May 18, 2014

Pain Palladin

This bread was named after the famed chef, Jean-Louis Palladin, the youngest chef to have won two Michelin stars at the time. It's a simple, rustic bread, loosely shaped. Its cousin, which we bake next week, is Pain Rustique, and they are very similar. The only difference being the addition of olive oil and a longer fermentation time for the pain palladin. This bread is best enjoyed as an accompaniment to heartier foods, as it's rather subtle in flavor. Toasted and smeared with avocado and a drizzle of olive oil would be perfect!


This dough gave me a meltdown. It was so wet and sticky that I couldn't work with it at all. After mixing, I tried to stretch and fold it, but it stuck to everything! My fingers, the bowl scraper, the floured board, it was super frustrating. I couldn't make it do anything, and I even yelled in frustration at the dough. I finally dumped at least another whole cup of flour on it, and after two or three more tries, I finally managed to get a proper fold, and got it off the board. Meanwhile, I had left a ton of dough on my hands and on the board. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I couldn't find one. The following folds were easier, but I was very liberal with the flour. I was concerned that this would affect the outcome, but that's the only way I could make it work.

So finally the dough was shaped and fermented, so I divided it. Although the instructions say not to preshape the dough, I did give it a little structure so that both pieces would fit on the baking stone.

After proofing, it was ready to go. The instructions didn't mention slashing the dough, but I gave it a very light score right down the middle. I find it's much easier to slide them onto the baking stone one at a time. I also used a technique I'd read online, adding a cup of ice cubes to the steam kit and then spraying the rocks. I could hear the steam in the oven after I closed the door.

When the loaves came out, they were golden brown and puffy. Beautiful! The crust was hard and crisp. However, after cooling, the crust got softer. Interesting....

I cut into the cooled loaf and was surprised to see a dense crumb, almost like a slice of white sandwich bread. The smell and taste were great, I think the olive oil really gave it a unique flavor. 

I made cheesy toast with this bread, slicing a few thick pieces, drizzling them with olive oil and toasting them with sharp cheddar cheese and cracked black pepper. Yum! Perfect midnight snack. By itself, this bread is rather unremarkable, but it's the perfect vehicle for whatever you want to put on it. Probably won't make this again, since it was so difficult to work with.

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