How Much Dough Do I Need For My Pullman Pan?

We love Pullman pans! As fairly recent converts to the Pullman bread method (also called “pain de mie”) we wish we had jumped on this “train” a long time ago, pun intended. (Pullman loaves get their name from the train company). Pullman loaves have quickly become our go-to daily sandwich bread. The crust is perfectly crips but THIN enough to melt in your mouth. The crumb is moist and pillowy yet ultra-fine at the same time. Exactly what we want sandwich bread to be. Plus, it keeps really well so we always have a supply on hand. If you haven’t tried making Pullman bread at home.

We began our quest for the perfect Pullman loaf by first trying to figure out how much dough we would need to use. We knew that we wanted a 13x4x4 Pullman, so we did some research and found that most recipes called for around 10 cups of dough. However, we wanted to be sure, so we decided to experiment a bit. We made several loaves of bread using different amounts of dough, and finally settled on using 11 cups of dough. This created a loaf that was the perfect size and had a lovely square shape.

Now that we had the perfect amount of dough, we needed to figure out how to get it into the pan in such a way that it would hold its shape. Again, we did some trial and error until we found a method that worked perfectly. First, we rolled out the dough into a large rectangle. Then, we carefully folded it into thirds, making sure that the edges were nice and straight. Finally, we placed it in the pan and gently pressed it into place. The result was a beautifully shaped loaf of bread that was perfect for slicing and serving.

We hope that our experience will help others who are trying to make their own Pullman loaves. With a little patience and experimentation, anyone can create a perfectly square loaf of bread!
Baking is often seen as a science, and with good reason. There are a lot of variables that can affect the outcome of your bake, from the type of flour you use to the amount of time the dough spends rising. However, one of the most important factors in any baking recipe is the weight of the dough. This can be a tricky thing to measure, especially when working with sticky or wet doughs. That’s why we came up with an equation that has worked well for us, and we think it will help you get close to the perfect weight needed for your recipe.

For standard white bread recipes using commercial yeast or sourdough, aim for a dough weight in grams that is between 5-6 times the volume of your Pullman pan. Splitting the difference between the high end and the low end is a great place to start.

Don’t want to do the math? Just skip down below. We put together a chart with the most common pan sizes and dough weights for white bread and whole wheat. With this guide, you’ll be able to get your baking recipes just right, ensuring delicious and correctly proportioned results every time.

So How do I Find the Volume and What do I do With it?

 

We’re fairly confident this number will get you a nice square loaf, but depending on your environment and flour used things could need a little tweaking. You know your average bakes more than we do. 🙂 If your loaves tend to under rise then aim for the higher end of dough weight to get the perfect square.

Example of 13x4x4 pan:

13 x 4 x 4 = 208
208 x 5 = 1,040
208 x 6 = 1,248
(1,040 + 1,248) / 2 = 1,144
Use grams as your weight unit and you have 1,144g total dough weight. This amount of dough should be just enough to give you a tall, fluffy square loaf that’s around 80% the size of your pan. If you want a taller loaf or are baking at high altitudes, go ahead and use the full 1,248g (5 and 3/4 cups) recipe. For a shorter loaf that’s more dense, use the 1,040g (5 cups) recipe. And as always, make sure to preheat your oven and pan before baking!

Can I Use This Equation For Any Type of Bread?

The short answer is no.
This equation is what we have come up with for white bread. It works beautifully if using white wheat flour. But different varieties of flour have different impacts on rising levels. More dense flours like 100 percent whole wheat will require more dough to fill the same volume. There are just too many variations to take into consideration to make an all-inclusive equation. But, we did include common sizes and weights for white and whole wheat down below.

 

For example, if you want to make a loaf of sourdough bread, you will need a levain (a starter culture of flour and water) in addition to the other ingredients listed in the equation. The levain adds acidity to the dough which will impact the gluten development, resulting in a slightly different outcome than if you were to use this equation for plain white bread. As you can see, there are many factors at play when it comes to baking bread and each one will impact the final product in some way. The best way to get a feel for how different ingredients will affect your dough is to experiment in the kitchen and see for yourself!

Common Sizes and Weights for Pullman Bread

Pan Size White Dough Weight Whole Wheat Dough Weight
7x4x4 550-650g 650-750g
9x4x4 750-850g 850-950g
13x4x4 1,100-1200g 1200-1300g
16x4x4 1300-1400g 1400-1500g
We find best results around these ranges, but note that ingredients matter and tweaking might be needed.

Want a Sample Recipe?

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make bread, then look no further than Pullman bread.

Ingredients

575g White Bread Flour (AP is fine as well)
200g Warm Water
175g Warm Milk
85g Soft Butter (Either Salted or Unsalted is fine)
25g Honey (Or 30g sugar)
10g Salt
7g Active Dry Yeast (Instant is fine)

Total Dough Weight = 1,077g

Supplies

13x4x4 Pullman Pan
Large Mixing Bowl
Dab of Oil For Bowl and Pan

Process

Step 1: This recipe calls for using all of the warm milk and honey to bloom the yeast. To do this, simply combine the yeast with the milk and honey. Then, let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. You’ll know the yeast is ready when the top layer of liquid is covered in foam and bubbles.

Step 2: ix all of the flour and salt with the bloomed yeast mixture and water. When the mixture is mostly incorporated add in the butter and continue to mix until fully incorperated.

Step 3:Knead the dough for six minutes, then form it into a ball and let it rest for three minutes uncovered. Return to the dough and knead for three to five more minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Finally, form it into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl to rise.

Step 4: After the dough has rested, it’s time to let it rise. This is when the yeast creates carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to expand. To help the rising process along, cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1.5 hours. Keep an eye on the dough, as you don’t want it to over-rise. Once it has doubled in size, it’s ready to be baked.

Step 5:After you have let the dough rise, it is important to degas it before shaping. To do this, simply punch it down and turn it out onto a non-floured surface. If the dough is overly sticky, then you can use a light dusting of flour on your work surface. Be careful not to add too much flour, as this will make the dough tough. Once the dough has been degassed, you can shape it as desired and place it on a baking sheet. Remember to place the oily side down so that the tops of the rolls are nice and golden brown.

Step 6: The next step is to stretch the dough into a rectangle. The easiest way to do this is to use a rolling pin. Once the dough is the right size, roll it up and place it in a lightly oiled Pullman pan.

Step 7: To let your dough rise, simply cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. Once it has finished rising, you’re ready to bake your bread.

Step 8: Preheat your oven to 380° F, oil your lid and place it on the pan.

Step 9: The ninth and final step in baking your bread is to bake it for 45 minutes. You can optionally insert a digital thermometer into the center of the loaf to make sure it is done; the bread should register 190° F.

Step 10: Open pan lid a little less than halfway and let cool on your counter for 10 minutes.

Step 11: After you’ve baked your bread and it’s golden brown and risen to perfection, it’s time to remove it from the pan. Gently hold the loaf over the cooling rack and turn it upside down. The bread should easily fall out of the pan. Allow it to cool completely before slicing into it. Enjoy!

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