Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's a . . . .

giant loaf of Greek Celebration Bread!!


My baby will turn 2 this summer. I've been sorting through baby clothes and donating baby gear. But it's a little emotional, moving on to the next phase in life. And I think in the wake of this "no more babies in the house" reality, I've been subconsciously looking for something else that will keep me up late at night, something that will require my attention and nurturing every couple of hours. Something like bread.


My first baby was born a couple of weeks early, and had a rough entry into the world. I had a conversation with my husband when he was about 6 months old.
C: I remember when they first showed me Jacob after he was born. I could not even believe how beautiful he was. All I could think was "Oh my gosh! He is perfect!" What did you think when you first saw him?

D: I thought "Oh my gosh! He is purple!"

And when some friends of ours had a baby, David and I spoke with our friend B, the dad, when he called us from the hospital after the baby was born:

C: Well, who does he look like? You or A?
B: Um. He sort of looks like Winston Churchill.
D: That's okay. All babies look like Winston Churchill.

But see, that's the thing. Mothers are blinded by love and pride when it comes to their children; they don't notice the purple and they NEVER think that their babies look like Winston Churchill. And such was definitely the case with me when my new baby, Artos, was born freakishly large:


We wrapped Artos in swaddling clothes and took lots of pictures:


Here is Jacob, the proud big brother, with his new baby bread:


Shortly after Artos was born, the nurse whisked him away to check his vitals. He was a perfect 190 degrees inside, and measured a whopping 18.5" x 6.5" x 4". Big boy!

The weigh-in:



Uh-oh. I feel a "beat the already-ridiculous metaphor to death" moment coming on.

Here is Artos' ultrasound picture, when he was just a bun in the oven:


Sorry about that.

Well, looks like I've gone off on some silly tangent again, and now if I take the time to actually talk about the bread in detail, this post will become way too long. I suggest you check out other #BBA blogs to get some real information about the bread. Just a couple of quick highlights about my Artos:

* Artos is a Greek Celebration Bread. It's a sweet bread, filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, lemon zest, almond extract, honey, raisins, and almonds.

* There are several options for shaping this bread, but I decided to braid Artos. Peter Reinhart provides excellent, detailed step-by-step photographs of braiding techniques. His techniques require you to (mentally) number the strands of bread; for example, for the triple braid that I did, you've got, from left to right, 1, 2, and 3. But I was afraid that I would lose track of which was which when I started braiding; for example, once 1 goes over 2, is 1 now 2 and 2 now 1? My head started spinning just thinking about it, so I numbered my strands with dried cherries:


Pretty clever, eh?

* Here is Artos, fully braided and ready for his final rise:


I'm not quite sure why Artos was as ginormous as he was. Funny -- when I started baking bread, I was afraid that my dough wouldn't rise. Now I'm afraid that my dough won't stop rising.

Well, there is really no way to make this transition gentle. We ate Artos. And we really enjoyed him! He made great toast, and even better french toast. David really enjoyed the multicultural aspect of having Greek Celebration French Toast (it took me a while to get what he was talking about, but I'm a little slow that way).

Greek Celebration Bread, or Artos, is the second recipe in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'm baking through the book with my slow & steady subgroup buddies, and as part of the larger #BBA group. Next up: bagels!

36 comments:

Elyse said...

What a hysterical post! I'm glad you have new bread babies to care for. They need lots of attention, so I have no doubt as your breads rise (/continue to grow up), you'll have many a sleepless night. Seriously, though, your artos turned out awesomely. It looks totally delicious! (Oh, and when I was born--about 6 weeks early--my dad said that I looked like a hot dog, thin and red. What a great comparison. Thanks, Dad.)

Barbara Bakes said...

Fun post! I'm still mad at my BIL for saying my baby girl was hairy! Your bread looks delicious!

The Food Librarian said...

Congratulations on your baby loaf!!! Man, that is one mighty loaf!!!

Steph said...

Your bread is huge!!

Audrey said...

Well, at least the kids probably didn't ask when you were going to give the new baby back! Lovely braiding job...and no kidding, I think your dried cherry technique was brilliant!

Di said...

Oh, Cathy, that's hilarious! I really needed a good laugh right about now. "Bun in the oven" *laugh* And your bread is gorgeous. I may have to try this one again as some point with the dried fruit.

pigpigscorner said...

Congrats on your new baby! He IS HUGE!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

If you leave the baking-and-blogging phase behind you, we'll all be sad! Amazing loaf of bread - I had a multiple birth, so birth weights much lower.

Andrea said...

