The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain de Mie overflow!

The Cats Other Mother's picture
The Cats Other ...

Pain de Mie overflow!

Twenty minutes in to my latest loaf of Pain de Mie, and instead of the wonderful smell of bread baking, I was alarmed by the smell of something burning instead.  Peeking in, I found that the dough had forced its way out and some had fallen to the bottom of the oven.  I got the lid off and hopefully what stayed put will be as good as ever, but I need to know if the cause was:

A: Too much dough.  I added about a cup of extra flour, plus 1/4 cup mixed grains to my recipe, the first because my dough was very wet, and the other for more texture.

or B:  Overproofing.  I let the dough rise nearly twice as long as usual, and it was very puffy and the second rise was very fast.

or C:  Extra yeast.  My last loaf didn't completey rise to fill the pan, and came out denser than I wanted.  I thought my yeast might be getting a bit aged, even though it is stored in the freezer, so I added maybe 1/2 a teaspoon extra.


Maybe all three?  =)

PaddyL's picture

I believe that's how much you're supposed to let the dough rise in the pullman pan, certainly not any more.  How much did you leave the lid open?

Chuck's picture

Are you talking about one of those "lidded" Pullman pans that's supposed to bake a perfectly square loaf with almost no crust?

If so, they have a "Goldilocks" problem: the amount of dough has to be "just right". Even semi-professional bakers screw it up a lot. When you find out the amount of dough that's neither too little nor too much, you need to stick with it exactly. The extra flour plus the mixed grains almost certainly resulted in too much dough for the pan. (The extra yeast may [or may not] have contributed to the problem too. I don't think over-proofing had much to do with the problem though.)

My personal opinion is those pans are an invitation to trouble and by far the best solution is to just leave the lid off and bake "round topped" Pullman loaves. :-)

tabasco's picture

And just for my two cents, our family loves bread from pullman pans.  (-:  I don't know why except that guests see it as a kind of novelty and fun, and also the loaf makes nice even slices for sandwiches all the way down the loaf.

Some explanations and recipes from KA on pullman pan baking:

Yes, I think too your suspicions all probably play in to the result.  In my experience too much flour and being extravagant with the yeast can cause an overflow. And not to beat a dead horse, but weighing the flours etc. can save a lot of baking angst. Pan de mie baking does seem to require a certain exactitude. 

I believe the King Arthur advises to allow the dough to rise up just 3/4 inch shy of the lid before popping it into a hot oven. But there are lots of hints, weights and measures, and instructions on best techniques for the pullman pan on that site and I found them very useful.

We have one of the longer pullman pans from KA and have used (and liked) several of their recipes.  We do add some White Whole Wheat, mixed grain, or rye flour sometimes. 

We like Riehhart's recipe for Pan de mie but find weighing out the ingredients works best for our size pan for his version.

Good luck!


The Cats Other Mother's picture
The Cats Other ...

The recipe I'm using is a slightly modified version of KA's, and it worked perfectly the first time I tried it, despite the added grains.  The second time was a bit dense, but I was having trouble with power outages that probably caused fluctuations of oven temp.  I don't know if the dough seemed wetter this time because I was substituting buttermilk or if it's the different brand of flour.  The recipe calls for the dough to be soft and supple.  How wet is too wet for Pain de Mie?  

The loaf came out very tasty, if not quite perfect looking. 

tabasco's picture

I think 'pan de mie' dough is pretty much like other mainstream white egg bread dough as far as 'wet' goes.  I guess you want to aim for 'soft and supple' and to me, 'soft' means not wet and gooey but kind of like a baby's bottom, and 'supple' means having a nice 'hand'.  (I know that doesn't help, does it?!) 

Is your KA recipe created for the pullman pans or a general bread recipe?  I just wonder if it's one that I have made...and if not, I'd like to give it a try.

It sounds like you have made a number of changes in your recipe all at once (including power outages, buttermilk, multiple grains, and extra flour) so it seems to me that it would be pretty difficult to pin point the exact reason for the overflow...

Good luck. 

davidg618's picture

...come in at least three sizes: 4 x 4 x 16, 4 x 4x 13, 4 x 4 x 9, and likely many variations. Chuck, et al are right on. Pan de mie requires exactitude; that means weighing your ingredients. Furthermore, Pullman pans, as their name implies, were manufactured originally to fit into specially designed ovens installed in passenger trains' kitchens. Traditional Pan de mie recipes are basic soft, white sandwich breads.

I've had good success with Hamelman's Pullman Bread, from Bread. He prescribes 2.25 lbs. of dough for a pan that measures 3.75 x 3.75 x 13 inches, but that may be inside dimensions. I found, using his recipe, there was a slight compression of the crumb just inside the crust on all sides. I've scaled the dough weight to 2 lb. 2 oz. (2.125 lbs.) and get a near perfect loaf in my 4 x 4 x 13 pan.

Scaling pan de mie formula for different size pans is easy. Just calculate the volume of your pan, and the volume of the pan specified in the formula, scale (multiply) the liquid, dry, or solid fat (butter, shortening) ingredients by the ratio of the two volumes; for eggs, if the ratio is more than 1.5 or less than .75  add or subtract one egg. The results should serve your first try in your pan, and you can fine tune in you future bakes.

An example: A 4 x 4 x 13 pan has a volume of 208 cu. inches; a 4 x 4 x 9 pan's volume is 144 cu. inches. Their ratios are .69 to scale from the larger pan to the smaller or 1.44 to scale from a smaller pan formula to a larger one.  10 grams of ingredients, rounded to the nearest gram, would be 7 grams or 14 grams respectively; scaling down you could decrease 1 egg, (.69 is less than .75) but scaling up you could keep the egg count the same (1.44 is less than 1.5).

An alternate way to establish the ratios is to simply fill the two pans with water, and compare the two measured amounts of water in oz. or centiliters. Use this method when you want to scale for differing irregular pans like two Bundt pans, or a two different patterned cake molds.

Bakers have expanded the use of the Pullman pan to bake breads not intended in the original application, e.g. 100% rye breads like Vollkornbrot. Generally, it's wise to leave the lid off in these cases.

David G