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. RobM

    From reading through some of the posts it looks like I can substitute regular yeast for the instant yeast. Am I correct? Has anyone tried this on this recipie?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Rob. We’ve done lots and lots of side by side tests, baking the same recipe with instant and active dry yeast, using them in just the same way. The active dry yeast loaf is a teeny bit slower to get moving on its first rise, but catches up. No difference in the final products. Go to it! Susan

  2. Dee

    I would love to try this recipe! Just two questions:
    1. Can I use a regular loaf pan or is it a must to use a pain de mie?
    2. Can I substitute molasses for the honey?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This recipe can be made in a 9×5 loaf pan if you do not have the pain de mie. Feel free to use molasses, but it will greatly change the flavor and color of the bread. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure, just make sure to increase the water by 1 tablespoon per cup of whole wheat. Jon@KAF

  3. Shanan

    I have made all 3 of the smaller pain de mie recipes. The whole wheat is in the oven now. They taste delicious but all 3 have risen much faster than the recipes say. Much faster! It makes the lid hard to get on and off. I use the red Saf yeast. I have switched to cold water instead of lukewarm but it still gets away from me.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Your kitchen must be very friendly to yeast! Try cutting back by 1/2 teaspoon and see if that helps. Good luck – PJH

  4. "Burnt Thumbs"

    I have tried this now three times using new yeast each time but can not get it to rise in the oven. It does very good in the bowl as far as doubling but falls flat when put in the pan and when it makes its second rise it doesn’t do much. Tried increasing yeast no luck changed flour no luck. I am stuck. This is my first effort in using this kind of pan.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there!

      I don’t think the pan itself is an issue, but it sounds like you may be using a “rapid rise” or “bread machine” yeast which is quite common in grocery stores and will only have enough energy to complete one rise. If that is the case then you may find switching to any other basic “instant” or “active-dry” yeast may solve your problem. If you are already using one of those basic yeasts, then I would guess your problem may relate to over-proofing in which case you just need to proceed with your recipe following the first and second rises a little sooner. If you would like to talk through the recipe, we would love to chat with you about it on our Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253 and we can figure out how to get you a beautiful pain de mie loaf the next time around. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  5. Frank Krueger

    Can I use my sourdough yeast starter (I cup) with this recipe and reduce the amount of instant starter and unbleached flour?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Frank, give it a try. Reduce the water in the recipe by 1/2 cup, and the all-purpose flour by 1 cup. If your starter is very active, you could try reducing the instant yeast to 2 teaspoons, and see how it goes. Good luck – PJH

    2. Rania

      Can you tell me how much starter (and % hydration) you ended up using and how it turned out? I want to try this with my 100% hydration starter too. Thanks!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A bread machine is always an option or the dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand! Jon@KAF

  6. Cristen

    This bread was delicious. I am shoveling it in my mouth as I type this … couldn’t even let it cool. It smelled delicious as it was baking.

    Reply
  7. Heather

    this recipe fits all my requirements. easy, honey, oats and that “new’ pan I got last year and have only used once! I would love to make more homemade bread and I think this would work great for sandwhiches to take to school!!!! thanks!

    Reply
  8. Corri

    Made this recipe in the large pan and substituted 1c of Irish Whole Meal flour for 1c of the AP. I also reduced the oats to 1c. Really nice, chewy texture. A bit more dense than the white recipe but terrific flavor and toasts perfectly. Nice way to get the nutritional benefit from the whole meal, too! Yum…

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Corri, love these tweaks – Sounds like it would be awesome toasting bread. Thanks for sharing – PJH

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