Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pain Au Lait / Milk Bread

I kids were asking me.."why spikes on the bread".  Hmmm I dont know but it looked nice. Nevermind about the outside but my goodness this recipe is a keeper.   I thought it tasted almost like the hokkaido milky loaf but this one does not contain that much of fat.  The dough itself was a challenge to knead since I do not have a bread machine and so when it was time for me to add the fat into the dough, it was all like a big mess but all the effort of kneading, kneading, kneading was worthwhile.

“Pain au lait” literally translates to “milk bread”, but such a humble name hardly describes the elegant things.  As might be expected, the only liquid used in the dough is milk.  Butter too is added, in a moderate amount that tends toward generosity but stops well short of extravagance.  The resultant texture is not nearly as rich as one would think; in fact, I’d say the word “rich” would be inappropriate here.The word “light” is more to the point.

Inside, they are soft and very nearly flaky (due to the slightly unusual rolling and folding technique used), while outside, they are almost crackery; the combination of textures is delightful. i also added some sprinkle of coarse salt and this complemented the sweet buns really well with a little hint of salt.


230g all purpose flour
60g bread flour
125g milk ( preferably whole milk)
4g yeast ( I used 1 package-7g)
1 egg
38g sugar
5g salt ( 1/4 tsp)
63g butter


  • Sprinkle the yeast into the lukewarm milk in a small bowl, leave for 5 minutes for the yeast to froth.
  •  Melt the butter and set aside.
  • Then beat in the egg until combined.
  •  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the yeasted milk and egg. Stir with a wooden spoon till it comes together.
  • Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes then slowly add in the butter. Everything will look like a big mess but keep bringing the dough together and push away with your knuckle. Keep doing this for at least a good 10 minutes and you will notice the dough will be smoother and coming together.
  •  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size for about 1 hours.
  • Knock back and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 16 pieces or however many pieces you want.
  • Roll each piece either into a 30cm rope and form into a coil, tucking under the end or just like a bun.
  • Place on a baking pan lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and prove for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  • Brush each roll with melted butter and snip the top with a scissor. Sprinkle with some coarse salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Check your oven temperature.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack and brush again with a little melted butter.

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