Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Prosphora Baking Experience Vol. 1

I started baking prosphora this afternoon at about 5:30 pm, a double batch (a single batch being five loaves).  I brought down the trusty KitchenAid with the brand new dough hook (don't ask, but when it says handwash only, it means it).  I prepped all my ingredients (450 g flour, 315 g water, 22 g yeast, 7 g sea salt), then I recited this prayer:

PRAYER BEFORE MAKING THE PROSPHORA: Almighty God, our Help and Refuge, Fountain of Wisdom and Tower of Strength, who knows that I can do nothing without Your guidance and help; assist me, I pray Thee, and direct me to divine wisdom and power, that I may prepare this prosphora, faithfully and diligently, according to Thy will, so that it may be profitable to myself and others, and to the glory of Thy Holy Name. For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. 

Copyright 2012 Official Wife Tina

I then proofed the yeast, and mixed the salt with the flour.  After about ten minutes, I mixed the water in with the dry mixture, and let the mixer do its business.  I try to recite the Jesus Prayer while I am preparing the dough.  I find that my actions are economical and that I do not become troubled by extraneous things.

Copyright 2012 Official Wife Tina

After the dough is thoroughly mixed (eight to ten minutes) I let it rise for an hour.  It rose rapidly and well, due to the kitchen temperature being a balmy 74 degrees Fahrenheit.  While mixing I listened to Nikolai Gedda and the Paris Cathedral Choir.

Copyright 2012 Official Wife Tina

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, then I rolled out the dough, and cut the ten bottom halves of the prosphora.  I dusted the baking sheet with flour, and placed the bottom portions on the sheet.

Then, I recombined the remaining dough, rolled it out, and cut out the ten tops of the prosphora.  I pierced twelve holes into the bottom portions, signifying the Apostles.  Then I moistened the bottom portions with water, and applied the tops.

The tops were impressed with the seal, which reads IC XC/NIKA, or Jesus Christ Conquers (in Greek).

As soon as the seals were impressed upon the prosphora, I placed the baking sheet in the oven, and baked the prosphora for just over 24 minutes.  As you can see, they came out white, not browned.

Here is the sample prosphora that I feel has the best imprint of the seal.

Copyright 2012 Official Wife Tina

After removing the prosphora from the oven and placing them on a cooling rack, I recited the following prayer:

PRAYER AFTER THE BREAD IS BAKED: O Lord, this bread that I have baked represents each one in my family and in my congregation. I am offering myself to You, my very life, in humble obedience and total commitment to You. I place myself on Your holy altar through this bread to be used by You in any way that You feel will help enlarge Your kingdom. Accept my gift and make me worthy to receive the greater gift that You will give me when You consecrate this bread and give it back to me as Your Precious Body. Amen.

Once the prosphora cool, five go into a Ziploc bag and in the fridge, and five go into a Ziploc and then the freezer.  And that is how you bake prosphora.

PS- leftover dough makes a perfectly acceptable boule.  Just saying.

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