Christmas Tree Bread, crowning our table these days

Christmas Tree Bread, crowning our table these days

Eva 19 diciembre, 2016
Este post también está disponible en Spanish

I had long been without publish bread recipes, even though I make them each week. That may be due to the amount of recipes that I want to share with you. But this year can not end without a new bread recipe like this Christmas Tree Bread.

Why this name? The way it looks, of course! It has even its own star! I think it is a perfect name for these days… 😉

Recipe formula is quite easy, nothing complex or exotic for this time. A simple wheat flour, I used one from Ylla (an Spanish company) that it has a little amount of rye on it. Sourdough 150% hydration allow us to reduce bulk and final proof time, besides to get benefits from our dough like I told you in this post.

A lower hydration allow to get your goals.

Final bread hydration must be low due to the score we are going to make. To get perfect layers with star form and keep raised, we must work with a stiff dough. Otherwise, layers could be stuck to the own bread and not rise. Due to the big amount of cuts along the surface, we won´t get a bubbly or open crumb.

We must consider too the final hydration from the dough, it is quite stiff. When we use liquid leaven we can get an open crumb, but this time is difficult for many reasons. The scoring, for example, not help to reach this purpose.

Pan Árbol de Navidad, coronando la mesa navideña
Final proof must reach the limit…

It´s important to make a final proof the longer you could. We don´t want a beautiful oven spring, in fact this won´t be nice for this kind of bread. If you bake bread before it gets a good final proof, it will have a big explosion for one of the sides breaking the look we want.

In the process you can read that final proof is made in two different fridges; refrigerator and wine cooler. It was my first time making this kind of retarding process, I always made it in the fridge. Due to the low hydration, it was easier to controle fermentation at two temperatures. When a dough has more hydration, its fermentation is faster.

I really like this way to make retarding fermentation at 55ºF instead of 39ºF. I am sure with practice and working hard with different doughs, I will get best results.

If I haven´t got wine cooler, could I make this recipe?

Of course! In fact all my bread recipes are made at room temperature or retarded in the fridge. You only have to controle temperatures and times. I think that this kind of fridge, with a high temperature, allows to try more ways to make fermentation and contrast with others.

Pan Árbol de Navidad, coronando la mesa navideña
Score, final step to make Christmas Tree Bread.

This scoring is inspired from one loaf of Sarah Owens and her book “Sourdough“, if you haven´t got yet… ask for it to Santa Claus 😉

We have to score with a sharp scissors, to work clean and in one go. Do not cut once and again…

Be sure you can make it well, never doubt from yourself. What is the worst that you can get? I´m sure it will taste good so, trust and make it!

When you score this bread, it will deflate and reduce its volume. Don´t worry, it´s normal. Inside the oven, will grow again 😉

Ok, now you have all what you need so… here we go!



  • 6.34 oz (180 g) 150% hydration starter refreshed with 80% Shipton Mill wheat flour and 20% Shipton Mill rye flour

Here you can read how to make water yeast fruits or here how to make common sourdough (By the moment, both are only available in Spanish)


  • 18.6 oz (528 g) wheat flour with a bit of rye (I used 1878 Ylla flour)
  • 9.52 oz (270 g) water
  • 0.38 oz (10,8 g) sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 dried figs chopped
1878 flour88 %18.6 oz (528 g)18.6 oz (528 g)
Shipton Mill Wheat10,3 %2.18 oz (62 g)2.18 oz (62 g)
Rye Shipton Mill1,7 %0.35 oz (10 g)0.35 oz (10 g)
Water63 %3.8 oz (108 g)9.52 oz (270 g)13.33 oz (378 g)
Salt1,8%0.38 oz (10,8 g)0.38 oz (10,8 g)


Make 150% hydration sourdough/leaven.

In this post you can read how to make 150% hydration sourdough/leaven (only in Spanish available by the moment).

Once leaven is ready to use, prepare dough to make autolysis.

Make bread dough.
  1. In a large bowl add flour with leaven and water, mix with your hands until it is well hydrated and looks smooth. Cover with  plastic wrap or cotton cloth and allow to make autolysis for 60 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a work surface, without flour, and knead. Combine kneading with resting to get almost a complete developed dough.
  3. Knead 2-3 minutes and let sit 5-6 minutes. Total time kneading will be roughly 10 minutes without time resting.Before the first rest, add salt and mix with your hands making sure it is completely incorporated.
Add caraway seeds and dried figs.
  1. Chopped finely dried figs.
  2. Stretch dough over a work surface and add little by little caraway seeds and chopped figs, fold several times to get a homogeneous distribution. Repeat the process until all ingredients are incorporated. Remember not to work dough in excess when adding ingredients, other wise you can damage dough structure.
  3. Grease with olive oil a bowl or recipient and put the dough inside. Cover and make a bulk proof for 6 hoursat room temperature. My home temperature was 70ºF. Turn and fold after 60 minutes.
  4. Let rise until almost double in sized.
  5. Dust with rye flour a banneton, let aside.
Shape the dough.
  1. Preshape into a boule (ball), be careful not to degas too much, and allow to bench rest for 20 minutes cover with a cotton cloth.
  2. Shape a boule and place seam-side up in banneton. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. To make final proof I used my fridge and wine cooler. I tell you the way I made it:
  • 1 1/2 hours in wine cooler at 57ºF.
  • 10 hours in the fridge at 39ºF.
  • 4 1/2 hours in cooler wine at 55ºF.

Final proof was 16 1/2 hours with different temperatures.

Bake the loaf
  1. Preheat oven 450ºF at least 30-40 minutes prior to baking with your stone or steel sheet on it positioned on final rack. Put inside a pan with volcanic stones, this helps to get steam in the baking.
  2. Transfer the bread from the banneton over a wooden board cover with parchment, seam side down. To make scoring we are going to use a sharp scissors. You can see how to make it in the video.
  3. Place the bread into the oven and pour boiling water over the pan with volcanic stones. Close the oven door immediately to trap the moisture.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 430ºF.
  5. After first 20 minutes, open the oven door to allow steam goes out, remove the track with volcanic stones with kitchen gloves and reduce oven temperature to 410ºF. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce temperature to 375ºC and bake 10 minutes more. Finally bake with convection at 375ºC for 10 minutes. Bread will get a better crust this way.
  7. Total bake time is 50 minutes.
    Pan Árbol de Navidad, coronando la mesa navideña
Ending the bake…
  1. Once bake has ended, turn off the oven and let sit the bread inside the oven with the door ajar for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool over a rack.

PRESERVATION: Bread can be stored for up 3-4 days cover with cotton cloth. If the beginning is dry, cut the first slice and inside will be still tender. You can cut the bread into slices, cover with plastic film and freeze. This way is the better to make perfect toast each morning. You can use the bread slice from the freezer and put into the toaster, they will be perfect 😉

Pan Árbol de Navidad, coronando la mesa navideña

Certainly, it would be perfect to surprise your family at these Christmas days. A beautiful Christmas Tree Bread to impress them!

Happy week!

Pan Árbol de Navidad, coronando la mesa navideña

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