy, and grated orange peel.
- In a small bowl, mix the sugar, raisins, walnuts, pine nuts, mastic resin or anise, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cardamom and nutmeg until blended, and add to the dough. Knead well until the dough is firm and doesn’t stick (about 10 minutes), cover, and allow to rise for 1/2 hour.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper or lightly brush with oil. Shape the bread into two circular loaves, about 8 inches in diameter, keeping a fistful of dough for decoration. Pat the dough back into shape to rise. When risen, use the small pieces of dough to create designs… roll them out into strips and coil around whole walnuts pressed into the top, or make them into the shapes of your choice and place on top of the loaves.
- Cover with plastic membrane, a dry cloth and a damp cloth over that, and place in a warm place to rise again, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees C and bake for about 1.30 hours.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
If it is a cold day, prepare a meal which needs to be baked in the oven. This way the kitchen will be warm and will enable the dough to rise.
If you don’t have an electric spice grinder, use a mortar and pestle to crush the anise seed, coriander, cardamom, cloves and mastic resin.