PAIN DE MIE DRESSED UP TO PARTY

The idea for this bread came from a cookbook called “Le Grand Livre de la Boulangerie” which I recently impulse-bought.  I fell in love with one of the recipes and in less than 24 hours was trying it in our kitchen. It is a simple pain de mie (I modified a King Arthur recipe for it), but with bread dough decorations placed on top right before baking. Imagine the possibilities!

PAIN DE MIE WITH DECORATIONS
(inspired by Le Grand Livre de la Boulangerie)
basic Pain de Mie formula from King Arthur Flour)

175 g milk
260 g water
97 g butter
2 + 1/2 tsp salt
32 g dry milk
40 g potato flour
40 g sugar
650 g all-purpose flour
2 + 1/8 tsp instant yeast
fine charcoal powder (about 1/2 tablespoon)

Combine all of the ingredients, except the charcoal powder into the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and knead until fully smooth and with good gluten development (about 8  minutes).  Adjust with flour if the dough seems too loose.  The dough will be soft and pliable.

FOR THE BLACK DECORATIONS:  Remove 180 g of the dough and transfer to a small bowl. Knead by hand into it the charcoal powder (gloves are a very good idea!).  When the dough it nice and black, roll it out to about the dimension of a 9 x 13 pan (no need to be exact, the dough will be about 2mm in thickness). Place between two sheets of parchment paper or Silpat, and bake in a 450F oven for a couple of minutes, you just want to set it a bit.  Immediately remove from the oven and place in the fridge while you continue proofing the main dough.

Bulk proofing: transfer the main, white dough to a lightly greased bowl  and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 + 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Lightly grease a 13″ pain de mie pan. Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a 13″ log, and fit it into the pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F, and work on the decorations. Take the sheet of black dough out of the fridge, cut it in any shapes you want, keeping in mind the dimensions of the top of the loaf.

When the dough is ready to bake, carefully place the decorations on top, close the lid and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, open the lid, and bake for 20 minutes more, until internal temperature is at least 190F (mine reached 200F).

Remove from the oven, take the bread out of the pan and allow it to cool over a rack before attempting to slice it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: First of all, let me tell you about the book. It is in French and in the words of one of the authors, Chef Jean-Marie Lanio, it is geared towards professionals and “home bakers with skills.” Don’t expect detailed instructions, it is basically a series of formulas with one word (yes, one word) to describe expected dough texture, one word to describe shaping, and a general expected timing for proofing. Truth is, you need to be very comfortable with baking in general (the book is not only on bread) to put it to use. But the recipes are stunning,  always some little twist to make each production unique and special. Come to think of it, baking from this book is like setting yourself up for a technical challenge. But with a huge advantage: no cameras around! Pretty much a win-win situation…


In their recipe, they use a pâte fermentée viennoise as one component and I did not have that around. Being the impatient being I am, I wanted to try the recipe right away. I also don’t have the Pullman loaf pan with the exact dimensions they recommend. So I went to King Arthur site, and from their basic recipe adjusted amounts, hoping for the best.  I am thrilled that it worked so well on  my first attempt. Trust me, that almost never happens in the Bewitching Kitchen.

Making the recipe exactly as described, and using the same pan I did (PADERNO 41750), you will be a bit unsure if it will work, because the dough will be pretty low in the pan as you shape it and place it inside. Don’t worry, in a little over one hour it will rise substantially and in fact I had to push down a little bit the top to make sure I could add the decorations and have some space between the top of the dough and the lid.  It worked perfectly well. The crumb is exactly what you expect from this type of bread, soft, a tad on the sweet side, and a bit buttery.

In the book, they gilded the lily a step further, by adding a line of white flour on top of the black decorations. I just could not make that work, no matter how I tried to deal with the flour (piping bags, piping tips, straws), my lines were never smooth and beautiful, so I skipped that part. I now wonder if rice flour would have worked, as it has a different texture. Anyway, I am super happy with the way it turned out, it’s a nice technique to play with. Imagine how many designs and even colors you can come up with…

As I hit publish and look at the date on my calendar, I realize that exactly one year ago I was being eliminated from a certain show in a certain tent. It is hard not to feel that sadness trying to hit me again, but this too shall pass… and a good bake definitely helps exorcize certain demons….

ONE YEAR AGO: Five-Stranded Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Green Olive Salad

THREE YEARS AGO: Coffee Macarons Dressed up to Party

FOUR YEARS AGO: Blogging Hiatus

FIVE YEARS AGO: Tomato Tatin

SIX YEARS AGO: Headed to Colorado!   

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Farofa Brasileira

EIGHT  YEARS AGO: Thai-Inspired Pork Tenderloin

NINE YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

TEN YEARS AGO:  Summer’s Tomatoes

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

HONEY-OAT PAIN DE MIE

Simple pleasures make me happy: a new cookbook to read in bed before falling asleep, a new pair of earrings (another obsession of mine), a new cooking gadget, like this gorgeous item I succumbed to last week.  It’s a beautiful pan to make sandwich bread, that kind that looks like store-bought, but tastes  two orders of magnitude better.  I bought it with one specific recipe in mind, and in record-breaking speed, the dough was mixed 24 hours after the package from King Arthur arrived.

