The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Asian-Style Pain de Mie

Syd's picture
Syd

Asian-Style Pain de Mie

This is a super soft, highly enriched, labour intensive, Asian-Style Pain de Mie. It involves the 湯種 (tang zhong or water roux) method and took 3 days from beginning to completion.  The original recipe and instructions can be found here.  The recipe makes 2kg of dough.  It filled one, 1kg pullman pan and two 500g pans.  I baked without the lids on because I prefer the rounded tops and I also like a bit of colour on my loaves.  They always look slightly anemic when they come out of those pullman pans. 



Day 1


Water Roux


milk 70g


butter 30g


sugar 3g


salt 1/8 tsp


bread flour 70g


Heat milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Remove from heat.  Dump in flour and stir to a smooth paste.  (A bit like making choux pastry). Cover tightly, allow to cool to room temp and refrigerate for 16 hours.



16 hours later


Tear into small pieces and add:


bread flour 700g


instant yeast 2g


milk 430g


sugar 20g


Knead until it comes together, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 36 hours but not more than 72 hours.  (I retarded for 48 hours).


 


Baking Day


Tear it into pieces again and add:


 


bread flour 300g


Salt 12g


sugar 120g


nstant yeast 5g


milk 100g


whole egg 140g


It will turn into a sloppy mess and if you have a stand mixer it will be better.  I don't, so I just have to make do with slap and fold (a la Bertinet).  It actually comes together pretty quickly. When it has come together add:


butter 100g


Now knead it until your arms cramp up or until you get a windowpane as clear as a gossamer wing (whichever comes first).  Again, a stand mixer would be of great benefit here.  Bench rest 15 - 20 mins.  Shape and place into pans. 



Allow to rise until about 8/10ths full then cover (if you want) and bake.  I baked at 180 C (convection) for 40 mins.  The original author gives temps for an oven that can control both top and bottom thermostats.  My oven isn't that fancy so I just went somewhere in the middle and it worked.  Next time I will bake for 35 mins.  I think my crust was a little on the thick side this time.



 


Heavenly with marmalade and a cup of Earl Grey.  It tastes good on its own, too.


Syd


 

Comments

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I love breads that take time and care to make. This one looks rich and delicious. Thanks for sharing, this one will go on my short list of breads to bake.


Michael

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

has certainly paid off.  Sounds wonderful with the tea and marmalade!  Very nicely done, Syd!


 

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks Michael and Sylvia.  It is worth the effort, but make sure you have people to share it with:  it makes a lot of bread!


 


Just updated to include the sugar in the final dough.  Whoops!  Quite a serious omission: 120g.  :)

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

It already looked rich, now more so. I think I might half the formula. Thanks.


Michael

CraigFromNewcastle's picture
CraigFromNewcastle (not verified)


It looks stunning. 


 


I don't much like marmalade or Earl Grey - but I can imagine the 3 together really going well, and I'd like it.


 


Well done, very very nice looking bread.


 


:)


Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Craig. :)  You could eat it with any jam, but a slightly bitter marmalade compliments the sweetness of the loaf.  A seville orange marmalade is just perfect! 


regards,


Syd

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Very lofty crumb there, Syd, nice work. All that sugar and Butter... its almost a croissant dough!

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Khalid.  Yes, it is more like a brioche dough, I suppose.  Very rich.  Has a lovely buttery flavour. 


best,


Syd

emmsf's picture
emmsf

These breads look lovely, and your timing is perfect since I just posted a question a few days ago looking for pain de mie formulas.  I did have two quick questions:  First, do you happen to know the dimensions of the 1k and 500g pans you refer to?  I have 9.5" and 16" pullman pans, but frankly I don't know the weight designations.  Second, I find the "water roux" technique fascinating, and I look forward to trying it.  Do you have a sense of how the bread is different when made using this technique (as opposed to, let's say, a basic enriched Pullman white)?  In any case, beautiful loaves, and I look forward to trying the formula.

Syd's picture
Syd

The 1kg tin is a 13" x 4.5" x 4.5" pullman and the 500g tin is 7 7/8" x 4.5" x 4.5".  I am not sure of the other dimensions of your pans but perhaps your 16" pan corresponds to my 13" one and the 9.5" to my 7.5".  A quick search the net reveals variety of different sizes all claiming to be 1 1/2 pound tins or 2lbs tins.  At any rate I don't think it will matter too much, particularly if you aren't going to cover them.  For the 1kg tin I divided the dough into 5 x 200g pieces, rolled them into ovals and rolled them up tightly.  For the 500g tins, I divided the dough into 2 x 250g and shaped the same as above.  Do a search on the net for your size tins and see if you can come up with a dough weight reccommendation for them.


Essentially, the main benefit of the tang zhong method is extended shelf life.  There is also a slight improvement in bread volume due to the increase in fermentable sugars made available by the scalding process. If you want to read up on the science behind it, check out this article.  Beware!  Confusing science!


