Honey-Oat Pain de Mie: comfort bread

Ah, supermarket bread!

Beloved of children, remembered with nostalgia by their crusty-chewy-artisan-loaf-eating parents. Close-grained, soft, moist, dense, and perfect for sandwiches. And toast.

But not for rolling into bread balls and firing at the kid across the lunchroom table.

That would be air bread, the equally loved (but oft maligned) Wonder. No, I’m talking Pepperidge Farm here. Or Arnold. Or [fill in the regional higher-priced mass-market bread bakery of your choice].

I grew up with Arnold and Pepperidge Farm breads. Both had large bakeries in Connecticut, where I lived. Arnold “brick oven bread,” in fact, was baked in the largest brick oven in the world, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Pepperidge Farm bread came from just up the road in Norwalk.

While we kids clamored for Sunbeam Bread (“It’s batter whipped!”), the local Wonder wannabe, Mom preferred bread with a bit more substance. And since she held the purse strings and pushed the shopping cart, our lunchbox PB & J sandwiches were made with Arnold or Pepperidge Farm. They had some heft to them.

Though I’ve been baking my own bread for years, a slice of Pepperidge Farm white, made into cinnamon toast, is still an occasional pleasure – usually when I’m visiting my non-baking in-laws. With its fine, even crumb;  pleasant moist texture, and very slight sweetness, it’s true comfort food.

These days, though, I usually make my own comfort bread: pain de mie. It’s just like good supermarket bread – but without the calcium propionate, mono and diglycerides, and high-fructose corn syrup those mass-produced breads need to survive on the shelf.

My lidded pain de mie pan has produced many a loaf over the years, as I’ve gradually moved from white bread, to 100% whole wheat, and now to Honey-Oat Pain de Mie – white bread with a nice charge of oats.

Can you bake this bread in a loaf pan?

Sure; you can bake it in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. But the bread won’t have that perfectly even, fine texture.

If you’re a fan of just-like-supermarket-but-better sandwich bread, I highly recommend a pain de mie pan. I’m thinking sourdough pain de mie next…

Place the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons honey

Note: This recipe is written for a 9″ pain de mie pan. Though we haven’t tested it, I suspect that increasing all of the ingredients (except the yeast) by 50% (e.g., 3 cups flour becomes 4 1/2 cups flour) would transform this into a recipe suitable for a large (13″ x 4″) pain de mie pan.

Add 1 cup to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

How do you know how much water to use? Generally speaking, use the smaller amount in the summer, or in a humid climate; the larger in winter, or in a drier climate.

This time of year, in between seasons? I’d start with the smaller amount.

Combine all of the ingredients, and mix until cohesive.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, to give the oats a chance to absorb some of the liquid.

Scrape the dough into the center of the bowl.

Knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It’ll start out very sticky, then gradually start to come away from the sides of the bowl.

It helps to stop midway through, scrape the sticky dough off the sides and bottom of the bowl, then continue kneading.

By the time you’re done, the dough should be sticking just a little, at the very bottom of the bowl.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it’s risen noticeably. It won’t necessarily double in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9″ pain de mie (pullman) pan, pressing it gently to flatten.

Place the lid on the pan (or cover with plastic wrap, for a constant view)…

…and let the dough rise until it’s about 1″ from the top of the lid, 60 to 90 minutes.

This should be just about right.

If it’s not risen enough, it won’t fill the pan. But let it rise too much, and you run the risk of the loaf actually popping the pan’s lid off. Yes, rising bread is that strong!

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove the plastic (if you’ve used it), slide the pan’s lid completely closed, and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 190°F.

The finished loaf will be a gorgeous golden brown.

Turn the loaf out of the pan onto a rack.

Run a stick of butter over the top, if desired; this will yield a soft, buttery crust.

Cool completely before cutting; wrap airtight and store  for several days at room temperature.

Peanut butter and Fluff? Egg salad? Ham and cheese?

What’s your favorite “comfort food” sandwich? Tell us below.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Honey-Oat Pain de Mie.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. VickiC

    Great recipe! This is my first time making a recipe for loaf bread. Sooooo yummy! I don’t have a pan de Mie pan so I just used a regular 9 x 5 loaf pan. Used a pizza stone to cover it and it came out great! So tasty with butter slathered on it.

    Reply
  2. Kalena

    I’m amazed how many people keep asking you about adjusting for the 13X 4 Pan? Hello people it’s in the article at the end.

    Anyways, I remember Orowheat’s Honey Oat bran bread as my mom’s go to bread when she wasn’t baking. She never let us eat Rainbow or wonder bread she called it “gummy glue bread”.

    First time I had it was at a cousins house and the PJB Sammie bread stuck to the roof of my mouth! LOL!

