Pain au Lait Rolls (Tangzhong Method option)

Milk as an ingredient makes bread soft and adds a bit of sweetness to it. The recipe I am sharing with you has approaches. One which includes the Asian Tangzhong method of preparing a roux to make even softer rolls. The second one doesn’t. Both are super easy and end up giving you the most delicious and soft rolls ever! You can keep them plain and enjoy them with some Labneh or as a ham and cheese sandwich. Or you can add some chocolate chips to the dough. Your pick!

Ingredients:

  • 500 g ( 3 and 1/3 cup) Bread Flour
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) Sugar
  • 10 g (2 teaspoons) Salt
  • 10 g (1 and 1/2 tablespoons) Instant Yeast
  • 35 g (3 tablespoons) Butter, unsalted and softened
  • 320-350 g (1 and 1/3 cup) Milk, whole fat and warmed
  • Olive Oil for your Workstation
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)

For the glaze : Milk or Egg Wash

Instructions:

1. Start by measuring out all your ingredients in different prepping bowls.

2. If you don’t want to use the Tangzhong method, go straight to step 3. To make the roux, place 3 and a half tablespoons bread flour (out of the 500 g that you have already measured out ), 5 tablespoons of milk (out of the 320-350g amount) and 5 tablespoons of water in a saucepan and whisk until combined. Cook over low heat and keep whisking until you obtain a thick paste. Set aside to cool for at least 10-15 minutes.

3. Add salt, yeast and sugar to the flour, making sure you add the salt and yeast on different sides of the bowl because salt at high concentrations would kill the yeast and retard the proofing. Whisk to combine.

4. Add the remaining ingredients (including the roux if you’re using it) and 3/4 of the milk quantity to the flour mix and stir to combine.

5. Slowly add the remaining amount of milk and keep kneading until you pick up all the flour from the side of the bowl. You might not need to add all the milk.

6. Knead the dough for at least 6-10 minutes on a countertop lightly cover with some olive oil until enough gluten has developed and the dough passes the window pane test. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix at medium speed. The dough will be stretchy and smooth.

7. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a clean lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm (make sure you give the dough enough space to grow) and let the dough proof at room temperature until it has doubled in size, for at least 1 hour.

8. Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a lightly oiled countertop and knock all the air out of the dough.

9. Divide the dough into equal portions and add your fillings if you want (make sure you knead the dough enough so that your filling is well dispersed), and shape it. You could freeform and make buns, you can place the whole thing into a loaf pan, you could use brioche molds etc.

10. Cover the shaped buns and let them rise until doubled in size. Don’t let them overproof, otherwise they will grow too much then collapse in the oven.

11. Meanwhile, preheat your oven at 210 C (410 F)

12. Once your bread dough has risen, lightly brush the top with milk or egg wash (one egg yolk and a splash of milk) and bake in the oven for at least 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden in color. If you’re making a bread loaf it would take around 30-35 minutes. Take out of the oven but keep them in the tins or on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes to finish cooking before transferring them to cooling racks!

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