The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Almost Whole Wheat Pain de Mie

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varda's picture

Almost Whole Wheat Pain de Mie

Recently I posted on a bake of Syd's Asian style pain de mie, and Janet commented that she was going to make it with her white whole wheat home milled flour.   I decided to try something similar.    Instead of white whole wheat, I used my golden flour which is home milled hard red whole wheat with some of the bran and some coarse flour sifted out.    I believe the closest official name to this would be high extraction flour, probably around 90%.

I followed the original formula with the following changes:

-Added a bit more milk in the biga

-Used golden flour in the biga and final dough but not the Tang Zhong

-Added a bit more milk and egg in the final dough

During the intensive mix of the final dough, it acted quite different than the original.   It started out with the consistency of pudding, and stayed that way for quite awhile.   I put it in my Bosch Compact at speed 4 and mixed a long time.   Finally, getting bored, I walked away.   When I came back, the dough had changed and started to lighten and come together elastically.    I let it go for awhile longer, and finallly, when it was still spreading out irregularly but was clearly an elasticized mass, stopped.   Possibly 45 minutes?   I'm not sure, as I wasn't watching the clock.  The dough was still more liquid than solid.   When I took the dough off the hook, it poured slowly down, but sheeted out into an impossibly thin membrane without tearing.  

When it came time to shape, the dough was not as manageable as the white version, but still shaped fairly nicely.    The surface was bubbling up a bit, which I figured would mean a more open crumb - not the desirable thing for this kind of bread per Syd.   

The upshot?   A bread that is just as decadently delicious as its predecessor, with the added whole wheat flavor.   Healthier?   I let you be the judge.

The crumb?   Nothing much to look at.  Just whole wheaty sandwichy.

But try this with your basic whole wheat sandwich bread:

Inadvertently perhaps, I made some changes to the method:  I've been baking a lot of challah so I ended up following times and temps for challah.   In Syd's version bulk ferment is only 30 minutes, and bake temperature is 350 instead of 375.

Formula and method:




Tang Zhong























































Total flour



Total dough



Heat milk salt sugar butter to almost boiling


Mix in flour


Refrigerate for 16 hours


Mix ingredients for Biga


Refrigerate for 48 hours


Mix all but butter - when ingredients incorporated add butter

Mix intensively in mixer until dough is very strong


Rest 60 minutes


Shape in pieces


Proof until almost soft - then glaze with milk


Bake at 375 for 40 minutes






dabrownman's picture

beat anything for 45 minutes with the KA, it would likely be a smoking hulk at 30 minutes!  I can slice pumpernickel like that but it still won't bend like that...Amazing bread you have there and very healthy if you don't look at the recipe with glasses on :-)  I'm guessing the near WW compensates enough to give it a double H - hearty & healthy.  Boldly baked,beautiful crumb and thin slicing says that you got it all right ....if it tastes good. If this bread doesn't taste good.... then cleaner living might be advised :-) Decadent Delicious (the double D) says it all.

Very nice bread baking Varda!  What a great bread!  Lucy is  baking something not too similar or strenuous for multigrain hamburger buns tomorrow; no TZ, honey for sugar, SD for biga. but the rest of the enrichment the same.

Happy baking


varda's picture

Those darned glasses. Thanks DA. And try to keep Lucy away from the KA if you catch her reading this. Hamburger buns sound great. -Varda

golgi70's picture

Very Nice baking.  Standard 9x5 loafpan?  or an open pullman?



varda's picture

Hi Josh,   I baked this in an 8x4 loaf pan.  Too little dough for the 9x5 or short pullman.  The same quantity of dough for the white PdeM filled this pan out a lot better, but I suppose that's no surprise.    Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture

Hi Varda,

Thanks for posting your results here.  The top of you loaf looks similar to mine.  Risen but not as rounded as other loaves that I 3 piece.  Did they appear a bit flatter to you compared to your other versions?

I had to knead a long time too and in shaping  my first attempt I had to do it really quickly before it slid into a slippery mass on the bench which is why I made the second attempt a bit firmer.  I didn't think of adding egg.  When I try this formula again I will add an egg and see what happens.  I will go back to the wetter dough too because mine was a bit dry but my daughter loved it.

Thanks again for posting.

Take Care,


varda's picture

Hi Janet,   Yes, this didn't rise as round as I had hoped.   That may be in part because I bulk fermented this for twice as long as called for by accident.    Here is the comparison:  Last white PdeM - same size dough, same pan,

Have you not added egg before?   It's a key part of the formula and accounts for some of the liquid.  

Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture

Yes, I did use an egg.  Called for 1 1/2 and I used 2 so maybe, since I use full ww, I should use 1 more and see what happens but, and my memory is really vague here, I don't remember getting the flatter top when I first baked this formula in 2011.  I was pretty new to all of this but I think I was pleased with what I got and now, doing the same thing, I am not getting what I remember....but that could simply be memory playing tricks on me.  My notes back then aren't as thorough as the ones I take now.

