Greetings! Last night, I baked the Christopsomos, and it was shockingly wonderful! I normally would never choose this bread to make because of the spices, the add-ins, and especially the almond extract. For the most part, I stick to whole grain, crusty boules and baguettes. I'm so glad that I was brave and tried this. It is unbelievably fantastic! And yes, I even used the almond extract.
I started with the poolish at about 1:00 in the afternoon. By the time I got around to the actual bread, it was around 7:00, and the poolish was bubbling away. It had a great texture, too. I had a friend over, so he read the directions aloud to me from the couch. It was perfect; I didn't have to keep checking the recipe. And a special shout out to that friend, Russell, who came up with the name for this blog. Thanks, Russell.
Anyway, I used a combination (approximately half and half) King Arthur bread flour and white whole wheat flour. That proved to be a great combination. It made a silky dough, which allowed me to knead the raisins, dried cranberries and cherries, and the walnuts in after the dough had its initial kneading. I've never had success with this method before, so that is a testament to the dough.
I did not slash the top, but I did mist it three times at five minute intervals, and it rose straight up without spreading out flat, like so many of my breads do. I was incredulous! I kept strolling past the oven door peeking through the glass to see if it had fallen; it didn't. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
After filling my entire house with fragrant, spicy aromas, the bread finally came out of the oven around midnight. I photographed it, let it rest long enough for me to fold a load of clothes, and then I just couldn't stand it another minute. I sliced off the end, spread it with a little butter and enjoyed it with a cup of tea. It was amazing! Perfect texture, amazing flavors (the orange peel, which I zested, using a Microplane, rather than mincing really added a depth) and crunch from the walnuts all contributed to make quite possibly the perfect loaf in that genre of breads.