Cathy, this post had me smiling all the way through. My little guy just turned two 10 days ago and oh my do I know how you feel, moving on to the 'next phase' (and hopefully the 'easier to travel with' phase) and the no more babies in the house. I love your new bread baby, Artos is a beauty :) You have me wanting to join another baking club...

Tracey said...

I seriously wish I had your wit - I love this post! The bread looks absolutely gorgeous - you did a terrific job :)

Natashya said...

What a great loaf! You should definitely be proud.
My first and third babies were born pretty cute and baby like. The middle one was deep red and mottled with thick black hair. He sort of looked Inuit. I almost took the wrong baby home. Don't worry, he's plenty good looking now. (Harry)

Leslie said...

At least you won't need to send this one through college! And no stretch marks, late feedings or pouting!

What's for Supper? said...

I loved reading about your baby...ahem, bread! Very cute. Mine got really big too. I was also hoping that it would stop rising.

Heather said...

you ate your last born?!?! talk about population control ;)

i love the picture of jacob holding his new sibling, and your ridiculous puns cracked me up :D

Cakelaw said...

LOL - baby Artos is rather handsome and not a bit like Winston Churchill! Well done.

Aggie said...

I love baby Artos!!!! What a good looking big guy!!

AJM said...

You need to pop out a few more (human) babies to eat all that bread! I made a half batch and it was still tough to finish it in a week.

Jamie said...

Okay this post made me laugh the whole way through! Your bread looks gorgeous...BIG, but gorgeous!

vibi said...

What a great baker you are!!!

Hey!!! That looks like a braid from my hair!!! (no kidding, a braid in my hair looks gigantic! ...I always wished for little Laura Ingalls braids!!! But noh!)

Perhaps next time you can learn how to make two strands braids and send me the third one? Would that be too much to ask??? LOL

Debinhawaii said...

Congrats on the new addition to the family--he is handsome and I am sure he was quite delicious!

Kayte said...

OMW, I thought you were kidding about little Artie being HUGE, but NO YOU WERE NOT. This is the biggest loaf of bread I have ever seen in my life. Kudos to you! The post was lots of fun (had to make myself not check in on Twitter until I got to some posts!) and photos really great...my fav, of course, is the one of J...so cute, both him and Artie! Great job...you make baking so much fun.

dharmagirl said...

wow--this is *some* bread! it reminds me of this huge bread the bakery made for my brother's graduation party, which made making normal sized sandwiches a little challenging.

excellent job, and lovely, witty, funny post:)

Pam said...

You crack me up! What a beautiful baby you have/made.

natalia said...

Cathy ! I love your baby ! I made buns instead so I didn't have delivery problems !!!

pinkstripes said...

OMG. Love the baby metaphor even if it was beat a little too much. It was all hilarious.

Your artos braid looks wonderful.

The Blonde Duck said...

What a wonderful new addition to the family! Should we have a crouton or sandwich shower to celebrate?

Pamela said...

I've seen this post for a day or so in my reader but wanted to save it for when I had time. I knew it was going to be a good one! I absolutely guffawed about the bun in the oven reference! I love you!!

Lady Baker said...

I can see you now, lined up at a hospital nursery window---err, I mean bakery front window...bystanders all around you also peering into a row of warm, cozy, wrapped up new loaves...you look to the person next to you, wondering which one they are there for. And as you coo through the window, tapping it gently with your finger hoping to get Artos' attention, you nudge the guy next to you, and you say, gesturing towards Artos with a proud motherly smile on your face: "see that one, first row, 2nd from the left? that one's MINE"

Bridgett said...

Ha ha, you are so funny, I love your posts. The baby turned out amazing! Makes you want to do more, huh?? ;)

Teanna said...

HAHAHAH I LOVE the sonogram part! I almost spit out my coffee!!! That is one gorgeous baby that does NOT look like Winston Churchill, thankfully. But... actually... if you squint a bit...

Maria said...

Love it!! Too funny!! You really did a great job on this one!

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh, that is A LOT of bread! It looks fantastic! And I totally cracked up at your comparing it to a baby. That was gooood! :-)

Anne said...

This is totally funny Cathy. We have huge babies at our house, too (yeast and other wise!) I think my brother would love this bread and I love your tip with the cherries, haha. Keep up the great work! :)

Katrina said...

Congratulations on your new arrival. Wait....you ate him. WEll, he looked great!
I've got to try Ina's brownies sometime.
You are a hoot!

Helene said...

Wow turned out beautiful. Your son is so cute.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Very funny post and the bread looks delicious.

 
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