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Pain de Mie Bread

Pain de Mie Bread

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The other white bread, makes 1 16-inch (41cm) loaf.
By Dennis W. Viau; adapted from other recipes.

Pain de mie, besides being French (it literally means crumb bread), makes excellent sandwiches, toast, French toast, and other great stuff. Crumb refers to the inner, white part of bread, as compared to the crust. Pain de mie has such a thin crust, it is regarded as all crumb. It requires a special pan, a pain de mie pan, often called a Pullman pan. The pans are available in different lengths, and therefore the amount of flour needed in the recipe will vary according to the size of the pan. Mine is about 16 (41cm) inches long and the amount of flour was adjusted for this pan.

The main difference between pain de mie and regular white bread is that pain de mie uses milk, whereas most white bread recipes call for water. Pain de mie also has more and longer rises, three rises as compared to two for white bread, and each rise can take up to three hours, as it needs to triple in bulk rather than double in bulk. So it’s best to start early in the morning when making this bread.

Here's a look at the crumb:

Pain de mie bread

Ingredients:

5 cups (25 ounces/709g) bread flour
2 cups (473ml) milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter; room temperature

Directions:

Mixer Method: Heat the milk in a saucepan to 115°F (45°C). Combine half the flour with all the milk, sugar, and yeast in the mixer bowl. Blend with a spatula. Attach the bowl to the mixer with the dough hook. On the #2 setting slowly add the remaining flour and the salt. Knead 5 to 8 minutes and then add the butter in small pieces and knead until completely incorporated. The dough will be sticky.

Hand method: Combine half the flour, etc., in a bowl, as above, and mix well. Let rest for five minutes. Add the remaining flour and the salt and combine. Transfer the mixture to a clean counter and knead by hand for several minutes, until smooth and elastic. It will be sticky.

Clean the bowl and grease it with butter. Place the dough in the bowl, roll it around to coat all over with the butter, then press it into the bottom of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until tripled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours. Punch down and let rise again 1½ to 2 hours.

Shape the dough into a long loaf. Grease the pain de mie pan and lid with butter. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise again, until about ½ inch (1.25cm) from the top of the pan. Attach the lid and allow to rise another 10 minutes while you heat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the lid. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes (the internal temperature should reach about 190°F (90°C). Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely on a rack.