Back to the drawing board.  I do know that for my last attempt the first day roux my timing was off.  Mine went for 24 hours rather than the 16 specified but I am thinking that couldn't have made the difference because everywhere I read people state that a roux can be used at any time up to 3 days max if refrigerated....Second day biga has the same time constraint of 72 hours and I am assuming a lot of the time there is to enhance flavor but I don't know.  With my whole grains I tend to go for less time so I don't overferment since I know the flavor is there anyway.

I will keep fiddling throughtout the summer and see what happens since my daughter really likes this due to the IY.  While away at college she has lost her taste buds for sour dough so now my usual loaves taste really sour to her....

I will keep you posted.


varda's picture

By more egg I mean just a few grams.   Syd's formula would have called for 45g for this dough size.   I put in the whole egg which was 52g.   So not a huge difference.    I was very surprised by how tasty this bread is.   I suppose I shouldn't be.   Thanks for nudging me this direction.   Looking forward to seeing your results.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture

My loaf called for 1 1/2 so I used 2.

I am thinking that next time I will knead longer too and see what happens to the domed top....The puzzle keeps pulling me in....and your results aren't helping any : -)

Friend I talked to today told me the loaf I gave him was soft but began to dry out on day 3 or 4.  He loved it.  Has a sweet tooth so I knew he would.


Mebake's picture

Lovely, varda!

45 minutes in a mixer! you're lucky the dough didn't break down.

i love this kind of bread! very nice


varda's picture

Hi Khalid,   This dough was nowhere near breaking down.   In fact could/should probably have mixed more.   But really enough is enough.   This type of bread is very tasty.   Not quite so pointy headed as a lot of the stuff we bake.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

ananda's picture

Hi Varda,

I think this has to be a healthier option; as an everyday bread ["Pain de Mie"], to me that is essential.   White Bread is only permissable for certain things.

Looks like you own a decent mixer!   That's a rarity in the home mixing appliance dept.

I'm sure it makes a great sandwich; nice bread.

All good wishes


varda's picture

Hi Andy,  I wrote you a whole detailed response - now apparently vanished.   Maybe because my system is being backed up right now.   Short summary of original comment - I love the Bosch - a very well designed little machine.   Puts the larger, more powerful KA to shame.   Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture

without any have one lovely tasty looking loaf.  What a very nice healthy, slicing and eating loaf you've created.  Just what I like to make a tasty sandwich with.

I have the compact Bosch and love it....I've already replaced the gear in my AKA model..but still enjoy it for lite beatings!


varda's picture

Hi Sylvia,  Everyone at home enjoys this bread.   Funny that the whole wheat is no deterrent to a loaf enriched with butter, sugar, eggs.   I did not think modifying original to use almost whole wheat would make a tasty bread like this, but glad to be proved wrong.    Is AKA Kitchen Aid?   I pull mine out when I have too much dough for the little Bosch, but really don't think much of it.  Too often the hook just catches the dough and gives it a ride round and round and round without doing much to it.   No wonder I had so much trouble developing dough in my first few years of baking.    Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture

The smaller version of Kitchen Aid..also know as aka ; )..the Artisan Kitchen Aid.  The head tilts upward, which I like and fits on the counter neatly.


isand66's picture

Great job Varda...that's an awful long mix but the results speak for themselves.  I know my wife would like the white only version but maybe I could sneak this healthier one in...

varda's picture

Hi Ian,  My husband is also of the "white is better" school or put another way "why are you making anything but white?"   He has been happily eating this loaf, and I certainly haven't mentioned that it is 93% something other than white.  So give it a try.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

Alpana's picture

Hi Varda,  Your excellent PDM is a great example of how wholegrains and soft breads need not be at opposite spectrum. I am not really surprised about 45 minutes kneading. I use bread machine for intensive kneading & have to knead on dough cycle once and whole wheat once, so it makes a total of 50 minutes kneading between rest to get txfarmer's perfect window pane for whole wheat PDM dough. Whole spelt was a bit shorter. 

Bosch compact seems to be pretty good for me to consider when I decide to buy mixer. I rarely make more than 1 kg dough at a time so it should suffice.


varda's picture

Alpana,    I agree this bread is best of all worlds.   In fact from all worlds - french name, italian and chinese components.  A mashup.   I would have loved to catch a shot of the diaphanous screen that this dough made as it flowed off the hook.   But I somehow can't manage to take pictures while baking.   Gets me out of the zone.   Thanks so much for commenting.  -Varda

evonlim's picture

hi Varda, what a challenging bake, and yet you made it a successful one. 

happy baking


varda's picture

was all for the Bosch.   This was like beating egg whites.   You just have to beat it hard and long enough.   Thanks Evon.  -Varda