Since this was a holiday weekend, I extended my own deadline for doing the second Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, Artos, or Greek Celebration bread, and finished it today.
I started last night by putting together Peter Reinhart’s standard poolish of flour, water and yeast. It sat overnight in the fridge, and I took it out this morning to get up to room temperature. I like to get all my ingredients ready, so I pulled up the recipe and saw I needed a couple of eggs, olive oil, milk, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Other than that, I just needed the typical flour, yeast, water and salt.
I think the humidity was affecting the dough when I mixed it, because I needed to keep adding flour to keep the dough from being too loose or wet. As I kneaded the dough, I added extra flour until it stiffened up a bit.
There are variations listed in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice that can add raisins or dried cranberries. The Christopsomos form takes the standard boule (round loaf) and adds a fancy cross of dough over the top of the bread. I decided to do the Lambropsomo shape, which is braided, but I didn’t add any of the extras to the dough, partly because I don’t care for some of them, and partly because the dried cranberries I had in the cupboard were a year out of date!
To braid the dough after the first proof, I separated the dough into three equal parts and rolled each section into equal length strands, then simply braided them together. I thought this would be tougher to do, but a three strand braid is pretty easy.
I got my XL Big Green Egg going about the time the first proof was almost done. The BGE set in at 350 and just stayed there and wouldn’t budge. At the end of the 2nd proofing, I just took the loaf out to the BGE on a peel. After 20 minutes, I turned the loaf around.
I knew the loaf was good sized, but the oven spring this thing got on the BGE was amazing! It had doubled in size again! This was a big loaf o’ dough! And on the BGE, it took a bit less time than in a typical oven. After just over 30 minutes, the internal temperature was at 191, so I took it off and let it cool a bit.
However, the bread smelled soooo great, I couldn’t wait long. We had friends over for Memorial Day, and we all tried it a bit. I really liked the first BBA bread, Anadama bread, and thought I’d do it again, but this bread puts it to shame! Man is it good! Just carrying the bread in on a peel from the BGE, I was surrounded by the aroma… oh man!
So far, I’ve tried peanut butter and jam on it (great), and toast with butter and honey (great). I’m expecting French toast to be even greater, and I think even a good ham and cheese panini would be delicious on this stuff.
Next on the list for the challenge is… Bagels!