While back in Michigan for my yearly visit to my guardian angel Jill, (visits which we lovingly call YackFest), I was lucky enough to find a pain de mie pan on one of our outings to the thrift stores. Jill usually manages to find all sorts of bargains on these outings but I lucked out this time. Our thrift store outings began way back in 1980 when I was stationed in Oxnard, CA with Jills ex-husband Jack. It was through Jack that I met Jill and we became instant friends. She introduced me to the thrills of bargain hunting in the thrift stores.We would go “thrifting” every weekend and we had all of our favorite haunts in the area. Back then I was hooked on collecting brass. I used to refer to the brass section of the stores as “Adventures in Brass”. When we would go into the store I would just announce, “I’ll be in adventures in brass” and she would know where to find me when she was ready to go. I think I had the worlds largest collection of brass candlesticks, cricket boxes, ash trays, coin trays and other assorted brass junk. Today I don’t have a single piece of it and I can’t even remember getting rid of it. After these excursions we would go home, dump everything on the floor and then lovingly fight over who was going to get what. As I have never been able to resist her, Jill usually won these battles except for the brass. When I found this pan Jill decided that she wanted it but on an extremely rare case, I put my foot down and kept it. I have really wanted one of these for ages but as those of you who read me often know, I am not a fan of specialty pans and certainly not of paying the outrageous prices they want for them.
Pain de mie is the French name for sandwich bread. It actually means “bread of the crumb” as this bread has no real crust. To be honest I have never had a sandwich in France on this bread, in actuality I have never even seen this bread in France. At any rate, it makes great toast, melba toast and canapes. In the US we call this pan a Pullman pan and the bread a Pullman loaf. I of course prefer the French term but it matters not.
This particular recipe I am still playing around with. It is fairly simple, bread flour, salt, yeast, a bit of sugar, butter and a bit of potato flour. A traditional pullman pan is about 13 inches long and 4 inches high. Mine is only 9 inches long but 5 inches high. Most recipes I found are for the 13 inch pan and too much dough for my 1 pan (although I may try them and just adjust how much dough I use). This recipe is for a 10 inch long pan which is better but still not enough to totally fill the pan. It tastes great so until I get all the proportions right I will just continue to use it as is and enjoy the slightly smaller size of the bread.