Petite Pain (rolls) - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton's Recipe
Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls) - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe
Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipePetite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water. These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers. "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference. Permit it to relax. Don't rush it or it will get stubborn. There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively. Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough. Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises. The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs. The names of famous French line ships were woven into many. Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage. I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker. I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth. It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside. The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.”
Note: Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under. And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone. Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart. Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great. I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!” Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.
On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers. This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results. I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior. I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests. I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J. Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls. I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”. So, here’s a chance to practice. The two videos will help you immensely. So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.
Howard - St. Augustine, FL