Semolina-crust pain de mie

This Saturday I had the urge to spend all day in the kitchen and there is no better way of achieving this than embarking on one of Dan Lepard‘s more involved and elaborate recipes. This loaf takes the best part of a day to create and requires the making of two separate doughs – one for the inside and one for the crust.

Semolina-crust pain de mie

Preparation time: all day
Cooking time:
40 – 45 minutes
Skill level: medium/tricky
Makes: 2 loaves


For the loaf:

  • plain white flour – 250g
  • strong white flour – 325g
  • fast action yeast – 1 sachet
  • warm milk (20C) – 250ml
  • cold milk – 100ml
  • caster sugar – 1 ½ tbsp
  • unsalted butter – 40g
  • fine sea salt – 10g

For the crust:

  • semolina – 300g
  • warm water – 300ml
  • fast action yeast – 1 sachet
  • sunflower oil – 40ml
  • caster sugar – 40g

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast and warm milk until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in the plain flour, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for two hours. At this stage the sponge should have risen by at least a third and have lots of bubbles.

Next add the strong flour, cold milk, sugar and salt and mix to a dough. Rub in the butter with your fingertips.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.

Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

Semolina-crust pain de mie

Meanwhile, make the crust by mixing together the warm water and yeast in a large bowl and then adding all the other ingredients to form a smooth batter.

Cover and set aside for 2 – 2½ hours.

Divide the dough into two and form each piece into a batton. Place 10cm apart on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment. Cover loosely with cling film and place somewhere warm for 1½ – 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C (gas 6).

Uncover the loaves and prick at three points along the centre with a skewer to release any trapped gas. Next spread the semolina crust batter evenly over the loaves with your hands.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 175C and bake for a further 25-30 minutes, or until the surface has cracked. The loaves should sound hallow when tapped on the base.

Leave to cool on a rack.

Trim off any excess crust from the bottom edge using scissors.

Verdict: A sweet soft loaf with a crisp golden crust.

Drink: After baking, went for a stroll to ‘The Crown‘ on Victoria Park. An excellent (gastro) pub with good beers and ales, scandalously expensive crisps and a trendy (without being toss) cow print interior. A new drinking hole to add to our list of decent East End boozers.

Entertainment: The entire Saturday’s output of 6music.

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