Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Julia Child, pain de mie

This is sandwich bread. The dough is proofed and deflated twice, handled three times, to produce a tight crumb with no large bubbles inside, like a synthetic sponge.

Americans call the type of bread pan that's rectangular and with a sliding lid a Pullman pan, named after the Pullman railway cars, but they did not invent them. I never had an interest in buying one because I never had an interest in sandwich bread. All my bread making efforts go away from sandwich style bread and all my sandwiches go on non-sandwich bread.

But if I wanted to then I can buy such a pan for 40% off the usual price at Amazon right now. I bet if, say, three of us bought one then by Amazon algorithms the price would go up. "Hey! There's a sudden demand for this pan." A lot of people on Amazon rated this pan five stars. 88% of 1,063 reviews = 935 people. I guess a lot of people like this type of bread.

Pullman. How romantic.

Comments to this video on YouTube are touching and sweet. People are fond of Julia Child. They say, "Thank you, Julia. You taught me so much." And she did. 

I made bread yesterday by another technique and I'm happy with the result. The technique relies on a clay cloche. Good Lord, they want $94.00.  It ain't all that. I see one on eBay for $40.00 but with outrageous $31.00 shipping from Australia. If you decide to make a boule shape, a round loaf, instead, then your regular casserole dishes or heavy pots work just as well. Unscrew the handles if they are plastic.

I watched the YouTube video of Bitterman for the NYT with a cook showing his no-knead method. I watched the thing some half dozen times and never realized his amounts equal mine exactly. This video changed the world of bread-baking for thousands of home bakers. They all copped a new attitude.

1 + 1/2 cup of water determines the size
3 cups of flour makes 100% hydration, an equal amount of water by weight.
1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt, I used flaked kosher salt so I used 2 shallow teaspoons.
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast. 
12 hours time.

That's 12 oz water and 12 oz flour. Most the water evaporates during baking, so roughly a 1 lb. loaf. And that's small. It's a small pile of dough. Wet dough.

The ingredients are mixed carelessly and allowed to proof overnight. The yeast reproduces and grows past the amount that would grow the usual way in the usual time. The time overnight allows a short fermentation that doesn't occur by the faster techniques. At the start, the salt retards the yeast making the process slightly slower. We want it to be slow. When Bitterman uploads another video to demonstrate his adjustments for the process to go faster, it shows that Bitterman misses the whole point of time as desirable and crucial ingredient. Yes, the whole thing can be faster, then you must knead it. Or else your careless mess is just that, a baked mess.

As it is, I did knead this because I like messing around. I stirred is as wet dough until stringy gluten developed then added more flour by handfuls until the dough held the shape of a ball. All with a dinner knife. I never touched the dough. 

The size of the loaf is perfect. I can have a few slices of excellent bread and if the rest goes stale or mold grows on it before I can finish it then no great tragic loss. 

French baguettes are made with very wet dough. The wetter the dough then more difficult it is to handle. Wet dough allows large bubbles to form inside. The cloche contains the moisture long enough for the dough to expand like a ballon. That's why they push it around the table to form a stretched outer skin. Absent a cloche, bakers spray the oven with water to produce steam. To keep the skin wet and prolong the time for the dough interior to heat and form bubbles that cannot escape the skin. Then the skin bakes and expanding bubbles must break through. Bakers slice the top of the skin to control the direction of expansion. 

Much less yeast than you think will work. A shallow 1/4 teaspoon. Slightly more than 1/8. 

A shallow cup of flour is 4 oz. A level cup of flour is 5 oz. That's just about perfect amount for wet dough, approximately 90% hydration by the way that bakers figure their craft, and bakers have their own strange math. Water, whatever the amount is considered base 100%. When flour exceeds the weight of water than the hydration decreases. I think. Watch a genuine baker come along and contradict me. 

There is more salt in the dough than there is yeast. Yeast doesn't like salt. But yeast reproduces and salt doesn't so yeast wins eventually. 

Twelve hours later the yeast produces CO2 and alcohol. The alcohol makes the dough wetter. 

This olive oil is really good. From California. Here it tastes like a basket of apples smells.

The fermentation, however brief, begins the digestion process. Organisms help humans digest things. It's why all those fermented foods are so great. Sauerkraut, kimchi, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, miso, tempeh, yogurt, beer, cocoa, sour cream, crème fraîche, fish sauce, salami, nattō, pickles and a million other weird things worldwide that you never heard of. Possibly a hundred. 


ricpic said...

By pure coincidence I took a picture book out of the library a few days ago: France Is A Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child. Turns out Paul Child was a diplomat with the State Department (the reason why Julia Child got to France in the first place) and also a first rate photographer. Lots of pictures of Paris and Marseilles, the two cities he was posted to in France, but also lots of domestic pictures of Julia. As a young woman she had great legs!

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Julia Child's first recipe was for shark repellent. Unfortunately, it wasn't all that effective.

I thought that was very cool and interesting. However, I believe I will skip that recipe :-D

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It was some few days ago that my wife and I watched some old rerun of "Baking with Julia" or whatever it was called and the guest-cook made some sort of fancy brioche dessert and Julia got sort of choked up when she sampled it. At least I sort of thought so at first.

My wife and I were in unison . . . WHHHAAAAT????

So we backed it up. And it was, like, CRAP! It was for real. We both agreed that the taste must have reminded her of something sad and lost from her past.

ANYWAY!!! That's not the point. The point is . . . I went on the intertubes to see about getting the recipe and I banged up against the La Brea Cookbook or something like that and it was on Amazon and the blurb on the book was something like . . . "The Brioche That Made Julia Child Cry."


And then I woke up . . .

Chip Ahoy said...

Julia Child in your dreams. How sweet.

I have that book, Breads from La Brea Bakery by Nancy SilverbergxxxxxSilvermanxxxxx Silverton.

It's where I learned early on a disgruntled employee took all the starter and dumped it into the street. Another employee went out to the street and salvaged a tablespoonful and used it to inoculate a new batch and within a few days they were back in business.

And I'm sitting there reading that thinking, "Okay. That happened."

Since you said so.

Chip Ahoy said...

But I too dreamed of La Brea Bakery. The dream was nothing like real life.

I was an employee and an old black dude was my instructor. He showed me all around. He slid open the to top to a large vat, like a dumpster, and showed me 3-day old starter. The dumpster-vats contained 2-day old, and 1-day old and fresh starter. Whatever was available prepared in advance would be the output for that day. For when it comes to starter, it controls you, not you control it, so you must decide how much you're going to have control you in the future of 3 days from now.

The contents of the dumpster are divided out among bread pans carried along by conveyor for several hours of proofing they travel along grocery store type conveyors and monorail type conveyors criss crossing and stacked like an Escher drawing. From above I look down upon the vast room of conveyors and marvel at at all the bread pans filled with live bread being carried around. Then I woke up in stages and when fully awake I thought, "Lovely, but bogus. I know from the book It ain't nuth'n like that."

Methadras said...

Human digestion really begins in the fingers. Your body excretes enzymes through your fingers to help with the process of digestion when you consume food.

Chip Ahoy said...

Fingers. I did not know that.