Pullman Bread

I was really excited when I got my first Pullman bread pan.  I actually got two of them, though I saved one for a Christmas present.  (Technically they were both a Christmas present but I opened up one and started using it right away).

I thought it would be easy, find a recipe, make the bread, bake it and your done?  No.   The recipe I found, while it tasted great (though a bit too sweet) and was for the exact same pan as what I had, was not the correct amount of dough.  First thing you should know, you need to put the right amount of dough in these pans.  Too much and the lid will blow off (happened to me twice) and not enough and you won’t get that typical square shape you’re supposed to get.

The first time I made the recipe that I had found, the lid blew off, although it didn’t blow off into the oven, it simply flew straight up and then back down, so I didn’t realize it had blow off until I went to go take it out of the oven and noticed the bread had risen up out of the pan with the lid sitting nicely on top.  The bread tasted great, was a hit with my boys, so I figured I would give it a go again.  My thinking was I let the dough rise too much in the pan for the second rise, so I wouldn’t let it rise as much the next time.

On my second attempt I didn’t let the dough rise as much on the second rise, so only 1 1/2 inches from the top of the pan.  Covered it up with the lid and popped it into the oven, on a sheet pan just in case.  Everything I though was going great until “bang” the lid blew off again.  This is an extremely loud bang when it happens.  There’s just no mistaking the lid blowing off.  This time the pan flew over on it’s side, so I quickly placed it back upright and slid the lid back on.  While this gave me that typical square shape, it also impeded the dough so it could no longer rise, which ended up giving me a ring of raw dough all around the outside of the bread, making the entire loaf inedible.  This is when I realized it wasn’t that I was letting it rise too much, it was simply way too much dough.

I waited a couple of days and tried again, this time scaling the recipe to get the right amount of dough that I would need for the recipe.  I didn’t want to make the whole recipe and have dough left over, as I didn’t want to waste.  My first go at scaling the recipe back, I actually cut off 2 ounces of dough and threw it away as I was worried it was still too much dough.  I was wrong, it needed that extra 2 ounces.  It took a bit of practice to know how high to let the dough rise on the second rise, but after a few tries I finally got to where I was confident in saying “I got this!”.

Then, once I got my second pan for Christmas, decided I would try doubling the recipe.  There was a slight snag in this.  While the recipe for a single pan is perfect, when you double the recipe, you need to increase the amount of sugar.  It’s still significantly decreased from the original recipe that made a super sweet dough.  I believe for a double recipe I now have it back to the original amount of sugar for a single loaf of bread.

Also, when you are making two loaves at once, you are going to need to rotate the pans half way through the initial baking, to ensure they are baking evenly.

I also take the lid off and continue baking for an extra 10 minutes for a single loaf and 15 minutes for two loaves.

This bread would also work great in a regular bread pan, but you won’t get the closed, soft texture you get from the Pullman pan, which doesn’t allow for the bread to keep expanding, it keeps it contained and therefore, you get a much more closed texture (no big air pockets).  Also, the crust is almost non-existent in the Pullman loaf.

I also slice the loaves freehand, not using a guide or template, and I usually get anywhere from 16 to 18 slices of bread per loaf.  This can last us (2 loaves) about 3 days.  Though last week they were both gone in 1 day!.

I’ll explain why I choose to divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them individually, as opposed to just rolling it up in one log.  I find I can evenly distribute the dough better by doing it this way, as I tend to find if I use 1 piece of dough and roll it up, the centre is always thicker than the ends.  But dividing the dough up into 4, then flattening them out and rolling them up, I ensure there is an equal amount of dough across the entire loaf.  You can do this both ways, this is just the way I do it.

My Pullpan pans are the larger ones (13 X 4 X 4), so this will make a long loaf of bread.  I will put the measurements in brackets for two loaves, and you will notice the sugar has tripled, as with the amount of dough it needs more sugar than a single loaf.  I have tried it out with less and it definitely needs this amount of sugar, but you can decrease and the dough will still turn out, it simply will have a much more bland flavour.