Happy baking,


Syd

emmsf's picture
emmsf

Thanks Sid - that 's very helpful  I too have found very little consistency in the weight designations of these pans, but as you say, it only becomes critical when you use the tops.  I'll play around and see what works.  Looking forward to my first water roux experience.

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

Very nice, Syd. Thanks for posting the water roux method as well. It is something I am curious about and want to try.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Sue.  I did some research on it a while back and experimented with breads at home.  I found it did have a significant impact on keeping quality.  I haven't used it for a while now. 


What I can remember: 6% of total flour is the magic amount to use when scalding flour.  Much more than that and bread volume will decrease because of too much degraded gluten.  Much less and there won't be much impact on shelf life.   the scalding liquid should be heated to 70 - 75 C so that the roux temp is about 60 C ( a temp which favours alpha-amylase activity).  Of course your flour temp will affect the final temp, too.  It should be covered immediately and tightly and allowed to cool to room temp as slowly as possible. 


You won't notice much of an impact in a sour dough as they already have such a good keeping quality, but you will notice a difference in your ordinary yeasted doughs.  I need to do some more experimenting.  It has been a while.


Syd

ThirdShift's picture
ThirdShift

Hi there,


 


Long time reader here, but this particular blog post propelled me into registering so I could comment. :)  I've made this, using the instructions you posted and it turned out PERFECT.  Thank you!  I also used a pullman pan for 1kg, and 2 loaf pans, 500g each, using the dough division you described.


I baked it at 350F, for 33 minutes, the internal temperature of the smaller loaves was 207F on the dot, and for the larger loaf, 203F.  I removed it from the pans immediately and onto rack for cooling.  The topside browning was a tad on the dark side, also the corner edges.  I believe the next time I will let it go for 30 minutes and will be checking to see if it's at 190F.  For the final rise, I rose it in the pan, covered, for 5.5 hours in the fridge at 34F.  Then a 4 hr rise at room temperature.  I just ran out of time to bake, so I had to retard.  I don't know if this makes any noticeable difference.


As this makes 2kg of dough, this is quite a lot of bread to bake up all at one time.  I like to make the entire batch to economize on labor and rising time but I don't want to bake the whole thing at once.  Ideally, I would like to finalize the dough, and half or quarter to freeze immediately, and then the final rise would be from freezer to room temperature into the pan.  Have you tried this, and what was the results?  If you haven't tried it, do you think this is adviseable?


I LOVE this dough.  It is, as you say, a little wet.  I kneaded it for 11 minutes, rest 1 minute (more for the KA then the dough, it was getting a little hot) and then knead another few minutes, the final incorporation of butter made everything come together and the dough came off the side of the bowl very well.


Thank you for sharing your techniques in a very detailed blog.  It makes a delicious loaf, perfectly sweet (not too sweet), perfectly tender, with a great body and chew.  I didn't need any jam, although I could see using this for something like anpan, or a brioche-dough tart filled with sabayon and fruits.


 

Syd's picture
Syd

You're welcome!  :) 



The topside browning was a tad on the dark side, also the corner edges.  I believe the next time I will let it go for 30 minutes and will be checking to see if it's at 190F.



Yes, you could try that or when it has reached its desired 'browness' loosely drape it with tin foil (shiny side up) to prevent further browning. 



For the final rise, I rose it in the pan, covered, for 5.5 hours in the fridge at 34F.  Then a 4 hr rise at room temperature.  I just ran out of time to bake, so I had to retard.  I don't know if this makes any noticeable difference.



Although I haven't done this, I can't see it making too much of a difference.  I don't think retarding it any further will do much for flavour.  My personal preference would be to get it into the oven as soon as possible with all that butter in it, but seeing as you ran out of time, I think you made a good call. 



Ideally, I would like to finalize the dough, and half or quarter to freeze immediately, and then the final rise would be from freezer to room temperature into the pan.  Have you tried this, and what was the results?  If you haven't tried it, do you think this is adviseable?



I haven't tried this with such a delicate dough and have no idea if it would work or not.  The only dough I ever freeze is pizza dough.  I would reccommend you ask this question on the general forum.  I am sure there is someone out there who has experience with doing this.  I know dough can be parbaked, frozen, thawed and then finished in the oven.  Don't know how this dough would fare with this treatment, either.  You might be best off to fully bake, freeze, thaw in the bag at room temp, lightly refresh in a pre-heated oven for 5 mins and then eat as soon as possible.



It makes a delicious loaf, perfectly sweet (not too sweet), perfectly tender, with a great body and chew.  I didn't need any jam, although I could see using this for something like anpan, or a brioche-dough tart filled with sabayon and fruits.



Agreed!  I have made it twice now and both times it has come out perfectly.  It looks like hell when you add that butter and you think you must have made some mistake but then, suddenly it all comes together.  It does make a lot of dough but I have overcome the surplus issue by giving a loaf or two away.


