Pain d’Epi

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This is another item off my bucket list. My bucket list, in a nutshell, is baking breads and adventure sports – bungee, sky diving, para gliding and the like. This bread was the first one I finalized on my list of bakes for this month. While I was baking this bread, the husband and I had another conversation about our Europe vacation. We do this every three months or so when one of us decides we need a vacation to Europe and the other one plays it down. Finally, we would agree that the daughter is too young to enjoy or remember the trip if we went now and so we should wait till she is 5 and then plan the trip.

This time, the husband went off script and said that whenever the Europe trip worked out, we should eat at the local Saravana Bhavans (South Indian hotel chain) of the European cities. Now, I do not know if SB had restaurants in Europe but why take a chance. So I categorically told him, he could do exactly that but I would happily gorge on breads and cheese. He asks me -“How long can you survive on bread and cheese?”  So I ask him, “How long have you been married to me?” Really! Asking me this in the middle of a bread marathon is hilarious!

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Pain d’Epi is a type of artisan bread which is often made at French-style bakeries. epi is the word used to describe the flower of a wheat stalk and pain means “bread” in French. The bread consists of a series of yeast rolls which are interconnected to look like a stalk of wheat. Commonly, bakers use baguette dough to make epi loaves. A good quality baguette dough will create a bread with a thin, crackly crust and an airy, creamy crumb inside.

During the holiday season, epi bread is often available in the shape of a wreath, so that it is more decorative. Like many other varieties of French bread, pain epi tastes best when it is fresh. A loaf of epi bread can be used much like baguettes would be used. It may be set out with cheese and other spreads, packed into a picnic lunch.

Country – France

Makes one 12″ stalk bread

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Lukewarm water                               1/2 cup

Instant yeast                                       1/4 tsp heaped

All purpose flour                                1 cup + 4 tbsp

Salt                                                        1/2 salt

Oil for greasing

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl
  • Knead well till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes by hand
  • Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with cling wrap and set is aside to rise to double its volume, around 1 hour
  • Roll out the dough into an 8*6″ rectangle
  • Fold the 8″ sides to the middle and fold the 6″ sides on top of that and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Stretch the dough into a 12″ rope and place it on a greased baking tray
  • Cover and set aside for 45 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 250C with a baking dish full of water at the bottom rack
  • Take a pair of clean scissors and cut the dough from one end at 45 degrees angle, not fully through, resembling a leaf and place the cut leaf to one side
  • Cut the next portion of the dough and place it on the other side and continue cutting the dough at same intervals and place them on alternate sides
  • Bake for 30 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Cool and serve
  • Enjoy with melted butter or any dip of your choice!

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NOTES

  1. While the bread looks complicated, it is actually very simple and makes a wonderful dinner centre piece. I could achieve this in my first attempt and so you know that is easy.
  2. Tear off a ‘leaf’ and dunk it in your favorite dip for a delicious snack

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘P’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

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11 thoughts on “Pain d’Epi

  1. I think there is one HSB in London but not sure about other parts.. But yeah I totally agree with.. He shouldn’t have asked that question.. 😉 😉 😉 Vacation and planning tell me about that sigh..
    This bread looks awesome. Love those cute little leaves.

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  2. Sowmya I so enjoyed your conversation..We often do that as well and end up thinking the same as to wait for the kids to grow a little more to remember things..I guess at least husband and I do it more to pass the present time than to plan concretely for our trip..lol.Pain depi looks awesome!..given your talents, first time bake is no wonder yaar..

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  3. Pingback: A to Z Baking Around the World – A Recap | Bread Therapy

  4. That is such a pretty looking bread Sowmya. I might have to try that for my family 🙂
    Hope you get to your dream European vacation soon.

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  5. That is such a cute looking bread. I have wanted to bake this forever. I love to bake with steam as it produces such a crusty bread. We have also been dreaming of European vacation but has not happened yet 🙂

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