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Pullman 5 Grain Loaf Tasty, But Not What I Expected

dstein's picture

Pullman 5 Grain Loaf Tasty, But Not What I Expected

Today, I baked a 5 Grain Pullman loaf in my oven for the first time. My goal was to create a similar loaf the the Breadbar 5 Grain Pullman (picture included), a soft, delicate loaf with a medium fine crumb. While the result was a fantastic, similar tasting loaf, there were a few unexpected results. I'd like to get some feedback about what I can do differently to yield the results I want.


2/3 cup milk (I used Goat Milk)
1 cup water (mixed in dry yeast first with a pinch of sugar to proof)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons King Arthur unbleached Cake Flour
4 3/4 cups King Arthur unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Added Poppy, Millet, Sesame to the dough, kneaded dough for 5-8 minutes.

Glazed the top with goat milk and sprinkled above seeds plus sunflower and flax on top. Used unsalted butter on the sides/bottom of the Pullman pan.

Left dough covered in a bowl for 2-3 hours to rise. Rolled into a rectangular loaf and added to pan. Allowed it to rise just below the lip of the pan (30 minutes).

Baked at 350F for 50 minutes in a USA Pans 13x4x4 Pullman pan (without the cover) until core temp was 190F.

The above recipe was a modification of this recipe found on King Arthur Flour's website:

I substituted Cake Flour for Potato Flour and Bread Flour for All-Purpose. Goat Milk for Cow Milk. I really wanted to use fresh yeast but couldn't find any locally so I went with the dry.

There were two unexpected results after baking:

1. The goat's milk glaze didn't seem to do much, the top was either light brown or slightly darker than the original dough color, nothing close to the carmely, dark brown goodness in the photo above. Even the sides and bottom of the loaf never got dark, just a light, pale brown. There was no gloss/shine to the crust either.

2. The crust was hard. I was expecting a soft crust.

How do I get a rich, brown, shiny glaze on all sides of the crust like the photo? How do I get a soft crust? 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

from the recipe, potato flour would have made it softer.  Substituting bread flour mean tweaking: adding moisture, kneading & baking minutes to the loaf and the heavier flour gives the crust a good crunch.  After removing the loaf from the pan, the pale loaf can be placed back into the oven to brown.  Setting the crust without the lid on does make a difference.  My best crust shine & color comes from first trapping steam and then uncovering the loaf.  The gel on the crust surface (formed from the trapped steam) immediately starts to dry reducing surface moisture and the maillard reaction can take place.  The loaf might have been too dry to get a good reaction if it was open the entire time and dough was low hydration.  

dstein's picture

Thanks for the feedback Mini Oven. I just bought Bob's Red Mill potato flour and AP flour to try next time around. Also, I'll try the lid on idea to steam it. I didn't use the lid because I was concerned the loaf would rise and hit the lid, creating that classic pain de mie square look, which I don't want.How long would you leave the lid on and how do you prevent it from hitting the lid and flattening out?

As far as the cake flour, a baker at Breadbar I had met when buying a loaf told me to mix high gluten and low gluten flour. That's how they make their pullman loaf, so I took that to mean those two flours, since cake flour has the lowest gluten content and bread flour the highest. The loaf came out pretty dense, but it has a soft crumb. It's a pretty pleasing consitency and not far off from Breadbar's pullman as far as taste, it's just way more dense/heavy.

Also, after placing it in a ziplock baggie, the crust was considerably softer the next day.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Well, obviously the best way to prevent it from hitting the lid is not to put it on.  You are absolutely right!  The dome does look nice.  You can make a cover though using double thickness of aluminum foil.  

Before filling the Pullman, flip it upside down and shape the foil over the bottom of the pan making a box like cover.  Carefully remove and fill the pan.   Mist the inside of the foil cover and place over the Pullman leaving as much head room as you need pinching the foil tightly to the edge of the pan.  Try it and see if it helps.

clazar123's picture

More gluten is not always better.As MiniOven says-it changes the hydration needs and this is already starting as a rather dry dough. Potato flour softens the crumb a lot. Adding some boiled mashed potatoes and potato water would fo the same. It also keeps the loaf moist for several days longer after baking.

 It looks like the intent of the loaf in the original KA recipe is a shreddably soft crumb and soft crust. I have never had the Breadbar 5 grain loaf. I'm going to assume that it Is  also a very soft crumbed bread with a soft crust and the addition of seeds inside and out and my recommendations are based on that assumption.

I would recommend:

1. using AP flour in the next bake.

2. If you don't have potato flour, you can try adding to the dough a small potatoe -peeled,sliced,boiled in just a little water aand mashed.

3. The most important part of this recipe is to knead to a windowpane before adding the seeds. A soft sandwich loaf like this really needs to have the starchy gel and the gluten well developed to get the proper shreddably soft texture.  It is key! When you get the dough to that point, add the seeds and knead to distribute.

To soften the crust, you could also wrap it in a clean single layer of a cotton tea towel as it cools.  It traps just enough moisture to soften the crumb.

Lovely looking loaf!


dstein's picture

Thanks for the feedback clazar123. I'll try the AP Flour/Potato Flour next time around.

When you say knead to a windowpane, does that mean I should test the dough by spreading it out so thinly that it's translucent?

Will also try the tea towel idea next time as well.

dabrownman's picture

the preferred dried potato flakes, I like to steam them rather than boil them.  They retain more flavor / nutrients and the moisture in them is much less.  This makes it easier to control the overall moisture in the dough.

Happy baking

clazar123's picture

Txfarmer's posts on windowpain and shreddably soft bread are classic with great explanations and pictures.