Saturday, May 24, 2014

Petit Pains au Lait - We Knead to Bake 17

Shaped and pretty looking breads are a joy to try. Added to that, if the texture of the bread is also great, there is nothing more to stop one from baking; right? So, this month, we baked the beautifully golden on the outside and almost flaky on the inside Petit pains au lait were the choice Aparna made.
Well, I was still catching up with the breads I did not bake, and almost missed this one too. There were other members who kept posting their beautiful looking breads' pictures in the group, that kept reminding me of the same. Then almost to the date of posting, ie. today, I baked this bread two days ago. It was one of the easy recipes yet a very soft and wonderful bread we had tried.
The dough for the pains au lait is a bit rich, though not as that for brioche. The liquid used in this is milk, no water at all and a generous amount of butter, not too much either.The decoration is by patterns that can be cut with scissors on the top of the bread; the other good thing is that the dough can be shaped in any pattern of your own choice.

The pains au lait are best consumed the same day though baking them ahead and storing them to be consumed for breakfast is also possible. I baked them the evening before and had them for breakfast in the morning. You might like to warm them just a bit before serving.

Petit Pains au Lait (French Milk Bread/ Rolls)
(Adapted from Gourmet by Kat - Click here for the link.)

The recipe makes 10 Petit Pains au Lait

2/3 cup warm milk (I used a little more about 20 ml more, possibly because I had bread flour on hand and it needed more milk)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 & 2/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
60 grams butter, softened and at room temperature
Extra milk for brushing
Pearl sugar for topping**(optional)

* If bread flour is not available, you may add 2/3 teaspoon of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour. For this, place the vital wheat gluten in the measuring cup that reads 3/4 cup, and top it up with all purpose flour.
If vital wheat gluten is also not available, just replace bread flour by 3/4 cups all purpose flour.
** I used sugar decorations that are used for cakes. You may choose not to use or opt to use granulated sugar or large crystals of sugar.

You may knead the dough by hand or use a processor. I have used the processor with the kneading blades.
Whisk both the flours and the salt to combine evenly.
Add the sugar and instant yeast to the warm milk, in the processor bowl and pulse for a couple of minutes to mix.
Drop the flour mix into the bowl and run the processor until they all come together in crumbs.
Now add the butter and knead the dough until a soft, elastic and smooth dough that is not sticky is achieved. You might find the dough dry, add more milk in very small quantities for the required consistency.
Shape the dough in a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough over to coat the oil over it. Cover and allow the dough to double in volume. this may take about an hour and a half.
Turn the developed dough onto the working surface. You will not need any flour dusting as the dough will be easy to handle. However, if you must, dust your palms with flour and gently deflate the dough.
Divide the dough in ten portions. rest them for about fifteen minutes. Work on one portion at a time. Roll each portion of the dough in a 4" diameter circle. Roll this like you would for swiss rolls from one end and style into a cylindrical shape.
Pinch the seam closed well and place the roll on greased or parchment lined baking tray, seam side facing downwards.

Repeat this with all the dividends.
Cover them loosely and let them rise for an hour until they look almost double in their size.
Brush the top of the pains with milk lightly. Use a pair of sharp scissors, snip the dough on top forming cuts on the surface. Take care not to cut very deep, just slight cuts to bring out patterns.
Sprinkle the pearl sugar on the top.
Bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C until the tops are nicely golden.
Remove from the oven and cool them on wire racks.

Serve them warm with coffee and tea or chilled flavoured milk. They make for good breakfast or when fresh, to pack in children's snack boxes.

These were easy to bake rolls and do take a look at Aparna's post here, and check out other members' breads. you may find their links at the end of that post.

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