White bread, pure and simple

Ahhhhh, cinnamon toast.

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Ahhhhh, bread and butter.

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Ahhhhh, grilled cheese.

And what, pray tell, is the progenitor of ALL of these AHHHHHs?

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White bread, a.k.a. pain de mie, a.k.a. The Perfect Sandwich Loaf (grilled cheese bread, French toast bread, appetizer base extraordinaire…)

Think back to your childhood. Unless you were brought up by parents unusually devoted to the benefits of whole grains, your first piece of buttered toast was made on plain white bread. Your PB & J? White bread. French toast, grilled cheese, egg salad, tunafish—white bread, white bread, white bread.

Maybe it was Wonder or Sunbeam, the air bread of old that now, in adulthood, we regard with scorn. (Except for my husband, who remains a devoted disciple despite my best efforts to wean him of this shallow loaf.)

Or maybe Pepperidge Farm was the loaf of choice in your family’s bread box. Or Arnold, with its cozy brick oven logo. These sturdy-yet-moist, close-grained breads were my idea of white bread perfection, for years and years.

Until I discovered the lidded pain de mie (Pullman) pan, well into my bread-baking career—right here at King Arthur. And my life changed forever.

No more sandwich loaves with their unattractive mushroom-shaped silhouette. From now on my bread would be perfectly square-cornered. It would fit just right in the toaster, without an over-risen crown peeking out the top. It would have the same close-grained, moist texture of my beloved Pepperidge Farm. And it would make slices every bit as thin as PF’s Very Thin White Bread—the bread of choice for appetizers, or for the crunchiest toast ever.

I still eat PFVT white bread at my in-laws’; it’s a nostalgic throwback to the days before pain de mie. But PF doesn’t hold the same power over me as it used to, back when I hadn’t yet discovered the home-baked alternative. Now, when the urge for comfort bread strikes, I simply pull out my  pain de mie pan, and Pepperidge Farm passes into the mists of memory.

I’ll warn you up front: the pan is expensive. But it’ll last you forever. And after all, how can you possibly put a price on a lifetime of perfect PB & Js?

Now, I know you’re going to ask me if you can make this bread without a pain de mie pan. The answer is — no, not really. You can rig up a weighted cover for your standard loaf pan, if you like; use our recipe for White Sandwich Bread, as the following recipe is too big for a standard pan. But I warn you, yeast dough is unbelievably strong; you’ll need several bricks to keep it contained, so beware!

Want to read the recipe before you start? Check out our recipe for Pain de Mie.

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First we’ll make a basic white yeast dough, starting with King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, whose 11.7% protein makes a delightful, soft, tender-textured loaf. Mix the ingredients together…

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…then knead till smooth. This is easily accomplished in a bread machine set on the dough cycle, too.

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Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl (or large measuring cup, which allows you to track its rise); cover the bowl or cup.

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Let rise till doubled. This is a very cooperative dough; it’ll rise nicely.

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Here’s your lidded pain de mie pan. It’s a 13” x 4” x 4” pan with a sliding lid.

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Spray both the inside of the pan, and the underside of the lid with non-stick vegetable oil spray; I always use Everbake.

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Gently shape your risen dough into a 13” log.

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Place it in the pan, pressing down to make it as flat as possible.

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Cover with plastic wrap and let rise…

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…till the dough is within 1/2” or so of the lip of the pan.

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Put the GREASED cover on…

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…and close it up. Let the dough rest an additional 10 minutes or so, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

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Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and remove the cover; it’ll be a light golden brown.

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Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes…

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…until an instant-read thermometer registers 190°F, or just over.

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Turn the pan on its side, shaking slightly to loosen the bread.

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Then turn it over, and lift off the pan.

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Gently turn the bread right side up, so its pretty top is facing up.

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Look at those corners!

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The length of it—I tell you, that’s enough for more than 2 dozen sandwiches!

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And the crumb….

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Perfect. Note how thin the crust is, too; your kids probably won’t even ask you to cut it off.

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Unexpected bonus: as the bread cools on your rack, it imprints its own slicing guide.

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And let’s have one more look at that cinnamon toast. If you haven’t yet tried our Cinnamon-Sugar Plus, you’re missing a real treat. My boss, Karen, has three kids, cinnamon toast aficionados all. I asked her to do a blind cinnamon sugar-test with them. Cinnamon-Sugar Plus won hands-down, easily supplanting their former favorite. Thanks, Sivi, Tage, and Lily, for your valuable input in this serious matter.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Pain de Mie.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread, 22¢/ounce

Bake at home: Pain de Mie, 8¢/ounce

P.S. Speaking of the perfect white bread, do you have a “perfect” loaf of bread? Enter it in our National Festival of Breads contest. Entries close Feb. 15, so ladies and gentlemen… start your ovens!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Üdo Ümami

    Oooo! Fün. Where can I pick up a pain de mie pan? Is that something I can find at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Target? Or is this a specialty item? I can not wait to try this recipe!!! It really is a picture perfect loaf! And that grilled cheese?! Oy! Looks divine. <3 Üdo

    Whoopsie. I didn’t realize you have a shop right here on the site. I see where to get the pain de mie pan afterall! ;) Danke.

    You’re welcome, Udo. I do love this pan… PJH

    Reply
  2. Carina

    How does this pan do with your white, whole wheat flour? I have been searching for the perfect sandwich bread baking pan (ie. One that my kids will think looks like a “normal” store-bought slice of bread!), but want to be making bread that is a bit “healthier.” Will this pan do the trick still? I sure hope so because from the pix it looks exactly like what I want!

    Carina, it makes beautiful whole wheat bread. Try our recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Pain de Mie, made with white whole wheat flour. YUMMY. – PJH

    Reply
  3. Sue

    This was a very educational entry. My mother had a pan like that and I had no idea that this was how it was to be used! I don’t think my mother had any idea either. She certainly used it that way. It was all Sunbeam and Roman Meal at our house. :-( I wonder if she still has that pan? I doubt it. Younger brothers probably grabbed it and used it to make sand or snow castles.

    Reply
  4. Mike T.

    Been looking at getting a pain de mie, but didn’t think it made any difference other than the squared loaf. I take it the steam being trapped helps the bread as well. What happens to the same loaf if made in standard pans (no lid)?

    Hi Mike – You’d need to reduce the recipe to 3 cups of flour. then it would pretty much make our standard White Bread 101: not as close-grained, thicker crust, but tasty. PJH

    Reply
  5. KS

    I don’t have that Pan de Mie pan but I made your White Sandwich Bread (which has essentially the same ingredients) the other day. The texture sure is soft but it had a strange aftertaste. It reminded me of a trip overseas where I was served milk made from Carnation dry milk. Yuck, nothing like real milk. Although the strange aftertaste might have come from the instant mashed potatoes your recipe calls for. I looked at its ingredient list and most of the items I can’t pronounce. It’s filled with preservatives and other industrial chemicals who knows what they’re for. If I wanted to eat industrial food products, I would just buy bread from the store. It sure is a lot more convenient. I bake because I like the pure taste of natural ingredients. For example, I like the bread from the ‘Our Favorite Sandwich Bread’ recipe on this website which doesn’t call for dry milk or instant mashed potatoes.

    We use potato flour here in the test kitchen, rather than instant potato flakes, but we’re hesitant to call for proprietary ingredients in our Guaranteed Recipes – thus the potato flakes. You could also substitute mashed potatoes. To each his own – I notice that particular recipe has 100% 5-star comments, so I guess here are those who really like it. Thanks for your input – PJH

    Reply
  6. Mike T.

    Thanks PJ! Question… This recipe makes a “what” pound loaf? 1 lb, 1.5lb????

    If you add it all up, it’s about 40 ounces – so 2 1/2 pounds. Quite a loaf! PJH

    Reply
  7. Jennifer

    I have a question about kneading dough in the bread machine. I’ve got the Zojirushi BBCCX20 like you guys sell…at what point do you take the dough out? At the very end, after it has risen for some time? Do you just dive right into the recipe after the “let it double” time or do you then put it into a big cup or whatever to let it rise more? I’ve always been confused about that. Thanks!

    Jennifer, program it for the dough cycle, and let it complete its cycle. You’ll be taking it out after it’s been kneaded, then risen for about an hour. So yes, dive right in after “let double.” Fun, isn’t it? PJH

    Reply
  8. Karen S.

    PJ, I noticed in the whole wheat recipe you list “lukewarm” water and milk, but not in the white pain de mie. Is that an oversight, or should the water and milk be lukewarm for the white as well? Also, by lukewarm do you mean between 120-130 degrees? Sorry to be such a nit-picker but I want to be able to do it right the first time! Thanks for your help and I agree with Lisa when she says, “What a perfect looking loaf of bread”. Good luck on getting the hubby to change from store bought!!!

