This is an enriched loaf that I developed to celebrate the birth on the 11th of April 2017 of my first grandchild, Angelo Paul Milsom Alexandre, son of Sarah Louise Milsom Alexandre and her husband the Brazilian artist Wilson Cavalcante Alexandre. Pao Angelo immediately became Sarah's new favourite because both crumb and crust are soft, she says. The use of leaven with a complex provenance that includes elements from Puglia, Italy and San Francisco, California harkens back to my own childhood roots in the vineyards and orchards flanking the Russian River in northern California. For me it is richly symbolic: before being baked the tender crust was eggwashed and seeded representing new life and Easter, whilst the crumb, enriched with the best quality eggs, butter and milk, is redolent of the simple, yet exquisite dairy products from my pioneering maternal grandparents' farm on the Columbia River which forms the border between Oregon and Washington states where we often spent our Christmas and summer holidays. The plaited loaf is of 3 strands resembling the challah. It represents the strength of the three-fold cord and our interconnectedness as human beings who have been given the privilege of being stewards for a time of this wonderful planet. The blessing beneath (not illustrated) signifies that prayers have been said for the good health and well-being of those who contributed to it from the farmer who planted the grains of wheat and tended the fields until the harvest to the miller, the baker and, of course, for the well-being of those with whom Pao Angelo is shared. I hope you will enjoy this loaf as much as we do.
500 g organic Shipton Mill Strong White Flour (or combination of 80% white and 20% spelt)
10 g salt
10 g Fermipan
125 g bubbly leaven that passes the float test
35 g organic butter, melted
60 g organic whole milk
55 g egg, whole free range (1 x large)
*150 g water (de-chlorinated)
*The water and all other liquids added together equal 300 g, i.e. Baker's Percentage of 60% hydration, which makes for a fairly stiff dough. This stiffness is necessary to be able to roll the three strands on a flour-free workbench so that they do not collapse with the firm downward and outward pressure exerted when rolling.
eggwash - 1 x egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon milk, plus mixed seeds of your choice
Bake: 210 degrees C for about 25 minutes, but check after 18 minutes and cover or turn if necessary. Because it is enriched, it has a tendency to burn easily.
Yield: 1 x large loaf
No steam is necessary if it is eggwashed twice before being loaded into the oven. Apply the eggwash gently and evenly and do not allow it to pool around the base of the plait. There is no need to cover the plait if the room is warm, draught-free and humid.
Method: Using a long-handled wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients and stir after each one is added. Add all liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients without mixing in between each addition, then stir until everything is smoothly incorporated and the bowl is clean. Change from a long-handled wooden spoon to a curved benchscraper to scrape the bowl clean. Knead until silky smooth - about 10 minutes - using a 'rock and roll' method. Shape into a boule and cover until it has doubled in size. Scale into 3 equal pieces and roll into strands 40 cm long, all of equal length. If the strands resist and seem too elastic, allow them to rest for 5 minutes, then resume rolling. Plait. Place on silicone paper on a baking tray and apply eggwash. Be patient and allow to rise to almost double in size. Eggwash again.
Bake until burnished brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cover the top loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes beautiful toast or, if there is any left, French toast with maple syrup... or bread pudding with pistachios and dates... or flecks of dried apricots with toasted almonds.
Added by: Pao Angelo
Due to a temporary suspension of some services by couriers, we are currently unable to offer delivery to the Republic of Ireland, or overseas. This is being looked into urgently, and as soon as services resume we’ll update you here. Deliveries to Northern Ireland can now begin again.
If you live in the Republic of Ireland, please don’t order for the moment, as we are unable to get the order to you.
Keep safe and well
The Shipton Millers