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

Bake the bread in a Pullman pan eh? Ha.

I remember going to Placeware’s kitchen supply store in St. Lawrence Market two summers ago, looking at Pullman pans. They were exorbitantly expensive. We nixed getting one…. after finding out they are quite expensive and rather large [and besides:] How many times really would we want square bread?

Here’s how things went with June 2020’s bread:

BBB Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie diary:

16 May 2020, 07:34 I’ve been really enjoying reading a library e-copy of Martin Philip’s “Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes”! Thank you for the recommendation, Tanna!

But how am I going to make this bread? I don’t have a bread pan – Pullman or not – at all. Of course I don’t!

Now, I’m going to have to find out which Julia Child TV show it was that she showed how to create a faux Pullman pan with a cookie sheet and heavy weight. This is as close as I found by briefly Googling:

Tightly cover the pan with a sheet of buttered aluminum foil. Then place an oven-proof dish, such as a Pyrex casserole dish, oven the pan. Place a brick or some other oven-proof weight in the dish. The goal is 5 lbs of weight to hold the loaf down.
-Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House | Pain de Mie: French Sandwich Bread

17 May 2020, 07:30 Aha!! Here it is from the expert:

[…] [F]or a flat-topped, evenly rectangular loaf, fill the buttered pan by no more than a third, and let rise to slightly more than double. (Form any extra dough into rolls or baby loaves.) Cover top of pan with buttered foil, and set in the lower-middle level of the preheated 425°F oven. Set a baking sheet on top of the pan, weighting it down with a 5-pound something, like a brick or a metal object.
      Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the dough has filled the pan and is browning well. Then uncover the pan and continue another 10 minutes or so, until the loaf comes easily out of the pan. The interior temperature should be 200°F.
– Julia Child, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, p70

1 June 2020, 19:52 I’ve been waffling about the lavender and chamomile tea. I confess I’m not at all wild about lavender or chamomile. They feel a little too birkenstocks-with-big-wool-socks-under-a-long-and-colourful-Indian-cotton-skirt for me.

And T really dislikes lavender. When I mentioned it for the bread, he looked a little bit panic-stricken and his nose curled up.

Oh wow, I cannot recommend highly enough to use a floral tea for your water! I used sprouted spelt for my whole wheat and made a mug of tea with a bag of Tazo chamomile that has rose as well, plus a little scoop of lavender flowers in an infuser. The bread is delightful, the aroma is like, well my kiddo said it smelled like a bakery, but it was fantastic. Both fresh and toasted. And when you toast it? !!! The whole kitchen smelled amazing. And the toast is practically ethereal.
– Kelly, in message to BBBabes

4 June 2020, 16:45 Ethereal toast! I love that notion. (In spite of not much liking it, we do have lavender – for putting into herbes de Provence. We may even have some chamomile tea lurking in the cupboard.) Perhaps I’ll try making two batches – one without lavender tea and the other with….

6 June 2020, 16:17 I am dumb as rocks!!

One of these things is not like the other
One of these things just isn’t the same….

Oh Oh

And I’m not talking about the secateurs ….

7 June 2020, 18:09 The good news about all this is that a.) after about 24 hours, we have internet again, b.) last year’s squirrels’ nests are dismantled, and c.) T was really nice about it (especially with the knowledge that he can pretty much get away with anything for the rest of our lives)

dealing with squirrel nests

…I’m probably not allowed to even hold secateurs near the kitchen window and/or wires any more.

8 June 2020, 15:23 More good news: when we were without internet, and told by Bell that a technician would not be coming until today, we went for a bike ride, stopping on the way home to get Rogers unbleached “no additives” all purpose flour from Freshco – they have had zero flour for weeks – to replenish our meager supply. (We had enough flour left for about 3 more loaves of bread.)

We got home just in time to hear the message on our phone that a technician was there to repair the wire. He was one day early! Lucky we got home just in the nick of time. We celebrated having the internet back by turning the computers off and having fougasse baked in the gas grill and charcoal grilled barbecue in the back garden. And wine. Yes, there was wine.

