Pain de mie is the French white sandwich bread. Its name means “bread of crumb”, referring to how little crust it has.
This bread is traditionally baked in a pan with a lid that prevents it from rising over the top called a Pullman loaf pan. The beauty of this shape is that it allows you to create perfectly square slices for canapés, sandwiches, French toast, or whatever else you enjoy with white bread.
If you do not have a Pullman loaf pan, however, you can use a regular loaf pan and place a baking stone or a baking sheet with a weight on it over the top of the bread.
You can make this on a lazy Sunday at home or run errands during rising times. Whatever your preference, you won’t regret making this soft white loaf perfect for morning toast with butter and homemade jam.
Pain de Mie
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1 2/3 cups whole milk, scalded and then cooled
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs cold, unsalted butter
- Dissolve the yeast mixture into a 1/4 cup of warm water and let sit for 4-6 minutes until completely dissolved.
- Combine the flour, milk, salt, and dissolved yeast into the bowl of your standing mixer. Blend on low just until combined. Increase the speed to medium for two minutes. Let rest for 3 minutes then blend on medium speed for another 2 minutes. Let rest while you prepare the butter. s1. Mixing the dough — Pour flour, milk, salt, and the yeast mixture into the bowl of your standing mixer. Blend at low speed for about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium for 2 minutes, or just until the dough masses on the hook attachment. Let rest for 2-3 minutes; blend at medium speed for another 2 minutes. Let rest while you prepare the butter.
- Using a rolling pin, smash down the cold butter. The butter should become malleable but not so soft that it becomes oily. Use your pastry scraper to scoop up the mashed butter and carry it to your standing mixer.
- Turn the mixer on medium speed and add the butter about half a tablespoon at a time. Turn off the machine once all of the butter has been incorporated into the dough.
- Dump the dough (which should be sticky but elastic) onto a lightly floured counter. Pat the dough flat and then fold it over on itself three times like folding a letter. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it slowly rise until tripled in volume. This will take about 3 hours in a 75 degree kitchen.
- With lightly floured hands, punch down the dough and dump it out onto your lightly floured counter. Fold the dough over onto itself three times, like in the step above and place in a clean bowl. Cover and let rise again until almost tripled. This will take about two hours.
- Deflate the dough and pat it out onto your floured surface. Use the side of your hand to seal the edges and then flip the dough so that the sealed edge is on the bottom. Using the side of your hand, press a ridge down the center of the dough, then fold at the ridge and press down the center again. Repeat until the dough is fairly smooth. Pinch the underside seam to seal. Place the formed loaf in its pan. Let rise until it reaches 1 inch from the top of the pan. This will take about 30 minutes. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 435F and set the rack to the lower-middle level.8
- Bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, slide the lid off the pan and bake an additional 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack placed over the loaf pan before slicing.