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Before starting this Pain au Lait recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
In the stand mixer bowl, place the flour.
Add the castor sugar on one side of the bowl...
... and the salt on the other side. Place the instant dry yeast in the centre.
If you're using fresh baker's yeast, dilute in warm milk.
Place the recipient in the stand mixer and start mixing the ingredients with the dough hook. Fresh yeast should always be diluted beforehand in warm water or milk, depending on the recipe. Instant dry yeast can be added right at the start to the flour.
Add the warm milk (or the warm milk and yeast).
Add the whole eggs (at room temperature) and the vanilla flavouring...
... and continue kneading until the dough is shaped into a firm ball.
Add the soft butter, cut into cubes.
Knead the dough...
... until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. This operation should take about 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and remove the dough hook.
This is what the dough should look like.
Cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove in a warm room (35 or 40°C maximum) for at least one hour.
The dough should double in volume.
Knock the dough back and transfer onto a floured surface.
Knead the dough, folding it a few times with your hands.
Shape the dough into a sausage...
... and divide it into portions of 80 grams. I recommend using a kitchen scale to obtain identical bread rolls.
For plain pains au lait, shape the dough into a long roll that will fit in the cavities of a Flexipan long brioche silicone mould.
Place the dough rolls in the mould cavities. There is no need to grease the mould beforehand.
Make three incisions on the surface of the rolls with kitchen scissors..
For chocolate pains au lait, add chocolate chips (one tablespoon) to the dough...
... before shaping into long rolls. Place the dough rolls in the mould cavities.
We now have 2 different versions of pains au lait.
Leave to prove in a warm place for 30 or 45 minutes.
Combine the egg yolk with water (one tablespoon). Brush the glaze over the surface of the rolls...
... using a pastry brush.
Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the chocolate rolls...
... and some pearl sugar over the plain rolls.
Bake at 175°C (gas 3) for 15 preferably in a fan assisted oven, on the middle rack.
Reduce the temperature down to 170°C and cook for a further 5 minutes.
The pains au lait are ready when golden, puffed and super soft.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. You can see the pearl sugar version...
... and the bread rolls with chocolate chips.
You can also bake plain rolls, without added sugar sprinkled on the surface.