HONEY-OAT PAIN DE MIE
(from King Arthur)

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
2 + 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup + 2 Tbs lukewarm water

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, and mix until it comes together in a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then knead for 8 to 10 minutes on second speed (you can also knead by hand until smooth, it will take longer).

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 90 minutes. It should be noticeably risen, but not necessarily double in bulk. Mine definitely doubled after 90 minutes, take a look by clicking here.

Gently shape the dough into a 9″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9″ pain de mie (pullman) pan, pressing it gently to flatten. Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s about 1 inch from the top of the lid. This should take 60 to 90 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, close the lid, and bake the bread in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove the lid (wear mittens), and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the surface.  If you want, you can remove the bread from the pan and bake it for another 5 minutes to get a crispier crust.   Internal temperature should be at least 190 F.

Remove the bread from the oven, allow it to completely cool before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Two important pointers for success:

1. Use a recipe that was written for your pan’s dimensions, so that the dough will rise to its full capacity during baking.  For instance, this recipe is for a 9 inch long Pullman pan. They all have similar widths, by the way.

2. When placing the shaped loaf inside the pan, allow it to rise until it is 1 inch from the top, as the recipe states.  I was a bit impatient (big surprise! ;-))  and also worried about the dough overflowing, so I cut the final rise a bit short.  By doing so, my bread was not fully squared, as the top edges never touched the lid.   It didn’t compromise the taste or texture of the crumb, but the shape was slightly off.

This bread is absolutely delicious, the oats don’t make it hard or crunchy, it is a perfect bread for simple sandwiches, and also great to slice and bake as home-made Melba type toasts.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Carrot and Leek Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmiggiana 101

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

PAIN DE MIE AU LEVAIN

Just for a change, here’s a bread that’s not part of the BBA Challenge…  😉

Who doesn’t love a good bread? But, while some people prefer a hearty crust, uneven holes and an assertive taste, others like a tight, smooth crumb enveloped in a soft crust.  This  “pain de mie” joins the best of both worlds: it’s leavened with sourdough starter, but it’s moderate hydration produces a surprisingly closed crumb, especially if you bake it contained in a loaf pan. It’s a perfect sandwich bread, with more “pizzazz” than anything you’ll find at the grocery store.

I discovered this recipe in a wonderful French blog called Makanai: Bio, Bon, Simple. When a French woman (who has superb boulangeries on every corner) bakes bread at home, then I pay attention: she must be an outstanding baker! You can read Flo’s detailed description here.

PAIN DE MIE AU LEVAIN
(adapted from Makanai’s blog)

210 g  sourdough starter (mine was at 80% hydration)
420 g water
500 g bread flour
130 g rye flour
11.5 g fine sea salt (13 g if using unsalted seeds)
30-35 g seeds of your choice
(I used flax seeds and roasted, salted sunflower seeds)

Mix the flours, water, and sourdough starter until they form a shaggy mass.  Let it stand at room temperature, covered, for 30-45 minutes (autolyse).  Add the salt and mix it with either using a Kitchen Aid-type mixer for a few minutes, or by hand.  Add the seeds and knead with the machine for about 7 minutes at low speed.  Alternatively, mix gently by hand to incorporate the seeds and knead the dough by folding 4 times during the first hour, at 15 minute intervals.  Let the dough rise undisturbed for another full hour, in a warm place, covered.

Refrigerate the dough for 12 to 24 hours (very important step!), misting the surface lightly with olive oil, and covering with a plastic wrap.

The next morning remove the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic and cover it with a towel, to rest at room temperature for 2 hours before shaping.  Meanwhile, prepare a loaf pan by lightly coating it with olive oil and sprinkling flour, especially in the corners. You can make a single large loaf or divide it half depending on the size of your pan.  Mine was a 9×5 loaf pan, so I divided the dough in uneven pieces, placed the larger one in the loaf pan, and shaped the smaller one as a “batard“.   Ideally, the dough should fill 2/3 of the height of your pan.

Allow the shaped bread to rise 2 hours at room temperature, slash it with a blade, sprinkle some flour on top and bake it in a 435F oven for about 45 minutes, with an initial burst of steam.  Check the internal temperature: the bread will be done when it reaches at least 200F.

If you are patient enough, let the bread cool for a couple of hours before slicing it. Good luck with that… 😉

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was a fun bread recipe. If you’re a novice baker, then incorporating the seeds and folding by hand might be a little intimidating, so use a mixer instead. If you are experienced with minimal kneading and folding, then by all means use the technique here.

For the sandwich bread, I slashed the dough slightly off-center, as Flo did in her blog.

The same dough, baked in the loaf or free form, produced breads with different characteristics. The “batard” browned more, and the crumb was more open, reminiscent of a levain bread with a heartier crust.

My favorite method to create steam is to fill a large roasting pan (like this one) with hot water, and empty it before inverting it on top of the bread.  These affordable roasting pans, sold for cooking outdoors, effectively mimic a “steam oven.” Bake the bread covered in this way for the first 30 minutes, then remove the cover to promote full browning of the crust.  I used this method for both the breads in this post.

The textures and flavors of this bread were outstanding! Its slices stood out in ham and cheese sandwiches, and were hearty with a thin spread of fig jam. I normally don’t even care for bread with jam, but my husband twisted my arm and I’m glad that he did!

I am submitting this post to this week’s Yeastspotting, to join Susan’s fun on Friday….