pain de mie - or the best homemade toast bread ever!



so... its been chilly and windy and cold over the weekend. so i went to ikea (bad idea!) and i baked (good idea!). my friend christoph from berlin e-mailed me the other day about homemade toast-bread he baked and that he ate it all up in one go. christoph is a talented baker, has a sparkling personality, is a fun actor and sometimes wears a wig and sings and dances as the wonderful "ursula west - a legend in time" (oh dolly parton, kiss my ass! - www.ursula-west.de).
toast is something i could live on. toast and butter and i am in heaven. so it was tempting to try it myself. it took me some time to find out that the american pullman bread is what we call toast-bread in switzerland. which is pain de mie in france and an everyday loaf in england. at least this is what richard bertinet taught me in his amazing book "dough - simple contemporary bread". since i didnt have a tin that closes on all sides, i simply used 2 loaf tins (about 25 cm) and covered them with a baking sheet and put my le creuset pan on top, so the breads would stay in shape. its a wonderful recipe on a day with cloudy skies or - in my case - a dirty apartment that needs to be cleaned... my dry tumbler blowing out heat helped the dought to rise and i had enough time to hoover while the breads where in the oven.

makes 2 loaves
RECIPE

10g butter
20g fresh yeast
500g white flour
50g (or 50ml) milk
300g (or 300ml) lukewarm water
a little butter for greasing

grease 25cm loaf tins with a little butter.

put flour in a big bowl and rub fresh yeast and butter into flour. use your fingertips to do so until it disappears (or looks like very fine breadcrumbs). add the water & milk and mix until the dough starts to form. the dough will feel quite moist and probably stick to your fingers (or the hook of the kitchen aid machine) - but keep on kneading until you have a smooth, elastic but slightly sticky ball of dough. grease the mixing-bowl with some butter, put dough in and cover with clingfilm. let rest in a draught free place until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. mould each piece tightly into a loaf shape. once in their tins, leave to prove in a warm place for another hour. cover the tins with a clean baking sheet (and put something heavy on top), so they wont rise too much.

preheat the oven to 250 C°, reduce to 220 C°, put tins (covered with baking sheet and something heavy like a le creuset pot on top) into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. remove baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes until loaves are golden brown. remove from tins and let cool on a cooling rack.

this bread tastes wonderful with some fresh butter. a drop of honey or - i know i am terrible - a guacamole with loads of lime juice and some finely chopped red onion.