    Sorry, Karen, I forget to be careful writing the recipes sometimes, I do this so much… lukewarm (about 105°F) helps the rising go faster, but cool is cool, too. It’s no big deal; don’t stress. Make the water and milk warm, like as warm as you’d feed a baby milk from a bottle. A short zap in the microwave will do it. As for my husband, the Wonder Bread fan – in 32 years of marriage, I’ve learned not to try to change his mind about things that really don’t matter. You know the thing about picking your battles… Right now I’ve actually got him eating “Artisan Bread in 5 MInutes a Day” bread – if you haven’t seen that book, see if it’s in your library. GREAT method for crusty no-knead bread. I’ll blog it in March sometime… Good luck with your pain de mie! PJH

    Reply
  9. Sue

    Wow! I just re-read my entry. What a typo. I meant to say that my Mom never used her pan to make bread like this! Going to bed now…..

    Reply
  10. Alvara

    I bought this pan from you last year and loved the bread it made. I’ve been so busy making all your recent posts I forgot all about it. Thanks for reminding me I will make the white whole wheat version tomorrow. Thanks, I love this blog, I check it everyday.

    Reply
  11. jami

    Does the butter need to be melted? The one person who commented on the recipe said she (he? can’t remember) melted the butter.

    Also, if I don’t have a pain de mie pan, what should I bake this in? I could cover it with a cookie sheet weighted down with my pizza stone, perhaps, but don’t know what pan would work… Thanks!

    Jami, if you don’t have a pain de mie pan, please use our White Sandwich Bread recipe and bake it in a regular pan. It won’t make the same bread, but it’s good. If you want to take the extra step to melt the butter, go for it; but softened butter works just fine. Enjoy- PJH

    Reply
  12. coyotewoman

    Is that 190 degrees apply to high altitudes? like 7,200 feet.

    That’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer…. does anyone baking at high altitude know the answer to this? PJH

    Reply
  13. Stephanie R.

    A BIG thumbs up for the pan de mie pan. I have been using mine for a year or so now–I almost never bake in my other loaf pans except for quick breads. I ever make a mock “outback” bread in the pan de mie!

    I find that it saves bread, helps control portions, and when you are making grilled cheese, etc, you do not have the headache of trying to find similar sized and shaped slices out of bread made in a regular loaf pan. It is so wonderful, I actually got two (one as a gift, and then I bought another one so I would never be “without”.).

    Watch the rising–a couple of times I have let it go too long and the dough starts oozing out of the end! Also, DEFINITELY make sure to spray the lid of the pan (as well as the rest).

    I recommend this pan to everyone who shows even a tiny bit of bread baking interest!

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  14. Melissa

    My kids love this bread! It makes perfect grilled cheese, as you get cheese from edge to edge. Also, I like to slice it extra thick (like Texas toast) and make french toast.

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  15. Denise

    Oh wow! My mom had a pan like this too and I don’t think I ever saw her use it. I wonder if she still has it. I’d love to get my hands on it and bake that bread. It looks gorgeous!!

    Reply
  16. Rose

    I tried this recipe and loved it. When I used my regular recipe it made a mess. Raised too high and leaked out of the lid. My question is, Can I use fresh ground hard white wheat flour instead of regular flour? I grind my own flour and use it in most recipes. I have tried several of your recipes and they are all good. Thanks

    Sure, Rose, go for it. It may rise more vigorously, so keep a close eye on it; you may find you need a bit less flour. PJH

    Reply
  17. Tracy

    One thing you do not mention here or in the online recipe is covering the loaf with a dish towel upon removal from the pan. This instruction was included with the version of the recipe that I have used that came with the pan when I bought it a few years ago. I think this is an important step–I have had problems at times with the sides sinking in and I wonder if the little-bit-slower cooling of putting the towel over the bread helps prevent the buckling.

    Tracy, the towel may keep the crust soft (or so we thought), but we’ve stopped doing that, because we found it was making the crust too soggy. It wouldn’t help with the “sag,” which I think sometimes comes from underbaking. PJH

    Reply
  18. Tracy

    I never actually thought the towel kept the crust soft–the potato flour kept the entire loaf moister (and I love a crisp crust). One other problem I ran into–it may be my imagination, but when I used the dough cycle on my Zojirushi (either programmed for this loaf in terms of time/rising etc. listed in the recipe or simply the dough setting), that’s when I ran into the most problems with the loaf–sinking, falling when the lid is opened at 25 minutes, oozing out of the pan early in the baking process. The dough somehow comes out more sticky when I use the bread machine (weighing the ingredients when feasible); I went back to using my KA mixer, which makes a lovely dough. Does the mixer do a better job of kneading? I also thought it might be weather related since the worst problems happened in the humid months of summer.

    So this is what I do now…KA mixer, let rise, but not to within 1/2 inch…more like 3/4 or even 1 inch, bake 28 minutes before removing lid. I also think the “new” recipe says bake 20 minutes, where the “old” recipe was not so long.

    This is really a wonderful loaf–my son’s favorite in both white and wheat. It’s just sometimes a challenge because you can’t see how the dough is responding when the lid is on the pan!

    I have found everyone on the Baking Circle to be helpful on these points, too.

    Tracy, in our test, the Zojirushi makes bread that rises higher; it seems to knead more thoroughly. Summer does indeed factor in; bread dough will be stickier in summer, because flour is like a sponge, and absorbs moisture from the air in the summer; thus you should add a bit less liquid to your bread dough in summer. As for the pain de mie – let it rise to about 1/2″ below the rim, put on the lid, wait 10 minutes, and put into a hot oven. If you have the right amount of dough in the pan to begin with (about 40 ounces, about 4 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour), it should work fine. PJH

    Reply
  19. SoupAddict Karen

    That’s two posts in a row where you guys have read my mind. First, the challah. Now, you’re ending my quest to find the perfect grilled cheese bread. It’s a bit freaky, I tell you, freaky. (But, clearly, in a good way…)

    I’ve seen those Pullman pans here and there, and it just didn’t register what they were for. Now, I *have* to have one, expensive or not. It’s a small thing, in the scheme of life, but I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when I pull the bread slices out of the wrapper and, somehow (but inevitably) during grilled cheese prep, the slices get out of order and flipped over, so I can’t get the mushroom-cloud-tops on the pair of slices to match anymore, and I end up with crooked sandwiches. I can’t wait to serve up perfect, cheese-oozing triangles….

    Reply
  20. Laurie

    Perfectly wonderful loaf of bread. I used my mother’s pan which was a little shorter and baked the extra dough in a muffin pan for rolls. I had to make another loaf the next day…and again today…it disappears! I have purchased Pepperidge Farm Bread for YEARS and wondered how they made such a good loaf… but this loaf is better, it is excellent!

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  21. Laurie

    Oh, and one more comment. I “baked” a russet potato in the microwave, cut off the lid and used two tablespoons of baked potato in the recipe instead if potato flour which I did not have. I made a twice baked potato with the remainder and froze it…now up to three stuffed potatoes in my freezer in three days….will soon be overrun with them! A great bread recipe!

    Reply
  22. Joanne

    You suggest using real mashed potatoes rather than the flakes or (I believe) potato flour instead of the “1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes” called for in the recipe.

    I have mashed potatoes in my fridge now, begging to be used in this recipe.

    So, do I use 1/2 cup of them?

    Thanks immensely for your help.

    You could try 1/2 cup, but cut down on the water – maybe by 1/4 cup? Sorry, it’s hard to say without knowing more about your mashed potatoes than I know… PJH

    Reply
  23. Rusty

    I use the pan for making Danish Pumpernickel and of this bread. I also make a recipe called pullman bread. I think it is the same. Great stuff.

    Reply
  24. Susan

    I love the pain de mie pan and use it anytime I need a good loaf of “plain” bread for lunchbox sandwiches — the regular shape and thin crust is perfect for that. I have been making a sourdough based dough, with white whole wheat flour and your 12 grain flour to make pain de mie loaves lately and all the children (even the white bread only boy) love it.
    Thanks for this blog!

    Reply
  25. Mary Ellen

    I love the pain de mie pan. It is worth the expense. I never make a standard loaf anymore, there is less waste (plates full of uneaten crusts) sandwiches are not as filling with all that excess bread, and we love the texture. I too am having issues with sunken sides, sometimes it doesn’t happen, but usually it does. I’ve tried baking longer, cooling in the pan, cooling out of the pan, right side up, sideways, upside down… you name it. I can’t identify what is causing it. Oh well, it still tastes good, and who else makes hourglass shaped slices of bread?

    I make sure mine is thoroughly baked, then cool it on its side; for whatever reason, that seems to help avoid the sunken effect… Try, try again, eh? PJH

    Reply
  26. Mary Ellen

    After my last comment I clicked on the recipe to make sure it was the same one I had (the one that came with the pan.) The online recipe says to bake for 20 minutes after removing the lid, but the step by step here (and my recipe) says 10 minutes. Which should it be?

