Christmas bread made by Sarakatsani

Xristopsomo 2

Christmas bread made by Sarakatsani

        On the day of Christ, the householder took the Christmas bread, crucified it, cut it and distributed it to his whole family and to those who attended the Christmas table. (Some here see a symbolism of Holy Communion. As Christ gave the bread of life to all his human family). There are other traditions around Christmas bread. They refer to the unity of the Church and the peoples, with the symbolic model of the union of the grains of wheat into one bread. The people will one day be united with one shepherd, Christ. For the Christmas table, Christmas bread is blessed bread. They cut it on Christmas day, exchanging many wishes.

          Sarakatsani make two Christmas breads. The first, the best and with the most embroidery, is for Christ «to guard them and to curse them». On it they carve a big cross – moon with five flowers.

christopsomo 1

       The second, the great Christokouloura or Bread of Christ, It is for the sheep. This is how the shepherd honors them and Christ blesses them. In Christokouloura, the whole life of the flock is represented with dough, that is, the mantra, the sheep, the shepherds.


                                         Recipe ingredients

500 gr. soft flour

25 gr. fresh yeast

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. Sesame

1 tbsp. butter

1 large egg

1/2 tbsp. anise

1 1/2 fl. water

12 whole walnut kernels for garnish

                                           Performance of the recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.In a bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 120 grams of lukewarm water.

2. Add 125 grams of flour and make a thin dough.

3. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place (not in the radiator) to rise our dough for about 15 minutes.

4. Boil the anise in 200 grams of water, drain it and let it become lukewarm.

5. Add to the already puffed dough the rest of the flour, the butter, the egg, the anise, and the rest of the water and knead until our dough becomes soft and elastic.

6. Grease a 22 cm baking tray and place our dough, leaving a little aside for the decoration of Christmas bread. From this dough we make two strips and place them on each bread in the shape of a cross, but also the other designs that everyone wants in the four quarters of the cross.

7. Place whole walnuts in various parts of Christmas bread and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

8. Cover the pan with a towel and leave in a warm place until the volume of the bread dough doubles in volume.

9. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

10. Once the Christmas bread turns brown (after about 30 minutes), cover the pan with foil, so that it does not turn too brown, and continue baking in the oven.

 Αποστολίδης Αλέξιος  Γ2