Many a time, Simple is best, after last month's exotic Flaounes, it was a pleasant change to
have a quick & easy recipe from Aparna Balasubramanian. And yet, I managed to put off baking until today. I really need to snap out of my lethargy, & hopefully the laundry list of pointers I've acquired from the BlogHer Food conference will help me do that.
As far as breads go, it does not get much simpler than these elegant Petit Pain au lait ( Milk Bread)
The original versions are sweet with a generous sprinkling of pearl sugar, but the majority ruling at home (a.k.a my eight year old miniature 'Anton Ego') shot that idea down, instead preferring a savory version. I had to do some serious improvising with the original recipe that Aparna provided, but the end result was well worth it. Improvisation # 1 was obviously swapping out the sweet version for the savory. The second was that I had only skim milk at home, so I boosted the amount of butter in the dough to make up for it.
Savory petit pain au lait: (Makes 10 rolls)You need:
2/3 cup warm skim milk
1 tsp instant yeast
1/8 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour*
1/2 tsp salt
80gm butter, soft at room temperature
2 teaspoon dried French Thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
A generous pinch of fresh cracked peppercorn
Extra milk for brushing
Flavored Salt for sprinkling. (I used a home made Citrus salt)
Add the milk, yeast and sugar into the bowl of the stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook) and allow them to combine. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, salt, thyme, parmesan cheese and the salt. Add thhis mixture gradually into the stand mixture bowl until the mixture looks crumbly. Now add the butter gradually, allowing the dough to come together in a smooth elastic consistency. If the dough appears dry, add extra milk by the teaspoonful until you reach the right consistency. Transfer to a well oiled bowl, cover and allow to proof in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume.
Turn the dough over on to the working surface, deflate and dived into 10 equal pieces
Allow the the pieces of dough to rest for about 15 minutes.
Roll out each piece of dough into a 5 inch diameter circle.
Roll the flattened piece of dough like a Swiss / Jelly roll. Pinch together the seams and fold the edges underneath the dough. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cover the baking trays and allow the rolls to rise for a second time for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Once the dough has risen sufficiently, Brush the surface with milk and sprinkle a bit of flavored salt over the top. Next, using a pair of sharp tipped kitchen scissors, make little cuts over the surface as seen below.
Place the trays in the oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until the top turns a golden brown. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite beverage of choice. Or, simply with a pat of good salted butter.
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