Friday, December 21, 2012

Pain Viennois: Something different

I have not baked something like this in years. This bread, if you can even call it bread, is loaded with butter to the tune of 20% of the flour weight. It also contains other dough-softening ingredients including eggs, milk and sugar. The occasion for baking this bread is Christmas Morning at the Flanagan's, I thought that I would make something special. I wanted something sweet, but still a breakfast food. I was flipping through my Artisan Bread Binder from my time at Johnson & Wales University and I came across this formula. I thought that it would fit the bill perfectly. This recipe is courtesy of Mitch Stamm, one of the most respected pastry chefs in the United States today.

The dry ingredients, yeast and milk and egg mixture

I will briefly describe this formula and the mixing protocol, which is unusual due to the inclusion of large amounts of butter. This dough contains a very small amount of sugar, only 6% of the flour weight. Also note that all of the liquid in this formula (not including the eggs) comes from milk, which adds a lightness and a sweetness to the crumb. The dough is hydrated at 50%. The mixing procedure is as follows:

  1. All of the ingredients (except for the butter and the chocolate) are added to the mixing bowl and mixed on first speed for four minutes.
  2. The dough is then mixed on second speed for 8 minutes.
  3. The dough is then mixed on second speed for four additional minutes.  During this four minute period, the cold butter is added in small pieces until it is all incorporated into the dough.
  4. Lastly, the chocolate is added to the final dough and is folded until incorporated throughout.

IMPORTANT: The butter MUST be kept cold in this formula. If the butter is added as a liquid, the resulting dough will be very different from what you want!

Butter is a fat and is very light in weight. Hence, fat floats in water. Although it is only twenty percent by weight, it appears to be more because of its volume.  Look at the amount of butter used in this recipe. It is over 1/2 cup. Remember that I weighed everything for this dough. (I measured in grams for this recipe).

It is also very important to watch this dough closely while it is mixing. It has a tendency to force the bowl off of its track during mixing, particularly at second speed, before the butter is added. This will be a tough job for many mixers, but if you have a 6 quart mixer you should be fine!

After mixing on first speed for four minutes

After 12 minutes on first speed

And after the inclusion of the chocolate chips 
This dough is then given an hour to rise. It is then shaped into tight balls of 90g and then it is allowed 15 minutes to rest prior to shaping each ball into a very small loaf. 

I have never shaped anything this small. I found it to be a rather strange concept, and it took a gentle touch. I did the best I could. Batards are not my strong suit and it has been a long time since I last did them. That being said, they still came out looking great.

The dough is then give three parallel scores, known in pastry-making as the "sausage cut". Then it is egg-washed and given an hour to rise. The dough calls for a second light egg washing right before baking. I omitted the second egg wash and I regret this. This second egg washing would have given the dough a more golden color in the oven, so i did have to bake the breads a bit longer.

This bread also called for a 320 degree convection oven for 15 minutes. I have a multi-purpose oven. When you use the convection setting it deceases the temperature by 25 degrees. To compensate for this, I used the convection oven at 345 degrees. I also had to bake these for an additional ten minutes in order to get the color I was looking for. I believe that this would not have been necessary if I had done the second egg washing.

I did get to share two of these with my father right out of the oven. The crumb was still warm and the chocolate was still slightly melted. It was incredible! I am going to warm these prior to serving them this holiday! What a great little treat!!! If you are looking for a reward, give these a try!

And, I forgot to take a finished product. I am so pleased to be enjoying these with Kelly and her family for the holiday!

Bake On!
-DW, The Bread Baron

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