Oh boy, November is here and daylight saving time is gone. That means all my beautiful natural light will be vanished around 4:30 from now on and, if I don’t want to unpack all my lighting gear, I better hurry to get the photos I want.
I took my extra hour as a comfort tough. Sunday morning I was all smiles, making big plans for my long day – as I could cheat on my biological clock, silly me. I went to the kitchen, cooked, baked and even made bread. By the end of the day I was exhausted and falling asleep an hour earlier but at least I had fresh, homemade and beautiful loaves on my table.
I bet I told you several times how I love bread. I even considered getting into this program before photography had taken hold of me. And you know what? I am pretty happy with my choice because now baking is a hobby and, more than ever, a time to relax.
Ok, there is no way to be stressed out with this recipe adapted from the book Baking and Pastry – Mastering the Art and Craft. Pain de mie is a kind of French bread sandwich but goes far from been painful as baguettes, croissants or other elaborated French breads. Even shaping is quite forgiving since you have to use a pan to hold the dough. So, let’s get it started.
Yields 2 loaves
8 cups (2lb 2oz) unbleached al purpose flour
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 2/3 cup water
½ cup olive oil
By Hand: In a large bowl, combine water, sugar, salt and olive oil. Add flour and yeast, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it’s smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise till puffy or nearly doubled, about 45 minutes (depends on the warmth of your kitchen).
Mixer: Combine flour and yeast. Add salt, sugar, olive oil and water to the mixer and then add the flour and yeast. Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for 4 minutes and medium speed for 4 more minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise till puffy or nearly doubled, about 45 minutes (depends on the warmth of your kitchen).
Divide the dough into two pieces, pre-shape into oblongs, cover and let it relax for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Pat the dough out, fold it over on itself, and then use the side of your hand to seal the edges. Flip the dough so the sealed edge is on the bottom. Roll the dough under your palms into a cylinder 8in long.
Fit it into the pans, sprinkle some flour on top, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour (again, depending on the warmth of your kitchen it may rise even more slowly).
Preheat your oven to 375°F and bake the bread for 40 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely before serving.