Guide to SKOPJE

HRISTOPSOMO – Greek Christmas Bread


This round bread is indispensable at Christmas lunch, the most important meal of Christmas Day in Greece.bread_christmas_balkon3Often you’ll find it topped by a B-shaped sign, which symbolizes the plough and whole walnuts always complete the decoration. This bread is of course meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus but it’s identical to ancient thanksgiving breads served during the same time of year (the winter solstice). A similar dough mix and taste (but not shape) is used in many different occasions in different regions of the country, such as the “Eptazymo” local bread of Kalymnos Island or the “Artos”, the ceremonial bread offered after church services on special festive days.

Some say that you are not supposed to cut Hristopsomo by knife, only by hand, so that its blessing will not be “damaged”.


4 cups all-purpose flour

25 gr. fresh yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon aniseed

1 1/2 cup water

Sesame seeds

Whole walnuts


In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in half a cup of tepid water. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix. Cover the bowl and let it stand in a lukewarm place for about 15 minutes. Boil the aniseed in a coffee-cup of water, strain and let the water turn tepid. Add the rest of the flour, the olive oil, the egg, the aniseed and the rest of the water to the risen mix and knead until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Let the dough rest covered in a draft-free place for about an hour until it doubles in volume. Keep a bit of the dough aside and shape the rest into a ball. Spread a round baking tin with olive oil and place the ball of dough on it, pat it lightly to flatten it down a bit. You can shape the reserved dough into any desired shape for decorating the top of the bread, including leaves, trees, animals and fruits, depending on how artistic you are! Don’t forget to place one or more whole walnuts on top and maybe a bit of sesame seeds. Let it again to rest for half an hour and then place the baking tin in a preheated oven at 180°C. Once the bread starts to turn brownish, cover it up with aluminum foil because the sugar might make it burn easily. Bake for a total of around 35 minutes.

Sophia Nikolaou