Pain de Mie (French Sandwich Bread)
Pullman Tins or Pans, also known as, pain de mie are used to bake sandwich loaves - a loaf with equal square sides resembling a Pullman railway coach - hence the name. Pullman pans have a lid, making the bread bake in a confined space, giving it a texture which is firm and fine and the crust soft, so perfect for even slices of bread for sandwiches
*Photography by Romulo Yanes
French Sandwich Bread
Mie is French for the interior or crumb of a loaf of bread and this sandwich bread, or Pullman loaf, as it’s sometimes called, has a fine white crumb perfect for delicate sandwiches and toast. To bake this, you’ll need a special Pullman loaf tin that’s straight sided and has a cover so that the dough bakes to a perfectly symmetrical shape. You can buy one at www.bakerybits.co.uk. If you’d like to try the bread before purchasing the special tin, it can also be baked in a standard loaf tin. This is adapted from Professor Calvel’s formula in his book, Le Goût du Pain (The Flavour of Bread/Editions Jerome Villette, 1990).
Makes one 23cm loaf
- 200g whole milk, scalded and cooled
- 100g room-temperature tap water, about 24°C
- 7g sachet fine granulated active dried yeast or instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 470g strong white bread flour
- 40g unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- One 23 x 10 x 10cm covered Pullman tin or one 23 x 12.5 x 7.5cm loaf tin, brushed with soft butter and sprayed with vegetable cooking spray
1. Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer, then whisk in the cooled milk and sugar.
2. Use a large rubber spatula to stir the flour into the liquid. Scrape the side of the bowl and continue mixing until no dry flour remains visible. Distribute the butter in 8 or 10 pieces on the dough.
3. Place the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook and beat on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
4. Sprinkle in the salt and beat the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
5. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl, turn it over so that the top is oiled, and let the dough ferment until it is almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
6. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface. Flatten the dough to a disc. Fold the two sides in to overlap at the middle, then roll the top towards you all the way to the end, swiss roll-style. Invert, flatten and repeat. Return the dough to the bowl smooth (bottom) side upward, and let it rise until fully doubled, 30–45 minutes longer, depending on the room temperature.
7. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and divide it in half. One piece at a time, pull the dough to a rough rectangle and tightly roll it from the farthest long end towards you, swiss roll-style, pinching the end of the dough to seal. Leave the pieces of dough on the work surface seam side up and cover loosely with a cloth or oiled clingfilm; let rest for 20 minutes.
8. To form the loaf, place both pieces of dough 5mm away from each other on a floured work surface. Grasping one of the short ends with each hand, twist the dough in opposite directions to make an interlocked spiral.
9. Slide both hands, palms upward, under the twisted dough and invert it, seam side down, into the prepared tin. Slide the cover about 2/3 of the way across the top of the tin. Let the loaf proof until it is about 2.5cm away from the top of the tin.
10. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 200˚C/gas mark 6.
11. Once the dough has risen so that it is only 1cm away from the top of the tin, slide the cover closed and place the tin in the oven. Decrease the temperature to 190˚C/ gas mark 5 and bake for 25 minutes.
12. Without removing the tin from the oven, use oven mitts to slide the cover off the tin. Continue baking until the internal temperature of the dough is over 93˚C, 10–15 minutes longer.
13. Remove the loaf from the oven and unmould it onto a rack to cool. Wrap in clingfilm and keep at room temperature if using the same day or double wrap and freeze for longer storage.
These are the proportions for a 33 x 10 x 10cm Pullman tin:
- 300g whole milk, scalded and cooled
- 150g room-temperature tap water, about 24°C
- 1 tablespoon fine granulated active dried
- yeast or instant yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 675g strong white bread flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 60g unsalted butter
Recipe is from Bread by Nick Malgieri, published by Kyle Books, Photography by