This bread turned out to be a sweet white sandwich bread, loaded with sugar and dried milk powder, called Pain de Mie or Pullman bread by Jeffrey Hamelman- one of the Mellow Bakers January breads.
Pain de Mie is sandwich bread, characterized by a thin crust and a soft crumb. Using a tin with a closed lid helps to create this type of bread. It is used in France for a lovely toasted croque monsieur and other calorific goodies but as a stand alone bread doesn’t really do much for me.
1250 grams of this yeasted dough made a perfect rectangular loaf in my huge French pullman tin which measures 40 cm x 9.5 cm x 9.5 cm. I had no idea how to work out how much dough to use but I was saved by Ulrike! She did the sums for me; one of the many advantages of baking along with a group of people, there’s always someone around to make suggestions and I needed help for sure with these calculations.
I had some dough left over which went in a little tin; you can see the contrast between the two tins in a pic in the slideshow. I know which look I prefer…
I proved the dough with clingfilm over the top till it was about 1.5 cms from the top of the tin and then I slid the cover on and baked it. I didn’t need to return this one to the oven as it came out very golden and sounded quite hollow. I think the colour comes from all that sugar and dried milk powder, It certainly looked the business. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by how sweet it was, but then I find American chocolate too sweet as well. National tastes differ.
More noticeable was that it staled fairly quickly. So I thought I would amuse myself and make some Melba toast with it. Melba toast was created for Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera singer, by one of her fans, the chef Auguste Escoffier. The dessert, Peach Melba, was created by him for her at the Savoy in London. What passion!
It was the height of sophistication to have Melba toast in restaurants when I was growing up, wafer thin, crisp and delicate, and perfect with a big slab of paté. If you’ve never made it, do it just once for the fun of it! I used to make it as a student, a large slice of Mothers Pride makes four triangles of Melba toast and it is one of the best things to do with this sort of bread.
To make Melba Toast
Toast thin slices of bread in your toaster
Cut off the crusts neatly to create a perfect square
Then with a sharp knife split the square in half through its soft centre
If you want curly triangles, cut the squares in half again and then toast under the grill soft centre side up
Watch like a hawk! It will burn the moment you take your eyes off it.
Now where’s the paté?
NB For quick links to all the Mellow Baker info and breads baked to date from “Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman click here to go my Mellow Bakers Index Page or here to go direct to the Mellow Bakers Forum. Please join in at any time. You’re most welcome!