I think I don't handle failure easily.
After chucking the brick of bread away, I stormed off to the nearest supermarket to pick up a new bag of flour and a new bottle of yeast. I need to prove to myself that I have lost the "brick touch". I am competitive in that sense, I suppose.
And I am happy to say here that I can still turn out decent soft and edible bread. The problem seems to be the flour. I had changed my bread flour previously. So much for premium bread flour. I think I will stick to the non-premium brand that I have been working with, thank you very much.
This sturdy loaf came from Sarabeth's Bakery - my latest Amazon purchase. Usually I am quite skeptical about Western breads as they tend to be too sturdy for my taste. I prefer the soft Asian bread, especially Japanese breads. But this Pain de Mie had a soft crust and an even softer crumb. I should be making this more often.
You can find the recipe for the Pain de Mie here at Bake for Happy Kids.
Now, I just need to work on getting the right quantity to fill that Pullman loaf tin. The shape looks kinda odd.