Like every year, we get to celebrate ‘La Fête du Pain’/Bread festival on the 2nd week of May. This annual culinary event, hosted by Les Moulins de la Concorde [LMLC], is held in bakeries throughout the island. Being the most commonly consumed food after rice, bread can be easily made at home either by hand or with the help of a bread machine. The 2013 theme is ‘Le Pain, un plaisir renouvelé tous les jours’ which will be the focus of several activities for both amateur bakers and professionals.

Being a big fan of fresh, homemade bread, I simply could not skip this food festival. It therefore gives me immense pleasure to bring to you the very humble pain au lait. This soft, brioche-like bread is an absolute delight at breakfast time and can be filled with just about anything you fancy. It is an excellent start for novice bakers and a very customisable one for those with more experience in yeast breads. Happy Bread Baking everyone!

PAIN AU LAIT

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

5 g instant yeast

1/2 cup whole fat milk

1 egg, room temperature

1/8 tsp table salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

Method:

  • Sift flour in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Combine egg and milk in a measuring jug.
  • Add to flour mixture to form a loose ball of dough. Slowly add butter and salt to incorporate.

  • Turn out the sticky dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead well for about 5-10 minutes.
  • The dough will be soft and smooth but still quite sticky. Do not be tempted to add extra flour.

  • Return to bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to proove in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  • After it has doubled in volume, punch the dough down and turn out on a clean, floured surface.

  • Divide dough into 6 equal parts and shape into sausages. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  • Place the dough shapes on a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart and cover with a damp cloth.

  • Leave the pan in a warm place for about 30 minutes until the dough doubles in volume.
  • Cut the top with sharp scissors to form a crisscross pattern without deflating the dough.

  • Brush with milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  • Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Fill with butter, Nutella, jam or peanut butter.
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