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Jun 16, 2020

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie

This bread is is flavored with the essence of chamomile, rose, and honey. Thus, the name, Beekeeper's Pain de Mie.

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie with chamomile, sliced

This sandwich bread has such an amazing fragrance from the chamomile and rose infused milk. It's very subtle, but it adds such a specialness to this loaf.

This month, the Bread Baking Babes, hosted by My Kitchen in Half Cups, are baking the most lovely loaf from King Arthur Flour's head baker, Martin Philip. He created this recipe for his bid for the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, which is basically the bread baking Olympics or the World Cup of bread baking.

The contest takes place in Paris (of course) and was created in 1992 to promote innovation in the profession of bread baking.

Beekeepers bread, sliced

There are two versions of Beekeeper's Pain de Mie. You can find the one-day version on the King Arthur Flour website. That version gives you options for making the bread with chamomile infused milk or just honey.

If you are adventurous and can plan ahead, you can try making the "official" version from the cookbook, Breaking Bread: A Baker's Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip, which is what I did. Evidently it is a best seller in the King Arthur Flour bakery.

P.S. I'm a huge fan of Martin Philip's instructional YouTube posts with his son.

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie crumb

How to make beekeeper's bread:

This bread begins with a biga of white flour, water, and a pinch of yeast, which you mix and let ferment for 12 to 16 hours.

At the same time, bring some chamomile tea, milk, honey, and sugar to a boil and then let it steep for 12 to 16 hours. The original recipe calls for chamomile and lavender. I substituted a chamomile rose tea that also includes butterfly pea flowers, and hibiscus, and was really happy with the results.

If you prefer, you can make this bread without the tea, however, the scent is wonderful.

On baking day you mix the biga with the tea mixture, water, butter, and durum flour, along with more yeast and knead the dough briefly before letting it rise. "Fold" the dough by reaching under it, stretching it, and folding it over itself from all four sides.

Finally, you shape the dough into a sandwich loaf and place it in a 9 inch lidded Pullman pan. If you don't have a Pullman pan, you can use a standard 9-inch bread pan.

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie with chamomile rose tea

What is durum flour?

Durum flour is finely ground durum wheat, which is a hard, high protein wheat. It's often used to make pasta. It has a pretty yellowish color and a slightly nutty flavor. If you can't find it, you can substitute white wheat flour and adjust the water as needed.

Do not substitute semolina because it is too coarsely ground.

Suggested timeline for making this  bread:

Day 1:

6:00 to 7:00 pm

Mix the biga ingredients and make the milk tea mixture.

Day 2:

8:00 to 10:00 am

Mix the final dough and let rise for about 90 minutes, with two "folds" at 30 minutes and 60 minutes.

After 90 minutes, shape the dough and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes. Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes. Be sure to let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

Beekeepers bread on a cooling rack

This recipe is for two loaves. I halved the recipe to make one loaf.

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie

Beekeeper's Pain de Mie
Yield: 32 servings (two loaves)
This bread is is flavored with the essence of chamomile, rose, and honey. Thus, the name, Beekeeper's Pain de Mie.


For the Biga
  • 410 grams (3 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon) all purpose flour
  • 246 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water
  • Pinch of instant yeast
For the Wildflower Tea
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) milk
  • 21 grams (1 tablespoon) honey
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile flours plus 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers OR 4 chamomile teabags. I used Republic of Tea Chamomile Rose
For the Final Dough
  • 172 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon) of the milk mixture
  • All of the biga
  • 106 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) water
  • 410 grams (3 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon) durum flour
  • 123 grams (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 17 grams (scant tablespoon) salt
  • 16 grams (1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast


To Make the Biga
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl with your hands, and then knead until smooth. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours. 
To Make the Wildflower Tea
  1. Bring the milk, honey, and sugar to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the teabags or loose flowers, remove from the heat, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours. 
  3. Strain before using. 
To Make the Bread
  1. Add the milk, biga, and water to a large bowl and mix with your hands, breaking up the biga. 
  2. Add the durum flour, butter, salt, and yeast, and continue to mix with your hands until you have a shaggy dough. 
  3. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes, with a stretch and fold at 30 minutes and 60 minutes. 
  4. Grease two 9 inch bread pans or Pullman pans. 
  5. Divide the dough in two and pre-shape each into a log. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. 
  6. Flatten the logs and re-shape them into 9 inch loaves. Place them, seam side down, into the pans. Cover and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough crests the rim of bread pans by 1 inch, or comes nearly to the top of the Pullman pans. 
  7. Bake the loaves at 425 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. 
  8. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. 
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bread, Pain de Mie
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Check out the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' Beekeeper's Bread:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow your loaf is so white! It's perfectly beautiful. I have ordered some lavender for my next bake of this.
    Yes, I'm also enjoying those Martin Philip instructional YouTube posts with his son.
    Now I have to bake this again with the infused tea. I've ordered lavender.

    1. I haven't tried lavender, but I love the durum in this loaf.

  2. I just can't get over how amazing the color on your crust is, and that beautiful crumb! Beautiful loaf.

    1. Thank you! I'm so happy I had durum in my freezer!

  3. That's a really great loaf Karen and the tea combination sounds delicious! Along with milk and honey you have something fit for paradise. Love the crust...very dark golden brown.

  4. Fascinated by this bread - and the tea you used intrigued me too - do you have a link for it? I am a tea addict, and this one calls my name

    1. Definitely. Go to and search for "beauty sleep."

  5. Lovely color and beautiful photos! I thought the same thing while I was making this bread...I need to bake more with Durum. It has such a wonderful flavor and texture.

  6. That looks like the perfect sandwich bread!

  7. Rose infused milk!! That has to be good! (If I hadn't found the dried edible flower melange in the cupboard, I was going to use some of the Persian dried rose petals we have. It's good to know that the rose infusion works well.)

    I love the colour of the crust you got! On white bread too.

    Many thanks for pointing to Martin Philip's YouTube channel. (I'm going to edit my post and add that link.)

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. It really is pretty adorable with his son.

  8. That's a gorgeous loaf Karen, and beautiful crumb. Interesting, that use of rose. I would have never thought to pair it with chamomile.

  9. Just curious about the milk sitting out and refrigerated overnight.
    Have made many recipes from Martin's book


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