Anne Burrell Tried Out Julia Child's Iconic Bread Recipe

Anne Burrell may be quite the renowned chef in her own right, but she's not afraid to acknowledge one of the true culinary legends of the past, the great Julia Child. Recently Burrell experimented with something she called "Julia's' Pullman loaf," telling her Instagram followers that she did so because she'd received a Pullman loaf pan as a Christmas present. The first pic she posted was one of the bread dough in her KitchenAid mixer, captioned with an enthusiastic "I think it came out pretty well!!" At that point, it appears she didn't yet know for sure, though, since she added, "I will let you know tomorrow morning when I have some toast with jam and butter for breakie!!!" (We're going to assume she meant "brekkie.")

A subsequent Instagram post featuring a photo of a sliced loaf indicates that Burrell's "Julie & Julia" moment had been a success. Her caption — which, if at all possible, conveyed an even greater degree of enthusiasm as evidenced by her exuberant punctuation — declared the bread to be "SO worth the wait!!!" Burrell also shouted out the recipe's creator once more, adding "Thank you Julia!!!"

Julia Child never called it a "Pullman" loaf

If you search Julia Child's cookbooks for her "Pullman loaf" recipe, you'll likely search in vain, as that is not the name Child gave to this classic French sandwich-type bread. The National Museum of American History, proud possessors of Child's original handwritten recipe, have posted a photo that shows she referred to it by its proper French name of pain de mie. In the photo from the museum, all we can see are the ingredients, these being milk, butter, salt, sugar, flour, and yeast.

Child did publish a pain de mie recipe in her 1975 cookbook From Julia Child's Kitchen, and in that book we can see the directions -– all two pages of them. Nowhere in the recipe (or the book) does Child call for a Pullman pan by name, although she does say that if you use a covered loaf pan, you should weight it down with a brick. She has no problem with using an open pan, though, and tells the reader that if you use one of these, you can expect "the familiar humped loaf." Pain de mie's distinguishing characteristic, after all, was never meant to be the perfectly square shape you get with a Pullman pan. Instead, as Child explains, pain de mie is known for its "special crumb ... close-grained, rather firm for easy slicing," as well as the moisture that keeps it from drying out too quickly when put to its intended purpose as part of a sandwich.