Monday, March 12, 2012

PAIN DE MIE [ well, sort of ]

My baking curiosity this weekend brought me to try tackling baking bread. Growing up, I watched my mom (who owned a bakery by the way) make bread and other goodies. It seemed so hard at the time...perhaps because I was little or because my mom looked like a mess whenever she made bread. The dough looked so heavy and hard to knead. So that's what I came to believe: it's sooooo hard to make bread.

Nevertheless, my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to try making pain de mie, but not without my mother in law's help mind you. I wouldn't dare :). To my surprise, it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I am sure it's because my mother in law was standing next to me, making sure that I didn't mess up anything. The dough was not as heavy as I had imagined...of course, I was making one recipe instead of the tons my mom used to make for her shop.

Pain de Mie is basically white bread...square white bread...which is baked in a rectangle pain de mie pan with a lid which I do not posses. Instead, I rolled my bread dough and baked it on a baking sheet. After waiting most of the afternoon and 45 minutes baking, I had a wonderful, moist, buttery, fresh bread. It was very exciting!! Imagine that...freshly baked bread straight out of my oven!! Woo hoo!! If you asked me, it was worth it...only the best bread I have ever served on my table. Next time, perhaps I will fold in some prosciutto and some sort of cheese in it :)

Here is the King Arthur's Pain de Mie recipe for all of you curious minds out there.

Pain de Mie
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) milk
1 cup (8 ounces) water
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) potato flour
4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Manual Method: In a large bowl, combine the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar. Add the dried milk, flours and yeast, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. Because of the relatively high fat content of this dough, it's a real pleasure to work with. 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.

Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as above, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough and proceed as follows.

Lightly grease a 13 x 4-inch pain de mie pan. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a 13-inch 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).

Remove the plastic, and carefully place the cover on the pan, let it rest an additional 10 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350°F. 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; an instant-read 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. Yield: 1 loaf.