Pullman Loaf or Pain de Mie
January 10, 2012

by stacy
Published on: January 10, 2012
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“This is the white bread frequently used for sandwiches, a four-square loaf that has delicate texture, a fine crumb, and good flavor.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

One of the tricky parts of the Brooks Bakes Bread project is finding substitutes for specialty baking equipment.  I have a small kitchen, so I don’t have the storage space to accumulate extra gadgets.  I have successfully used a slow cooker liner as a souffle mold, but was less successful when I attempted to use tuna cans for crumpet rings.  I have been brainstorming for awhile to come up with something to use in place of a Pullman tin, a bread pan with a sliding lid so that you get a square-shaped loaf.  With some brainstorming help from Mike, I set up a “Pullman tin” made up of regular bread pans covered with greased aluminum foil, weighted with a baking sheet and landscaping rocks I borrowed from the front of our apartment complex.  After figuring out my equipment, it was time to mix up the dough.

Here are the ingredients:

Pullman Loaf Ingredients

There was something very satisfying about kneading up this dough.  Beard’s recipe instructs you to “work it [the dough] hard for a good 10 minutes: slap it, beat it, punch it…” I did with gusto.

After a first rising of about 45 minutes, I kneaded the dough again for a few minutes and let it rise for another 45 minutes.  After the second rising, I shaped the dough into loaves to fit my 8 x 4 loaf pans and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.  Finally, it was time to set up my loaves in the oven:

Pullman Loaf in Oven

I baked the loaves at 375 degrees for 35 minutes and then removed the loaves from the pans and baked them for an additional few minutes.

Pullman Loaf

My improvised Pullman Loaf tin didn’t quite give me a square loaf: the rocks weren’t heavy enough, and I had too much dough for the size of pans.  However, my Pullman Loaf was still absolutely delicious: incredibly light and buttery, with a flaky crust that was reminiscent of a saltine cracker.  When I get a better kitchen, I might even invest in a Pullman tin.

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