    10 to 20 minutes – sometimes it’s 10, sometimes it’s 15, sometimes up to 20, for whatever reason – slight variations in oven heat, etc. It’ll read 190°F in the center when it’s done… PJH

    Reply
  27. ML

    I have made this pain de mie and it is great. I remember when I was a little girl my mother would have a bridge party or mah jongg party and serve lunch. She would make a “sandwich loaf”. She would go to the local Butter Krust bakery and order a loaf of bread that is unsliced. She would then cut off the crusts and cut the bread into four slices (horizontally). The first layer she would put a egg salad that was made by “ricing” the eggs. Then the next layer would be a crab salad that was made with a tomato soup based “French” dressing then Thousand Island dressing was added. The top layer was caviar. The sandwich was then wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated about an hour or so. Then it is unwrapped and “frosted” in cream cheese that has been made spreadable with some cream and a hand mixer. Once it is frosted she used black olives, pimentos, green onion pieces to decorate. It was a gorgeous thing to behold. Once it was sliced it was just a pretty. It was sliced like a slice of bread but thicker. You could then see each layer of the sandwich.
    The bakery went out of business many, many years ago so the last time the sandwich loaf was made it was done with sliced bread stacked up, frosted then cut in half.
    By the time I started making pain de mie, my mom had not had a game party for a very long time. I wish I had been able to provide one of these loaves for her to use.

    Wonderful memories, thanks for sharing. I remember those sandwich loaves with cream cheese frosting… I never made one, but I distinctly remember seeing them – maybe at my grandma’s – PJH

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  28. Karen

    Very informative post! I haven’t heard of this pan before and will look into it. That really is the most beautifully perfect loaf of bread I’ve ever seen!

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  29. Karen S.

    PJ — I’m thinking this might be a record number of posts on a recipe!!!
    Lots of good information from all of the bloggers. Thanks for the clarification about the milk and water temps. Also, I’m very much interested in the book you recommended about artisan bread. My hubby
    and I spent T’giving in Madrid, Spain, visiting our youngest daughter and family. We are addicted to the Spanish bread, and would love to be able to duplicate it here. Can’t wait to read your blog in March!

    Reply
  30. MaryAnne

    I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve had this pan for over 10 years and have never used it. Bad me.

    However, I just got into baking again and I am definitely going to try this. It just looks so beautiful.

    Thanks for this Blog (I really didn’t know what a ‘Blog’ was)lol
    I’ve been copying all the tips that’s been provided, hoping to avoid a failure.

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  31. MaryAnne

    I wanted to make the WW Bread but after looking at the recipe it says White WW Flour and used 5 cups of flour instead of 4 3/4 cups.

    My question is: Will, I be able to make this with just WW flour and which measurement will I use, the 5 cups or the 4 3/4 cups?

    Sure, use the WW flour, MaryAnne, 5 cups; it just won’t taste quite as “sweet” and mild, and probably won’t rise as high… But should be OK for 100% ww bread. PJH

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  32. Marcia

    I have one of those pans from Chicago Metals but have not used it the last few years–cooking for 1. I will try the whole wheat although I have had great results with half bread flour and half whole wheat.

    For years, my family had no idea the bread was not store bought. I used to slice it with an electric knife.

    I too used to make that beautiful 4 layered sandwich loaf. We used tinted cream cheese icing for bridal and baby showers too.

    I am going to play with my KA sourdough this week-end. The corn bread sounds odd though.

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  33. Sherri

    Coyotewoman, I am only at 3500 feet and although water boils at a lower temperature I will bake until the recommended temp in the recipe and have never had my bread overdone and dry. I try to stick to a recipe as much as possible the first time and see how it goes, if I like the taste, I make notes for the second time when I start playing with altitude adjustments. Also, I’m sure you know this but your dough will rise much quicker than the recipe states and you can also decrease the yeast (about 20%).

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  34. Carol

    Just found this blog and I love reading it! Very informative and fun to read.

    I have a question on breadbaking in general. I don’t have a bread machine, but use a KA mixer. I find I ALWAYS have to add more flour than recipes call for–sometimes much more–or the dough is so sticky it doesn’t cling to the dough hook. Any suggestions about what I’m doing wrong? PJ, your photos seem to show that you mix ingredients with the paddle. Do you use the dough hook only for kneading?

    Also, when I first take my loaves out of the oven, they have a beautiful, taut, domed top. But after cooling for a half hour or so on the rack, the top becomes crinkled or dimpled looking and that smooth dome is gone. Happens with all sorts of breads. I can’t figure it out–but the bread tastes great.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Hi Carol – Do you use King Arthur Flour? Using other flours, you’ll always have to add more than our recipes call for, as they’re lower in protein. Also, I’ve found that many, MANY bread recipes – for whatever reason – seem to have a flour/liquid ratio that’s WAY out of whack, much too much liquid for the flour. This shouldn’t happen with our King Arthur recipes, as we’ve made them here using our flour, and make sure the ratio is right.

    I use the paddle to mix the dough just till it comes together, then I switch to the dough hook. Sometimes, with a dough that’s supposed to be sticky (like ciabatta), I stay with the paddle all the way through. And sometimes when I use the dough hook, the dough clings to the side of the bowl, at least partially. And that’s OK; I usually scrape it off the sides of the bowl midway through kneading, and then it gradually works its way into being “clingy” again.

    And that obnoxious dimpling crust… happens to us all the time. ALL of us in the test kitchen. We’ve never quite figured it out. My best guess is it has to do with moisture migrating from inside the loaf to the surface; you’ll notice with a dry loaf, like a baguette, it never happens. It’s usually with sandwich loaves, which are much moister. I’ve had some luck taking the loaf out of the pan, setting it on the oven rack, turning off the oven, cracking the door open a couple of inches, and letting the bread cool completely in the cooling oven. This seems to take care of the moisture evaporation.

    Hope this helps – PJH

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  35. Jen

    Is there a substitute for the nonfat dry milk? I’m allergic to dairy.

    Jen, I assume you’re allergic to the liquid milk in the recipe too, then. Could you substitute rice milk or soy milk for the liquid milk, and leave out the dry? It won’t be the same, but worth a try. PJH

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  36. Bunny

    Hi PJ…I have had this pan for over 10 years and after the first use, I laminated the recipe cut out from the Bakers Catalog so I wouldn’t make a mess of it. I have never had a problem with it and as we are snow birds and migrate between Minnesota and Florida each year, this is one pan I always make sure is in the van. Great investment! Great bread! My grandmother had a cast iron round loaf pan that had a hinged lid. My dad was cleaning out the basement and decided to THROW IT OUT!!!!!!! I have never been able to find another one like it, but think your lidded pan is perfect.

    Sorry you have lost that treasured cast iron pan. My salute to you for the great idea of laminating the recipe for longevity. This is also a great way to put your hands on it quickly when you need to find it! Irene at KAF

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  37. Mary Chase

    Finally success! After getting a sunken top three times in a row in my pan de mie pan, I called your baking advisor to learn what was wrong. I was told to completely deflate my dough. Your printed instructions say only to form the dough into 13 inch log to fit the pan, which I did. The dough had risen in my bread machine, so I lightly formed it, and put it in the pan with poor resuslts each time. After deflating it thoroughly, I now have a lovely loaf – thank you to your good baker! You might want to add that advice to your instructions.

    Glad it worked for you, Mary. I don’t deflate my dough; in the process of shaping it, it becomes pretty thoroughly deflated, but I don’t like to really pound on it. I think whatever works for you, go for it – to each his own, eh? PJH

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  38. Brenda

    Does KA have any flour or any other products that are nut free or made in a nut free plant? I love your products but my granddaughter (8) has a lethal allergy to all tree nuts. We are trying to teach her how to make as much of her food now at an early age. We are looking for quality products such as yours that she can use. We are starting with her making bread. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Sure, Brenda, our flours for sale at the grocery store are packed right at the mill. These are huge mills whose only product is flour. So go to your supermarket and double check the side of the bag to be sure there’s not some statement about nuts (I’m sure you double check like this anyway), and our bagged flours there should be fine. And here’s a great recipe to start her off on: English Muffin Toasting Bread. Good luck – PJH

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  39. Beth

    PJ, I’m glad you have a blog regarding this pan, because it’s the one I’ve used when I’ve made cinnamon swirl bread (but it’s been quite awhile). What other recipes would work well with this pan? Thanks.

