Goth Panda

BBA Challenge #2: Artos

Artos, bread of my enemy. Not really. I have just been having fun saying “Artos” all week as if it were the name of an evil movie villain. Try it, it’s fun! Arrrtosss….

So, challenge number two was something different for me. I am glad we started with Anadama, because I had some experience making sandwich loaves, even though I’d never made that one. But I’ve never made a sweet, enriched “celebration” bread before, and that’s what Artos is. You have the option of adding different kinds of dried fruit and nuts, depending on the holiday you are celebrating, but I made mine without any additions. I also didn’t add the optional glaze. All of these choices were made because I think we will be more likely to eat it that way. Neither Mike nor I are big on fruit and nut breads.

I also chose to bake it as one big boule, instead of trying the octopus strands that are the traditional way of shaping the Christmas version. This is because I have enough trouble shaping regular bread, without even trying to get all fancy.

Octopus Shape

This bread requires either a starter or a poolish, and I happen to have a sourdough starter (last seen here in my failed attempt at sourdough bread). I have a stiff starter, and the recipe calls for a liquid starter, so I did a little feeding and converting based on Rose Levy Beranbaum’s instructions.

Here’s my starter after sitting at room temperature for an hour.


And here it is after feeding it some flour and water

Stiff Starter

My stuffed panda watched to make sure I was doing it correctly.

Panda with Stiff Starter

I gathered it into a ball and put it in a measuring cup to rise for two hours, or to one and a half times its size.



When I went back after two hours, it hadn’t really risen that much. So I left it out for another hour.

After Two Hours

After three hours, I put it back in the refrigerator.

After Three Hours

The next day (today), I took it out to come to room temperature, and I left it there for a few hours. It got even bigger. To make up for the conversion from stiff to liquid starter, I weighed out three quarters of the amount specified in the recipe and made up the other one quarter by adding water to my liquids.

Fed Starter

In my Kitchen Aid bowl, I weighed out flour. I am using KAF bread flour, as usual:


Added some salt and yeast. I kept them separated, since they don’t like each other, but I think they got mixed together anyway.

Salt on the Left, Yeast on the Right

Here are my spices.


I added the starter, in pieces.

Added Starter in Pieces

And my extracts. I used orange oil from KAF and almond.


And here are all my liquids, weighed out and mise-en-placed in my mismatching bowls. Top row is beaten eggs, water (because of the stiff starter), and olive oil. Bottom row is milk (I microwaved mine for 30 seconds to get it lukewarm) and honey. All these went in the bowl too.


Then I mixed with my dough whisk.

Mixing Dough


I put the dough on my KitchenAid mixer to knead, and found I had the same problem I had last week: the dough was too wet. I wonder if the recipes assume you will be hand-kneading the dough, since you have to add more flour to knead by hand.

Wet Dough

I had to add more flour to make the dough come together, but I don’t think it was as much as I added last week. The dough was more slack than the anadama dough, but I found it easier to work with. I kneaded it for ten minutes in the mixer (with frequent stops to add more flour and scrape the sides of the bowl). Then I turned it out on the counter to knead for a few minutes by hand, and add in some additional flour. I had no problems getting a windowpane; it didn’t take nearly as long as last week.

I wonder why this book doesn’t have any photos or illustrations on kneading techniques. Reinhart talks about different preferred methods, but it would be nice to see some pictures since I have no idea what they look like. It seems an odd omission for a book that is otherwise so comprehensive.


I have never bothered to take a dough’s temperature before (although I always do to check if they have baked enough). I did this time, and got a decent reading.

Taking Dough's Temperature

I put it out to rise, and it had risen well after an hour.

To Rise


I shaped it into a boule, which I am generally pretty bad at. I managed to get a decent shape following his instructions.


Uh oh. Except that part. The dough stuck to my counter a little and pulled away.


I set it up to proof under a high-tech little contraption that in my house we like to call the popcorn bowl.


I put it in my hallway since I then started making dinner, and my stove heats up my little kitchen something fierce. After an hour, it was huge, but I had just started the oven to preheat, so it had to wait another 15 minutes.

After the Second Rise

Here we go, into the oven for twenty minutes, turned, and took out after another twenty. It was over 190 on the thermometer, so I let it cool and then sliced it open.



This bread is soft and fragrant. The first taste was sweet, but then the sweetness faded, and the spices and extracts kicked in. I thought that it would be too fancy for using as sandwich bread, but I think you could make it work. It would be an extra-special sandwich, though. I also considered French toast, which would complement the flavors. Usually I use a sturdier bread for that, though.

Tastewise, I like this bread better than the anadama. The softness is going to give me problems with cutting it, though. How about an overall score of four out of five for Artos – my enemy no longer.

14 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #2: Artos

  1. Nice looking loaf. I agree completely about the french toast. Although it would have great flavor, I only make mine using sturdy bread and now my 7 year old won’t even eat french toast at most restaurants because it’s too soft.

  2. I loved reading through your post. You are too funny.
    I also used the almond and orange. I will no doubt make this recipe again. It was so tasty.
    Great job,

  3. You have inspired me to take lots more pictures of my bread making process. It makes the descriptions come alive. You have a great sense of humour. And by the way, your bread looks great!!

    I’m baking mine today. Going to add dried sour cherries, pecans and raisins.

  4. Great looking bread. I just love the fact that you find time to bake bread and then to blog about it. I am totally impressed.

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