Pain de Mie is traditionally baked in closed molds or pans in order to minimize the amount of crust and maximize the amount of crumb, or in French, mie. Basically, it's a sandwich bread. You don't need to bake it in a Pullman type pan...but if you have one, go ahead. That's the traditional way to bake it.
I originally saw this recipe on Give Me Flour, but have seen it on the King Arthur site as well. It's a lovely loaf, marvelous toasted and great for sandwiches.
But as a bonus, I saw a very cute idea on Alexandra Cooks. She had made a lentil soup and used a basic bread recipe to make some small individual ramekins of bread. I thought it would be fun to try and they turned out perfectly. Because this recipe yields two loaves, I used half of the Pain de Mie dough to make some little "loaves". (Your favorite bread dough will work just as well.) It was such a clever and fun idea....soup, with your own little round of homemade bread.
While I didn't use butter on the main loaf, I did use butter to coat the ramekins and brushed the tops with butter too.
Pain de Mie
Adapted from Give Me Flour
Yields 2 loaves
8 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 and 2/3 cups warm water
½ cup olive oil
By Hand: In a large bowl, combine water, sugar, salt and olive oil. Add flour and yeast, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it’s smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise till puffy or nearly doubled, about 45 minutes (depends on the warmth of your kitchen).
Mixer: Combine flour and yeast in a bowl. Add salt, sugar, olive oil and water to the mixer bowl and then add the flour and yeast. Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for 4 minutes and medium speed for 4 more minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise till puffy or nearly doubled, about 45 minutes (depends on the warmth of your kitchen).
Divide the dough into two pieces, pre-shape into oblongs, cover and let it relax for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Pat the dough out, fold it over on itself, and then use the side of your hand to seal the edges. Flip the dough so the sealed edge is on the bottom. Roll the dough under your palms into a cylinder 8in long.
Fit it into the pans, sprinkle some flour on top, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour (again, depending on the warmth of your kitchen it may rise even more slowly).
Preheat your oven to 375°F and bake the bread for 40 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely before serving.
And I had enough left over to use one of the larger ramekins: