Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying It At Home :: Pain d'Or

I've been taking bread classes for about a month now. To be honest, I wasn't that excited about the bread course. I was more interested in the cake classes but I figured, I should branch out and try something new. It wasn't enough that the classes are in Japanese, I needed even more of a challenge. I'm such a go getter!

I'm so glad I went outside my comfort zone because making bread is AWESOME. Aside from a phase in my parents' life when a bread maker was purchased and used to make walnut and raisin bread, I don't have much experience baking bread. After 7 classes, that is no longer true. Up until last weekend, I had been under careful supervision which means that my recipes turned out perfect every time. I decided to take the training wheels off and give the pain d'or recipe a go.

Here we are with the basics. Bread flour, yeast, sugar and eggs. Two points to note here: always put the bread and sugar next to each other since as we all know from chemistry, yeast eats sugar and putting them close to each other accelerates the process. The egg should be somewhat separate from the sugar and yeast for reasons I'm not quite sure of because, like I said, my classes are in Japanese. All I know is that we always need to make an "egg pouch" in the bowl.
Here we are with more bread flour, salt and butter. This is the beginning of the dough formation process. Stir like a mad woman until the mixture turns into a ball.
Thank goodness for the marbal countertops! Dump the ball of dough onto a clean work surface and start kneading. There are two types of needing...the uhh...normal kind, which is to mix and work the dough. Once the dough is mixed well enough, it is time to move onto the V-style where you roll the ball back and forth in a V shape. When the surface is smooth and you see big gas bubbles, your dough is ready to rest.
After the dough has rested for awhile (each recipe calls for a different time, but it's normally around 30 minutes) you can do a finger test to see if it is ready. Coat your finger in flour and poke the dough. If the hole stays, it's ready. If the dough springs back, it needs to rest more. If your dough is ready, punch the ball a few times to release the gas.
Cut the dough into equal parts and shape them into round balls. Before you work the dough more, they need to rest again for about ten minutes under a damp towel.
Each recipe calls for a different shaping. Pain d'Or look like little mini-baguettes with cuts at the top. I've always wanted to make the cool cuts at the top of bread! Dream fulfilled! A healthy brush of egg wash on top and into the oven they go!
And voila! These baked for only 12 minutes and they were nice and fluffy. This was a really simple bread but most of our classes involve all of the steps above with varying rest times, toppings, fillings and shapes. This first solo attempt was successful, but not perfect. Hopefully the next batch will be better but even imperfect fresh baked bread beats the store bought variety.


  1. Congratulieren. Glad that you remember the bread machine. We brought it to KSA and it broke there.

  2. Bread baking is really fun. You should try it without the machine. It is very scientific.