    Beth, anything that uses about the same amount of flour would do well in this pan. That’s the key: the amount of flour; which would include oats, wheat germ… any other non-dissolvable dry ingredient that would take up space. Chocolate chips. Raisins. Like that. I wouldn’t worry about the cinnamon and sugar in the cinnamon swirl… Now you’ve got me wanting to make that. I think I will! – PJH

    Reply
  40. Otsego Baker (Jack)

    Hi & Help;
    Just starting on the path of baking bread and have some questions. Started my sourdough starter (KA Starter) on Saturday moring and finished late Sunday moring. During the process (followed the directions) my starter seemed to get stiffer after each step. When I was to divide and give some of the starter to a friend, the Starter was quite elastic and very diffcult to divide. At each step there were lots of bubbles, so it seemed to be working correctly. Could not bake on Sunday, so I set the Starter in the ref. in pryex bowl covered with wax paper. The Starter was so stiff / elastic, I do not believe I could have placed it my new (KA) Sourdough Crock.

    Would like to bake my first loafs of Sourdough Bread tomorrow (Tuesday, Michigan Snow & Cold all day, good time for baking).

    Just looked at the Starter and it still seems to be quite stiff/elastic still but it has fallen some and there seems to be some light fuzz on some bubbles.
    Questions:
    1) Should the Starter be stiff/elastic or more fluid, if fluid, how do I get there?
    2) What temperature should the Starter be to start making the first dough balls?
    Thanks, When the starter is first fed it will be very thick and elastic. It gradually gets thinner as it uses up the available food. A thick rubbery starter is a happy starter. You can make a thinner starter by using equal parts by volume instead of equal parts by weight of flour and water, but most of our sourdough recipes are designed for the thick gloppy one. The starter should be room temperature when you use it. Mary @ King Arthur Flour

    Reply
  41. Pasta Guy

    I’ve never seen anyone cook bread in a square pan with the lid on. Brilliant! Thanks for the post. I’m a huge, huge fan of cinnamon toast and can’t wait to try to make white bread like this.

    You’ll never go back to “regular” bread again… PJH

    Reply
  42. Mary Ellen

    Oh wow, I never thought of cinnamon swirl in this pan! My daughter would be thrilled! Would you use the same recipe and just add the step of rolling it out and adding the filling? I wonder how much filling it would need.

    I tried it today, Mary Ellen. Just rolled it 13″ wide, pretty thin, simply sprinkled with cinnamon sugar – LIGHTLY – otherwise it tends to separate and form gaps (even though it’s in that confined space). YUM. PJH

    Reply
  43. Lynn

    This has been one of our favorite breads since my daughter was little – she’s now 18! It makes wonderful homemade french toast sticks :-) Anyway… my question is, if I substitute potato flour (which I recently bought from KA and love) do I use the same amount as the flakes? Also, can I substitute real milk for the dry if I cut down the liquid a little, or does the dry milk add something special? Thanks for all your help; this site is such a gold mine of information and members suggestions.

    If the recipe calls for potato flakes, use half that amount of potato flour. If you would like to use fresh milk, eliminate the dry milk, use an equal amount of fresh milk as the water. Fresh milk will need to be scalded and cooled before use. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  44. Lynn

    Sorry, I just realized I had clicked on the link for white sandwich bread by mistake – I see the pain de mie already calls for potato flour. I need to do some math now to add to the ingredients in my mixer bowl :-)

    Reply
  45. Lydia

    Good morning KA people,
    I have this pan, got it a month or so ago from you guys. I looked for a while before ordering and you people had the best price of any that I found. I have used it several times now and have so much fun with it. Had a couple of problems at first, overflow, that was a trip……….lol. But now that you posted iinstructions it’s a snap.
    A question before I go, can I just throw a hand full of whole multigrain blend (the kind you carry) into the mix or is there a special proceedure to follow?
    Keep up the good work guys, I especially enjoy the blog and check it almost as often as I check my email.
    There is so much to learn, and so little time.
    Thanks for all your hard work.
    Lydia/NM

    Lydia, I’d try adding 3/4 cup of multigrain blend (Harvest Grains Blend?), right along with the other ingredients when you’re starting off. You may need to increase the water by a couple of tablespoons. Give it a try- PJH

    Reply
  46. Tracy

    I wanted to come back and say that I have now discovered the importance of taking the temperature of the bread! I baked a loaf of the whole wheat pain de mie after reading this blog…anyway, when I checked the temperature at the end of the baking time–the loaf was gooey in the middle and the temperature was only around 130. If I had taken out the loaf then–when it “looked” done (although not as quite as brown as it would be later) it would have been a real disappointment. It took a long time (oh maybe 20-25 minutes more) for the temp to read 190…but the loaf did not sink at all–not one bit. Plus, I’ve now gotten over my fear of messing up the bread by sticking in a thermometer–why that bothered me I dont’ know. Now if I could only find my Thermopen…I need to make another loaf.
    Hi Tracy. Yes, we have all been in the same boat of taking out a bread that looked done, or ‘thumped’ on the bottom, but still wasn’t truly done. Once you get into testing the temperture, you are set for life. Happy Baking! ~MaryJane

    Reply
  47. Rose

    Hi,
    I have really been enjoying all the comments on this blog. Thanks to all of you, I have learned alot from them and will be trying some different variations, cinnamon swirl, for one. Can’t wait to try it. LOL

    Reply
  48. Melissa

    A question about the Everbake spray you use. I picked up a can when I visited your store, on the recommendation of a friend who said it was the only pan spray she’d ever used that didn’t leave her pans dark and sticky and yucky. I now have a can of Everbake spray, heavy enough to still contain quite a lot of the spray-on oil, sitting in my cabinet. But I can’t get it out—the can seems to have lost its propulsion gas. Am I SOL?Hi, Melissa. Try this: turn the can upside down and depress the nozzle. A lot of the time there’s a bit of goo clogging the nozzle, and very often this will clear it. Susan

    Reply
  49. cindy leigh

    Lucky me- I got this pan yesterday. I’ve just taken my first loaf out of the oven- it looks perfect- just like your pics.
    I did tweak the recipe toward my needs- added fiber- so I used a bit of white whole wheat and some of the multi grain (12 grain blend? I forgot the name) and some hi-maize.
    I could not find potato flour so I used instant potato flakes.
    Net I’ll try the 100% whole wheat version.
    My son loves Canadian White- with that lovely tight silky consistency and rich flavor- so with all the butter in here, and the special pan, I’m hoping this comes close. Smells great!

    Good deal, Cindy – sounds like you hit just the right combo of AP and whole grain flours. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  50. cindy leigh

    ohhhhh…… WONDERFUL! Tastes terrific. Toasts great, too. Husband loved it. It’s a keeper. And I’m a sourdough snob. Can’t wait to try the whole wheat version.

    Reply
  51. cindy leigh

    another question- I’d like to lower the butter somewhat. Maybe replace some with a non-cholesterol fat? Would the flavor and texture change very much if I used 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of canola oil? Thanks for any advice you can give me.
    Hi Cindy,
    Fats in breads provide tenderness, and cutting down on the fat in the recipe will yield a less tender, less ‘squishy’ loaf. You can try cutting the butter, and using oil for some of the fat until you have a ratio you are happy with. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  52. cindy leigh

    I’ve made 3 loaves of this now- all with different variations. It’s a very versatile loaf.
    #1 was pretty much per the posted recipe, with the addition of some high-maize.
    #2 was the 100% whole wheat recipe (from the link in the post). I added a tbsp of honey (love honey whole wheat flavor!) and some high maize and gluten. I also used 3 Tbsp of butter instead of 6, and added 3 tbsp of safflower oil. It came out excellent.
    #3 today was the white bread recipe as posted, with the butter/oil substitution, plus high maize and about 1/4 oat bran.
    All loaves were so good, that DH and I decided we’re not buying store-bought loaves anymore. He asked me to buy lunchmeat at the store today so he could take his lunch on this bread.
    Thanks so much for posting this. I love it when I can make something homemade that’s every bit as good, if not better, than storebought, with healthier ingredients.

    Thanks for commenting, Cindy; I’m so glad the bread is a hit in your house. Isn’t that pan SO worth it? I love mine… Keep reporting – I want to do a loaf with mini cinnamon chips one of these days… PJH

    Reply
  53. Jennie W.

    I tried this bread and was very impressed with the texture. Gorgeous! But the taste was kind of blah. I think I like my bread a little sweeter. If I add more sugar will that mess things up?

    Yes, you could try increasing the sugar just a bit. Another option is to change the type of sugar you use. Sometimes using an equal amount of either light or dark brown sugar will add just enough background flavor to enhance the sweetness, without increasing the ingredient amount. Experiment, have fun. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  54. Shannon

    I have had this pan for a while now and made several very successful loaves. A couple of times I have even had little ribbons of dough squeezed out the top – homemade crackers as a bonus.

    My mother had bought me the pan for Christmas and was thinking about getting one for herself. Since she never got around to it, I bought one for her this Christmas. While she was visiting for the holidays, I pulled out the pan to demonstrate how great the bread was.

