The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thoughts? Xmas tree bread attempt

apprentice's picture

Thoughts? Xmas tree bread attempt

The inspiration for this little experiment was a brochure of seasonal offerings from Boulangerie Au Pain Doré, Montréal. The tree on the right-hand side of the picture (from their website) was made, I believe, with baguette bread dough. The hard copy brochure show a little more of the breads. That's a candy cane on the left and a wreath at the top. The trunk of the tree is a bit longer than shown and looks about mini-baguette size in diameter.

I could only find examples of sweet yeast tree-shaped breads online. Planned to make a pain de campagne from James MacGuire this week anyway, so thought I'd give it a whirl. As you'll see, the results are only moderately successful. The branches don't have the same definition as the bread from Au Pain Doré.


What I did was to shape the dough and snip into it with scissors to create the branches. Hoped it would work the same as when you make epi rolls. It's a soft, somewhat sticky dough. Perhaps one really does need to use a baguette recipe?

Here's what the pain de campagne dough looks like when shaped round as per the original recipe.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What do you think of flat rings of buns then piled up on top of each other to form a tree? 

Something like a ring of 6 then one less in each row until the last roll is on top.  

Or in a flat tray, make the shape of a tree using cut up wedges of dough overlapping.  Start at the bottom (of the tree) and overlap the next row working up to the top.  I do think you need a low hydration dough. 

Another idea might be to roll out the dough 1/4"  or 1 cm  thick and cut into 4 equal pieces then flour and stack them.  Cut into rectangles and turn on edge.  Place into shape of a tree on a baking tray and let the dough fan out like branches as it rises.  Roll some dough into ball shapes to decorate between the branches.  Ropes of dough can also make garlands but that might be pushing it a bit.

Another idea might be to roll the dough up like a cinn roll and cut spirals.  Arrange the spirals in tree form.  Add a few ropes and round dough objects.  Keeping it simple is the key.  

I also thought about sprinkling the dough with chopped green pumpkin seeds...

A tree can also be made out of already baked rolls.  Place on a tree shaped plate or bread basket.

I think you might get your tree to work if you can tighten up the surface while shaping before snipping with the scissors.  Right now it reminds me more of a large arrowhead (shoot me in my mouth) than a festive tree or pinecones.


apprentice's picture

And you gave me a giggle about the arrowhead. :) Thanks!!

Yes, re: the hydration issue. This bread is just over 70% water based on weight of flour, and you're not supposed to degas at any stage. Pretty hard to get tighter under those circumstances. You shape it by pulling the sides under. Probably not the best choice for my experiment.

Nice to have a chance to wish you best of the season. Merry whatever you celebrate!