Christopsomo (Christ’s Bread) is the traditional Greek Anise flavored Christmas Bread. Baking a Christopsomo is considered a religious task in an Orthodox Greek household. The baker begins by crossing himself & asking for blessings for the household. The bread is baked on the Christmas eve and eaten on the day of Christmas. Only the best and the most expensive ingredients are used to bake this bread. Ropes of dough are used to adorn the bread with cross. Unshelled walnuts are used for decorations too. Here is the original recipe, I have almost followed it all except for the glaze.
We do not celebrate Christmas in a religious sort of way, but definitely join in to the holiday spirit of sharing & giving and the festivities & of course the Tree & Santa Claus. What is Christmas to children without the beautiful surprises left under the tree by Santa. Besides, it is a very god time of the year to have them see & thank for all that they have….A lot of care have been taken to do the tree in our home and the children are trying to be at their best behavior:-) The gifts that they want have been decided on, the note to Santa has been mailed. Here are my 2 little elves.. I caught them working on our Christmas tree one early morning.
Coming back to the recipe….
- 8 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 cup of warm red wine
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 cup of brandy
- grated peel of 2 oranges
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of raisins
- 1 1/2 cups of walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup of pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon of grated gum mastic or 1 tablespoon of crushed anise seed(I used Anise)
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Glaze & Garnish
- 2 Tablespoons Honey (approx)
- 1 Tablespoons Lime Juice
- Sesame seeds (I haven’t used this since at the last moment I saw my stock was empty)
Mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of flour, stir until dissolved and set aside for 10 minutes, until it bubbles.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the salt with 2/3 of the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining warm water, and the wine. Mix until a soft dough forms, cover with a damp towel, and set aside to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, until it doubles.
Punch the dough down and knead for several minutes. Sift in the remaining flour, add the oil, orange juice, brandy, and grated orange peel.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, raisins, walnuts, pine nuts, gum mastic or anise, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until blended, and add to the dough.
Knead well until the dough is firm and doesn’t stick (about 10-12 minutes), cover, and allow to rise for 1/2 hour.
On a greased baking pan, shape the bread into two circular loaves, about 8 inches in diameter. Cover, and place in a warm place to rise again, until doubled in size.
Pull out 2 big fistfuls of dough and divide into halves. Roll 2 long strips with each one of them and make a cross on each circular loaf. Decorate with walnut halves.
Place a pan with at least 1 inch of water in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 375F. Place the bread in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove the pan with the water, reduce heat to 325F and bake for another 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven, and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
Whisk the honey and lime juice, & brush on the loaves for the glaze. Sprinkle the sesame seeds.
Wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas & a Very Happy New Year!
Wrap it up when completely cool. This bread will store for a couple of weeks. Its been a week for me & it tastes better as it matures…
This is being sent to the the BBD #15: Festive Breads being hosted at Annarasa & originally started by Zorra, to Santa’s Holiday Challenge hosted by Tasty Treats & also to Susan’s WildYeastSpotting and Holiday Yeastspotting.
Another Mention…. Jayashree of Sinful Indulgence has presented the
Award to me. Thanks a bunch Jayashree! I am thrilled!!