Bread 7: Pullman Bread and Cheese Bread

2006-02-26

Pullman BreadPullman bread, also known as sandwich bread, English bread or pain de mie, is commonly available in stores in North America as Wonder Bread. As a way to boost flavour, we started by making a sponge, a mixture of yeast, water, malt and flour. We let this rest in a covered bowl for a half hour while we scaled the remainder of the ingredients. To the risen sponge-like mixture, we added in flour, milk powder, etc. (just regular white bread ingredients) and kneaded it in the manner in which we're all accustomed to now.

After rounding, degassing and shaping, we placed the loaves into long greased tins. Our instructor put her breads into actual Pullman tins which have lids on them. She slid them almost closed so that she could see when the breads were almost touching the tops during proofing before shutting them completely. As the bread bakes, it rises against the lid and gives the bread square slices. Apparently, this is desirable to some people. The loaf is very soft and has a nice taste. I haven't eaten plain white sandwich bread in a long time, but this was very tasty. Chef recommended we try it as toast the next day, but I'm looking forward to making French toast when it gets a bit stale.

Cheese BreadFor our second product, we made up a regular white bread dough but added some grated Cheddar and Swiss cheeses in the last minute of kneading. The finely shredded particles were barely visible in the dough. We shaped them into loaves and gave them a single lengthwise slash. Unfortunately, the photo shows a squished bread, the result of putting something else on top of it while it was still warm. The cheese flavour is subtle; I would have preferred embedding larger pieces in the loaf. She also didn't want us to sprinkle any on top, as it would have burned.

Our instructor told us she was coming up with a new course to be offered around January 2007. It will be a followup to this class, and will focus on more interesting breads. Some ideas she had were olive bread, naan and real sourdough, perhaps asking students to make a starter at home and bringing it in.

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