The Pullman Loaf (The BEST sandwich bread EVER!)

I first heard about the Pullman Loaf a few years ago when I started making bread, but I never felt brave enough to try making it. For some reason I thought it would be complicated when it really couldn’t be simpler!

So soft and tasty with a lovely light crust and what’s more it’s square!

My husband is an aficionado of terrible sandwich bread. I don’t know what it is, but he LOVES to buy the cheapest, no taste, white square loaf that he can find! He loves it slathered with butter with his tea!

In a bid to break him away from his awful bread habit of eating no taste bread that has goodness knows what in it, I set myself the mission of creating a square loaf that was healthier and actually tasted of bread. To find the perfect recipe I did what any self respecting person would do – I googled!

Lots and lots of trial and error later I finally tried the Pullman loaf and all I can say is WOW.

The name comes from the fact that the tin is supposed to be like a Pullman railway coach. The bread is also known as Pain de Mie, which originates from France, Whatever you call it it is quite possibly the BEST sandwich bread you’ll ever make or eat.

Before I hit upon my perfect recipe I tried LOADS and eventually came up with one that satisfies my husbands craving for a soft square loaf and also satisfies mine own requirement for a good tasting healthier bread where I know exactly what’s gone into it.

This recipe is my own adaptation of one I found on the Bakery Bits website. I changed it because I like to add some wholemeal flour because it’s healthier and I also find it improves the taste and crust. I’ve got a special tin, which my parents bought me from Bakery Bits, but you can get a similar tin on eBay.

Tin1The dough cooks in the tin, which has a sliding lid. It kind of steams actually meaning that you get a perfectly square loaf that is great for sandwiches. I really do recommend getting a proper tin to make this bread, but I have known others have limited success by putting a baking tray on top of a normal bread pan and weighing it down with something heavy.

I’ve popped some step by step images below, but if you don’t want to see the pictures you can just  Skip to the printable recipe.

Go one give it a go, you really won’t regret it!

IMG_3099

Step 1 – Make the dough and let it rise

  • Time = 25 minutes to mix, rest mix then 1 – 1.5 hours to rise
  • Ingredients = 400g of strong white bread flour, 240g of wholemeal bread flour, 30g of skimmed milk powder (optional, if not using add in another 30g of strong white bread flour), 15g of white caster sugar, 35g of soft butter at room temperature, 190g of hand hot water, 190g of very slightly warmed milk (you can use all water but your bread will not be as soft), 2tsp of easy blend dried yeast and 2tsp of fine salt.
  1. Add the butter to the water and milk and stir to let it start to dissolve.
  2. Add the flours, sugar, salt and dried milk powder (if using) to a large mixing bowl, mix to combine and then add the yeast. Mix again and then make a well in the centre.
  3. Pour in the buttery liquid, give it a gentle mix and then leave for 10 minutes. This helps relax the flours and activates the yeast, it also helps the butter to finish melting into the mixture.
  4. After the 10 minutes are up mix it all and knead for a good 10 minutes until you have a smooth stretchy dough. This is a wet one so if you’ve got a stand mixer then you may want to mix in there for 4-5 minutes on speed 4.
  5. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 -1.5 hours.

Image 1 = The combined flours, powdered milk and yeast with the yeasty, milky, butter water added Image 2 = The dough once kneaded.