9 June 2020, 13:17 In anticipation of making Pain de Mie, I have been experimenting with high(ish) hydration mostly all-purpose flour fougasse. I made one on Sunday with commercial yeast, olive oil, yoghurt, and a small amount of our Jane Mason starter for flavour. It was fabulous. T was out of his mind with joy at how soft the crumb was. (I WAS going to make it with just Jane Mason starter, but because of the secateurs incident, I forgot to put the leavener together the night before. Ooops.)

Then two nights ago, I prepared our Jane Mason starter with whole wheat flour, and made the same recipe as before – but with zero commercial yeast. The bread did not loft quite as much but it was equally delicious! I wonder if I can use add a little honey to that recipe to make wild Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie.

Ha. I should probably re-read the actual BBB recipe, shouldn’t I? :lalala:

Even though we have a tin of dried lavender flowers (thank you, J!!), I’m afraid I’ve nixed the idea of making two loaves. This means no lavender tea for the single loaf. (Maybe I’ll try this later. I just don’t have the energy to try to sell it. I’m still paying for my improvident use of our secateurs.)

I was so happy to be able to get Martin Philip’s book out of the library (e-book only). But reading the recipes on my e-reader was insane. Philip’s drawings cannot be enlarged on my Kobo Glo – they are indecipherable. The recipes are in table form. If the font is set to the smallest, I can just get the whole table in view. But without a really good magnifying glass, it’s impossible to make anything out. :stomp:

Breaking Bread by Martin Philip (e-reader)

I love reading in bed just before going to sleep. Thank goodness for Grandpa’s magnifying glass!

Okay. Martin Philip calls for just 172 grams of the tea in his Pain de Mie. Why does he make so much tea – almost 250 grams, if he’s not going to use it?! And it’s not just any tea. It’s milky tea….

All he says is: The lavender and chamomile are steeped in sweetened milk overnight, then the liquid is added to the final dough, along with some good butter.

What does he do with the extra tea?! Throw it away? Drink it for lunch? (Ewww)

10 June 2020, 17:38 Oh oh. I just fully comprehended that we gave away all our bread tins because we weren’t using them. Hmmmm. I wonder if I can use a square cake tin and divide it in two with a fold of parchment paper. Do we have a square cake tin??

On second thought, no, that won’t work. A cake tin is too shallow.

The only thing I can think of is to use our pyrex rectangular (sort of) meat-loaf pan with deeply angled sides.

13 June 2020, 16:11 While I was getting red wine vinegar out for salad dressing, I suddenly noticed a jar of dried edible flowers beside the vinegar on the lazy susan. The jar has been there for eons. It’s been there so long that neither of us can remember who gave it to us. Or when. I smelled the contents and it smells innocuously sweet and slightly floral. I looked at the ingredients and see that the jar contains calendula, bachelor buttons, nasturtiums, johnny-jump-ups, and lavender. (I didn’t know that bachelor buttons were edible!) I’ll use that to make the tea tonight. And I’m NOT going to make the tea with milk. No. No. No. (What if it goes sour overnight??)

Blue Lake Ranch Edible Flowers

We both smelled the dried flowers. Mercifully, the flowers are so old that the lavender is not noticeable at all. I’m not crazy about the idea of adding lavender to the tea, but T is adamantly opposed to it in his bread.

And look!! There’s just enough “wild flower” honey left in the honey jar!

I considered switching to making the King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Pain de Mie – interesting that it calls for potato flour! – but, considering that T adores white bread, I have decided to pretty much stick to Martin Philip’s Beekeeper’s Pain de Mie. Or rather, pretty much stick to the recipe as much as I always do. ie: instead of a biga, I’ll prepare a wild starter, and there will be some whole wheat flour, wheat germ added. To account for the missing milk from the tea, I’ll add a little yoghurt to the final dough. And maybe not quite as much butter and WAY less yeast as Martin Philip calls for…. :whee:

No, wait. I’m going to add olive oil instead of butter!

14 June 2020, 09:33 I thought about it a little more, and decided I should maybe add just a little bit of yeast. It’s all Elizabeth David’s fault….

I’ve just finished reading her wonderful book, “English Bread and Yeast Cookery”, from cover to cover. (How is it that I didn’t do this before, when we BBBabes made Robert May’s French bread?!)

