Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BBA Challenge #2: Artos

Well, I've made my second BBA bread: Artos, a Greek celebration bread!

This was a very different kind of bread for me; I guess it was most similar to the Challah I baked a month or so ago.

It started with a poolish, which I had never made before. Unfortunately, I was in a rush when I made it and neglected to realize that the Artos recipe only calls for 1 cup, while the poolish recipe makes over 3 cups...I hate to waste it, but apparently it doesn't keep in the freezer the way some other starters do. (Or if it does, he didn't mention it in the book...)

This morning, I took my poolish out and let it sit for an hour. It had definitely grown in size and I could see some bubbles and strings in it, but it still didn't look as bubbly as other pictures I had seen.

I mixed the rest of the ingredients in, including cinnamon, allspice, cloves, lemon zest, almond extract, eggs, olive oil, and milk. If it tastes half as good as it smells, we'll be a pretty happy household!

The bubblyness of yeast and the ability of bread to rise are both pretty cool, but I kind of understand the science behind those processes. For me, one of the neatest parts of bread baking is the way the dough goes from this:

to this:

just by kneading. This dough was very sticky. I was determined to use the lesson I'd learned from the Anadama bread and not add too much extra flour, but it must've taken close to an extra cup before I could get the dough to stop sticking to the counter with every push. I did get to use my bench scraper more than ever before, so that was good. Once I got the dough to this point (still quite tacky, but not as sticky), the dough was pretty fun to work with. It was very soft and supple and, as I said before, smelled heavenly. I kneaded for exactly 10 minutes when my phone rang; while I chatted with my hubby, I casually checked the temperature: it was perfect! So as soon as I hung up, I did the windowpane test, and it worked even better than with the Anadama bread. Pretty exciting! And with only 10 minutes of kneading!

It doubled in size after only an hour again.

I've never shaped a boule before, so I did the best I could and set it out to rise one last time.

It was enormous after only 50 minutes or so, so I preheated the oven and slid it in. Because it was really getting golden and my last loaves were a little over-baked, I tested this loaf after only 35 minutes. Mistake. I'm never sure how to get to the bottom to check it, rap it, and temp it. So I took my silicone handle pot holders (in the foreground of the picture) - ugh - they totally dented the sides. And then the loaf wasn't quite warm enough (only 165 degrees), so I had to pick it up and put it back in.

It's still a prettyish loaf, but when I pulled it after the requisite 40 minutes (it was at a perfect 192 degrees), I checked the temp through the top, which (I'm assuming?) caused the top to deflate a little bit.

Oh well, better luck next time. While it was cooling for its hour, I made some apple butter, and then the kids and I dug in. All I can say: YUM. Wow, that is some good bread. Definitely one I will make again. I had been planning to bring it in to work for a first day of school treat, but nope, we're keeping it all. I'm hoping to try French toast with the remainder tomorrow night. The hubby and I were talking about the Challenge: both the Anadama bread and the Artos are so different from the bread we usually eat and so different from each other and so tasty! What fun!

***Update: Best. French toast. EVER. (Used the ATK French toast recipe, as always. OMG. So. good.)


  1. OMG..looks so yummy! I'm coming to your house! :)

  2. Amazing loaf! I've never shaped a boule before, either, and was surprised how easy-peasy it was.

  3. For your first boule, that is pretty impressive!