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caraway and parmesan pain de mie

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Parmesan pain de mie

I thought I’ve seen/eaten/baked it all when it comes to bread but no – luckily I keep coming across new, fantastic recipes and flavours.

Pain de mie means a soft crust loaf, ideal for sandwiches, and it’s traditionally baked in a loaf tin closed with a lid. Exactly – how do you ensure it doesn’t explode and burst out of the tin? The trick is to lid it up at exactly the right moment – when the dough is about an inch below the rim. Tricky, eh?

Yes it is. The pictures don’t show it, but I must confess my loaf rebelliously leaked out of the tin, finding the crack where the lid closes on and defiantly erupted in a stalactite clinging to the side. ‘There!’, it seemed to be saying. ‘No closing ME up in a damn coffin!’

I obviously missed the moment when it was time to slide the lid on, erring, as you will, on the side of more rise good, less rise bad. I’ll say that for the accidental rebel bun though – it was well tasty.

If you use an ordinary tin you’ll avoid rebel eruptions - probably slash the top then just before popping it in the oven. The Pullman gives a lovely soft crust all the same, just as the name dictates. And the flavour is extraordinary – parmesan and caraway working their magic.

The recipe is from The Bakery Bits newsletter – probably the only newsletter that I don’t furiously click on ‘Unsubscribe’ in but rather welcome the arrival of. But it’s not on the website or blog – a serious omission, Vanessa.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 175g whole milk
  • 250g water
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp milk powder
  • 600g strong white flour
  • 25g fresh or 10g (3 ½ tsp) instant yeast
  • 60g Parmesan, finely grated

METHOD
Butter a 13” Pullman tin (including the lid) or an ordinary loaf tin the same size. Toast the caraway seeds for a minute in a dry pan.

Mix the milk with water and heat up to about body temperature.  Add the melted butter, salt and honey and stir.

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment mix the milk powder and flour. Add the yeast and mix it well into the flour – even if using fresh yeast. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Add the toasted caraway seeds. Knead by hand or in the mixer for about 5 minutes until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball and bounces off the sides of the bowl – or stops sticking to your hands.

Bread dough and Pullman tin

Add the grated parmesan and knead it briefly in. Cover and leave for 1 – 1 ½ hour in a warm place, to rise about twice in volume.

After that time turn out dough out onto a floured surface, shape into a loaf about 13 inch in length and pop it into the tin. Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. When the dough has risen to about an inch below the rim of the tin, slide the Pullman lid on the tin, if using, and/or place the tin in the oven.

Sandwich loaf in a Pullman tin

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to bake for a further 20 minutes or until it is a light golden brown.

Fiendishly...



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