One of the things I learned categorically (in spite of realizing after the fact that, if I’d been paying attention, I knew this all along from reading about bread making history and the Ancient Egyptians) was that even though commercial yeast was not invented until the late 19th century, brewers’ yeast was commonly used in bread making. It wasn’t just sourdough that was used to get bread to rise….

Robert May’s French bread is extremely simple, a total refutation — there are many others in this book — of the belief too hastily assumed by home economists, cookery journalists and cookery-book reviewers, that any recipe earlier than Mrs Beeton is impracticable today.
      May’s recipe starts off with a gallon of flour. That is, or was, about 7 lb. Reduce the quantity to 1 lb 2oz. Next ‘a pint of good new ale barm’. That one scarcely needs thought. We know that ½ oz of present day bakers’ yeast is sufficient for up to 2 lb of flour. Then ‘the whites of six new laid eggs well beaten in a dish’. This is a case of not dividing all the ingredients equally. Two whites are about the right quantity for lib 2oz of flour. New laid eggs are not quite so easy, but ‘new laid’ is really a way of saying ‘fresh’.
– Elizabeth David, English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Robert May’s French Bread, p314

11:05 I thought a little more about my earlier decision to use olive oil instead of butter. As I was about to mix the dough, I changed my mind yet again, thinking again about Martin Philip’s statement: “The lavender and chamomile are steeped in sweetened milk overnight, then the liquid is added to the final dough, along with some good butter“. As well, this bread is called pain de mie, ie: it’s French bread. So, obviously, in spite of the fact that Robert May’s French bread doesn’t call for butter, this particular loaf should contain butter rather than olive oil. (I know. There are plenty of olive groves in France but who associates French bread with anything but butter? Unless it’s to dip pain de campagne into good herbed olive oil after the bread is baked. :-) :-) )

To mix the dough, I strained the tea through a small sieve. There still seemed to be quite a lot of honey still clinging to the flowers, so I poured boiling water through the sieve to rinse the flowers off. Once the water was in the mixing bowl (to melt the butter), I squeezed the flowers to release any residual honey and flavouring. Then I tasted the flowers to see if it was a mistake to discard them.

No. Not a mistake at all. They tasted like vaguely sweet straw. With about the same texture, except maybe a little limper. Eww.

The “tea” smelled lovely though – floral and sweet. It can’t be anything but good in the bread.

12:23 It turns out that we didn’t throw all of our bread tins out after all. I found an almost straight sided pyrex bread “tin” lurking behind the cake pans. Yay!!

Isn’t it amazing what one finds when looking through one’s OWN bread books: [Adrian Bailey]

It’s chilly in the house again (around 16C – exactly the same as outside). I am just about to go down to see how the dough is
doing. Here’s hoping the bread is rising….

13:13 I’m a little nervous. It had hardly moved half an hour ago and I hope it isn’t my imagination that it has budged a little. It seems very slow to rise. But I think I heard a pop from a yeast bubble as I turned the dough just now. Fingers crossed that I’m right.

I have to remind myself: Patience. Patience.

17:57 Ooops!! Oh my!!! Look at that! Talk about rising! (Imagine what would have happened if I’d added the amount of yeast that Martin Philip suggested?!)

Pain de Mie dough

I quickly shaped the bread and put it seam side down into the buttered pyrex bread dish. (I was so proud of myself for buttering the dish in advance. I also pre-buttered a piece of parchment paper.)

Pain de Mie

I lay the paper on top of the dish before adding the cookie tray and cast iron frying pans, and stuck everything into the oven with only the light turned on.

Pain de Mie

19:01 not risen enough yet – It’s up about half way. I will dutifully wait until it is just under the lip of the pyrex dish.

19:59 ooops again! Maybe that’s a little over. It’s even with the lip now…. Isn’t it amazing how commercial yeast works so well? No wonder that’s what people like to use!

