4 cups (450 gr.) all purpose flour
2 tsp. dry yeast
6 tsp. (25gr.) dry sour dough starter*
3 tbsp. (80 gr.) sugar
3/4 cup (180 gr.) unsalted butter
2 whole eggs and 3 yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
TIMETABLE OF RISINGS step by step:
3 hours (last rising in the pan)
*The sour dough starter really makes a difference in a more fragrant and longer lasting product. If you don’t have any, a packet (slightly less) of regular yeast is ok too.
STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE
1. First of all make sure you have the correct pan. The ideal one (as shown in the picture) was too high for my oven as the dough really rises high and you risk it touching the top of the oven and burning so I chose a star shaped (10 inch/ or 24 cm.) oven proof non stick paper liner instead. Any similar sized pan should be ok, but you’ll have to butter it.
2. Mix the dry yeast with 1 tbsp. flour, 2 tbsp. tepid water and a pinch of sugar in a cup or small bowl and let rise approximately 20 minutes, covered or until doubled in volume.
3. In another bowl mix 2 rounded tbsp. (65 gr.) of flour, 1 whole egg beaten with a yolk and a tbsp. of honey together with 2 tbsp. melted butter. Add this to the above mixture (step 2). Mix until smooth and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in volume.
4. In a large bowl whisk together a rounded cup (130 gr.) of flour with the sourdough starter, 1 whole egg + 2 yolks,
2 tbsp.(50 gr.) of sugar, 4 tbsp. (20 gr.) of melted butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix into the above mixture (step 3). Beat well. Dough should be soft but slightly sticky. Knead by hand or machine until dough is elastic but quite soft.
5. Knead in 1 tbs. of flour, then 2 more heaping tbsp. of flour.
6. At this point put the dough in a bowl covered with wax paper and a light dishtowel on top. Place in a draft-free warm spot and let rise about three hours or until doubled.
5. When doubled, punch down dough, knead for a couple of minutes and then roll out into a square about 1 inch (2 cm.) thick. Now dot this square with 2/3 cup of room temperature soft, unsalted butter (as shown in the next picture).
6. Now gather the four corners of the dough together in the middle to form an envelope shape.
7. Roll this out slightly being careful the butter isn’t squeezed out. Fold into thirds like a book. Roll out again. Let rest, covered for 20 minutes.
8. Fold again into thirds enveloping the cut sides into the middle. Flatten out again by rolling. Then fold over as if closing a book. Let rest another 20 minutes.
9. Now quickly and lightly fold and turn the dough several times until you form a round loaf, being careful not to let the butter seep out. Flour lightly if necessary. Now you can place the dough into the baking pan. Cover with wax paper and a light towel and let rise for about 3 hours or until doubled and the dough rises above the edge of the pan.
10. Now place the pan into a preheated 300deg F (150deg. C) oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until light brown. Before putting the pan into the oven, place a small pan of very hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven. This prevents drying out and helps in the rising.
11. Take out of the oven and let it cool. Gently peel off the liner. The crust will seem hard but will soften later. Best when baked the day or up to two days before. Dust with powdered sugar and decorate if desired. Keep covered in a plastic bag to prevent drying. It will keep up to 5 days or so.