Friday, April 21, 2017


It is really hard to resist a roll of freshly baked bread, warm and straight from the oven; especially when it is made with milk and butter. I love pain au lait because it is a very rich bread, despite not having no eggs or no yolks. Rich dough, made with butter, sugar and whole milk, ensures a tender crumb, and a very slightly golden, crunchy surface with a beautifully soft texture. Serve them warm, with your favourite jam and tea.

350 grams plain flour
150 ml whole milk
1 ½ teaspoon dried yeast
30 grams sugar
1 teaspoon salt
60 grams butter, soft
1 egg
milk, for brushing

Mix together the warm milk and yeast in a small bowl, along with a teaspoon of the sugar, then set it aside for five to ten minutes, so the yeast can activate. Sift the flour twice into a large bowl, add the sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Dice the softened butter and add it to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, until there are no lumps of butter left. The mixture should resemble somewhat wet sand. When the yeast is ready, make a well in the centre of the flour, pour it in, add the slightly beaten egg and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to form. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. If the dough sticks to the surface or to your hands too much, add a bit of flour and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place it in a large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave it to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Gently turn the dough out on a work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. You can weigh the dough and divide by weight if you want to be more precise. Take each piece of dough, fold the edges into the centre, then roll it on the work surface into a smooth ball shape. Using your palms, roll each piece into a cylindrical shape. Arrange them on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper and cover them with a tea towel and let them rest and rise for another 30 minutes. Just before baking, cut them across with a sharp knife and brush them with some milk. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for about 12-15 minutes.