    For the first time, the bread stuck to the lid! When I went to pull off the top, the top of the loaf was drug along with the top, ruining the loaf. I assumed it was my fault for not greasing the pan enough and tried again. The result was the same. Now I was certain my mother wasn’t going to want to keep her new pan. I tried one more time, but greased the pan with shortning this time(my mothers’ idea). Same result.

    My mother kept her pan, took it back to MN and made a perfect loaf of bread. So I tried again and just threw away another loaf. HELP! I loved the bread I made with the recipe that came with the pan. How can I do that again? What is going on?

    It sounds like something has changed with your use of this pan. Please call our hot line and let one of our bakers walk through your process with you. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  55. Janice

    Hi,
    Received my pan and love it! Made my first loaf the other day. The one thing I didn’t do was press it down when I put it in the pan but it turned out wonderful. So far, my husband loves it and is waiting for me to make lots more goodies in there! For lunch I made French Toast and let me tell you, Perkins Restaurant had better watch out! They will never top the texture and taste of the Pan de mie French Toast. How wonderful….with butter dripping down the sides and a spotch of jam on top….how could you go wrong!
    Janice who will be baking this week…..hmmmmm what to do next!

    I know, so tempting – try the 100% white whole wheat pain de mie, the best whole wheat bread ever! PJH

    Reply
  56. Barbara

    Great success with the pullman pan and the pain de mie recipe — picture perfect loaf on the very first try. My compliments on the good instructions for using the pan (I couldn’t believe the lid didn’t stick) and a very tasty (if a bit indulgent) white bread recipe. I’m looking forward to trying the whole wheat version and the two somewhat leaner pan de mie recipes in Jeffrey Hamelman’s A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

    Reply
  57. Brenda2

    I recently purchased the pain de mie pan and am still learning to use it. The first loaf just wasn’t done. It turned out doughy and had a yeasty odor to it. the second was a little better but still smelled of yeast. My instant read was 186 so I know I need to cook it longer. I’m going to try again today.

    My question is how large is the loaf in lbs? I would like to try other recipes in my pan but I want to make sure I’m using the correct size recipe.

    Thank you

    Brenda, a recipe using about 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, or about 5 cups of whole wheat, should work just fine. It’s about a 2 1/2-lb. loaf. Are you using instant yeast, and the amount called for? Did you use our our pain de mie recipe? PJH

    Reply
  58. Brenda2

    yes, I used bread machine yeast which I think is the same thing. However, it expired in 7/08. I kept it around because it was in the freezer and I thought it might still work. For the most part it did but the dough took forever to rise. I threw the last of the jar out today. My new 1lb pack of SAF came from KAF recently. :) (fresh yeast).

    I made “Potato Bread Perfect For Toast” today with the old yeast. Like I said, it took forever to rise; but, it turned out great. I had some leftover mashed potatos from dinner last night. I left out 1 tsp of the salt because the mashed potatos had salt in them already. The loaf was a big success.

    Thanks for the info on loaf size.

    Reply
  59. Brenda2

    Forgot to say that yes my 1st 2 failures were whole wheat pain de mie. No problem with the recipe, the problem was the cook.

    Practice makes “perfect,” Brenda. And the “failures” along the way are usually pretty good, anyway… PJH

    Reply
  60. anh

    do you recomend adding vital wheat gluten? Would that make the bread even lighter and softer?

    Actually, it might make it rise more, but would also make it tougher. And in this case, you don’t want to make it rise more – it’s confined by a lid. So no, I don’t recommend vital wheat gluten. Are you using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour? That makes a big difference, compared to other national brands. Our flour is higher protein, without being TOO high. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  61. cindy leigh

    I have been making a variation of this every 5 days since it was posted and all have come out excellent.
    I should say, first, I make these standard changes to each loaf:
    decrease butter to 2 tbsp and add 4 tbsp canola oil
    add 1/4 cup high-maize and 1 tsp vital wheat gluten, decrease flour by that much
    (because of my low cholesterol, high fiber diet)
    This week I made oatmeal bread. Substitute 1 cup of flour with 1 cup dry oatmeal. Used honey instead of sugar. EXCELLENT!
    I’ve made the 100% whole wheat recipe posted, too. Also excellent.
    And I usually make multigrain- substitute half the flour for KA multi grain flour.
    I’m thinking about trying a “soft rye” next. I can picture it on Reuben’s toasted in a panini press…….

    Keep those variations coming, Cindy – PJH

    Reply
  62. Cindy Leigh

    Another success. Hope you’re not getting sick of me on this thread! But I had to tell you, I used this recipe to make awesome cinnamon raisin bread today.
    I made the recipe (with high maize) added a bit of cinnamon and butter extracts to the dough. Then rolled it out and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon. Went to put raisins on, but all out- SO, I sprinkled on 3 snack boxes of white yogurt covered raisins. (Hey, whatever works!)
    Awesome! I’ll never buy PF cinnamon swirl again. Next KA order, I’m going to order those cinnamon chips thingys. They should be perfect in this….
    Hmmm, next, maybe cranberry walnut? I bet that would make great french toast. Or a great leftover-turkey sandwich after a holiday.
    You’ve got my wheels turning!

    Reply
  63. Sharon Wills

    This is absolutely the greatest dough I have ever worked with. But now I am wondering if, after the initial rise, I could roll the dough out flat, sprinkle it with cinnamon and pecans, then roll it up (like a jelly roll) and bake slices (maybe 1/2″ thick) on a baking sheet. If so, at what temperature would you suggest it be baked? Also, since the recipe has butter in it, would brushing the dough with melted butter before adding the cinnamon and pecans make it too buttery?

    TOO buttery? Is there such a thing? :) Sharon, that sounds like a good plan. Basically, you’re making cinnamon buns. I’d nestle the rolls close together in a pan – It would make probably one ” x 13″ pan + one 9″ round, or three 9″ rounds. Let rise, and bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes. Don’t be surprised if the nuts fall out; to make them stick better, you could brush the dough with a beaten egg white before sprinkling with cinnamon and nuts. Sounds delicious – PJH

    Reply
  64. Ford

    Great recipe and pan combination. If you follow the recipe carefully, the results are fantastic. The pain de mie pan makes it all possible. If you are in a rush for the pan, shop around its out there.

    Reply
  65. cindy leigh

    here we go again….. another version!
    I made soft rye today. Awesome!
    I used barley malt syrup instead of sugar.
    I used 2 cups AP flour, 1/4 cup High MAize, and `2 1/4 cups rye flour.
    I added 2 tsp dill weed, 1 Tbsp caraway seeds, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes.
    IT’s delicious. Just like a soft rye.

    Reply
  66. Carmen

    My mother introduced me to a sandwich loaf she liked to serve for afternoon company back in Cuba in the ’50’s. Bakeries (here and there) used to call this shape of bread (long, dense, even-sided, flat-topped) a “pullman loaf.” My mother would ask for it unsliced.

    Then she sliced it into four even slices lengthwise (which was murder) and filled the bottom layer with a soft chicken/asparagus salad filling, the middle with an egg-salad filling, and the next layer with a deviled ham salad made with cream-cheese and a touch of strawberry jam. The top layer was then put on and all sides and top were frosted with cream cheese softened with a little milk.

    Then the sandwich loaf was chilled until ready to serve. (The fillings could be varied, but these were the ones that were used in Cuba where she first saw it and we’ve stuck to this trio. I do not recommend using tuna or any other type of fish as it seems to take over the more delicate fillings).

    When it was sliced and served, it was a very fancy and delicious layered sandwich. Now that my local bakeries don’t even know what a “pullman loaf” is, I can start serving it again with my new Pain de Mie pan!

    Carmen, thanks so much for sharing. Pain de mie is the French version of Pullman – they’re exactly the same thing. And I’ve always wanted to try the recipe you describe, which goes back to the ’40s-’50s, or maybe even earlier. I’ve seen it in cookbooks of that era. So now I think you’ve given me the inspiraiton to finally make it! Thanks so much – PJH

    Reply
  67. Tammi

    I know this post is old, but I had to chime in. I cannot believe it–I made this loaf and it turned out perfect. It looked exactly as pictured. Its so true that the kids won’t ask for the crust to be cut off–they devoured it, crust and all. Even my husband will like this bread and he’s a Sunbeam man.
    Is there any reason not to double this recipe? I think I need to make two loaves at once…

    Issue would be the pans, Tammi – but if you have two pans, sure, go for it. Or double the dough, and refrigerate half after the first rise while the other half is rising/baking, then do it again with the second half. PJH

    Reply
  68. Sarah G

    I have my mother’s pan de mie loaf pan and have been making this kind of sandwich bread for quite some time. My daughter loves it for her sandwiches that she takes to school and the taste and texture are 2nd to none. I can no longer find the recipe I used to have so I came to your site knowing that you would have a great recipe. My mother was from England and used this loaf to make what she considered “real” tea sandwiches. She buttered the bread and added water-cress and salt and pepper or my fav… tomato and cucumber sandwiches. This bread can stand up to the “wetness” of both of these.

