Not that I need a pat on the back, but can you believe that this perfectly square loaf came out of my oven? I was pretty much giddy with joy myself when I took it out of the pan and discovered its perfectly 90 degree angled corners and evenly browned crust on all four sides.
It’s kind of a devious loaf of bread, if I do say so myself. You bite into it expecting something that tastes kinda um well tasteless like Wonder Bread but instead you get something lightly buttery (nowhere near the butter intensity of brioche) with the savoury texture of a country loaf. Even the crust is tasty, and I’m usually the type of person who insists on cutting off the crust on sandwich bread.
Shall I spill the beans?
My recipe is from the mighty bakers at King Arthur Flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pain-de-mie-recipe. Their website is a treasure trove of modern and medieval baking secrets.
Although, in my own humble opinion, I think due credit for this most perfect loaf should be given to the wonderful pain de mie pan with lid (also sold by King Arthur Flour). That said, I’m told that placing a sheet pan with a brick on top of a regular loaf pan is a reasonable approximation for the pain de mie pan contraption — but I’m the world’s biggest sucker for baking gadgets. The lid forces the dough to have a finer, denser crumb structure by compressing the size of the bubbles. Without the lid, the bread would have a lighter, spongier texture and also a more dome shaped top.
I’m going to try to bake the hokkaido milk bread with the lid on next time!
(Note: pain de mie also goes by the name pullman bread)