Litya Bread (Artoklasia)

 

Many times, the vigil before a great feast (in this case, Theophany) is celebrated with a litya service in which bread (and wheat, wine and oil) are blessed and then distrubuted to the congregation. For more information go here or here. Unlike prosphora, the bread used in the Divine Liturgy which contains ONLY flour, salt, yeast and water, litya bread also contains spices, sugar and oil. Even so, it is still fasting (non-dairy) and so can be made as a large loaf for general purposes during fasting seasons. I suggest making it for home-use first to try out the recipe. It is by far the most popular bread I make at home!

Recipe for Litya Bread

4 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast (equivalent to two packets)
1 T white sugar
1 c. hot water

1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1.5 tsp vanilla
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. orange juice

1/4 c. warm water

3 c. all purpose flour
3 c. whole wheat flour

*     *     *     *     *     *

Mix first three ingredients in small bowl to proof yeast while mixing the rest.

Mix next seven ingredients in large bowl and stir well. Add proofed yeast to large bowl. Add flour, 2 cups at a time, stirring with fork in between. Mix in bowl with hands, then turn out onto floured surface. Knead for about 15 minutes until smooth. Dough will be stiff, but not overly dry.

Place back in bowl and cover with cloth that has been rinsed well in hot water and wrung out. Place covered bowl in warm oven to rise for at least one hour.

Form into five round loaves (generally five are taken to church, but I usually make about eight smaller loaves and leave three at home because we don’t have many people attend vigil) and place on floured pan, at least 2 inches apart. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut a simple cross (+) into the top of each loaf. Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on loaf size). Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.

18 thoughts on “Litya Bread (Artoklasia)

  1. Looks good! I wish I could bake bread, but I just don't seem to have the knack. You know your bread is bad when the first time you make prosphora, the priest feels obliged to explain to the parish that it was your first attempt at prosphora baking. It only got marginally better over the years until I finally gave up. Happy Feast Day!

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  2. Hello Matushka Anna! I pray that this message finds you and your family doing well.๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ™โ˜ฆ๐Ÿ•Š I am so sorry I haven’t been around for awhile. Please forgive me! Thanks be to God we are OK overall, but my health has kept me from doing much of anything here, including (and especially my own blog). If I may, I would like to ask your advice as to how you made the beautiful crosses on the top of your loaves of Artoklasia (Litya). I have only made them once before last month and need to make them again soon. When I made cuts like yours with a non-serrated knife, it went too deep and the crust separated from the body/insides of the bread by an inch. I tried make a lighter cut and not as large of a cross to see if that would work. Alas, it was to no avail, because they ended up looking like yours right after you cut a cross into them before you baked them. I would greatly appreciate your advice. In the meantime, I pray that I can keep in better contact soon. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hello! I know my crosses have turned out poorly many times. Itโ€™s a tricky thing to cut deep enough but not too deep. There are so many variables involved especially how much the bread rises during baking. I wish I had better advice! I do usually make more than five loaves so I can pick the five best looking ones after baking. That might help.

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      • Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to send me your quick reply! May God bless you for your kindness. ๐Ÿ’— I will persevere. Maybe this will be good to keep practicing to continue increasing my prayer. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’—โ˜ฆ

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  3. Thanks for sharing your recipe online!!
    Iโ€™m about to try and make it but have a question about the โ€œhot waterโ€. How hot? Boiling hot? Iโ€™ve made regular bread before and always used warm water, never hot, because Iโ€™ve read somewhere that too much hot water will kill the yeast.
    Iโ€™ve never made litya bread before.

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    • Hi! โ€œHotโ€ means hotter than warm, but definitely not anywhere near boiling (or it will kill the yeast). If youโ€™re using regular yeast make it not as warm as if you are using bread machine yeast. You can use either, but the bread machine yeast needs warmer water. (I have no idea why.) I regularly use hot (from the tap) water when making prosphora and still have to punch the dough down twice, so itโ€™s definitely not killing the yeast! ๐Ÿ˜„

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  4. Hi again!
    Is the recipe suppose to have more water? Or you donโ€™t put all 6 cups of flour? Only as needed?
    I tried to make it and when I mixed everything it turned out very hard. I was struggling to kneed it.
    I did fluff up the flour before and did scoop it out with a fork when measuring.
    I donโ€™t know where I went wrong โ€ฆ๐Ÿ™

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