    I did have to make a few changes to your recipe to get it to work for me. I too had a problem with taking off the lid after 20 or so minutes. It always dragged the dough and the loaf lost its wonderful square shape. So, I don’t take the lid off. I bake it for 65 minutes (this might be because I do not use quick rise yeast), then, take it out of the oven and the lid comes off perfectly. I also never have potato flakes or potato flour, so I just left it out and the taste and texture are still great.

    Thanks for the great recipe. This one is a keeper.

    Sarah

    Reply
  69. Charlotte

    I’m going to make my bread today. What do you store your bread in to keep if fresh.

    Charlotte, a plastic bag with a twist-tie or clip is what I use; use a drinking straw to suck the air out of the bag, then close it up. PJH

    Reply
  70. Jennifer

    Made this today…..my first ever loaf of bread….it was very yummy. I found that it took a little longer than 10 minutes after I removed the top (which was an adventure in itself) but all and all I think it came out very well. I’ll definately make it again and maybe I’ll get brave and try another bread!

    Good for you, Jennifer! Welcome to the World of Yeast. Hope you didn’t burn yourself getting that top off… PJH

    Reply
  71. Jenny Tan

    Boy, I am so going to buy this pan RIGHT NOW!!! Thanks for the recipe and the detailed instructions + photos! I can’t wait to get the pan and start making our own sandwich bread! :)

    Reply
  72. Karen H

    I just made the wheat pain de mie, and it’s wonderful except for one thing. When I removed the top during baking, it tore the corners, Any ideas on how to prevent that? Other than that, it’s great, and I’m hoping my family will agree to let this be our daily bread now!

    Karen, top the risen dough with a rectangle of parchment, cut to fit; or spray the lid thoroughly with non-stick vegetable oil spray… PJH

    Reply
  73. Iris

    The first few slices of my bread had the same texture as the one in the picture. The loaf became more crumbly towards the center, and there was a hole in the middle of bread. Can anyone give me some suggestions on what I should do to make a perfect loaf? I mixed the dough using a bread machine and baked in the pain de mie pan. Thanks in advance.

    Iris, this sometimes happens to me, too. It’s from the dough expanding unevenly as it bakes. I’d suggest shaping the bread by deflating thoroughly, flattening, then rolling into a log to make it as uniform a texture throughout as possible, prior to putting it into the pan. That should help – PJH

    Reply
  74. livo

    I have purchased a lidded pullman pan here in Australia that is 4″x4″x10″. It was sold to me as a 650 gram tin which I assumed to mean you bake 650 gram loaves in it. I can buy 650 gram loaves from the bakery and this is the correct size. I’ve done a couple of tests and also calculated the dough weight for this size pan and I get very conflcting results.
    I’m trying to bake a very boring white bread that kids eat. Just flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar.
    You recommend using 40 oz of dough for the full size pan (4x4x13) so I calculate my pan should use approximately 31 oz or 875 grams. This will produce a loaf much heavier than 650 grams, probably more like 800g.
    I tried a dough of 650 grams plus 10% giving 715 grams (it actually came out at 770 g with salt, sugar, yeast and improver plus added flour from kneading surface and additional water to compensate this). This produced a baked loaf of 710 grams but it sunk on top upon lid removal and collapsed further as it cooled. The dough behaved properly during first fermant and proof in the tin and I imagin it filled the pan in the final 10 minutes. I baked in a measured oven at 190 Celsius for 25 minutes before removing the lid then a further 15. I’m yet to cut it but I feel that my oven should be hotter and I want to know how to get a 650 gram loaf out of this tin. Is more yeast the answer or could it be the kneading and shaping process? Do I have to stretch the top of the dough the same as if I were using an open tin to create the surface tension?

    Hi – I’m curious why you want a loaf that’s exactly 650g? Why not stick with your 710g loaf, which would simply give you a tighter crumb? Aside from the sinking in the center, were you happy with the taste of the bread? I’d try your 710g recipe again; the sinking in the middle is probably due to 1) an oven that’s too hot, so the outsides baked before the center; or 2) underbaking. 190°C is a slight bit cooler than 350°F. I’d give it 30 minutes with the lid instead of 25. Also, what was the protein level of your flour? This will impact everything. I’m unfamiliar with Australian flours… My pullman loaes sometimes sink in the center, and I think it’s from underbaking, personally. Try, try again… the experiments are tasty, anyway. PJH

    Reply
  75. livo

    Thanks for your reply PJH. I dont really have to have the loaf ending at exactly 650g. I just expected to have the loaf weight that the tin was labelled as or close to. I have since found that “Supermarket” white bread is 650g and “Bakery” white bread of the same size is 680g so my 710 isn’t too heavy really.
    I ate and enjoyed it so the product was fine. Kids are funny animals when it comes to bread though.
    The flour used is called Wallaby Bakers Unbleached Flour and is stated to be 11.9% protein.
    I am still trying to master the oven as it’s temperature control is very difficult. I am now using a seperate thermometer since the oven is much hotter then the control suggests. Set the dial to 180 C and it reaches 220 C before the neon drops out. My initial attempts at different items showed that the oven is way hotter than settings. I thought 190 C was a bit low so I’ll bump it up a little or as you suggest leave in the tin for extra 5 minutes before removing the lid. The trouble with the lidded tin is naturally that you can’t see what is going on insideThere are a couple of other variables that may be in play here as well. My bread improver is a bit on the old side so maybe it’s not working properly. Does it really expire or is the date on the container just there for regulation conformity? I also forgot that due to our drought I had bought water in from the “medicated” town water supply a couple of days before. I had been using rain water prior to this. Also, being relatively new to this I am still a novice in the kneading area. I had just read an article warning about over-working dough so I may have slightly under done it through fear.
    I’m being a bit adventurous now. Since the supermarkets here have stopped selling Bread Improver, (probably due to the novelty of Bread Machines disappearing) I have been reading up on them and today I bought some Vital Wheat Gluten (75%) and some Soy Lecithin granules. I already have some Citric Acid so I’m going to play around with very small quantities and examine the effects of same. You could help me here if you can. .Please call our bakers hot line for help with your bread. Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  76. livo

    Well may you ask. Why? I have a daughter who will only eat (without protest) the loaf from the Franchised Bakery in town, 16 kms or 10 miles. It must be toast sliced and heaven forbid I should dare to pull a loaf from the freezer. The quest to reproduce it at home may end up a futile one but I’m enjoying it anyway and learning a lot.
    This bread is snow white, fine close crumb, very moist with soft lightly coloured crust. I’m sure you know what I mean. I’m trying to get there and I have to admit that it isn’t easy. I’ve been close on a couple of occasions and one attempt (a Pull-apart ring of small buns with ham and cheese topping) came very close to the desired texture, color and flavour.
    Sometimes the bag they sell it in comes with a label listing the nutritional info and ingredients. This is helpful since it tells me that it is indeed a very simple recipe. However, there is the “Secret Ingredient”, being a Soft Bread Improver. The ingredient list for this is given in order of volume but of course not the actual proportional formula. So this is what I’ve gleaned so far and my interpretation of same.
    First it contains Soy Flour. By this I have researched Lecithin. Second by volume is Wheat Flour. Now wheat flour is already the main ingredient in the bread so I can only assume that this is in fact Vital Wheat Gluten of 70 % – 80% Protein, otherwise why would you bother? Next is Emulsifier 481. I’m going to ignore this since it is a stabiliser that assists in machine mixed mass production, so not for me. It then lists Enzyme and my research would suggest that this is most likely to be Amylase. I’m not going to try to get this as I wouldn’t know where to begin looking. The last and therefore smallest ing’ is Dough Conditioner 300 (Ascorbic Acid or plain Vit’ C).
    So if a single loaf using 500 grams of Bread flour requires a 1% addition of Improver I was going to try 1/2 Teaspoon of Lecithin, a short 1/2 Teaspoon of Gluten at 75% and a sniff of Citric Acid since I don’t have Ascorbic. Will this matter?
    I would really like to see a clear and useful formula for the preparation of a home made “Bread Improver”. What do you think? I know many argue that for the home baker it is not necessary but many recipes stipulate it’s addition and I feel that it makes a significant difference to my loaves. Perhaps it covers up my inexperience in kneading and shaping.
    That reminds me of my other question. How important is shaping the dough in a Pullman Tin with lid? I’ve seen 1 link that basically stuffs it in and pushes it to the bottom and into the corners after rolling it out to 3 X the length of the pan and then double folding it in from each end. Please call our bakers hot line for help with this recipe. Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  77. livo

    PJH,
    In your earlier reply you said that 190 C is a bit cooler than 350 F. It is actually a bit hotter. My conversion and other tables gives 350 F as 176.66 C. If you are baking at 176 would the bread ever reach 190?

