Baking a Pain de Mie loaf has been on my list of breads to make for quite a while. In fact, I bought the Pullman pan a few months ago, and it has been taunting me from the cupboard.
What is Pain de Mie, you ask? It is a lovely white bread that is ideal for sandwiches. It's baked in a lidded pan, which produces a perfectly square loaf. If you know a kid who likes their sandwiches cut into quarters that are exactly the same, this is the loaf to make. This would also be perfect for anyone who craves symmetry.
Besides, sometimes you just need some white bread to take you back to your childhood.
This recipe involves making more dough than necessary so that you can weigh your dough for the pan. This is because there are so many environmental variables that can affect the weight of the final dough. In this case, I was able to make one Pullman loaf and another one pound loaf of bread.
In France, this bread is known as Pain de Mie, or "bread of crumbs." This is because the bread is less crusty than most French loaves, and is mostly "crumb," or the soft interior of the loaf.
In the U.S., it is baked in a lidded Pullman pan, so named because it resembles American Pullman trains cars.
Besides sandwiches, this bread makes amazing toast, grilled cheese, and French toast. I was so thrilled that the dough reached the top of the pan and did not leak out of the top or collapse in the middle.
This bread, or "pain," contains milk powder, which gives it a lovely flavor and a super soft crumb, or "mie." There's also a bit of butter in the dough to tenderize the crumb. The Pullman pan is 13 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches, and is lidded. There is also a shorter Pullman pan available.
Pain de Mie Recipe
2 pounds (7 1/4 cups) bread flour
1.6 ounces (5 T) milk powder. I used King Arthur Flour's Baker's Special Dry Milk, but any milk powder will work.
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp softened unsalted butter
2 3/8 cups water
1 tbsp salt
2 1/4 tsp (one packet) instant yeast. I used SAF. I'd also recommend Red Star Platinum.
- Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir first with the dough hook by hand to moisten the ingredients.
- Place the bowl and the dough hook onto the mixer and mix on low for 3 minutes. Raise the mixer to the second speed and mix for about four minutes more.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl or bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 2 hours, doing one stretch and fold (see this post for the stretch and fold method) at one hour.
- Once the dough has risen, separate by weight 2 1/4 pounds/1 kilo of dough for the Pullman pan. Save the rest of the dough for a small loaf. I baked mine along side of the Pullman loaf in a 4 inch by 8 inch loaf pan.
- Oil a 13 inch by 4 inch Pullman pan and lid with spray oil.
- Shape the dough into a log/loaf, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Further shape the dough into a loaf and place it into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough reaches about 1/2 inch from the top of the pan. Cover the loaf with the pan lid. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until the loaf is golden and reaches 195 to 200 degrees internally (The extra 1 pound loaf should take about 35 minutes).
- Remove the loaf from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Adapted from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.