I am SO glad to have an active yeast water! The leavening properties of YW are pretty amazing. I have updated my recipe for this loaf after discovering a few errors in an older YW Pulla post, now deleted.
Here is the proofed loaf on the peel, ready to bake:
After baking for 29 minutes, steam for the first 12:
50g yeast water
50g strong bread flour
Allow 6 - 12 hours for this to double. I leave it on top of the fridge overnight.
3 Tbs sugar
5 cardamom pods, hulls disgarded and seeds ground
215g whole milk, scalded and coolled to 90F
175g strong bread flour
40g AP flour
I infuse the ground cardamom in the milk and dissolve the sugar in the hot milk. When the milk reached 90F, I add the levain and flours and mix well. After 3 or 4 hours the sponge should be starting to get pretty happy.
31g unsalted butter melted and cooled
75g beaten egg
3/4 t salt
315g AP flour
Although this is not tradition to Finnish pulla I added the following extracts commonly used in sweet doughs:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp each lemon and almond extract
To the happy sponge add the melted butter and mix. Then add a cup of flour and the salt and mix, beating the dough until it is smooth and glossy. Begin adding the remaining flour until fully mixed. Rest 5 minutes and mix again. Rest 10 minutes, then do a series of 4 stretch and folds, with 10 minutes rest in between.
Let the dough double, 1 - 1.5 hours, then de-gas and do another couple of S&F's. Let double again.
Punch down and divide the dough into 3 and shape into balls. Let rest 5 minutes. Begin rolling out long tubes. I do this in 3 or 4 stages with 5 minutes rest in between. Braid the loaf, place on parchment paper and proof in a linen couche, covered with floured plastic crap. After 30 minutes bring the oven up to 400F with steam equipment.
The loaf was brushed with an egg glaze, sprinkled with ground almond and granulated sugar.
After about 55 minutes proofing and using the Forkish finger poke test to determine when to bake, it is in to the oven for 12 minutes with steam, turn and bake another 12 convection, turn and finish with another 5 minutes and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.
This is the best looking and best tasting pulla I have ever made!
Happy baking! Ski