Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pain de Mie

I am so excited about this new pan I just got!  It is called a Pullman Loaf Pan, and I found it on Amazon for $25 (normally $45).  The pan is an "commercial grade, heavy gauge loaf pan with cover; 13 x 4 x 4 inches."  The point of it is that it makes perfectly square loaves of bread - obviously making it ideal for baking squared bread loaves, such as the French loaf pain de mie, and brioche. 

I used the pain de mie recipe that accompanied the loaf pan, which is a King Arthur Flour recipe.  But what is pain de mie, you might ask?

Let us look to Wikepedia:

"Pain de mie is a type of sliced, packaged bread "Le pain" in French means "bread" or "loaf of bread", and "la mie" refers specifically to the soft part of bread, called the crumb. In English, pain de mie is most similar to pullman loaf or regular sandwich bread. This bread has sugar in it, which makes it sweeter than most French breads, though even with the sugar, pain de mie is still not as sweet as most American breads. This bread is usually used for making sandwiches or for toasting.  It can be baked in a sealed pan, which prevent crust from forming. If not baked in a sealed pan, the crust can be cut off (as done in factories before packaging). Pain de mie is sold in rounded or rectangular shapes."

Isn't it beautiful?

So here I am with the pain de mie dough made, getting ready to put it into the Pullman pan. 

The dough is rolled and the edges crimped, and now it is time to rise.

I cover the pan with plastic wrap, and set it in a warm spot to rise until it is just below the top edge of the pan (don't put the lid on it yet).

Now, about 50 minutes later (though this number will vary depending on the conditions in your kitchen), I am ready to gently slide the lid in place.  I spray a little spray grease on the bottom side of the lid.

and gently slide it in place.  You can see it is just barely brushing the top of the loaf - try to work very carefully so you don't cause your dough to fall. 

Now, let the pain sit in a warm place again for about 10 minutes, while you preheat your oven.  During this time, you want your dough to continue to rise, so it fills the corners of the top of the pan.  After about 10 minutes, bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.  At this time, carefully remove the lid and bake an additional 20 minutes. 

Enjoy your square pain de mie!  Hint: it is great for sandwiches, toast, bread puddings, and makes incredible french toast. 

Pain de Mie 

(adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe; the original recipe made a loaf of bread that was a bit too dry, so I have adapted it to suit our tastes. )

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 3 tablespoons potato flour starch
  • 4 1/2 cups 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 or pullman 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.

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