Semi Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (Pan De Mie)

Semi Whole Wheat Loaf

Bread is a staple at out home and while we would like to eat healthy and eat the whole grain variety, we have found that the store bought ones are way too sweet for our taste. Hence this semi whole wheat loaf is not too sweet. I actually used  less sugar than the original recipe for white bread.

Its been a while since I have blogged or made a loaf of bread at home. So when I did make this loaf and shared a picture on Facebook (to prevent myself from digging into a still warm loaf), the recipe requests seemed like a good idea to start blogging again. If I was going to sit down and write the recipe with all it’s customizations along with reason for customizing, I might as well make it a blog post.

The original recipe was for a white bread made with all purpose flour. This one uses about half the quantity of whole wheat flour. I used ‘Atta’ (Indian whole wheat flour) to make this loaf. We have a love for rotis , paratha and chapatis, so atta is a staple in our house. When I used to grind my own flour I found the texture or end product to be similar to atta. With the availability or some really good quality atta in Indian stores and even Costco, I just use atta these days. Another good substitute is whole wheat pastry flour and from the Bluprint classes I have watched in recent years there seems to be fine ground whole wheat flour available from various brands including King Arthur brand. Stone ground Whole wheat flour will most probably make a denser loaf and prevent the required gluten development. More can be learnt from the links in the reference section.

As you can see the shape of the loaf is an almost perfect square (well it’s actually a cuboid, with its ends being squares, but you get the gist). This is achieved by baking it in a Pullman pan. Well what is a Pullman pan you say? It’s a neat little (or not so little) contraption with straight edges and a lid to bake bread in. These pans have existed for a while but the name is attributed to the fact that they were used to bake bread in the kitchen of the Pullman Railway Cars. These occupied less space than the regular loaf pans and they do resemble the train cars as well.  The pans themselves have existed from the 18th century and the loaves were called pain de mie.  Because the loaf is baked in an enclosed container the  crust remains soft.  The beauty of a home baked pain de pie is that we can make the crust a tad more firm to be able to hold the bread together without it being too crusty. 

The recipe I have adapted is by Richard Mischovich.  The autolyse technique followed is also taken from his other whole grain dough recipes. This involves mixing the flour with water and sugar for a few minutes ensuring all the flour is completely moistened, then letting it rest for half an hour or so.  The yeast, salt and butter is held back to allow for the gluten strands to form.  After the rest period the remaining ingredients are added one by one. Salt and yeast should not come into direct contact as salt is a yeast inhibitor.  I have added some links below to articles that explain this process in detail.

Semi Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Semi Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread


  • 330 gms All Purpose flour
  • 300 gms Atta (fine ground whole wheat flour)
  • ( use 3 ups of each flour if using a cup to measure)
  • 378 gms (1 2/3 cups)water
  • 2 tbsp milk powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter


  • Mix together water flour and sugar. If using a stand mixer, mix on speed 1 and if using a food processor pulse to mix gently.
  • After all the flour is well moistened without any lumps that may contain dry flour, cover and set aside for 30 min.
  • After 30 min add the yeast and head for about 5 min by hand and 2 min with stand mixer. If using food processor make sure that the yeast has been well incorporated.
  • Next add salt and knead as in the step above.
  • Add small pieces of butter at a time while continuing to knead. This does get a bit messy when kneading by hand. If kneading by hand you can add the butter in the very first step to avoid it being too messy.
  • knead for about 5 min in stand mixer after the butter had been incorporated. If kneading by hand knead for 10 min or so after everything has been incorporated. For food processor it would be advisable to knead by hand at this stage.
  • Cover dough and let it rest for 45 min. After that knead by folding in from the outer edges of the dough to the inside for about 2 min. Let it rest again for 45 min.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle about the length of the pan and about a half inch thick or so. Do this by hand mostly, but use a rolling pin to assist when required.
  • Roll the dough along the length and pinch the seam closed.
  • Spray the loaf pan with oil and place seam side down in the loaf pan close the lid if using a Pullman pan. The lid needs to be oiled as well.
  • Allow to rise for about 45 min. Rising time might vary. The dough should be about half an inch below the rim for a pullman pan. It does not matter too much if not using a covered pan.
  • Preheat oven to 450 F and bake for 10 min. Reduce temp to 350 F and bake for 25 min. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 min. You can if you want remove the loaf from the pan on to a sheet pan and bake for another 5 min to firm up the crust. Put the loaf upside down if doing so.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing in.
  1. The instructions are mostly for a Pullman pan. If baking in an open pan or a freeform loaf the last two instructions are not required.
  2. Make sure to slash the tops of the loves if not using a Pullman pan, otherwise the loaves will most probably develop jagged crack on the top while baking.
  3. If you want a softer crust for an open pan or freeform loaf cover the open pan with foil or wrap the freeform loaf in foil for the last 10 min of the baking.


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