Author Archives: ejm

About ejm

I am a freelance musician in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What I really love is good food, books, movies, gardening (even though I have a black thumb) and bicycle travel. My foodblog is at http://etherwork.net/blog/- adventures in food and drink, recipes, disasters, triumphs....

Almost-wild Beekeeper’s Pain de Mie (BBB June 2020)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for almost-wild wildflower honey Pain de Mie based on the recipe for ‘Beekeeper’s Pain de Mie’ in “Breaking Bread” by Martin Philip; still staying at home; books are some of my best friends; caving in and adding commercial yeast; rising bread is strong strong strong – strong enough to push away two bricks; sigh, late again – because all I have is time these days; information about Bread Baking Babes;

What does bread baking smell like in heaven? It smells like bread baking.

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie

Pain de Mie

This month, Tanna decided we would make Pain de Mie. In our pullman pans.

Ha. Not only do we not have a pullman pan, but in mid March, we put all our bread tins out on the front lawn – now that we have our lovely brotform, we never use tins any more. (The tins were gone almost immediately.)

But us with no bread tins wasn’t going to stop me from trying to make home-made Pain de Mie!

All crumb, with little crust. I know this might not be the idea you have of a classic French bread, but it is the best way to describe this Pain de mie, which is a delicious French household staple in France. […] “Mie” means crumb in French. And indeed, this “Bread of the Crumb” title calls attention to the almost-absent crust on this bread, and its particularly tight crumb – which contrasts with the crunchy crusts and airy crumbs you find in most French breads […] It is beloved for its mild taste and soft and creamy texture, which makes it very versatile and perfect for breakfast toasts, sandwiches, fancy french toasts, canapes or even soup croutons. Its original square shape also makes it ideal for preparing a cheesy croque-monsieur or a croque-madame […] Pain de Mie is traditionally baked in a lidded Pullman bread pan. The lid constrains the expansion of the the dough and ensures a tighter crumb and perfect square shape.
 
– Audrey, Pardon Your French | Classic Pain de Mie

pain de mie […] sliced, packaged white bread
 
– Saron Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, The New Food Lover’s Companion, Fourth Edition, p482
The best bread for thin-slicing is called pain de mie, a butter-and milk-rich loaf baked in a special lidded pan (often called a Pullman pan). The lid ensures that the baking bread won’t expand too much, keeping it very close-grained — and thus totally non-crumbly, and easy to slice.
 
– King Arthur Flour, Sandwich Bread | A Smaller 100% Whole Wheat Pain de Mie

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Wild Ciabatta (ish)

summary: wild ciabatta (ish); yeast schmeast; proof that an electric mixer is unnecessary for slack dough; BIG slippers!

Ciabatta dough is a bit tricky to work with because of all the extra water, especially when mixing by hand.

Bread on the Table | Ciabatta

We’ve had a copy of David Norman’s excellent book “Bread on the Table” on the telephone table in the kitchen since early March, when the library was officially closed “to support efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19“.

I had just finished reading the thoughtful and well written book, cover to cover, when the library closed. I have to admit that I liked that I could keep leafing through the book again and again from time to time, knowing that the new due date was 31 August. (The library has just announced that we can return our books again. Considering that so many people are interested in bread-making, I returned the book yesterday. Initially, we were going to put it off until today because it was pouring. It wouldn’t do for the book to get drenched as I walk to the library, would it? But the sun came out and the clouds didn’t come rolling in again until we were on our way home, with about half a block to go. :-) :-) )

When I was a college student at the University of Munich, I took advantage of our month long winter break to see more of Europe […] Armed with a student train pass that allowed me to travel for free outside of Germany, I headed south on an overnight train to Verona. […] For several hours, I wandered the ancient streets, drank cappuccino, and ate some gelato before continuing on to Milan and then on a overnight train to Paris.
      I do not remember if I ate any bread during that short stop in Italy, years later, when I began to think of baking as a creative and fulfilling career rather than just a stepping-stone to something else, I borrowed a copy of Carol Field’s seminal book The Italian Baker. In it, I recognized something different from the breads I had been making up to that point, what with the use of starters and longer fermentation.
 
– David Norman, Bread on the Table | Ciabbatta, p.181

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I do ♥ Mock Bennies!

Mock Bennies with Asparagus and Chives
summary: mock bennies with asparagus rule; chives and their flowers; lilacs; still staying at home; review of asparagus trimming; comfort food makes rationing less trying; j’adore cheese sauce!

The [Ontario] government has further extended most of the emergency orders to June 9 [2020] to protect public health and safety from COVID-19
 
– Office of the Premier, Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak, 27 May 2020

This weekly mask-wearing grocery shopping and long line-ups to get into stores not knowing if the shelves will be empty or not has thrown me off. I had forgotten what lilac blossoms in our garden mean:

As soon as the lilac bush by the kitchen window blooms, we look for local asparagus at the vegetable market. Right on schedule, asparagus began to appear a couple of weeks ago: 2 (largish) bunches for $5.
 
– me, Not-Even-Close-to-Wordless Not-Wednesday: Asparagus and Chives, 12 June 2018

The other day, I lined up at our favourite vegetable store, expecting to buy slightly sorry-looking small amounts of broccoli and green beans from far far away for rather high prices. As I was permitted to enter the store, I saw beautiful bunches of Ontario asparagus on a large tray right by the entrance: 2 decent-sized bunches for $6.

Of course there was a tray full of beautiful Ontario asparagus!! – the lilacs are in full bloom by the kitchen window.

lilacs (continue reading )