Pain de Mie

Sandwich bread, as we all know, is readily available and dirt cheap at any store. So why bother to go through the

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trouble of making it at home? Well, first of all, if you’re big on soups, salads, and sandwiches as I am, you know that often times it’s the bread that makes a great meal. And no doubt is the taste and texture of homemade sandwich bread better – the crust is so good you’ll want to cut it all of and eat it by itself. Finally, there’s the sense of accomplishment. How often do you get to slice your own, freshly baked bread? Everyone has their opinion on what sandwich bread should be like, but what I was looking for was a soft, tender, light sandwich bread, one where you can make a sandwich and not feel full after three bites. I finally found it, after experimenting with several other recipes. What I noticed was that sandwich breads that had the airy, light, almost melt-in-your-mouth quality I was looking for are richer in ingredients than your average sandwich loaf. As in, more fat – more butter, milk, or eggs. This recipe has all of that, including potato flour, which helps create a tender crumb. It’s called the Pain de Mie, which also goes by the name Pullmans Loaf. see all photos » Recipe from King Arthur Flour (also at end of post)

Makin’ the Dough

Tools that you’ll need: measuring spoons, measuring cups, large bowl, cooling rack, and a pullman loaf pan+lid (more on that later). To knead the dough you will need a bread machine, a stand mixer…or strong arms and lots of patience. Which I don’t have.

One reason why this recipe is so good is that there’s two kinds of milk in it. There’s fresh milk…

…and milk powder.

Add two teaspoons of yeast…

…some salt…

…and three tablespoons of sugar. The bread isn’t sweet at all, though.

Potato flour isn’t used in all sandwich bread recipes but it does make a a very tender bread. And don’t worry, you won’t taste the potato. I have potato flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
Mixer action!

I have a KitchenAid stand mixer. If I didn’t have one, I don’t think this blog would exist. I was cleaning the kitchen as it was kneading the dough. So convenient. A good way to tell if the dough is done mixing is if it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.

The finished dough should be tacky but not sticky. Add more flour if it feels too much like a batter, and add more water if it feels too dry.

How the dough should look when it’s done.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl…

…form it into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap.
Let it Rise

Ok. This is what I don’t get. Everyone seems to be able to have their dough rise…

…to double in an hour. I don’t know why, but this doesn’t work for me. It takes me at least 3 hours, and sometimes overnight on the counter. I can speed it up by putting it into a warm, closed area, like an oven turned on for a minute, and then turned off – but it still takes a few hours for the dough to double. ::shrugs::

Oops. The top of the dough wasn’t oiled enough so the plastic wrap stuck to it.
Proofing Bread

So I splurged a little. I bought a Pullman Pan and matching lid from, which altogether came out to be $29.49 with free shipping. I did some shopping around, this is the cheapest one you can buy online. The good thing though, is that the $29.49 you spend on a bread pan shows in the quality – this is probably my best piece of bakeware. It’s strong, the lid goes on easily, and best of all, nothing sticks to it! There’s two good reasons to have a bread pan with a lid. 1) It gives your bread slices beautiful straight edges and 2) the lid pushes the bread down while it’s baking, making the holes in the bread smaller, therefore keeping sandwiches from falling apart. This is genius, people.

Transferring the dough from the bowl into the loaf pan for proofing. You can see that the gluten strands have finished developing.

The dough should be about halfway up the pan, and pushed down (degassed) so that there are no
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air bubbles in it…

…because you want the yeast in the dough to make bubbles the second time. I put it back in the oven to rise quickly.

The second time is usually much faster.

Mine reached to the top, but ideally, I find that it’s better if it’s overflowing a bit, so that the lid can push down on the bread (mine didn’t do that this time). It doesn’t rise that much while it’s baking with the lid on.

Finally, baking the bread at 350F. It bakes like this for 25 minutes, and then 20 more minutes with the lid off so that the top browns.

Here is the finished bread! The air bubbles in the bread are huge, so it didn’t turn out as well as the last time I made it but it was still delicious. (Again, the bread should rise past the top a bit so that the lid can push down and make the air bubbles smaller while it bakes).

Oh, and one other tip. Slice all the bread after it cools down (I like to slice half of it thin, half of it thick), and put it into a large plastic freezer bag. Keep it in the freezer – not the refrigerator – and it will stay good for weeks. Toast or bake before eating.
Pain de Mie From King Arthur Flour

2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) milk 1 cup (8 ounces) water 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter 2 1/4 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar 1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) potato flour 4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 2 teaspoons instant yeast Manual Method: In a large bowl, combine the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar. Add the dried milk, flours and yeast, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it’s smooth and supple. Because of the relatively high fat content of this dough, it’s a real pleasure to work with. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as above, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough and proceed as follows. Lightly grease a 13 x 4-inch pain de mie pan. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a 13-inch log, and fit it into the pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen (it may rise even more slowly in a cool kitchen; don’t worry, this long rise will give it great flavor). Remove the plastic, and carefully place the cover on the pan, let it rest an additional 10 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove

the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it tests done; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf.

see all photos » Recipe from King Arthur Flour


Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Dina says:

    great pics! looks like very nice bread!

  2. Paula says: (Author)


    Thanks, Dina!

  3. Yasue says:

    Hi, Paula!!

    This is great site! Very impressive! I will start visiting often :)
    I love all pictures too.

  4. Paula says: (Author)


    Thanks, Yasue!

  5. David says:

    I made this bread today. This is the 3rd time I have baked this bread and the 3rd Time is a winner. I discovered I let the dough rise too long the first 2 times. 1 hr is ideal in my kitchen. Degas and shape in the pain de mie pan. I let the dough rise for over an hour and put the lid on and waited an additional 15 minutes and baked for 30 minutes.

    The loaf is perfect.


