Friday, June 30, 2017

Pullman Loaf (Sandwich Bread)

Have I mentioned before that Kevin and I are polar opposites? Between the two of us we are whole. We fill each others gaps. One thing I definitely work to find a middle ground with is food. He's still learning. HA! 

I love bread. I could live on bread. Any bread. Although, white sandwich bread isn't my favorite. When I was a child, I loved white bread. I would take the crusts off and squash the air out with my hand, rolling it into a small ball. I loved to play with it. I would use my thumbs and index fingers to make a square out of my bread before I ate it. I think I was looking for something with a little more substance than that air-filled bread in a bag. It tasted like Play-Doh.

Even though the railway was credited for the Pullman Loaf, the pans were made long before the railway knew they existed. It's the railway (Pullman cars) that made them famous. The Pullman pan makes perfectly square slices with very little crust. Kind of like that little loaf I remember Pepperidge Farm making so many years ago. You may have heard the term pain de mie used for this loaf, too. It's the French name. I love this white bread. It has the perfect crumb. It's not full of air, and still remains soft. 

This makes a 13" Pullman Loaf. You can also use 2 regular loaf pans. The Pullman pan gives it a beautiful even and thin crust. I believe that the lid used while baking forces a more dense bread. 

Prep your pan. Butter the bottom and all sides. If using a Pullman pan, butter the lid and cut a piece of parchment to place on top of it.

Mix flour, salt, and yeast together. 

Add the rest of the ingredients. 

Knead for 10 minutes. I used a food processor with a dough blade. 

It made this step so incredibly easy. As soon as my ball formed, I continued to "process" it for 2-3 more minutes. I've also used my bread machine for an easy ONE step process before baking. It  mixes and proofs automatically. It's a Red Star machine, and I put the wet ingredients in first. 

If you don't use a bread machine, take your ball of dough and cover it with butter. Butter a bowl, and add the dough. Cover the bowl and let sit for forty-five minutes. 

It should have about doubled in size. Punch it down with your fist (every time I say this I picture angry bakers punching helpless bread dough), recover and let it sit for another forty-five minutes. 

It will have risen to double in size again. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Make a rectangle as long as your baking pan and triple in width. In this case, my pan is 13" long. Roll the width to eight or nine inches.

Fold the dough length-wise over itself from both edges. 

Set it in your pan. 

Cover and let rise a third time, until it almost reaches the lid (or the top of your loaf pan).

Bake at 425 degrees for thirty minutes. Remove from oven, remove lid, and cool on a rack. 

After cooling for five minutes, turn the bread out of the pan. I couldn't wait for it to cool before I sliced, buttered, and topped it with jam. 

Truly, the crumb is better if you wait until it's cool to slice. 

This really is worth the effort, as most of it is waiting time. The cost is about 1/3 of a store-bought bagged bread. 
  • 5 3/4 C bread flour
  • 2 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 t instant yeast; if you plan on making a lot of yeast bread, I suggest buying a huge package at a wholesale warehouse. It costs about $5.00. Store it in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar. I can't use mine up before it dies, but it beats paying a buck or two every time I would need an envelope.
  • 3/4 C very warm water
  • 3/4 C milk; I use whole milk - combine with the water to knock the chill off before adding if the milk is cold. 
  • 4 T honey
  • 7 T real butter

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