Pain Viennois

My latest experiment involves making Pain Viennois, or “Vienna Bread.”  Typically referred to as a “French” type bread, Pain Viennois is actually an Austrian bread.  To make this bread, I used the French Culinary Institute recipe.

The FCI recipe makes 12 loaves, and the amount of flour is too much for the KitchenAid Artisan to handle.  So I began by dividing the recipe in half and preparing my work surface.  The only modification I had to make is to reduce the amount of “fresh yeast” from 20 grams to 6.75 grams because I am using Instant Dry Yeast (IDY).  This reduction is in accordance with the SAF IDY yeast packaging.

The recipe begins with dumping everything except the butter into the mixing bowl fitted with the hook attachment.  You then mix on low speed for 5 minutes.  This was slightly problematic for the 5-quart Artisan mixer because the dough is quite stiff and wants to shape itself into a log and come out the top of the bowl.  But stopping the mixer every minute or so to reposition the dough solves this issue.

After the initial 5-minute mix, a higher speed 12-minute mix occurs.  The 12-minute mix really taxed the Artisan, but it survived.  After the 12 minute mix, the butter is incorporated slowly into the dough.  I didn’t think the butter would ever incorporate but after 5 minutes of additional mixing it began to come together in a rather soft dough.

After the butter is mixed in, it is time to rest the dough for one hour.  After an hour, the dough had not risen much but it was puffy and fragrant.  At this stage, the dough is portioned into six 150g pieces, shaped into a bâtard and set to bench rest for 15m.











After the bench rest, the bâtard is shaped into a six mini-baguettes.

The shaped loaves are now brushed with egg wash and rested for 2 hours.  At the end of the 2 hour wait, the loaves are again brushed with egg wash and scored along the top to make the signature Pain Viennois marks.  After a ~30m bake in a 425F oven, the loaves look something like this:

Pain Viennois is a rich, buttery bread with a fabulous taste.  The small loaves are very versatile and can be used to make sandwiches, to eat as-is, to accompany dinner, or for a tasty breakfast.  These loaves were a winner in my house and my wife now wants me to make 6 more tonight.  They take a total of about 4 to 4.5 hours to make.  And that highlights one of the main problems with baking bread – the timing.  If you want these for dinner, you ideally need to start them at 2PM (which is very hard if you are working).

Lessons Learned:

The dough is stiff and hard on the Artisan mixer.  I would love to make a larger quantity of these in a more powerful mixer.  Otherwise there really are no pitfalls with this bread.  The ingredients are simple and the work is mostly done in the mixer.


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