Step 2 – Shape, place in tin, rise again and bake 

  • Time = 15 minutes shape (includes a rest), 30 minutes – 1 hour to rise, 35-40 minutes to bake.
  • Equipment = 1 x 750g – 10cm wide 23cm long pullman loaf tin (mine was from BakeryBits, but you can get similar ones on ebay).
  • Oven temp = 220 conventional or 200 fan.
  1. Once the dough has risen for 1 – 1.5 hours (or doubled in bulk), remove from the covered bowl and knock back on a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Leave to rest for 5 – 10 minutes then flatten out into a rectangle.
  3. Roll up into a cylinder shape (as if you were making a bloomer loaf). You don’t need to be too neat about it as it’s going in the tin.
  4. Lightly oil your pullman loaf pan (I use a spray oil, but you use whatever you’ve got.
  5. Place your cylinder of dough seam side down in the tin. Give it a press to help it fill the tin. Don’t worry at this stage if it doesn’t go right to the edges, it will fill in.
  6. Cover with film (not the lid yet) and leave somewhere warm to rise.
  7. Preheat your oven to 200 (fan) 220 conventional.
  8. The time this rise takes will depend on how warm your kitchen is.  Mine took about 35 minutes. When the dough is almost at the top of the tin oil the lid of the pullman pan and slide it into place and leave for NO MORE than 10 minutes.
  9. Place the pan in the centre of your preheated oven and bake. DO NOT be tempted to open the lid!  Bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes remove from the oven and slide the lid back. If the crust isn’t nice and golden slide the lid back on and bake for a further 5 minutes. When the crust is the colour of your liking tip from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Image 1 = The dough after an hours rise. Image 2 = The dough flattened to a rough rectangle. Image 3 = The dough rolled up into a rough cylinder. Image 4 = The dough in the tin. Image 5 = The dough flattened out into the tin. Image 6 = The dough almost at the top of the tin. Image 7 = Sliding the lid on. Image 8 = The bread once baked and removed from the tin.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this bread, it makes superb sandwiches!

Below is the printable recipe for this brilliant pullman loaf.

For other recipes on my site please follow this link.

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The Pullman Loaf (The BEST sandwich bread EVER!)

  • Servings: 1 x 10cm x 23cm loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A perfectly square sandwich loaf.

This recipe is my own adaptation of one I found on the Bakery Bits website. I changed it because I like to add some wholemeal flour for a better taste and crust. I’ve got a special tin, which my parents bought me from Bakery Bits, but you can get a similar tin on eBay.

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 400g of strong white bread flour
  • 240g of wholemeal bread flour
  • 30g of skimmed milk powder (optional, if not using add in another 30g of strong white bread flour)
  • 15g of white caster sugar
  • 35g of soft butter at room temperature
  • 190g of hand hot water
  • 190g of very slightly warmed milk (you can use all water but your bread will not be as soft)
  • 2tsp of easy blend dried yeast
  • 2tsp of fine salt.

Directions

  1. Add the butter to the water and milk and stir to let it start to dissolve. Add the flours, sugar, salt and dried milk powder (if using) to a large mixing bowl, mix to combine and then add the yeast. Mix again and then make a well in the centre. Pour in the buttery liquid, give it a gentle mix and then leave for 10 minutes. This helps relax the flours and activates the yeast, it also helps the butter to finish melting into the mixture. After the 10 minutes are up mix it all and knead for a good 10 minutes until you have a smooth stretchy dough. This is a wet one so if you’ve got a stand mixer then you may want to mix in there for 4-5 minutes on speed 4.
  2. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 -1.5 hours.
  3. Once the dough has risen for an hour – hour and a half (or doubled in bulk), remove from the covered bowl and knock back on a lightly floured work surface. Leave to rest for 5 – 10 minutes then flatten out into a rectangle.
  4. Roll up into a cylinder shape (as if you were making a bloomer loaf). You don’t need to be too neat about it as it’s going in the tin. Lightly oil your pullman loaf pan (I use a spray oil, but you use whatever you’ve got. Place your cylinder of dough seam side down in the tin. Give it a press to help it fill the tin. Don’t worry at this stage if it doesn’t go right to the edges, it will fill in. Cover with film (not the lid yet) and leave somewhere warm to rise.
  5. Preheat your oven to 200 (fan) 220 conventional.
  6. The time this rise takes will depend on how warm your kitchen is.  Mine took about 35 minutes. When the dough is almost at the top of the tin oil the lid of the pullman pan and slide it into place and leave for NO MORE than 10 minutes.
  7. Place the pan in the centre of your preheated oven and bake. DO NOT be tempted to open the lid!  Bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes remove from the oven and slide the lid back. If the crust isn’t nice and golden slide the lid back on and bake for a further 5 minutes. When the crust is the colour of your liking tip from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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Bread, Baking and More

Lover of bread, baking and growing my own veg.

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