    My mom was baking in the seventies and we grew up with 100 whole wheat bran and berry bread with oat bran and wheat germ craze. Yum? Stayed with you all day! Funny know we bake our 6 gen Azorean Pão Doce/Portuguese sweet bread and Hokkaido Milk bread now

    My question is can I use my sweet bread or HKMB in a pan de mie pan to get Japanese-style Sandwich bread. Would you know how much by gram wt. of dough would I need of sweetbread Massa to fill the pan de Mie? Think similar to a brioche or Challah? Any advise would be appreciated Aloha and Mahalo!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There’s no reason we see not to try making your sweet breads or milk breads in a pain de mie pan, Kalena, but it may take a little experimentation to discover exactly how much dough will fit nicely for each recipe (this depends somewhat on how the dough rises). It may help to know that a 9″ pain de mie generally holds about the same amount of dough as a regular 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (~1.5 lbs, 680 grams, or recipe calling for 3 cups of flour), and a 13″ pan generally holds roughly the same as two 8.5″ x 4.5″ pans (~2 lbs, 900 grams, or recipe calling for closer to 4+ cups of flour). Hope this helps get you headed in the right direction! Mollie@KAF

  3. Mary Bock

    I have been searching and experimenting for years for a recipe that comes close to my childhood favorite, Arnold Brick Oven . THIS IS IT ! with a few additions. I have a 13″ Pullman so I increased flour to 4 1/2 C. 3 tsp yeast , 1 3/4C Oats, 2 1/4 tsp salt , 6 tbsp butter, 4 tbsp honey, 1/2 C powdered milk, 2 C water,3 tbsp white sugar, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 c instant potatoes..All this mind you is kneaded in bread machine, if after a few minutes the dough is still to wet,the throw in a little more flour in. After cycle is done remove and place in pan to rise again before baking. 37-40 minutes. So Easy too!

    Reply
  4. Cheekygrrl

    What a time I had with this today! First, the mixture was too dry and beater was straining so I added some water. I already put in the 1c. + 2T and it wasn’t enough. Then it was like batter, not dough so I began adding tsp. of flour to thicken. I switched out the beater to dough hook now. Then I put it into the buttered bowl to rise with saran over it. Bowl not big enough and it came out under saran wrap onto the electric stove burner it was sitting on. I patted it down and put some into the bread pan (5¼X9X2¾) and there was too much left over, so I buttered a cake pan and created 2 large “rolls” out of the excess. I have a large plastic bowl I can use next time and I did learn how to make this. I just turned the oven off so they can brown. I know they will be yummy, but weird!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It sounds like you experienced some bumps in the road, fellow baker, but we’re glad you persevered! We hope the flavor turned out just lovely to make all your hard work worth the effort. Remember that if you ever have baking questions or concerns, our Baker’s Hotline is here to help: 855-371-BAKE(2253). Kye@KAF

  5. Judy

    I’m getting confused. Which is it – a finger indentation should remain indented or filled in. Also I have a new oven and am finding after making four different loaves of your bread that were made previously in my old oven and were just perfect are now not rising in the oven at all and are dense. Today I made the honey oat pan de mei loaf and once again the bread rose beautifully on the counter but didn’t rise at all in the oven. The top of the bread on all the other loaves I’ve made look more like the top of a biscuit rather than a loaf of bread. Have you ever seen anything like this? I’ve had the oven checked a few times and the temperature recalculated but getting help to bake bread from the oven company – well I might as well call an auto mechanic.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is how you should test for readiness. Lightly flour your index finger and press it gently into the dough. Press in to about the bed of your fingernail. If the indentation remains and doesn’t spring back or fill in, then the bread is well risen and ready for the oven. Your dough should be soft even somewhat tacky for the best rise and final texture. Be sure you are not using Rapid Rise yeast. This yeast is only good for one rise. An instant or active dry is best. Try shortening the first rise for a better second rise and be sure to heed to the recipe’s method for determining if the loaf is ready for covering and baking. The dough should be about 1″ from the top of the lid, 60 to 90 minutes. Elisabeth@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Here is what PJH had told another customer: “I’d say a flour weight of 12 to 14 ounces would be about right; the dough would weigh about 20 to 24 ounces or so… A recipe using 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour/grains is your best bet. PJH”. Hope this helps and Happy baking! JoAnn@KAF

  6. David G Epstein

    The hotline’s advice did the trick. I proofed the yeast and went by weight instead of volume. Did the trick. It rose and baked as indicated.

    Thank you, Bakers’ Hotline.

    Reply
  7. David G Epstein

    As with so many of your bread recipes, this one refused to rise as indicated. I let it rise all night, and put it in a loaf pan, and let it rise all day, but it still did not reach within an inch of the top. It smelled wonderful while baking, but the result was doughy and flat. I must be doing something wrong, but I haven’t a clue what it is.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      David, what kind of yeast are you using? “As with so many of your bread recipes” – if you’re finding our recipes uniformly don’t rise, it would seem to point to an issue with ingredients. I think it would be best for you to call our hotline, 855-371-2253 – this kind of issue benefits by real-time dialogue. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

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