Christopsomo, the Greek Christmas bread

Christopsomo, the Greek Christmas bread

“Christopsomo” in Greek means “Christ’s Bread” and this is why the bread is always decorated with a cross that represents the cross of Christ. Christopsomo is considered very sacred in Greek families and is made with great care to ensure a blessed new year, and also the wellbeing, health and happiness of the household. Traditionally, the lady of the house makes the bread. She mixes wonderful ingredients like walnuts and raisins into the dough. To make the bread sweeter she adds some sugar or honey. This traditional Christmas bread is usually prepared the day before Christmas Eve and is served at the Christmas table.

Ingredients…

For the bread

For the decorative dough

For the decoration glue

For the outer spread

Suggested ingredients

Recommended spices

Also

Instructions…

Dissolve the yeast in 3 tbsp of lukewarm water. Sift the flour and keep aside 3 tbsp, which you’ll add in the dough after you knead it. Add to the flour, sugar, salt, spices of your choice and mix.

Some versions of this recipe contain more sugar to make the bread sweeter. If you like this, then add 2-3 tbsp extra.

Make a hole in the centre and add the dissolved yeast, oil and water. Knead until the dough starts forming and then, gradually add the flour you kept until the dough is not sticky.

I added another 2 tbsp of flour because you know that each flour has different behaviour. My dough came out 840 g. I kept 160 g to make the cross. 

In the remaining dough, weighing 680 g, add any other ingredients you want, such as nuts etc. Then, shape the dough into a ball and place it in a small baking pan, lined with baking paper, and cover it with a towel.

Divide the 160 g of dough into two pieces and each piece of them into three more pieces, a total of six. Spread some oil in your working surface, do not add any flour as it will get slippery. Form six strings as thick as your little finger. Knit the two braids and cover them with a towel. Let the loaf and the braids rest and inflate for about an hour. They might need some more time to inflate, depending on the room temperature.

While waiting, you can prepare the decorative dough. This is a dough that is not edible, it just dries and hardens and I thought I would use it to keep the decoration white and distinct. But seeing that the braid stands just fine and looks very good, I will use regular dough for the decoration next time. Tradition says that the housewives decorated the Christopsomo with whatever Christ wanted them to bless, such as their fields, their vineyards, etc. So I decided to make…

Grapes for the vines…

Wheat for the fields… Well, I know it’s not perfect, but I won’t stop trying until perfection.

And flowers for the garden…

When the dough swells, place the braids crosswise, on top of the bread, place the nut in the middle and carefully spread the honey-water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven at 180C on the heating elements for 20 minutes.

Then take it out and place the decoration on the bread. Use the flour-glue to stick them on the bread. Put the bread back in the oven for another 30 minutes. If it becomes brown faster, cover it with foil.

Once baked, spread honey-water once more and let it cool down.

I have spread a mixture of oil and melted butter on half of the bread, as some recipes suggest that. But I liked the honey more and of course, it gave this wonderful shine. So, if you don’t like honey, then try the oil.

Have a holly jolly Christmas! 

Nanà…

Christopsomo, the Greek Christmas bread

Ingredients…

For the bread

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 25 g fresh yeast
  • 280 g lukewarm water
  • 20 g seed oil (eg corn oil, sunflower oil)
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 10 g (2 tsp) salt

For the decorative dough

  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) salt
  • 70 ml of cold water

For the decoration glue

  • 25 g all-purpose flour
  • 60 ml of water

For the outer spread

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Suggested ingredients

  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • White almonds
  • Clove nails

Recommended spices

  • Mastic
  • Anise
  • Mahleb
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice

Also

  • A whole nut, with the shell, to decorate on top

Instructions…

Dissolve the yeast in 3 tbsp of lukewarm water. Sift the flour and keep aside 3 tbsp, which you’ll add in the dough after you knead it. Add to the flour, sugar, salt, spices of your choice and mix. Make a hole in the centre and add the dissolved yeast, oil and water. Knead until the dough starts forming and then, gradually add the flour you kept until the dough is not sticky.

I added another 2 tbsp of flour because you know that each flour has different behaviour. My dough came out 840 g. I kept 160 g to make the cross. In the remaining dough, weighing 680 g, add any other ingredients you want, such as nuts etc. Then, shape the dough into a ball and place it in a small baking pan, lined with baking paper, and cover it with a towel.

Divide the 160 g of dough into two pieces and each piece of them into three more pieces, a total of six. Spread some oil in your working surface, do not add any flour as it will get slippery. Form six strings as thick as your little finger. Knit the two braids and cover them with a towel. Let the loaf and the braids rest and inflate for about an hour. They might need some more time to inflate, depending on the room temperature.

While waiting, you can prepare the decorative dough. This is a dough that is not edible! Tradition says that the housewives decorated the Christopsomo with whatever Christ wanted them to bless, such as their fields, their vineyards, etc. So make grapes for the vines, wheat for the fields, and flowers for the garden.

When the dough swells, place the braids crosswise, on top of the bread, place the nut in the middle and carefully spread the honey-water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven at 180C on the heating elements for 20 minutes.

Then take it out and place the decoration on the bread. Use the flour-glue to stick them on the bread. Put the bread back in the oven for another 30 minutes. If it becomes brown faster, cover it with foil. Once baked, spread honey-water once more and let it cool down.

 


Source: https://cookeatup.com/en/christopsomo-greek-christmas-bread/

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