An indie movie that leaves a lovely taste…and a Pain de Mie recipe to accompany it
Toast is the memoir film about famous food writer and chef Nigel Slater’s beginnings in a household that was anything but gourmet. It stars Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore. I loved this movie and all it’s British-ness. It relays Nigel Slater’s journey from shy kid to the beginning of his awakened interest in food and baking, through to the start of his career in cuisine.
His young life is told through a series of vignettes in which food takes pride of place, especially when a certain housekeeper woos his father with her enticing baked goods.
The relationship between said housekeeper turned Step-Mother and Nigel becomes rocky and competitive (in cooking) with both of them vying for his father’s favor – this eventually leads him to set off on his own, and become what he is today.
I’m a big fan of Nigel Slater, I’ve tried many of his recipes and really enjoy them. The film is titled Toast but I found the Lemon Meringue Pie the most memorable in the movie. However, as the title is Toast, I’m including a recipe for a wonderful loaf of Pain de Mie, adapted from the King Arthur Website (a fantastic online resource and shop for any baker or cook, beginning or advanced).
This loaf produces such a wonderful crispy, thin crust, and a rectangular loaf with sqaure-ish slices; it's perfect for sandwiches - grilled cheese, afternoon tea finger sandwiches and of course, toast.
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 cup warm water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes cubes, at room temperature
- 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
- 3 tablespoons potato flour OR instant mashed potato flakes
- 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl and knead (this can also be done in mixer or bread machine). Knead until you have a smooth ball.
- Lightly grease a large bowl and place dough ball to rest. Cover with towel or plastic wrap and let proof about 1-1/2 hours - it may be longer if your kitchen is cool. The dough should rise to a puffy state, though may not double in size as other doughs do.
- Lightly grease your pain de mie loaf pan (pullman pan)* and when your dough has finished with its first proof, gently deflate and roll into a log that fits the length of your 13" pan, and place it inside.
- Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let it rise until it comes to just under the lip of the pan. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to quite a bit longer depending on how warm your kitchen is. My second rise took almost 2 hours. The longer proof will increase the flavor, so don't worry if it's taking its time.
- About a half hour before you think you're bread is going to finish proofing, pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Remove the plastic wrap, and place the dough in your pan, and attach the pan cover.
- Bake for 25 minutes covered
- Remove the pan cover, being careful of heat, and continue to bake for about 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden and the internal temperature is 190F.
- Take the bread from the oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a rack.
- This loaf can be stored and wrapped at room temp for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
You will need a Pullman Loaf pan for this recipe - alternately you can try using a loaf pan and making a cover with tight-fitting aluminum foil (I have not tried this).
This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe.
King Arthur Flour also sells Pullman Loaf pans, but at the time of this writing, they were out of stock.