Suddenly the two cast iron frying pans felt as though they wouldn’t be heavy enough to contain this dough. We have some stray bricks by the side of the house from when we had to have the brick pillar on the porch fixed last year. I stole two of them and laid them on some foil (to protect the cookie sheet).

makeshift Pullman pan

20:25 I double-checked to see how long the bread should bake:

Bake the bread for 20 then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides.
      Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not allow to cool in the pan as that will result in a soggy crust.
– BBB June 2020 recipe

21:54 Bake for a total of 30 minutes or so, eh? Ha!! After 30 minutes, the bread was light blonde – at most. I kept turning it around and setting the timer for 20 more minutes, then 10 more minutes, then 10 more more minutes. I’m afraid I lost track of how many “10 more minutes” I added. But finally, the bread looked golden all over.

And even with two bricks weighting the baking sheet on top, some of the bread still escaped over the edge. This is what it looked like at one of the “10 more minutes” stages.

Pain de Mie

Still, with the aid of a knife around three and a half edges of the baking dish, I managed to release the bread. It wasn’t done. Back into the oven it went – without the pyrex dish – to bake for yet another 10 minutes more. And finally it was done!

Wow. If you don’t pay attention to that tongue hanging out, it really is square bread!

It smells fabulous!

Almost-wild Beekeeper's Pain de Mie
Almost-wild Beekeeper's Pain de Mie

The next morning, once that lip was removed, the loaf looked pretty much the way it should. If you squint. And don’t know exactly what a square looks like. :-) :-)

Pain de Mie

We tasted the lip. The crust was nicely crunchy. The aroma and flavour of both crust and crumb were lovely. But do we really want flattened bread, after all these years of trying desperately to have lofty bread? (Now I’m a little sorry that I didn’t make a double recipe and bake one loaf in the usual way – to see how much loft we would have gotten. C’est la vie….)

But it does clarify things for me. I no longer feel ever so slightly dejected because we don’t own a pullman pan.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to have square bread. But I really do prefer a larger slice.

As T was cutting into the bread, I tried not to be too disappointed that while we had some beautiful emanthal, we didn’t have any ham, so couldn’t try making Croque Monsieurs. At the same time, I couldn’t help noticing the sandwich griller that we have had hanging in the kitchen for eons. I can’t even remember which Christmas T’s dad gave it to us but it has to be at least 20 years ago!

But suddenly, with square bread on the counter, I neeeeeded a grilled cheese sandwich!

kitchen doorway
(November 2019)

Perfect! If you don’t dwell on the fact that it took about five minutes to thoroughly wash all the dust off the implement, and that we had to push the slices into submission to fit into the square opening of the sandwich press.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The grilled cheese sandwiches were delicious!

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

And we still have half a loaf left. Maybe we can drift down to the Polish deli, stand in the masked line, and get some ham for Croque Monsieurs.

Thank you, Tanna! That was fun!

Here is the June 2020 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Almost Wild Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie
adapted from the recipe for Beekeeper’s Pain de Mie in Breaking Bread by Martin Philip

Sunrise Farm sits on a grassy bench bordered by hardwood forests on the eastern side of a mountain. […] [W]hile much of this scene is idyllic, nothing is hidden. Food choices are out in the open, sprouting in lines or strutting and wallowing. […] Rows of vegetables near the farmhous and a barn are nesteld in thick beds of lavender and chamomile, their flowers abuzz with bees from nearby hives. Honey, aromatic flowers, an old barn, which had once been a dairy — the clues are here, a whispered suggestion to bake with these ingredients.
– Martin Philip | Breaking Bread

for one square loaf
baked in a (9x4x3) greased pan, covered by a greased cookie sheet weighted by two bricks


  • dessert spoonful Jane Mason whole wheat starter
  • 50g “no additives” 100% whole wheat flour [Martin Philip’s recipe for making 2 loaves specifies making a biga and calls for “410 grams AP flour”]
  • 50g water [Martin Philip’s full recipe calls for “246 grams water” and a “pinch yeast”]

Wildflower(ish) Not-only-lavender Tea

  • 62 grams boiling water
  • 30 grams “wild flower” honey (from a farm about 100 km southwest of us)
  • 1 Tbsp dried flowers [Initially I was going to put in 2 grams; I began weighing the dried flowers. Half the jar was gone and I hadn’t even reached 1 gram! I switched to using the tablespoon.]

