When my lovely brother asked me what I would like for Christmas, my thoughts sprang, as ever, to baking. I have been very fortunate and have amassed quite a lot of baking kit - tins and cake cases and so forth, perhaps what I really need is more time to make things and experiment, and people on whom to test my experiements. But T couldn't really buy me some time for Christmas! So my next thought was the Bakery Bits website, treasure trove of amazing products for the home baker. I have seen other bloggers making breads in Pullman tins before, and have also seen homemade/makeshift versions of pullman tins, with more or less successful results. It seems that bread dough is extremely strong when it is rising and the oven spring of a good loaf is enough to dislodge a baking sheet held down by a housebrick or two!
Having seen these attempts at Pullman loaves, I thought it would be one to skip until I had the right tin for the job. And this Christmas I was lucky enough to receive one of these. Since there is a need to have the correct volume of dough to fill the tin and give the characteristic square shape, it made sense to attempt the recipe linked to on the Bakery Bits website. You can find the recipe here on the Bakery Bits blog. I adapted it slightly as I didn't have all of the specified ingredients, but stuck to the main proportions of ingredients.
Malted Grain Bread
400g strong white flour
100g malted grain flour (I used Dove's Farm)
20g olive oil
300ml warm water
scant 2 tsp dried yeast
10g salt (although next time I would reduce this slightly I think)
I essentially followed the method given on the Bakery Bits website, which follows the usual method I use for bread - Dan Lepards method of fairly minimal kneading. I didn't think that the dough was particularly softer than any of my usual bread doughs, but this could well be due to my changing the recipe!
When it came to shaping the loaf to go into the tin to prove, I greased the tin lightly with butter rather than use oil and just rolled the dough up and plonked it into the tin. I then pressed it down to try and make it more even, with some of the centre dough pushed to the ends, because the middle always seems fatter! I then left it to proove while I did other (baking) things. When it came to sliding the lid on, the dough had almost reached the top of the tin in the centre so I had to be a little careful.
The bread was then baked at 200C/Gas 6 for about 40 minutes. After this I tipped it out onto a tray and continued to bake for around a further 10 minutes to colour the three sides of the loaf that hadn't really coloured. The top seemed to have browned quite well anyway but the other sides were pale.
I loved this loaf - absolutely amazing! I made a 100% malted grain loaf with the same bag of flour a few weeks ago and it was a complete chore to eat my way through it - the malted flavour didn't seem as strong for some odd reason, and the bread hadn't risen very well. This loaf was the complete opposite! Somehow, having less malted flour makes the taste more prominent when you bite into a grain, and the crumb was beautifully soft and tender. I left the loaf until the following day to slice and it was so easy to cut into even slices - brilliant. It made the perfect sandwich loaf, and would be ideal for children's packed lunches (or mine, come to that!). An added bonus was that the crusts of the loaf, which I adore, are huge - in a normal tin loaf, the crusts tend to be quite small, but not here!
The tin worked so well, I can see myself adapting lots of recipes to use it. I'd like to try a sourdough in it, but will have to wait a while for that - my starter is *ahem* inactive at the moment. I certainly won't be using it exclusively, as some breads work so well without a tin, and sometimes you want a different kind of crust but this is definitely a most successful Christmas present - thank you very much T, and to Bakery Bits for starting to stock this smaller size tin - the larger one would make far too much bread for me!
I am going to send this to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for her Frugal Food Friday blog event (the current Linky is here) - I think that making your own bread is certainly frugal (plus more satisfying and delicious - although I appreciate it's not for everyone), even if this magnificent tin wasn't (although it will pay for itself over time!).