Christopsomo, Greek Christmas Bread Recipe

Christopsomo is a traditional Greek Christmas bread.

Filled with walnuts, flavoured with star anise and mahlab. What is mahlab you may ask. It is a spice made of ground up cherry stones. It has a very distinct flavour which I can not even explain. But it works well in this bread. If you can not get hold of mahlab, then you could replace it with cinnamon.

If you do not wish to make a large loaf, then this can be divided into small buns. You could also change the design. Make s few small braids to decorate it. Perhaps simplify the braid and instead of braiding you can twist two dough pieces around each other to make a kind of bread rope. The possibilities are endless when you don’t follow tradition ha-ha.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


350g (12.3oz) strong white bread flour

4g (0.14oz) yeast

30g (1oz) honey

20g (0.7oz) olive oil

5g (0.2oz) mahlab

4g (0.14oz) salt

4g (0.14oz) ground star anise

100g (3.5oz) chopped walnuts

210g (7.4oz) cold water

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


1 egg + whole pecans & sesame seeds to decorate


    1. In a bowl add the water, yeast, salt, honey, olive oil, mahlab & star anise. Mix well.
    2. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
    3. Knead for around 5 minutes. Cut off a 180g (6.3oz) piece and shape it into a ball. Keep on the side. Add the chopped walnuts to the larger dough piece and knead for another 2 minutes. Desired dough temperature 26-27C (79-80F).
    4. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
    5. Fold.
    6. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
    7. Cut the smaller dough piece into 6 weighing 30g (1oz) each. Preshape them into cylinders. Preshape the large piece into a round.
    8. Rest for 30 minutes.
    9. Shape the large dough ball into a round loaf. Roll out the other 6 pieces and make two three strand braids. Lay the braids across the loaf to form a cross shape. Place the loaf in a 15cm (6.5in) cake tin lined with parchment paper.
    10. Cover and ferment for 1 hour. During this time preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on! If you have a thick tray or cast-iron skillet then use that as a base. But if you do not that is fine it will work anyway.
    11. Brush the loaf with egg & decorate with the pecans & sesame seeds.
    12. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. If you are ever unsure of the doneness of your loaf, then take its temperature. If it reads above 94C (200F), then it is ready. This goes for any bread.
    13. Brush with oil or butter when ready.

    Let it cool down completely before cutting. I would suggest leaving it for at least one hour. I know how painful the wait is when you have a freshly baked loaf of bread in front of you. But trust me it will not be nice if you slice it too early. The inside will be gummy. Be patient and you will enjoy it far more.

    Happy baking!


    Watch the video here

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