Friday 23 December 2016

Pain de Savoie - Miniatures - Attempt 1

I'm in a bit of a savoury phase, I think the run-up to Christmas has given me a bit of a sugar overload, and so I'm finding myself looking at bread and savoury recipes much more...

I've done this recipe a couple of times before, it's a really good savoury bread with loads of flavour. You could call it posh cheese-and-ham on rye bread. Delicious, but not exactly the most glamorous recipe. I decided to work out if it could be miniaturised, so I set about making a batch, and then trying it in various different sizes. the recipe comes from Paul Hollywood's Bread book.

The final dough was about 900g, and this is normally for a 20cm springform tin, however for this I split the batch into 3 parts (one half, and 2 quarters).

The first half was split into 4 (so ~110-120g per batch) and used to fill small loaf tins. one quarter was then used to fill 3 holes of a 12-hole mini cake tin (~75g per hole). I quickly realised these were being over-filled, so for the last quarter I did half weights in another 3 holes of the tin (~40g per hole).

The method of making the bread normally is to create 3 layers of dough, and then place the cheese in chunks in-between... I did a similar thing for these, and chopped the cheese up smaller (normally you'd do 1cm cubes, however in a small bun tin, this would be massive!). I then went a bit off-recipe, egg-glazed the loaves and put some poppy seeds on top, before baking them (20 minutes for the bun tin, and 25 minutes for the mini-loaves).

The end result was that none were quite right in terms of appearance (all tasted great)...I think that the mini-loaf tins were best, however the layering meant that you didn't get a pleasing shape on the top...I think that rolling it would be better (effectively forming a small ham-and-cheese rye swiss roll). I'd also use more dough (about 150g, which works out well, as that would create a batch of 6 with the 900g dough mixture). Other things to consider is possibly grating the cheese, and making the lardons/pancetta smaller, to fit with the smaller loaf (maybe thinly sliced bacon?). I strongly recommend sticking with Comte cheese, it has an incredibly nutty flavour, and goes really well in this recipe.

The other thing to note is that I once again carefully added water until a dough was formed, and I ended up putting in 60ml less than the recipe used...the flour I use is really not very absorbent!  need to get in the habit of under-watering dough at the start of the mix, and adding it in sparingly until a smooth dough forms, or I'll never get decent shaping.

Pain de Savoie mini-loaves - Recipe


  • 400g strong white flour
  • 100g dark rye flour
  • 10g salt
  • 8g fast-action yeast
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 270ml cool water (the recipe says 330ml, however the flour I use is not that thirsty)
  • 150g pancetta/lardons/chopped bacon
  • 200g Comte cheese
  • Beaten egg (to glaze)
  • Poppy Seeds (to decorate)

1) Place the flours, salt, yeast oil and 2/3rds of the water in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached

2) Begin to mix, and watch as the dough begins to come together

3) Slowly add the rest of the water until the dough forms a single ball. Rye is a thirsty flour, but it will be dependent on the flours you're using.

4) once the dough has formed, mix on a medium speed for 8-10 minutes

5) While this is happening, fry off the bacon in a small frying pan

6) Once browned, leave to cool (I put it on a plate on a couple of ice packs to cool it quickly)

7) Once the dough is kneaded to a smooth dough, add and mix in the bacon pieces so they are evenly distributed. To do this I split the dough into 7-8 small balls, and then added them and the bacon back into the stand mixer, and kneaded it for a couple more minutes

8) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave to prove for 2 hours in a warm place (until doubled in size)

9) While you're waiting, chop up the cheese into small pieces

10) Once the dough has proved, knock back, and then split up as per the loaf sizes you want to make
  • a) For mini-cake tins, use ~50g balls (about 18)
  • b) For mini loaf tins, use ~150g (about 6)

11) To line each tin, split each dough ball into 3.

12) Line the base of the tin with the first third, then sprinkle with some pieces of cheese

13) place another dough layer on top of the cheese, and repeat the sprinkling. Top off with the third piece of dough. Repeat this for all the other loaves

14) cover, and leave to prove for another hour, until the dough is level with the top of the tin

15) Pre-heat the oven to 220'C

16) Once the loaves have proved for the second time, brush the top of each one with beaten egg, and sprinkle on some poppy seeds

17) Place in the oven, and put ½ litre of water in a tray in the base of the oven)

18) Bake the bun tins for 20 minutes. Bake the loaf tins for 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them, and if they start to go too dark, turn the temperature down to 200'C

19) Remove to a wire rack to cool.