    You’re right – I think! One conversion calculator I checked said 190°C is 344°F. The other says 190°C is 374°F. And yes, baking at 176°C the bread would reach 190°F quite easily, given sufficient time. Hope this helps – PJH

    Reply
  78. livo

    I tried to email Joan@bakershotline but my message was bounced. Not to worry. I think I have some information that may be helpfull to others so post this if you wish.
    I eventually stumbled upon a very informative, 2 page document from Lallemand / AYS. Baking update Volume 1 Number 13. It is wholly concerned with Dough Conditioner and fully explains and lists the individual additives and groupings, as well as giving the usage levels as percentages of flour mass. My searching also led me to find that instead of the listed Ammonium salts, I could use Ground Ginger as a Yeast Nutrient.
    For the home baker this is a formula for “Home Made” dough conditioner using readily available ingredients. I’ve got my first batch going ATM so I’ll give an update later.
    These quantities will make enough for 50 loaves at 680 grams or 1.5lbs.
    400 grams Vital Wheat Gluten
    100 grams Lecithin Granules
    60 grams Soy Flour
    1 gram Ascorbic Acid (I crushed 2 x 500mg Sugarless Vitamin C tablets)
    1 gram Ground Ginger.

    Grind and mix. Use at 10 – 12 grams per 400 grams of flour. This converts to 1/2 ounce per pound of flour. (It is about 1 Tablespoon).

    Reply
  79. Karen H

    Every time I bake the pain de mie, it sinks in the middle and the crumb, especially in the middle, is very coarse. The taste is fine, but I really don’t like that texture in the middle. Any ideas on the problem or the solution? Thanks! It sounds like your dough is a bit too wet, or that your yeast is giving out too soon. Give us a call on the Baker’s Hot line and we’ll problem solve together. 800-827-6836. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  80. livo

    My bread taste is fine but it’s still collapsing. I’m trying all sorts of things. I think my main problem is that the oven is all over the place in terms of temperature. No consistency at all. Yesterday I put a baking tray full of clean pebbles in the bottom to act a a thermal battery and put the temp control on 200 C. The day before that setting gave me 215 C, measured by the thermometer, but yesterday when I took the bread out the thermometer was reading 260 C and the bread was overcooked crust and collapsed top AGAIN. One day the oven set at 180 gives me 200. The next day 180 gives me 165. I also think this irregular operation is occuring during a session. I doubt the landlord will fork out to fix the oven just so I can bake bread. I may have to wait until I move back to my own home to achieve success.
    I would love to know how the bakery achieves the closed crumb and low density of their loaves while retaining the moisture level of the finished product. I’m thinking that either the ingredients list is not 100% truthful of there is a significant event taking place in the actual process.

    Without dependable equipment, it may be best to use that oven as a storage space for pots and pans. It is not just the ingredients that create the loaf. It also involves: ingredient quality, mixing method, fermentation timeline, baking and cooling. Take a look at some of the white, pan bread recipes on our site for more info. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  81. livo

    I have removed all possible variables and bought a bag of Pre-mix Crusty White Bread. 10 kg for under $19.00 including yeast. Measure the yeast and mix, then add water. Baked in my Pullman loaf tin the bread come out perfect with oven at 200 C (by thermometer) baked for 30 minutes then lid off for 10 minutes. It did not quite fill the tin at the ends but it didn’t collapse.
    From the same mill company website I used their recipe for plain white bread from scratch with the same result. I compensated the amount so this time the loaf tin filled to produce a perfect loaf. What is different to my previous attempts using numerous “online” recipes?

    NO ADDED SUGAR.

    Allowing the dough to ferment using only the carbs available in the flour produced exactly what I’m after. At first I though there must be an omission from the ingredient list. I checked the nutrition information on the packaging of the Bread Flour and the Premix expecting to find a discrepancy but it wasn’t there. The added sugar must be the cause of the problem.

    Reply
  82. Carrie

    I have a 16″ pain de mie pan that I purchased a couple of years ago from a bakery that was going out of business. I have never used it before and I can’t wait to try it. I’m not sure how to go about coming up with the correct measurements for the different sized pan. Can you please help? Or do you know of a web resource that might help me figure it out?

    Hi Carrie: Please try our Pain de Mie recipe, increasing all of the ingredients (except the yeast) by 50%; should work out just fine. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  83. Mike

    I hope I’m not repeating a question, but I’ve looked through all the comments and didn’t see an answer: the Pain de Mie pan comes in 2 sizes–I bought the smaller, 9″ size, how should the recipe be adjusted to fit this pan? Also, I’d like to try using the Scandinavian Black Bread mix in this pan–has anyone else tried that? Any suggestions?

    Mike, you’d want to try these amounts in the 9″ pain de mie pan:

    1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
    1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
    4 tablespoons 92 ounces) butter
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
    2 tablespons potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
    3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    2 teaspoons instant yeast

    Haven’t tried the black bread recipe in the pain de mie – sounds like it would work, butno telling till you try, right? Let us know – PJH

    Reply
  84. val

    This is for Bunny, whose father threw out her grandmother’s hinged dutch oven — those were made by Griswold, and they come up often on ebay. If you search on ‘cast iron (hinge,hinged)’ you’ll find a dozen or so at any given time. I have one of these (found at a garage sale years ago), and it is THE BEST pan for making the Fahey/Sullivan St no-knead bread.

    Reply
  85. Linda

    I have looked and looked for the recipe on this site for the white sandwich bread recipe for the pain de mie loaf. Could you send it to me. Thank you so much.

    Linda

    Hi Linda,
    Here’s the Pain de Mie recipe for you. Enjoy! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  86. Sharryn

    I ordered the 13″ pain de mai pan in error, rather than the 9″. Do you think I could use the “Sharing Bread” idea using this recipe in the larger pan, and have it work? The two loaves should be perfect for two!

    Sharryn, why not just use the recipe written for the 13″ pan, pain de mie? You could definitely make it in two balls in the pan, though they’ll grow together quite tightly and won’t pull apart as easily, I’d imagine, due to the pressure of the lid… Or am I misunderstanding your question? PJH

    Reply
  87. Sharryn

    PJ, I don’t think I made myself very clear. Not your fault. I just loved the idea of the “Sharing Bread”, and I wondered if I mixed up this recipe, formed it into two loaves in the pain de mai pan—would they separate properly? I didn’t take the extra pressure into consideration. Thanks for your help.

    I think they’d still separate, Sharryn. You might just have to tug a bit carefully to pry them apart. Sounds good – give it a try. PJH

    Reply
  88. Micah

    Folks, I bought a Pullman pan (from you guys) years ago, but I never used it! Finally, yesterday, having been trapped at home because of our record-breaking snow, and having already made two other loaves of bread, I tried the pan. What a great texture! But I had a problem: The crust is much too thick and tough. I actually like it, but it sure isn’t right for a pain die mie! Any thoughts as to what might’ve caused it? (I had to use all-purpose flour, Washington brand (made by Wilkins-Rogers in Maryland) because I ran out of KAF; would that have caused the problem?) Thanks!

    Hi Micah – Generally, thick, tough crust on bread is the result of too low oven temperature and too long a baking time. Did the bread bake in about 25 minutes, covered, then you took the cover off? It could also be the older pan you have is a darker color. And of course, it could be the flour – not sure what’s in it or what protein it is… Give it a try with King Arthur, if you get a chance – I think you’ll see a different result. PJH

    Reply
  89. tammy

    I love making french and challah bread for my family and they love it too! However, I’ve been trying “healthier” breads lately, 100% whole wheat, etc. They love it as well, but love the others better…we had this discussion over breakfast (french toast made with thick-sliced challah…so good)…talking homemade here, of course…is wheat really healthier than french/white/challah? And, is there a way to MAKE the white as healthy? Thank you.Whole wheat flour has more fiber, but if you are using KA flour, we use premium American grown and milled, non GMO’d wheat. It is enriched as mandated by law to put back the nurtients that get removed when we take out the bran and germ, so it isn’t totally unhealthy. How about using half whole wheat and half white flour? Mary@ KAF

    Tammy, try our Hi-Maize Natural Fiber – it’s an awesome way to add fiber to white bread without anyone being able to tell… PJH

    Reply
  90. mhendarman108

    I live in CA and made this bread weekly to give away to friends. I usually just let the dough rise in the room temperature which takes about 2.5 hours for first rise and then another 2 hours for the second rise (the house is about 67F)
    I decided to use the help of warm oven to make the rising a bit faster. It becomes 75 minutes rising time for both first and second rise. The problem is (not sure if this is related), the crust becomes very soft eventhough i always bake 30 min and check the temp (close to 200 whne i took out from the oven). BTW, i also added 0.5 oz of flaxseed meal to the dough…is the flaxseed the culprit? I am not proud with the last batches so i have not given away pan de mie bread lately. Please help. The reason i put flaxseed is to increase the fiber since the white WW does not have the same texture:)
    Well, you may be doing the bread more harm than good with the warm, fast rise. We’d say stick with the cooler rise at room temperature, or use a longer, slow rise in the fridge overnight. The amount of flax you are using should not make a very large difference in the bread. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  91. Cyn

    Wow! I just made the 9″ recipe for A Smaller Pain de Mie, after reading all the instructions posted here. The loaf turned out beautifully and tastes even better. I did grease the heck out of both the pan and the lid, and tented the loaf with foil after removing the lid — baked it for probably about 15 minutes rather than 10. I also cooled the loaf on its side, and so far (fingers and toes crossed) no sagging of the sides. It just looks so nice! I love KAF’s other recipes for bread loaves, but I may be making this one exclusively for now on. Thanks for taking the time to document and explain recipe steps on this blog — that really helps.
    Congratulations on a fine loaf! Nothing beats the success of fresh bread. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  92. david1winer

    When making pain de mie (Pullman loaf) I have had this same problem several times straight: When placing the fully risen dough in the closed-top pan in the oven, the dough collapses (unseen at the time) so that the finished bread is not at full height.

