Pain de Mie. The French bread I discovered in Japan.
That sounds crazy, right? But it’s true! Last Easter I was lucky enough to spend two weeks travelling Japan and I had a surprise. Big cities, ornate temples, I saw those coming. An abundance of bakeries I did not. Every station you walk into and almost every street you walk down you don’t just find coffee shops that sell cakes, you find real bakeries with an enormous range of sweet and savoury bakes. Safe to say I was in Heaven and tucked into plenty of them. One such bakery I had breakfast in in Kyoto, the old Japanese capitol, gave me my first (and then repeated) experiences of Pain de Mie. I had it with cinnamon butter smothered on top. That’s how I knew the bread was so good, because after I finished it was the bread I was paying attention too and not the cinnamony sugary deliciousness. It has a gorgeous soft texture and thin crust, so good! Take a look at this bread’s lovely French friend, the baguette here.
It’s now been a few months since that morning in the bakery, and I’ve been itching to learn to make this incredible little bread. So this week, now I’m getting the hang of things, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I used the recipe from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread (told you you’d be seeing this book a lot), read on for pictures and my top tips!
I made my Pain de Mie using my KitchenAid mixer because the dough is quite wet. You could knead this by hand using the slap and pull method (as shown with my Pesto Swirl Loaf), but I found it much easier to use the dough hook on my mixer. If you do this, make sure not to go above speed 2 or you could overwork the motor, and only knead for about three minutes or so instead of ten. It works a lot more efficiently than our arms!
I can’t recommend the instructions in Brilliant Bread enough when it comes to shaping the loaf. This sticky dough could be tricky to shape, but James gives clear, step-by-step photo instructions to show you exactly how to get it right and keep it that way.
One of the beauties of Pain de Mie is its thin, soft crust. If your oven is particularly fierce, make sure you cover the top of the loaf with foil (just like you would with a cake) to stop the crust getting too hard and dark in colour.
And the finished result…
Light, soft, and totally yummy. I don’t even want the cinnamon butter right now, this bread is a taste sensation however you eat it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and the bread if you try it yourself. I’d love to see and hear about how you got on and what your top tips are!
See you again for the next edition of Sweet Tuesdays!
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