This month’s Bread Baking Babes bread is the Bee Keeper’s Pan de Mie. Tanna chose it for us to bake. Quoting her, “I’ve already made twice. If I start to describe just how superlative this bread is with every glorious descriptive that is in the thesaurus you would think I exaggerate but I swear to you as the whole grain person of all time, this is as close to white bread as I can come and I can’t get enough of it.”
A Pain de Mie is a French soft white sandwich bread. “Pain” means “bread” in French and “la mie” refers to the soft crumb. So Pan de Mie literally translates as Bread of the Crumb! Pan de Mie has a tighter crumb, and is sweeter unlike most French breads. It also keeps fresh longer because of the milk and butter in it. The bread is usually baked in a Pullman pan so it doesn’t form a crust. This makes it very good for regular and French toast, sandwiches, canapes, grilled cheese, etc.
I’m not sure why this bread is called a Bee Keeper’s Pan de Mie. Perhaps it is because of the honey used to bake it. This particular recipe is adapted from Martin Phillip’s recipe at King Arthur Flour. Martin Phillip, King Arthur Flour’s head baker, created this recipe for the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. The original recipe is written to fit a 13-inch Pullman pan. I have a 9-inch Pullman pan so I cut down the recipe by 1/3rd and that worked. I also added some whole wheat flour to the mix. Please see the original recipe if you want to bake a larger loaf.
King Arthur Flour’s bakery loaf is infused with lavender and chamomile. They suggest heating the honey and milk to a simmer, then pouring it over 2/3 tbsp each dried lavender and chamomile leaves. Then steep overnight in the refrigerator, strain and adding to the dough.
I don’t particularly like the taste or flavour of lavender but I enjoy chamomile as tea. I had both on hand and thought I would try it. I’m happy to report that the lavender and chamomile are not strong but just lend a light floral note to the bread. Everyone in my home enjoys a white bread and this one was definitely a hit, even with the floral flavour. If you choose to use the dried flowers, you will have to steep them in warm milk the night before making the bread.
Bee Keeper's Pain de Mie
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 65 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 tbsp dried chamomile flowers (optional)
- 2/3 tbsp dried lavender (optional)
- If using chamomile and lavender, then warm the milk the night before making the bread. Pour the warm milk over dried chamomile and lavender flowers. Refrigerate overnight to let the flowers steep in the milk and release the flavours. The morning before making the bread, take the milk out and strain the dried flowers out. Let the flavoured milk come to room temperature before using it to knead dough.
- Mix together the lukewarm water, honey and yeast in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes till frothy. Put the frothy yeast and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead by hand or in processor or stand mixer. Knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 90 minutes. Halfway through the rise, fold the dough onto itself four times to gently deflate it and add strength.
- In the meanwhile, lightly grease the base and lid of a 9" Pain de Mie pan (Pullman loaf pan).
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently deflate it and pat it into a 7.5" x 8" rectangle. With the long side facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the centre and then the top third over (like a business letter). Now fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand.
- Now, the shaped dough should be about 9-inches in length to fit the Pullman pan. Place the dough seam-down into the pan. Press it evenly into the corners. Put the lid on the pan and close all but an inch or so in order to monitor the loaf as it rises.
- Let the dough to rise until it's just below the lip of the pan. This should take about 60 to 90 minutes. At the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Close the lid of the pan completely, and put the pan in the oven.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides. Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not slice the loaf until it has cooled down completely.
The Bread Baking Babes are –