Pain au lait, the taste of French childhood
Pastry chef Sarah Ifrah Ohana shares her recipe for deliciously soft milk bread, a favourite afternoon snack in France.
In France, this sweet after-school treat never grows old. As a snack, a part of brunch or an anytime indulgence, try this recipe for homemade pain au lait.
It is so easy that the chef gives you suggestions for what to do while the yeast works its magic: prepare one of these three delicious spreads to go with the hot milk bread rolls after they come out of the oven. A chocolate crémeux, a classic caramel sauce, soft caramel... choosing will be the hardest part. You just might have to make all three and see which flavour combination you like best!
Here is the recipe for happy moments – 100% homemade.
Ingredients (makes a dozen rolls)
Milk bread rolls
- 180g milk (~180 ml)
- 110g eggs (~4 eggs)
- 15g yeast
- 500g flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 10g salt
- 130g butter
- 600g double cream (~600 ml)
- 60g caster sugar
- 250g egg yolks (~12 eggs)
- 250g dark chocolate
- 180g caster sugar
- 110g liquid glucose or golden syrup
- 3g sea salt flakes
- 297g double cream (~300 ml), warmed
- 50g milk chocolate
- 200g slightly salted butter
- 230g double cream (~230 ml), warmed
- 130g liquid glucose or golden syrup
- 60g slightly salted butter
Milk bread rolls
Using a mixer at speed 2, combine the milk, eggs, yeast, flour and then the sugar and salt until the dough just begins to pull away from the bowl. Increase the speed to 4 and add the butter, little by little. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and shiny. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in volume, punch it down, then divide into 12 equal portions (about 55g each). Let them rise for about 40 minutes. Spritz rolls with water, score the tops and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 12 minutes.
Bring the cream to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Make a custard and pour over the chocolate. Mix and let cool, placing cling film directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Melt together the sugar, glucose and salt, and cook until a lovely amber colour is obtained. Remove from heat and pour in the warm cream to stop the cooking. Incorporate the chocolate and butter. Let cool with cling film directly on the surface.
Combine the sugar and glucose, then heat until a lovely amber colour is obtained. Add the warm cream and boil until the mixture reaches 120°C (250°F). Pour into a rimmed baking sheet and cut into small cubes.
Split open each milk bread roll and stuff it with the filling of your choice. Your afternoon snack is served!
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