Actual Dough

  • All of the tea, flowers strained and squeezed out (~86 grams)
  • 118g boiling water
  • 40g butter [Martin Philip’s full recipe calls for “123 grams Butter, unsalted, soft”]
  • 34g plain yoghurt
  • 1g active dry yeast [Martin Philip’s full recipe calls for an enormous amount: “16 grams yeast, dry instant”! Am I alone in thinking that sounds excessive?]
  • 350g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 10g wheat germ
  • 8g seasalt
  • all of the leavener
  1. Leavener and Tea: In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
  2. Spoon dried flowers and honey into a small bowl or jug. Pour boiling water overtop, cover and allow to steep on the counter overnight.
  3. Mixing the dough In the morning of the day you will be baking the bread: Using a bowl that is large enough for the dough to triple, cut the butter into smallish pieces and place it in the bottom (I use a large casserole dish).
    Pour the tea on the butter through a strainer. Reserve the flowers in the strainer. Pour boiling water through the flowers onto the butter, stirring to melt the butter. Push the flowers down with the back of a spoon to extract as much honey as you can. (Taste the flowers to notice that all their flavour has been leached into the tea, then discard them into the compost.)
  4. Add the yoghurt to the butter water. Doublecheck that the dough is no warmer than baby bottle temperature, then whisk in the yeast. Now, dump the all-purpose flour, wheat germ, salt, and leavener into the bowl. Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to mix these ingredients together to make a rough dough. Cover with a plate and leave on counter for about 30 minutes.
  5. Folding: Use one of your hands to fold the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. Stretching and folding the dough: Use one of your hands to reach down the side of the bowl to the bottom; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough onto itself into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother. After the final time of folding, re-cover the bowl and set aside in the oven with only the light turned on, until the dough doubles.
  7. Preparing the Baking Dishes: Liberally grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish, as well as a piece of parchment paper that will be laid on top of the dish. Get two bricks from the garden and rinse the dirt off and put them onto pieces of aluminum foil placed on a cookie sheet. Set aside.
  8. Shaping: When the dough has doubled, scatter a dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Fold the dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Fold the dough in half again length-wise and seal the seams. Place the shaped bread seam-side down in the buttered dish. Cover the top of the dish with the parchment paper, followed by the cookie tray and bricks. Leave to rise in a non-draughty spot for about 30 minutes or until the shaped bread is almost at the top of the baking dish. (Do as I say, not as I did….)
  9. Preheating the oven: Turn the oven to 425F.
  10. Baking: Put the bread in the hot oven, making sure to distribute the weight of the two bricks evenly. Immediately turn the oven down to 400F. After 20 minutes of baking, remove the cookie tray and bricks.

    The BBB recipe claims it takes only about 30 minutes in all to bake. However, it was over an hour in our new oven before the bread had a nicely golden crust, and sounded hollow when rapped on the bottom.

    11. Close the lid of the pan completely, and put the pan in the oven.
    12. Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides.
    13. Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
    – King Arthur Flour | Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie

  11. Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a footed rack for about 5 minutes. Then, remove it from the baking dish entirely and continue cooling it completely before slicing into it; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.


Salt: Once again, it cannot be repeated enough, I urge you to weigh the salt before adding it to the dough. For more raving about this, please see Salt is salt, right?

Baking Pan: Whatever pan you use, it’s essential that it is greased well so that the bread will slip out easily. The BBB recipe calls for baking the bread in a pullman pan. While Elizabeth David was not at all wild about bread made in a pullman pan, and felt that the resulting bread is too soft. But others offer the following tips to get around this “too soft” problem with the instruction to remove the lid half way through baking for those who do and do not have such a pan:

[…] [U]nder-tin bread tends to be soft and steamy. The method was used by bakers to make neat and evenly shaped loaves for sandwiches, the result being rather too reminiscent of the bakery-plant loaf for my taste.
– Elizabeth David, Moulds and Tins for Bread and Yeast Cakes, p.210
Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it tests done; a digital thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F.
– King Arthur Flour | Pain de Mie

