Christopsomo (Greek Christmas bread)


What is Christopsomo (Greek Christmas bread)

Christopsomo (Greek Christmas bread) is a special bread prepared on Christmas Eve and consumed on Christmas Day. Its name derives from two words ‘ Christ’ and ‘psomi’ which in Greek translate to Jesus Christ and bread respectively. Thus this is ultimately , thus this is Jesus Christ’s bread.

This decorated round bread usually made with sweet elements like raisins and nuts, is presented in the centre of the table during the Christmas feast.

Christopsomo tradition

Making an offering to Christ is a tradition that has been practiced for generations. For the Greeks, making this traditional Christmas bread is one way of expressing devotion to our Lord. Creating this bread requires special care and love as we want to fill it with positive energy that will bring wellbeing, health and happiness to our household.

Traditionally, the lady of the house is responsible for making this offering. She puts her heart and soul into the preparation process, starting with the selection of ingredients to add into the dough.


Blessing the bread

The tradition of blessing the bread known as Christopsomo is fundamental to Greek Christmas culture. As a centerpiece for the dinner it brings warmth and joy to all gathered around. Before any piece is broken off, however, it must be blessed.

This is a spiritual occasion where the prayerful  makes the sign of the cross and blesses the bread for all present at gathering. After this simple gesture, everyone moves closer together to share stories and break pieces of bread from within as a symbol of unity. It’s a moment that bonds friends and families together, granting peace and goodwill amongst each other throughout the upcoming year.

Christopsomo (Greek Christmas bread)


This special type of bread is circular symbolising eternity and  is  decorated with elaborate designs.


Decoration of this Greek Christmas bread also varies between households and regions across Greece.Though there is a  common ‘design’ all Christopsoma (-a pleural) share. For example, all Greek Christmas breads are decorated with the letter ‘X’ which represents the Jesus died on. In agricultural areas,  Christopsomo is decorated with crops and livestock whilst in islands with fish and boats.

So, let your imagination run wild as there are no rules.Be as creative as you like. I for one, like to change my Christopsomo decoration each year. It adds to the excitement of the day.


Christopsomo bread unbaked

Christopsomo recipe

Christopsomo recipes vary throughout Greece. This Greek Christmas bread can range from a plain bread to fancy ones including dried fruits, nuts, aromatic spices and so forth. In my household Christopsomo was a delicate decorated bread but plain in flavour.

I have experimented with many recipes throughout the years in pursue of the perfect Christopsomo. Here I will share with you the best Christopsomo recipe (syntagi) as it is easy to make and works without a fail!


Christopsomo bread variations

The Christopsomo recipe itself differs from place to place with some choosing to make a very simple bread and just work some sugar in it while others opt for a more special treat.  Spices such as cinnamon, mahlab, cardamon or cloves can be added to it for extra flavouring. The result is simply divine with fresh aroma coming out of the oven right away. Not only does this tantalizing bread looks great but also tastes amazing!

Greek Christmas dessert recipes



Christopsomo (Greek Christmas bread)

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 8-10 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


To activate the yeast

  • 22gr dry yeast
  • 50ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar

White dough

  • 470gr strong bread flour (12% protein)
  • 200gr lukewarm water
  • 12ml sunflower oil
  • 6 gr salt

Wheat  dough

  • 470gr wheat flour
  • 200gr lukewarm water
  • 12ml sunflower oil
  • 6gr salt


  • 30-40gr sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil


  1. To prepare this Christopsomo bread start by activating the yeast.In a mixing bowl add  lukewarm water, dry yeast and salt. Stir and cover the bowl with cling film foil. Allow 8-10 minutes until the yeast becomes activated.
  2. Sift each flour and place them in two separate bowls. In each bowl add sunflower oil, lukewarm water and dry yeast. Mix each until combines and knead until a dough is formed.Knead until the dough is soft non sticky. If the dough feels watery add a little bit of flour, if on the other hadn't the dough feels firm them wet your hands and continue to knead. Once you had kneaded enough, smear each dough with sunflower oil, this will let the Christopsomo bread have a crunchy crust.
  3. Cover each bowl with cling film foil and towels and let it proof for 35-40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Once each dough has doubled in size, then punch down the dough for a couple of minutes.  Set aside a potion of the wheat dough for the Christopsomo decorations.I usually set aside approximately 1/3 of the dough for decorations.
  5. Lay sesame seeds in your working surface and place the white dough on top. With a rolling pin shape it an oval shape. Sesame seeds would be incorporated in the outer surface of the white dough. Returning on the wheat dough, shape it until a bowl and place in the middle on top of the white dough. Envelope the wheat dough with the white one.
  6. Start shaping the Christopsomo decorations. Every Christopsomo has a cross or "X'shape on the top so make sure you start with this one. For the rest, let your imagination run wild. Once you have finished with the decorations, place them on top of the combined dough and let it proof for a second time for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure you use a deep enough baking dish so that when the dough expands on baking, it won't spill out.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C or 374F.
  9. Once the combined white-wheat dough has risen, place it in a deep baking dish, spray it with a little water for extra moisture and bake for 70-75 minutes. To avoid over browning, cover with aluminium foil.

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