La Fête du Pain/Bread festival is an annual celebration, hosted by Les Moulins de la Concorde, in honour of St Honoré, the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. The theme of the 2014 edition is “Le Pain, Savoureux et Sain” around which activities are to be held in schools, social centres, town halls and major supermarkets on the 16th and 17th May. The main event, held at the Caudan Waterfront, is a bread baking competition among the finest hotels on the island; results are on display at La Place de La Fontaine on the following day.
Store-bought bread is by one of the most consumed staple food by people in Mauritius. Going to the bakery or nearby shop early morning is part of the routine of nearly every Mauritian who cannot do without his daily pain maison or baguette. This year I baked a very simple, and relatively healthy, sandwich bread, adapted from Kurry Leaves. It blends all-purpose and wholewheat flour with the sweetness of full cream milk to create a light, airy crumb that even the most inexperienced bread baker will have no trouble achieving.
SWEET MILK BREAD
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm full cream milk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon table salt
- Brush a 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan with butter and line base and sides with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180oC.
- In a bowl, combine together yeast, milk and sugar. Keep this aside for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. Add melted butter and mix well.
- Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well until combined. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky.
- You can add few tablespoons of flour if you are finding it difficult to handle. Transfer the dough to a floured surface.
- Knead well for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl.
- Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in volume for about 1 hour.
- Punch down the risen dough using your fist. Form it into a loaf shape and place in prepared pan, seam-side down.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until it is doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.
- If the top browns too quickly, cover it with foil. Lightly brush the top and the sides with melted butter after baking.
Sweet Milk Bread