Pain de Mie is a square-shaped loaf, and is commercially baked in a pan with a close-fitting lid. […] Bake the loaf with a greased baking sheet resting on top of the pan, weighted if possible. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes, turn the pan upside down and continue baking for a further 15 minutes. Remove the loaf, from its pan, and continue baking on the sheet until all sides are a golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
– Adrian Bailey, The Blessings of Bread | Pain de Mie, French Sandwich Bread, p207

Oven Temperature: We still haven’t figured out our new oven. The BBB recipe says to bake this bread at 425F for about 30 minutes. We know the new oven runs a little less hot than our old one (we would have had to bake this honeyed bread at 350F on the top shelf of the old oven). But even with the dial turned to 425F for preheating and then set at 400F, it took over an hour to bake the bread, in spite of the fact that I made half of the BBB recipe.

Martin Philip’s words were most helpful for understanding when bread is done:
A buttery pain de mie should be deep golden and toasty with good color and a firm crust on all sides. […] Ciabatta should be deep mahogany, close to dark chocolate or roasted coffee beans. If my eyes want a second opinion, I pick up a loaf and quickly feel its weight relative to its size. […] I haven’t found any success with the use of a digital probe thermometer for judging doneness. Baking loaves (expecially those in direct contact with the hearth or baking stone) reach 190°F to 200°F, or, “done,” just two thirds of the way through baking. I promise that the bread is not even close to done. So save the thermometer for use in measuring dough temperature or checking a roast or making jam and leave the heavy decision making to your powerful eyes, nose, and fingers.
– Martin Philip, Breaking Bread | Process: When is Bread Done?


This morning, we had buttered toast and brie. What! Delicious! Toast!

Kelly is right. It was practically ethereal. I love the slightly spicy aroma from the tea in the dough!

We still don’t have any ham. But I think there is enough of the bread left for us to make Croque Monsieurs for tomorrow’s lunch….

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingBee Keeper’s Pain de Mie

Tanna is the host of June 2020’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

Several years ago, maybe you remember, I was lucky enough to travel the short distance from Seattle to the King Arthur Flour Baking School in Skagit Valley, Washington for 4 days of baking with whole grains. The day before my class started Martin Philip had been doing a workshop for several days with professional bakers. […] In surfing around King Arthur’s web site, I came across [the recipe for Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie] Which I baked…and I was blown away by. I mean me the original whole grain baker who shuns very much white flour. Now truth be told I did fiddle with the recipe and it did end up with some small amount of whole wheat in it but for me it is ridiculously white. […] We all need white bread from time to time…or at least mostly white bread. […] We are Babes: feel free to bake from the book recipe, the web site recipe or the whole wheat recipe from the [King Arthur] website.
– Tanna, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make Pain de Mie too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the doughnuts in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 June 2020. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ June 2020 Pains de Mie:

ebooks are great but real books are so much easier to read….

I’m so excited!! Soon, we will be able to get actual books from the library again:

You can now return your library materials at 71 branch drop boxes while branches are still closed. Items will remain on your account for at least 5-7 days after being returned. Curbside pick-up is now available at select branches. Pick-up is by appointment only and appointments can only be booked once you have received notification that your holds are available.
– Toronto Public Library, June 2020

Breaking Bread Cover Of course, it’s really great that the Public Library has so many e-books available to us. But, often, the publishers have not really thought about how the page will look if it isn’t printed on paper.

In Martin Philip’s book, the recipes are presented in table form. The right side of the table completely disappears when the font is a reasonable size for reading. (This happens on the library website e-version as well. It is only with Adobe Digital Editions on the computer that the whole ingredients table can be viewed and easily read.)

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie (e-reader)

Images cannot be enlarged in the e-reader. They are pretty much indecipherable, even with a magnifying glass.

Breaking Bread by Martin Philip (e-reader)

Incidentally, Breaking Bread by Martin Philip is a wonderful book; when you buy your copy, do yourself a favour and get the hard copy!


Grilled Cheese Sandwich


This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine, wild yeast (sourdough) on by .

