My summer project has been to learn the batard shape and actually achieve an ear. So far, very mixed results, with a sort of ear on this bake. Getting the right timing on both bulk and proofing stages so that I can actually score with a lame has been surprisingly difficult with more failures than successes. I would go back to baking Forkish style boules, but my seams likely won't open. hmmmmm.
On the plus side, I have been tweaking my pulla recipe for natural levains, adding a little more egg, cardamom and sugar. I tried using yeast water levain only and it makes a tasty loaf, but I find I get better balance and volume using half YW and half liquid levain. The original yeasted recipe called for two bulk rises of about an hour before shaping, but I have found with the natural levains, I get better crumb and volume shaping after a single bulk rise, doubling the dough.
I was pleased to host our own Floydm, his wife and two children a little more than three weeks ago for a short visit as they were passing through. I invited them for, what else? Pulla and coffee. He said they liked the pulla so I guess I should have baked two loaves.
The loaf I baked for Floyd was a YW levain only and two bulk rises. The last loaf I baked was 50/50 YW and liquid levain, a single bulk rise before shaping and a much larger volume on more open crumb. Yummm!!!
Ready to bake
180 g whole milked scalded
6 large cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground, add to hot milk
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 Tbs raw cane sugar, add to milk
When milk mixture cools down to 90F add
40 grams YW levain, 40 grams liquid levain. I am at 4,420 feet above sea level. At lower levels you may want to up the levain to 50/50 g's.
You can also use 11/2 tsp instant yeast, 40g water and 40 g flour
To the levain, milk mixture add:
75 grams egg. Two large eggs are about 100 grams, so I have left over for the egg wash
180 grams strong bread flour
Let this mix get happy covered at room temperature for 2 - 4 hours with natural levain and perhaps a half hour with yeast.
Add 120 g AP flour and beat to add
Add 44 g melted unsalted butter and beat until the dough is smooth and glossy
Add 5 g salt and another 120 g of AP flour or more until a smooth dough is formed.
Allow to bulk rise until doubled, then divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll out into long tubes and braid. Why do you braid pulla? As I discovered, if shaped as a batard the crust is over baked before the inside is cooked. Oops!
Proof until about 1.5 times volume, brush twice with an egg wash, ( that left over egg) and sprinkle well with sugar.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes with steam and another 15 - 25 minutes turning until the internal temperature is 195F+
Let cool for 20 minutes or so and enjoy a slice with a shmear of butter and strong cup of coffee.
Enjoy and happy baking! Ski