Two new birthday gadgets need testing.
My new proofing machine, which warms dough to the 25-30C that yeast likes, and folds down for storage when not in use:
And my Pullman tin, or pain de mie, which is French for ‘the soft bit in the middle of bread without any crusts on. The idea is to cook the bread sealed in a box to avoid a thick crust forming:
According to this recipe that’s designed to fit the tin, it seems I’m looking at a 500g flour / 300g liquid loaf, with space for added extras which I’ll use to both enrich the dough (basically going for a brioche loaf without any crust) and up the hydration level (as 60% hydration seems anathema to me these days!).
And for once I’m actually going to do a plain white loaf with yeast, rather than my normal sourdough mix:
- 500g strong white flour
- 245g milk
- 55g water (I ran out of milk…)
- 30g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp (15g) golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp instant yeast
I’ll mix & knead everything in the stand mixer for 10 minutes for a total of 10 minutes.
Then rise in the proofing machine. Depending on the type of dough your making you’re supposed to use different temperatures and times. However there appears to be a lazy option to use 27C and expect it to take about two hours to double in size, so that’s what I’m going for in this first test.
Whoa – that certainly rose! I don’t normally knock back when I make bread, but this certainly needed it.
Then spray the Pullman tin with oil, and shape the loaf into it.
Proof in the proofing machine for two hours at 27C. An hour in start heating the oven to 200C fan.
Thankfully I check the dough after 30 minutes, and I could see it was rising quickly, so put the oven on, thinking it might only need 90 minutes. Then I check again 30 minutes later to find it was already ready!
In fact it took a bit of knocking back to get the dough down enough for the lid to go on (spraying the dough and lid with oil first). I hope it doesn’t explode in the oven!
Now recipes vary on time and temp… most say 200C (180C fan) but they differ on time (30-50 minutes) and whether you take the lid off (seems odd to use a pain de mie and then take the top off) so I’m going to go for a simple non-crusty loaf, and bake entirely with the lid on at a high 200C fan for 30 minutes, then check the internal temperature, looking for 90C.
After 30 minutes some bits in the middle were still at 85C, so I popped it back in for five minutes, and then it was ready.
It turned out of the tin really easily (not much washing up required then :).
After cooling it’s time to cut into it.
Looks briochy, and tastes it too! Not as light as some brioches, probably due to the amount of dough stuffed into the tin!
It was delicious with Soph’s pâté on it. No pictures of that due to it being eaten before the camera could be taken out.
Finally, a quick review of the new toys…
This is fantastic. It folds down to a few cm in height, so even our small kitchen (OK dining room…) can find space to store it. When assembled, which is trivially easy, it’s big enough for the largest of loaves and wide enough for baguettes.
It runs totally silently. And apparently costs next to nothing in electricity, which makes sense as it’s only heating to a maximum of 30C.
And it clearly does the job! The rise I got in two hours was huge compared to putting dough on top of the radiator. Which is good, as the special shelves I have over our lounge radiators are the exclusive domain of the cats these days!
My main use for this will be to accelerate the rise of my sourdoughs. Hopefully I can reduce the normal four, or more, hour rise down to two, which will make it much easier to prep a dough after work. I’ll then still do a retarded overnight proof in the fridge, as I do want to bring out the sour in the sourdough and get that lovely holey sourdough crumb.
It will also be very useful for emergency breads. I’m pretty sure you could have a loaf ready to eat in under four hours using this. It won’t be the best bread in the world, but it’ll be much better than any Chorleywood process bread from the supermarket!
Is it worth the £120 price tag? If you’re into making bread: definitely. There are no downsides to it: it takes up no space to store, it costs next to nothing to run, and it runs silently.
When we need a loaf without a crust, this is clearly the way to go. Ideal for brioche style loaves like I baked today.
Is it worth the £25 price tag? Yes, because even if you don’t use the lid all the time, it’s still a very good quality loaf tin without the lid!