Also, as for the second rising times, these can vary from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and beyond.  This really depends on the temperature of your kitchen, the temperature of the dough, humidity.  All sorts of things.  So I cannot give an exact time for the second rise, as even with me it can sometimes only take 15 minutes to get to within 1/2 an inch from the top of the pan, up to 40 minutes to rise sufficiently.

Once the dough has risen to 1/2 an inch from the top of the pan (on the second rise), slide the lid on and place in the oven.  I wholeheartedly recommend placing this on a sheet pan.  I using canola spray to coat my pan, but you can use softened butter as well.  I just find it quicker and easier to use the canola spray.  But because you are coating the pan and the lid to ensure nothing sicks, the excess oil/butter is going to run down the outside of the pan and drip in your oven, so please place the pan on a sheet pan to make sure you have less to clean up.

I bake the loaves for 30 minutes, then I remove the lids quickly and return the loaves (still in their pans) back into the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Once removed I check to ensure they have an internal temperature of 190°F to make sure they are fully baked.  I never could figure out the “hollow” sound bread was supposed to make.  So I temp my bread with an instant thermometer.

Once the loaves come out of the oven, carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack right away and allow to cool completely before slicing.

All measurements for this recipe are in grams (even the liquid).  It just makes it consistent every time.   This is the way I prefer to bake using weights, as with cups and tsp. we all tend to measure these differently.  But this way if you weigh everything out then you will get the same result each time.



Pullman Bread

makes 1 – 13″ loaf of bread (for 2 loaves use measurements in parenthesis)


375 gr. milk, warmed in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes (750 gr.)

8 gr. instant yeast (16 gr.)

4 gr. salt (8 gr.)

25 gr. sugar (75 gr. for double recipe)

30 gr. butter softened (60 gr.)

525 gr. flour, all purpose (1,050 gr.)


First, measure out all ingredients prior to starting.

Warm up your milk, it’s okay if it’s a little warmer than what you would normally make it using Active Dry yeast.  (for a double recipe I tend to warm the milk for 2 minutes, in 1 minute intervals).

Add all ingredients (except the butter) into your stand mixer bowl, starting with the milk and ending with the flour.  Turn your mixer to low speed (stir).  Continue to mix until all flour has been absorbed and it comes together to make a very rough dough.

Turn the speed up to speed 3 and start adding in your butter.  Once all the butter has been added, if only making a single loaf turn the speed up to 4, if making a double batch for 2 loaves leave the speed at 3, set a timer for 10 minutes and knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Once the 10 minutes is up, scrape the down down to the bottom of the mixing bowl, removing the dough hook, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free spot (for me this is my oven with the light turned on).  All the dough to double in size, this should take about 1 hour.

Once the dough has doubled, start to pre-heat your oven to 350°F.  Prepare your pan by greasing both the pan and under side of the lid with either softened butter or canola spray.

Using a scale or you can eye-ball this, divide your dough into 4 equal pieces (8 if you are doubling this).  Taking each section, stretch out on counter into a rectangle, as thin as you can get it.  Fold each side (long side) in towards the centre in thirds.  Push down with the heel of your palm, hard, from one end to the other end, pushing out any air that you may have just trapped folding the dough over onto itself.

The tightly, roll the dough up, from one short end to the other, making a large roll, then pinch the seam together and place seam side down in your greased pan.  And repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Alternatively you can stretch the piece of dough out without dividing it into 4, as you would when making cinnamon rolls, then tightly roll the dough up and pinch the seam shut and place in the Pullman pan.  You may notice the centre of the dough is fuller than the ends doing it this way though.

Once you have all four rolls in your Pullman pan, push down on them to even them out.  I just use my fist and push them down.  Then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until 1/2 inch from the top of the pan.  This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 and upwards of 40 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, slide the greased cover on top and place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, carefully remove the lid and place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  (15 minutes if making 2 loaves).  (Also, if making 2 loaves, rotate half way through the 30 minutes).

Remove from the oven and remove bread from pans immediately once they are done baking.  Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Slice and store in an air tight bag.

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