    I don’t understand what is happening. Any suggestions?

    David, it’s rising too high and collapsing; next time, put it in the oven before it’s risen as much as you think it should. I’m betting it’ll rise to the lid and hold its height nicely. PJH

    Reply
  93. clgorrell

    I am new to this site and just bought the 9 in. pain de mie. How can I adjust this recipe to work for it? Also will my normal bread recipes I currently use work in this pan? I make bread using a bread machine dough cycle then put it in a 9 inch loaf pan. I may have goofed and bought the wrong pan. I’m starting to feel a little panicky.
    The 9″ Pain de Mie is perfect for standard yeast bread recipes, so any recipe using a 9″x5″ loaf pan would work out just fine. Don’t panic, we’re here to help! If you have any other questions, or need any help troubleshooting in the future, come chat with a Baker either on the Hotline, Chat, or through Email. Happy baking! ~Jessica

    Reply
  94. nel

    Can I halve this recipe for a smaller loaf tin (about 8x4x3″)?
    My loaf tin is not a pullman, but I was wondering if might be the same to place a baking sheet on top of the pan and weigh it down with a heavy baking dish. Would that be like using a pullman tin?
    Thanks!

    We have recipes written specifically for the smaller pain de mie on our website that are already scaled to fit the smaller 9″ pans. Your “pullman pan sub” should work just fine, we’d love to hear about your results! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  95. fran16250

    PJ,
    I saw you and some of your colleagues on TV this morning! I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS and there was a commercial about the WEB and all things made possible with the web, featuring a start up named King Arthur Flour. I was making pie crust and only looked up about half way through just in time to see you! What a great commercial. It was like seeing family on TV!
    Anyway, I chose this blog to write to you because I have a question about this recipe. I have been making this for some time in my KAF pan. I have had some trouble with the loaf having a dark and hard crust. I do have a convection oven so I have adjusted the temp to 325 degrees, and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes off. The lid is often very difficult to remove. The color is much better, internal temp is 190. But it is still pretty hard. I’ve tried lightly greasing the pan with crisco and non-stick spray, same result. I was considering not greasing at all but I fear it will be ruined if it won’t release. Any suggestions? By the way I used this for bread for stuffing as weel as the stuffing bread you suggested. It came out great! Now don’t let this new found stardom go to your head!!:)

    Hi Fran – glad you liked the ad. It was a lot of fun seeing what they came up with after 3 days of shooting film! Now, as for you bread – how about leaving the lid on for a longer amount of time? Maybe 30 minutes on, 5 to 10 minutes off. Is there a possibility you can turn the convection part of your oven off? That might help, too – the closer you can get to following the directions in the recipe, the better results you’ll probably have. Good luck next time – PJH

    Reply
  96. anne95816

    I am thrilled to have found a recipe that replicates Pepperidge Farm white bread–no more hauling frozen loaves back to California from the east. This recipe for pain de mie is excellent. It is actually better than Pepperidge Farm since you are making fresh homemade bread.

    The Pullman pan, however, is a requirement. Sorry KA, but I bought the exact same pan at Bed Bath & Beyond for $19 rather than your $40. I did tweek the recipe a bit with excellent results: brought milk and water to lukewarm and melted the butter, used Kosher salt and upped it a bit due to the difference, used nonfat dry milk, used SAF instant yeast (my favorite), and this is critical: use potato FLOUR. Potato starch is a very different product. I did manage to find potato flour at Whole Foods after calling around.Potato flour makes all the difference and adds moisture.

    Used the KitchenAid mixer and did NOT use the paddle attachment as instructed. Once all the ingredients were in the bowl I just mixed briefly with a fork and then mixed and kneaded with the dough hook. Having to clean sticky dough off the paddle was something I wanted to avoid.The paddle is not necessary.

    I weighed ingredients rather than measured. Much easier and more accurate. A digital scale with a Tare button is a must. The recipe that comes with the USA Pullman Pan is the same as KA’s except that it doesn’t provide weights of ingredients–just measurements. That is a shame.

    Recipe makes an excellent bread, which will become a weekly bake for me. I also found the tutorial with photographs very helpful. Thank you King Arthur for solving my search for the perfect white bread recipe.
    I am so pleased you found the perfect pain de mie recipe, Anne! Thank you for all your great tips, too! Elisabeth

    Reply
  97. Tom Benson

    Boom. First time out of the gate and it is perfect. You can’t deny the empowerment being able to not just match, but absolutely crush the years of store bought sandwich bread in your own kitchen.

    And when I had my moment of doubt, when the dough seemed slacker than I thought it should, did I stand alone. No, the KAF Bakers Hotline was there to reassure me. (Next time I will pull the dough from the mixer when it cleans the bowl the first time. Seems I broke the dough with a little over kneading. Still turned out perfect.) You can’t get that kind of customer support just anywhere. Only employee owned businesses seem care about each customers satisfaction.

    Gotta say, you must get the pan. I can’t imagine that the crumb structure would have stayed as tight in a standard loaf pan.

    I see this becoming a weekly bake. And another 5-7 pounds of body weight.

    Wow, Tom – We hope you can see us beaming from here:) If we could award a blue ribbon for baking success, it’d be hanging in your kitchen right now! Enjoy the new yeast bread baking journey – Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

    Reply
  98. Corinne

    Hi
    No idea if this post is still going? But I need help. Using my favourite bread recipe with a 1000g pullman tin. How many grams of flour should I be using? Baked two loaves so far and both have risen well but sink in middle when cooking and have a very loose crumb in the middle? Any answers please? Tastes great though :)
    Cheers

    I would suggest to give our Baker’s Hotline a call so we can help you over the phone!-Jon 855 371 2253

    Reply
  99. Sahar

    Hi
    Can i bake this bread in a usual loaf pan?then the time of cooking how is changed?
    Can i subsitute AP flour with bread flour?
    (My English is not very good,so i appologize if i have grammer mistakes )
    Hi Sahar,
    To make a really great loaf of white sandwich bread in a regular loaf pan, check out this recipe for one of our favorites. All purpose or bread flour will both work quite well in the recipe. ~MJ

    Reply
  100. Donna Sebastian

    I make all my bread with a sour dough started. How do I convert yeast recipes so I can make the pain de mie. I have been wanting to make this ever since seeing an old Julie Child’s video.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Donna, a good rule of thumb is to substitute 1 cup (about 8 ounces) sourdough starter for 1 cup of the flour + 1/2 cup of the liquid in your recipe. Good luck – PJH

  101. Stuart Lease

    I must preface my comment with this: My Great Grandfather, my Grandfather and my step Grandfather all worked for the railroad. There will be NO reference to anything but Pullman pans or breads baked in them.

    I believe that I should when first baking a recipe for the first time one should try it as written. I received a Pullman pan for Christmas and was so excited that I did not review my ingredients well. I did not have potato flour, so I substituted soy flour in equal amounts(by weight). What a wonderfully beautiful loaf that was made with your recipe and Pullman pan. It was very easy to bake this bread.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ah, so very glad to hear that, Stuart – thanks for sharing that substitution. And BTW, my grandfather was a brakeman for the Pennsylvania RR his whole life… so I hear you! :) PJH

  102. bloodhound04

    When I make this bread I end up with a beautiful loaf at first but then it sort of caves in on itself. Is there a trick to keep it from doing this?

    Reply
  103. Adelina

    Hi-
    I tried this once, but it didn’t turn out well. I’m going to say that it’s entirely my fault so I’ll try this recipe again. Question: if I run out of potato flour, what can I substitute it with? I figure I can’t just use potato starch as they’re different.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A good replacement will be potato flakes (think instant potatoes). Use the same amount by weight for pretty much the same results. Jon@KAF

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