The second week of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge has us all making Artos or Greek Celebration bread – a sweet bread with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond extract. There’s the basic bread – which is the type that I made, and the book also gives options to make two special types Christopsomos (a Christmas bread) and Lambropsomo (an Easter bread). From some of the comments I’m reading from the others doing the challenge on Twitter, some bakers are being extraordinarily ambitious and trying all of them. Not me, one a week is enough.

Last week, I mentioned that I’d be making a starter for the first time – a poolish. It’s water, flour and yeast that are mixed the day before you make the bread to allow a pre-ferment. I was a little daunted by this task, but really it was easy. Just throw the stuff together and let it sit for four hours at room temperature. Throw it in the fridge and use it the next day as an ingredient in the bread. Simple.

The loaf wasn’t difficult to make. I used my Kitchen Aid to knead the dough – it almost fell right off the counter as it hopped along from working so hard to do the kneading. Then it was let the dough rise, shape into a boule, rise again, then bake. It made one large round loaf of bread that smelled so good while it was baking. One of the most difficult parts of the whole thing is waiting for the bread to cool before slicing into it.

Artos isn’t a sandwich bread. It’s yummy with butter, and it made a great slice of cinnamon toast. Several of the bakers in the challenge have turned it into French toast and said it’s perfect for it. @Sahrabara on Twitter says it makes a yummy PB&J and thinks it would work well in bread pudding, too.

Next week, it’s bagels. Bagels. I’m thinking these are going to be challenging. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Bread baker's challenge: Artos bread
Our food blogger learns how to make and work with a starter and makes a yummy loaf of Greek Celebration bread.