Recipe: Christopsomo (Greek Christmas Bread)

This special, luxurious bread is baked on Christmas Eve, to be enjoyed with the food on Christmas Day.


Preparation & Cooking time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

With ingredients like red wine and cognac, nuts, raisins, sugar, and holiday spices, this bread could be good enough to have for dessert. But on Christmas Day, we indulge and enjoy Christopsomo (Christ’s bread) as an accompaniment to our food. Make it yourself to bring as a hostess gift – or if you are the one hosting, to earn everyone’s admiration.

Method

To make your bread, start by adding the yeast, half of the water, and 2 tablespoons of the flour in a bowl, and stir with a spoon to make a thick batter.

Set aside for 10-15 minutes to activate the yeast, until you see bubbles forming on the surface.

 

Sift about 2/3 of the remaining flour into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the salt, the yeast batter, the remaining water and the wine.

Mix using the dough hook until you have a smooth, soft and elastic dough.

Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Add the rest of the flour along with the olive oil, cognac, orange juice and zest, sugar, raisins, crushed nuts, and spices.

Knead until just combined into a smooth, elastic dough.

Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise again for about 30 minutes.

Uncover the dough, and cut 4 small pieces (about 50-60 grams each). Set the small pieces aside, for decorating the bread later.

Cover a round oven pan (circa 40 centimeters in diameter) with parchment paper.

Sprinkle the dough with a little bit of flour, and carefully transfer it to the pan. Carefully spread the dough out to cover the whole pan using your hands.

Shape the four pieces of dough you set aside into little snail rolls, and place them on the bread. If you want, press a whole walnut into the center of each shape.

Cover the pan with a towel, and leave in a warm place for the dough to rise a third time, for about 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 180°C.

Brush the Christopsomo with the beaten egg yolks, and bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until golden.

This recipe was previously published in Greek in Ζάχαρη & Αλεύρι magazine and at gastronomos.gr.

Ingredients (for one loaf)

70 g fresh yeast, crumbled

220 ml tepid water

 

1.200 g all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

220 ml tepid dry red wine

110 ml olive oil

50 ml cognac

50 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

the zest from 2 oranges

220 g granulated sugar

200 g black raisins

100 g walnuts, crushed

50 g almonds, crushed

1 tsp ground spice mix (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg)

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten, for brushing

4 whole walnuts, with their shells, for garnish (optional)



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