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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Christopsomo (Christmas Bread)
Greece is a country where customs and traditions are a part of everyday life. My mother would tell us about how her family would celebrate Christmas in Greece and the kinds of foods that would be served. Presents are given on St. Basil's day which is on New Year's Eve and holidays breads and cakes with a lucky gold coin inside. Caroling was a tradition too, this is a Greek Christmas Carol - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbc_Zq8fXus
While my own family always celebrated Christmas in the western ways, I would always have something Greek as part of our holidays. Christopsomo is a braided sweet buttery egg bread with golden raisins and almonds, some people might mistake it for Challah.
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk - scalded then cooled
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla or mastic (ouzo can be used)
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
4 to 5 cups white bread flour
In a medium bowl combine warm water and 1 tbsp. sugar, sprinkle yeast over it and allow to bloom in a warm place - 10 minutes. It will foam and bubble.
In a large bowl beat eggs, then add sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and cooled milk (it should be slightly warm).
Stir in 1 cup flour, almonds, raisins, and lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Start adding flour a half cup at a time until still and elastic.
Place in a well greased bowl and coat the ball of dough some butter. Loosely cover bowl and place in a warm place to double in size. I have a proofing feature on my oven but you can warm your oven to 100 degrees and set the bowl inside. It works very well that way!
When doubled in size, take the dough and punch down. Knead on a slightly floured surface. Separate into three balls. Proceed to roll each ball into a long rope. Press the three together at one end and then proceed to bring the end rope over the middle, alternating sides. (I should have photographed this step - I will do that at a later time!). It should look something like the above. Place on a slightly greased cookie sheet, I used nonstick foil which works beautifully. Let rise in the warm oven for about 40 minutes. Take out and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat an egg and brush over the top of the loaf, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
I personally like one big braid but my mom and I tried making two smaller loaves which were nice and you can make delicious biscotti too. Just slice and bake at 400 for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Posted by Flo Titmus at 9:39 AM