Pain-au-Lait Pullman Loaf

It’s been a while since I wrote a post about cooking. Most of our recent posts has been about travelling and eating out, I almost forgot that this blog used to be mainly to document my cooking/baking adventures. After waiting 3.5 years, Bill and I finally used the wedding gift money from our family to purchase a stand mixer.

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When Bill and I were in Taiwan, we bought some loaf pans and baking equipment at a specialty bakeware store in Taipei. We actually visited that place twice since between those two visits, I had purchased some recipe books and realized I needed to get some more equipment. Baking bread at home is quite common in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Legend has it that if you start baking your own bread loafs, you can’t go back to eating grocery bought bread. I guess that may hold true in Canada, but Hong Kong and Taiwan have a lot of impressive bread stores that sell really good bread.

I’ve been following the pullman loaf recipe from two different recipe books. This post will be based on the recipe found in the Bouchon Bakery book. Bread in Asia is very different from bread in North America; the former is sweeter and lighter, while the latter seems to be the opposite (leaning towards savory and denser).

I’ll make another post using the Taiwanese bread recipe book I bought to show the slight differences in the ingredients between the two versions. (The Taiwanese version has more ingredients).

What interested me with this Pullman Loaf recipe from the Bouchon was the substitution of milk for cream cheese. I personally quite like the Taiwanese recipe already and didn’t plan on trying another one, but I was quite curious about adding cream cheese into the dough and decided to give it a try.

 

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I bought this scale in Taiwan. I had to buy it when I saw this and now I have 2 scales in my kitchen.

 

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Since this isn’t my own recipe, I won’t be posting measurements and ingredients here (copyright) – (Sorry!)

This recipe uses AP flour and the aforementioned cream cheese:

 

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Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the dough being mixed in our mixer. It’s been too long since I did a cooking post.

After kneading the dough for 30 minutes on low using the dough hook attachment, I let it ferment for 15 minutes. This is where I swayed from the original instructions. The recipe books tells us to make a large loaf that will fit the shape of the pan, but I prefer the method used in most Taiwanese bread recipes, which was to split the dough into multiple sections, roll it out to release the gas and roll it back up into a log and place in the pan.

We purchased two 1 pound pullman loaf pans with covers. The pan is non stick as well! The recipe makes a 2 pound loaf, so I just halved the ingredients.

 

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After making the logs, I put the pan into a turned off oven for proofing. I also put in a roasting pan with some boiling water in it to help with the proofing process. As you can see the dough doubled in size after about 2.5 hours!

 

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After proofing the dough, I covered the pan and baked the bread in the oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t use the egg wash that the recipe calls for, since I didn’t really understand why I would only brush egg wash on one side of the loaf. (I may be interpreting the instructions wrong).

The loaf turned out lighter than I expected, given the amount of time it was in the oven for. You’re supposed to let the pan cool before cutting it in, but I was hasty and sliced it right away.

 

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The bread was quite salty, almost a bit too salty, even though I followed the instructions carefully. I think it may have to do with the cream cheese, which tastes a bit salty already and top of that, I we had to add salt. Surprisingly it was much softer and moist than I had expected, judging by the photo in the recipe book.

Since I purchased the mixer, I have made quite a few loaves, hamburger buns, as well as HK style pineapple buns. I’ll be trying out a lot more bread recipes from now on and will likely be pushing out more cooking posts 🙂

Thanks for reading!