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Note: the text below was copied from the Indiana List Archives (http://listserv.idiana.edu/archives/orthodox.html). It looks like a reliable recipe, which is why I've copied and posted it here. It has not been edited or tested.
Date: Tue, 9 May 1995 11:47:38 -0400 Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@IUBVM.UCS.INDIANA.EDU> Sender: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@IUBVM.UCS.INDIANA.EDU> From: James Silver Subject: Re: Prosphora, etc.
Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!
Peter Hrycak wrote on 9 May inquiring about recipes for prosphora ....
I've been baking prosphora for thirty years or so, and (as Nina Seco pointed out), even the experienced bakers have trouble with temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and uncooperative ovens. Only experiemce will give you some sort of `feel' for that.
The basic recipe I follow is Russian in origin, but I think it will work for anybody. It was called _tri po tri_ (`three by three' how Orthodox!) since the principle ingredients are measured in threes, which is also an aid to memory. I've used this recipe in the monastery and in several parishes of various ethnic backgrounds, without complaints.
EQUIPMENT: large bowl for sifting flour large bread-mixing bowl (preferably not metal) sturdy large mixing spoon two large cookie sheets (I use `pizza' stones) large pastry board or *immaculately* clean work surface rolling pin pastry scraper or metal spatula flour sifter measuring cup small metal skewer or turkey pin carved seals of the size/shape appropriate for the kind of prosphora you're baking clean apron two clean pastry cloths about 30" square one large or two small pastry cooling racks large plastic bag (a new trash bag will do) `Ziploc'-style bags for transporting/freezing -- the jumbo or 2-gallon sixe is best for large prosphora
INGREDIENTS: 9 cups unbleached flour (Pillsbury's `Bread Flour' is good; `natural' flour, maybe from a health food store, is best; it's desirable to use flour which has not been artficially enhanced by adding anything (protein) or subtracting anything (by bleaching).
1 tablespoon (or one small packet) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups boiling water
Additional flour during kneading, and/or white corn meal for the baking sheets
DIRECTIONS: MAKE SURE THAT ALL UTENSILS, WORK SURFACES AND YOUR HANDS (SCRUB UNDER YOUR NAILS! WASH WITH UNSCENTED SOAP!) ARE SCRUPULOUSLY CLEAN; THAT YOUR HAIR/BEARD WILL NOT CONTAMINATE THE DOUGH; THAT NO HOUSEHOLD PETS ARE IN THE KITCHEN; THAT THE WINDOWS AND DOORS ARE CLOSED AGAINST DRAFTS AND DUST. If your hands begin to feel dry while working with the dough, resist the urge to apply lotion -- it will contaminate the dough with undesirable oils and odors.
Cross yourself and make the Sign of the Cross over your ingredients, remembering that we will offer this bread and ask that God's Holy Spirit change it and us, and make this bread the `precious Body of (His) Christ'.
1. Boil the water (preferably pure spring water from a bottle) in a clean pot or kettle. Turn off the heat and let the water stand while you quickly do steps 2 - 4. Don't measure the water before boiling, just boil more than three cups to allow for evaporation.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. If the label says `pre-sifted', sift it anyway.
3. Measure nine cups (3x3) sifted flour into the bread bowl (`cup' means the whole vessel; you don't have to make it exactly even with the line.)
4. Add the yeast and salt, and stir to distribute them evenly throughout the dry flour. Pile the dry mixture in the center of the bread bowl.
5. Measure three cups of the boiled water into the dry mixture, adding it around the flour -- don't pour it directly on top of it.
6. Stir the mixture until it begins to hold together; sprinkle some of the reserved flour on the work surface and scrape all the dough out of the bowl onto it.
7. Knead the dough thoroughly for as long as it takes to get it to be of even texture, elastic but fairly dry. Sprinkly some flour into the bread bowl, place the dough ito it, and cover with a cloth. Set the bowl in a warm spot to rise for an hour or so. Someplace near, but not on, the stove is best.
8. Light the oven and set it for 325.
9. WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN; knead the dough again until it is about the same size as it was before you let it rise.
10. Sprinkle the baking sheets with a generous coating of flour or white cornmeal. DO NOT USE OIL OF ANY KIND TO GREASE THE BAKING SHEETS.
11a. BYZANTINE (large) prosphora: 1. Divide the dough into two equal parts. 2. Cut off 1/4 of each part, and reserve. 3. Shape each of the two large pieces into a ball; roll them out until they are round and flat, about 1 1/2 inches thick. 4. Place the loaves on the baking sheets. 5. Roll out the two small pieces into circles a couple of inches smaller in diameter than the loaves, but larger than the seal. 6. Flour the circles on both sides. Impress the seal firmly and remove it at once. 7. Moisten the tops of the loaves thoroughly with water left over from what was boiled earlier, rubbing in with your fingertips. 8. Place the sealed circles on each loaf. Pat them firmly in place with your fingertips, but not so hard as to obliterate the seal. Cover the prosphora with a cloth and set them aside to rise for another 30 minutes. 9. Using the skewer, pierce each prosphoron in the center and at the corners of each of its five square sections, as well as around the edge of the circle. 10. Place one prosphoron on the oven's upper rack, and the other on the lower. 11. Reduce the temperature to 300. Bake for 30 minutes. 12. Remove the prosphora and rotate them: back to front, top to bottom; bake for another 45 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on top and sound hollow when you tap them. If there's any doubt in your mind that they're done, leave them in for another ten minutes or so. It's better to have them slightly overbaked than raw inside. 13. Brush off as much flour/white corn meal as you can from the bottom of each prosphoron. Place them on cooling racks. 14. Cover the prosphora with a dry cloth, and a damp cloth over the dry cloth. Place the cloth-covered prosphora on their racks into the large plastic bag. (This allows the prosphora to cool as they absorb mosture from the damp cloth, making them less crumbly.) 15. When the prosphora are completely cooled, brush them again to remove any remaining flour/white corn meal from their bottoms, and put them in sealed bags. Ideally, the prosphora should be baked on the morning of the day before the Liturgy. If necessary, they can be baked in advance and frozen in airtight bags until needed; even then, they should be taken out to thaw at least 24 hours in advance of the Liturgy: microwave thawing does undesirable things to bread.
11b. RUSSIAN (small) prosphora (also used for commemorations): 1. Divide the dough into two equal parts. 2. Roll out each part until it is about 1" thick. 3. With a 3" cookie cutter, cut twelve circles from each part and place them on the baking sheets, leaving as much space as possible between them. 4. Roll out the dough remaining from the cutting of the 24 circles until it's 1" thick. 5. With a 2" cookie cutter, cut 24 circles; flour them on both sides and seal them with the small seal. 7. Follow steps 7 -15 as in 11a; baking time will be shorter, since the loaves are smaller. Pack these up in groups of five, making sure that there is at least one of good size and shape with a clear seal in each bag.
This same recipe may be used for artoklasia; some people add a little rose water or citrus, or even dried fruit to it in that case.
There are as many recipes for prosphora as there are _yayas_ and _babas_ and _siddis_, and other grannies too numerous to mention; this is just the one that's always worked for me.
Paschal joy and blessings to all!