  6. Paula is QuiteCurious says: (Author)

    My favorite comments are ones like yours – people who have tried what I’ve tried and shared how it turned out. So thanks for sharing, David!

  7. Kristin says:

    Hi Paula. I found your site from a posting over at The Kitchn. Seems like you have a fun site that I will definitely be taking a closer look at.

    I love my Pain de Mie pan–I use it often. Though, I typically bake KAF’s Whole Wheat version. It turns out nicely. As does their cinnamon swirl. You might want to give them a try sometime.

    Anyway, I had a few thoughts about your slow rising dough. First, I switched to SAF Red Instant Yeast. I’ve used Fleishman’s and it seems that SAF rises more quickly. So, you might want to try a different brand so see if it works better for you.

    If you use tap water in the recipe, sometimes, hard water can retard the yeast growth. So, spring water or filtering your tap water may help.

    Last thing, I store my yeast in the freezer. While KAF says you can use instant yeast straight from the freezer, my experience is that it slows down the first rise. So, I measure out my yeast and put it in a small bowl on the counter while I measure out everything else. If I give the yeast 10 minutes to come to room temperature, it’ll double in an hour. If I don’t, it’ll take 2 hours to double.

    I hope at least one of these ideas help shorten your rise time.


  8. Paula is QuiteCurious says: (Author)

    Wow, thanks so much for the detailed comment! You have some really great tips. I’ve never heard of SAF Red Instant Yeast, but I’ll take your word on it. I’ll also try filtered water instead of tap. Right now I don’t keep my yeast in the freezer. Is that bad?

  9. Kristin says:

    I’m a bit of a geek. When I took up bread baking last year, I started reading whatever I could find about it. Trying to understand yeast and how to keep it happy was were I started. Of course, there is always more to learn and practice.

    re: keeping yeast in the freezer…Well, it depends on how much yeast you have on hand and how quickly you go through it. Keeping yeast in the fridge or the freezer just extends the useful life of the yeast. If you go through it quickly, then it’s probably not a problem if you keep it in the pantry. But, if you have larger amounts on hand, the yeast would probably last longer and remain more potent in the fridge or freezer.

    Envelopes of yeast are typically shelf stable and will do fine in the pantry if you use them before they expire–though, it doesn’t hurt them to keep them in the fridge. Still, I wouldn’t use them after the expiration date. The small glass jars of yeast that can be found in most grocery stores usually recommend on the label that they be kept in the fridge and will be good for 6 months after you open them. These jars of yeast also can be kept in the freezer to extend the life of the yeast to at least a year. Larger bulk purchases of yeast can last a year or two if kept in an air-tight container in the freezer.

    re: SAF Red Instant Yeast…it’s a good product. I like it. Not everyone likes it though. You might want to read the comment section about it at the King Arthur’s Flour online store. It can give off an alcohol type smell–that usually results from overproofing or using too much yeast. I’ve found in my baking that I can cut back up to 0.25 teaspoon when I use the SAF Red as compared to the Fleishman’s. Before I figured that out, I did notice the alcohol smell, but once I started cutting back on the yeast, I didn’t notice it anymore.

    Another thing to keep in mind, it’s instant yeast, so you use it differently than active dry yeast. You mix it in with the dry ingredients instead of proofing it in the wet for 10 minutes. And I’ve only found it in the one pound bags (which can spill easy when you first open it). So, since I have more yeast than I can quickly use, I keep it in the freezer.


  10. Kristin says:

    One last thing…I noticed in your photos from your English Muffins (which look tasty), that you are using Active Dry Yeast. Active Dry Yeast is not the same as Instant Yeast. It’s usually the same strain of yeast, but processed differently. While Instant Yeast can be added to the dry ingredients, Active Dry Yeast needs to be proofed before you add it to the work bowl. By proofing, I mean that you soak it in a warm liquid (usually water that’s warm to the touch or whatever liquid the recipe calls for, maybe with some sugar thrown in) for 10 minutes. That soak wakes up the yeast and gets it to start producing gas. If you don’t proof active dry yeast, it’s not awake and does not work very well during the first rise.

    You can use active dry when the recipe calls for instant. You just need to know that you need to pull out some of the liquid, warm it up and proof the yeast for 10 minutes before you start mixing the dough. And if the recipe calls for active dry and you’re using instant, just skip the proofing and mix the instant yeast in with the rest of the dry ingredients. Use the same amount the recipe calls for, unless your experience with your yeast suggests that you can get away with using less.

  11. Paula is QuiteCurious says: (Author)

    I love your comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to write them. I like bread baking for the same reason you do – there’s just so much to learn.

    It looks like my biggest mistake is not knowing the difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast. I assumed it was the same thing – so it’s a good thing you told me the difference. That’s probably why it takes so long for my bread to rise. I’ll be picking up some instant yeast today – can’t wait to try it out. Maybe I’ll get better results.

    Thanks again!

  12. Neha says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed instructions and PICTURES. It takes the guesswork out of the recipe. You have convinced me to buy a Pullman pan.

  13. Paula is QuiteCurious says: (Author)

    You’re very welcome! I love my pullman pan.

  14. Jennie P. says:

    I have had my 1 lb package of SAF instant yeast for like 5 years. I didn’t bake that often before, but now I’m starting to more and more. I’ve kept it in the freezer since the day I bought it. It keeps it from dying on you. And even after 5+ years that very same yeast is still as potent and alive as the first day. I never could get that store-bought packaged yeast to do a thing. It was always dead when I bought it. It’s about time to get some more yeast though, and I know I’ll be buying the SAF again in bulk. I just wanted to comment to let you know it is very stable in the fridge for many years. No flavor change or anything! I just got myself a pullman pan, I can’t wait to start making my own sandwich bread!

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