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6 responses to “Almost-wild Beekeeper’s Pain de Mie (BBB June 2020)

  1. Katie (Thyme for Cooking)

    I want the bit that ran over. So that’s how you make a pullman pan and who would have thought rising bread was that powerful!

    edit 19 June 2020, 08:18: I know what you mean, Katie. I love crust too! – Elizabeth

  2. Tanna (

    Really, you got rid of all your bread loaf pans … but you’re a bread baker, even if you love bannetons, you still are going to need a loaf pan sometimes.
    Your experience with the weight on the pan top follows mine. Just proves how strong yeast, wild or commercial, really is.
    Over flow on your loaf, wiff foo, just shows the baking history. You still got a gorgeous loaf.
    When I was growing up we had one of those sandwich stove top pans and they were marvelous for all kinds of sandwiches especially toasted cheese. I think this is going to tip the scale, I really want one again!

    edit 19 June 2020, 08:19: But the pans were just taking up room! And hampering the development of crust. Because, really, who wants crustless bread? – Elizabeth

  3. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    ROFL!!! Oh Elizabeth, I just love reading your posts! And haha, you quoted me! Glad you no longer have pangs for the pullman. I am happy I got the pullman pan, sometimes I like a slice that fits in the toaster just so and I don’t have to pull it out and turn it to toast the part that doesn’t fit! Plus, the pan itself it a really high quality pan even if I don’t use the lid, so I consider it good for me. Lol, I got one of those sandwich grills for my folks for camping, I don’t think they have ever used it. I should remind them as they now sometimes do little campfire get togethers with the neighbors who have young kids and it would be fun for them. Why didn’t I think of grilled cheese, yum! I do them in a small fry pan with a lid and flip. This morning I had a piece toasted, with cashew cardamom almond butter. YUM. Still haven’t tried it as french toast and I NEED to.

    edit 19 June 2020, 08:21: How could I not quote you, Kelly? That was just too brilliant, and it really was the reason I made the tea! I might (“might” being the word to stress here) even try making lavender tea to add to bread. But not chamomile. Oh my no. :-) :-) And the sandwich grill? I’m not sure we ever used it before. T’s family used to use them all the time on campfires when he was growing up; that was the nostalgic reason his dad gave it to us.
    I’ll re-think about the pan. All of the pans we tossed were decidedly not high-quality (it was surprising that people took them from the lawn).
    – Elizabeth

  4. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    What a story! I’m glad you didn’t give away all of your loaf pans.
    Although I don’t use my pullman pan very often, I’m so glad I had it for this loaf. It’s exquisite!
    I do love the idea of making ham and cheese sandwiches with this bread. I really do need to try that before the loaf is gone.

    edit 19 June 2020, 08:28: You do, Cathy. You do. Especially because you have such perfectly square bread at your house. – Elizabeth

  5. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    You have a sandwich press and got rid of all of your bread pans, lol? And you are in a bread baking group and subject to the whims of the rest of the babes!

    P.S. That really was strong dough to be able to push out of the pan!

    edit 19 June 2020, 08:49: But the sandwich press is small and takes up almost zero room. And we really like how it looks hanging there at the entrance to the kitchen, Karen! As for being subject to the whims of the rest of you, thank goodness it’s BBBabe tradition to improvise and alter. – Elizabeth
    P.S. It WAS strong, wasn’t it? Imagine what would have happened if I’d used all the yeast that Martin Philip called for! It would have been like that wonderfully terrifying scene on the bus in the movie “Anything Can Happen” with José Ferrer….
    “So we do this way. Go you on other side of town to the Russian bakery. Explain him our problem. Buy good bag of dough […]
    The baker understood what I needed. He took a piece the size of a head out of his mixer and wrapped in paper. “Keep in cool place,” he said when I paid him, “and you gonna be O.K.”
          Trolley was crowded and hot like a devil’s cook oven. Long before we came even to Dickerson Street I could feel the dough begin to grow under my hands. Man next to me got off and a lady sat down beside. By now dough was size of wineskin. I pushed down in few places and it was quiet for couple minutes. More people climbed in. My dough was breaking through the paper in the corners. No matter how I held still got bigger and bigger and again bigger. My God, I thought, pretty soon it’s gonna fill the whole trolley.
    – George and Helen Papashvily, Anything Can Happen, p46-47


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