The Fresh Loaf

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Christmas and other Festive season breads

December 16, 2011 - 5:14pm -- Breadandwine
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For the last few weeks I've been making a range of different breads in recognition of the Festive season. Even invented (discovered?) a couple of new ones. (Well, for one I’ve made a festive Swedish tea ring using tinned peaches and glace cherries. Can I claim ownership? Probably not! :( )

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ejm

Isn't this gorgeous?
buttermilk cluster - ejm January 2010

It seems ridiculous that it took me so long to make this bread. I’ve been staring at the photo of Floyd's buttermilk cluster for ages. Every time I thought, "I've GOT to make that!" And then The Fresh Loaf website was featured in this year’s SAVEUR 100. Which bread did the SAVEUR kitchen choose to feature? Buttermilk cluster, of course.


I was really surprised when I saw a scathing review of the loaf on the SAVEUR site because all of the reviews on the FreshLoaf say the complete opposite. I examined both versions of the recipe and saw that the SAVEUR recipe calls for 5 cups flour rather than the 6 – 6½ cups flour on the Freshloaf recipe.


I assumed that SAVEUR had made a typing mistake.


I just couldn’t believe that all of these rave reviews on The FreshLoaf would be wrong, nor could I believe that SAVEUR would have added the FreshLoaf into the 100 list if the bread were no good.


I used whole wheat and unbleached all-purpose flour and a little less yeast, but otherwise pretty much stuck to Floyd's version. After some tribulation (I had to add more liquid because the dough was so dry), the final result was stellar!


buttermilk cluster

Well!! As you must have guessed from the photo, we were thrilled after pulling this bread out of the oven.


It looked and smelled fabulous!! I removed the outer ring and stuck the thermometer in – huh! only 180F. So back into the oven it went for 5 more minutes to drive the internal temperature up to 200F.


We left it to cool overnight and had it for breakfast this morning with butter, goat’s cheese and black currant jam. It was crusty on the outside and soft and springy on the inside.


It. Was. Delicious.


Thank you, Floyd!


-Elizabeth


P.S. For more photos and details about what I did, please see buttermilk cluster (bookmarked, YS)

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