The second recipe in our Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is Artos, or Greek Celebration bread. This bread is one huge, poofy ball of fragrant deliciousness. The irresistible aroma is due to a nice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and citrus. I made the Christmas or "Christopsomos" variation of the bread, which includes golden raisins, cranberries, and walnuts. Traditionally, this variation has a cross pattern with swirly, decorative edges (as seen in this yummy photo from our Flickr group). I skipped this fanciness because I thought, at the time, that the curlicues were a bit much and I was, admittedly, a bit intimidated at the thought of getting all decorative with my dough. Fancy notwithstanding, this bread was large and lovely!
It was also fairly simple to make. For the sake of convenience and impatience, I used a poolish rather than a barm. The dough came together nicely in the KitchenAid with minimal prodding or coaxing from yours truly, except for the final shaping (which made my hands smell like Christmas spices for the rest of the evening). I absolutely adore the big, beautiful boule shape.
We have been eating slices of this all week - toasted with butter, please. The flavor is reminiscent of cinnamon-raisin bread but so much more bold and loud and grownup. If cinnamon raisin bread is a typical New Year's Eve, this "celebration bread" is partying like its 1999.
Note: The participants of this challenge will not be posting the bread recipes in order to protect Peter Reinhart's copyrights. The Bread Baker's Apprentice is a great bread book and if you're at all interested in making bread, you should just go ahead and buy it now. Otherwise, you can get a pretty thorough preview of the book from Google Books.