Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday night baking: pain de mie

Tonight's rather moody, atmospheric post comes to you via Richard Bertinet, my bread 'guru" - I took the recipe from his book "Dough' and followed it faithfully:

Today I baked something different to carry us through the week - pain de mie - the French version of a plain loaf bread. 'Mie' means 'crumb' and this bread is one that, unlike almost every other kind of bread baked in France, is NOT about the crust. Here, the crumb is the star of the loaf. This is the bread used in the French toasted cheese sandwich, croc monsieur and other preparations requiring a soft-crusted bread. I have designs on it - tomorrow's sandwiches, to be specific!

The recipe differs from the bread we regularly make in that it contains a small amount of milk in addition to water, flour, salt and yeast. What distinguishes pain de mie, which is baked in a loaf tin, from other French breads is the de-emphasis on the crust so the bread is baked in a loaf tin with a heavy lid on top to prevent the formation of a crust. I used a cast iron pot lid on top of a baking sheet to prevent the dough from rising above the level of the tin.

The result is a soft loaf (a consequence of the addition of milk to the recipe) with a lovely crumb and (guess what?) a very soft crust!

Enjoy sandwiches and croc monsieur and toasted cheese sandwiches!

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