Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Artoklasia (Litia bread)


This is the bread we bless at Litia at festal Vespers and usually distribute after the Gospel at Matins. One recipe makes 15 loaves, which is enough for 3 services (5 loaves per service). You can make 15 equal loaves, or graduate the sets in size according to the likely attendance at each service—10 medium sized, 5 a bit larger, or something--just make sure there are 3 sets of 5 evenly-sized loaves.

2 scant tablespoons yeast
½ cup warm water
¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups warm water
¼ cup neutral oil (canola, etc.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 ½ to 6 cups flour

In a big bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the ½ cup water. Add sugar and salt and stir; let sit a few minutes until the yeast is active. Add the rest of the water, the oil, the cinnamon, and 3 cups flour. Mix until the batter is smooth. Add remaining flour, ¼ cup or so at a time, until the dough is soft but firm. Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic (less than 5 minutes in a stand mixer), adding flour if too sticky.

Divide dough into 15 equal parts (or 16 if it's easier, and you'll just have one extra to munch on) and shape into smooth balls. Place on greased pans, not too close together. Let rise for 15 minutes to half an hour, then bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

When completely cool, put 5 loaves each in 2 freezer bags labeled with the date and store in the church freezer. The third set will be brought to church to be used fresh.

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