Best,


Syd

ThirdShift's picture
ThirdShift

Give away such deliciousness!  No-o-o! :)


Actually, I did give away the two small loaves.  The recipients have showered me with praises.


Not too long ago I took a bread-making class taught by an instructor who worked at a commercial bakery.  I tend to give these folks a little more credence than the academics, since these guys actually work in the space where the rubber meets the road.  The instructor said that nobody makes a batch of whatever dough to bake every day.  They make a big batch, rise and bake what they need to sell, and the rest goes in the deep freezer.  The late shift takes the dough out, proofs and pans it, and the morning shift bakes it in the morning.  I'm going to try to freeze the finished dough the next time, I'll let you know if the result is as good.


About the butter, I saw an episode of Baking with Julia where Nancy Silverton showed Julia how to bake brioche.  She (Nancy) said that you incorporate the butter into the dough at the last stage, and it was going to look like it's falling apart, which was exactly our experience.  Nancy said to keep going, and to listen for the thwap-thwap sound of dough slapping the side of the bowl, you want this sound and the dough to behave this way, and when it becomes more solid, you know to stop kneading because the butter has been knitted into the dough enough.  Something like that.

Syd's picture
Syd

That's interesting.  They would freeze it and use it the next day.  So, perhaps, it is freezeable, but only for a short time.  Would love to hear the results of your experiments.  For the time being my friends and students are more than keen to help me out with my surplus.


And, yes, that describes exactly how the butter behaves.


best,


Syd

LapLap's picture
LapLap

It's taken a while as I've only just begun to post on TFL but this is the recipe and thread which introduced me to this website and the bread that got me to start baking a bit more seriously (I'm more of a whole grain person and a bread like this is more of a dessert treat item than an every day staple.)

It remains one of my favourite recipes and is hugely popular with my Japanese acquaintances.  Thanks so much for posting this and for the introduction to the original Chinese language blog.

Syd's picture
Syd

It's my pleasure! I am glad that you enjoyed it. 

Best,

Syd

cheframatici's picture
cheframatici

Syd, I have been reacquainting myself with baking after a long, very long, time. I barely remember what I was taught so long ago.  We love Chinese Raisin Bread and I have made several attempts to make it. When I googled the recipe, most lead to this site, http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2010/03/japanese-style-bacon-and-cheese-bread.html#.UGIaJbJlQ7s  I just substituted raisins for bacon and cheese.  The main problem I have is that all of the recipes require a break machine because it is so darn sticky.  I do not have a bread machine, but I do own a stand mixer and food processor.  The stand mixer doesn't do much and I almost burned the motor out of my processor because it would lift the blade and get under the container.  Also, I had better luck mixing the yeast with warm milk first.

Anyway, I came across your recipe and it looks less sticky and messy.  My question is, do you put the yeast in as is without letting it ferment in the liquid first, in both additions of it?

Thank you so much for your help,

cheframatici

Syd's picture
Syd

It depends what kind of yeast you are using.  If you are using instant yeast, which is what I use in this recipe, there is no need to reconstitute it first.  Just add it in with the other ingredients and continue with the recipe.  I have used fresh, dried (the kind that you have to activate first) and instant and instant is the most convenient and reliable.  Fresh yeast has a very limited shelf life and the kind of yeast that you have to activate first has no advantage over instant yeast and, in fact, just creates and extra step.

If you are using other yeast, you will need to activate it first and you will also use different amounts.  I don't have a conversion table handy but can look it up if you need.

This dough is sticky, particularly when you add the butter and eggs in the final step, but don't be disheartened.  I don't have stand mixer and I always make it by hand.  There is a technique that makes doing it easy.  If you are not familiar with it, do a google search on Richard Bertinet, slap and fold technique.  You should come a with a video where he demonstrates a technique to knead very wet doughs by hand. It starts off sticky but after a few minutes of kneading, it becomes very manageable.  

Hope this helps,

Syd

cheframatici's picture
cheframatici

Syd, thank you for replying so quickly! I just watched a video of the Bertinet technique...OMG!  That was a 'beautiful' dough he made! He made it look so easy, but I know it probably isn't. :(  But I can at least get a good arm workout. :)  I will try your recipe sometime next week using his method...fingers crossed... Thank you for such a helpful blog too!!

cheframatci

naomi_26's picture
naomi_26

I started this loaf a few days ago, intending to finish this morning. I started working on it this morning and had it all mixed when I realised that someone was coming at 11. I did the 'slap and fold' method before they came, and achieved a much less sticky dough, but didn't do it enough that I would be happy to carry on with shaping the dough. Currently the dough is in the fridge, half kneaded and I haven't added in the butter yet. Do you think it would be okay to leave and then continue with the kneading later (I would be able to carry on from 2)? What other possibilities are there?