Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pain de Mie

Speaking of bread baking..............
My sourdough starter isn’t always reliable this time of year because of the cooler weather, so I decided to broaden my horizons and purchased a Pullman Loaf Pan.
 
found on Amazon
These lidded baking pans have been around since the early 18th century and were created to minimize crust.  The name ‘pullman’ came from the compact kitchens on the Pullman Railways who used this kind of loaf to save on space in their tiny kitchens.  The traditional ‘sandwich loaf’ is a white flour bread made with sugar and quite a bit of butter.  The lid compacts the dough and thus produces a tight crumb which makes slicing this bread a dream, not to mention how it TASTES -especially when toasted.  I used a traditional recipe for the first loaf and it came out great.  The dough is typically ‘shaggy’ or wet and a little bit of a challenge to work with, but not bad.  Then I tried another recipe that uses wheat and semolina flours as well as honey instead of sugar- also great!  Note: I remove the lid 10 minutes before time is up on both recipes (shared below)



Both recipes will slice as thin as you want to and make fantastic sandwiches, toast, croutons, etc.  



PAIN DE MIE    
from King Arthur website

2/3 cup milk
1 cup lukewarm water
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons potato flour
4 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Directions
Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead — using your hands or a mixer  to form a smooth, soft dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till 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, depending on the warmth of your kitchen (it may rise even more slowly in a cool kitchen; don't worry, this long rise will give it great flavor). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove the plastic, and place the cover on the pan. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it tests done; a digital thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
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This recipe uses different ingredients as well as method:

PULLMAN LOAF
posted by Donna Currie on seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) semolina flour
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1/2 cup white wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter

Directions:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, semolina flour, honey, yeast, and bread flour. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Add the white wheat flour, salt, and butter and knead with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic. Flour your work surface lightly, and knead by hand briefly, then form the dough into a ball. Drizzle with olive oil and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. turn out the dough and knead it briefly to knock out the large bubbles. Form it into a log about 13 inches long - to fit inside the pan. Place the log in the pan, seam-side down. Put the lid on the pan and set aside until the dough has risen to within about an inch of the top of the pan - about 40 minute (but you might want to check at 30 minutes, just in case)

Bake at 350 degrees until the loaf is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a rack before slicing.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bread Bags

In addition to designing, quilting and sewing I also love bread baking!  Making fresh bread  always brings up a question of storage for it.  My favorite sourdough recipe makes 2 loaves.  One immediately goes into the freezer and the other is consumed- but there is the whole storage issue.  You really don’t want to leave the bread in a plastic bag closed off from any oxygen for days, but leaving it unwrapped (even in a breadbox) it could dry it out quickly.  I did a little web surfing which turned up linen bread bags.  In fact, tons of them are for sale on Etsy and are relatively simple to make.  I figured that, with as much bread as I bake and give away, these little bags would make a great gift sack to give as well.  I created my designs and ordered them printed onto cotton linen fabric.  And voila (these are a bit wrinkled- they just came out of the dryer):
  

First I wrap a sheet of wax paper around the loaf


Then into the bag


And into the breadbox!


This worked great in keeping the bread moist and fresh until it was gone.  I just turn them inside out to wash/dry.