I was lucky enough to have free time on Saturday, so I set out to bake the next bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. This time around, I made Artos, a Greek celebration bread. The recipe (or “formula,” as it is called in the book) called for a “barm” which, as I understand it, is typically used in baking sourdough breads. It takes a lot longer to make, so I decided to just use a “poolish,” which is a more basic starter (and, according to the book, it could be substituted for the barm). The poolish was made simply of bread flour, water, and yeast. So, I made the poolish on Friday night and kept it in the fridge until Saturday morning.
It had to sit out for about an hour before I made the rest of the dough, so in that time Michael and I decided to take a walk down to the local farmer’s market on Walnut Street. We had been talking about going since we moved to Montclair, but this was the first time we actually went. So, we strolled around and bought tomatoes, corn, olives, and pickled green tomatoes. On the way back we stopped into a bakery and picked up some breakfast items (an apple turnover for him, a blueberry scone for me).
When we got back, I started on the dough. I mixed together the flour, lots of spices, eggs, milk, honey, oil, and the poolish. Even after adding all of the flour, the dough still turned out to be pretty moist. I wound up adding a lot more to it during the kneading process, which lasted for about 10 minutes. After the dough was good to go, I let it rise for about 90 minutes. When the time was up, I got a little nervous because it definitely didn’t double in size like it should have. But, I pressed on.
After the first rise, I took the dough out of the bowl and formed it into a “boule,” or ball. I covered it in plastic wrap and let it sit for another 90 minutes. This is the bread before it went into the oven.
This is the finished product. After it came out of the oven, I brushed on a glaze made of water, sugar, honey, and lemon extract, and then sprinkled some sesame seeds on top. It actually turned into quite a huge loaf, so I guess I didn’t have to worry about the lack of rising.
I was really excited to give it a try, so I cut into it a little over an hour later. I probably should have waited a tad longer because it was still slightly warm on the inside, but whatever. It smelled too good to not eat. It is slightly sweet and the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves) give it a nice depth of flavor. I was also pleasantly surprised with the glaze. Stupidly, I brushed it on the loaf before tasting it—and when I did taste it, I wasn’t sure if I loved it. But, it totally worked when I got a bite of the crust and bread together. The glaze is lemony with a touch of sweetness from the honey, and compliments the spices in the bread very nicely. This bread was definitely a huge success!
Side note: I had a lot of the poolish left over because I only needed to use 1 cup of it in the dough (it made more than twice that). I was going to throw it away because I had no use for it in the immediate future, and then Michael suggested that we fry it in the cast iron skillet. I had my doubts about this plan but, well, they came out delicious. We just sprinkled some salt on them and had them with dinner.
Next on the list are bagels. I’m excited.