Little breads made with milk. They taste like a child’s dream…
My aunt used to make them in the summer in Morocco, and they were our goûter (snack) after a day at the beach, with melted salted butter and jam. They can also be made with raisins or chocolate. In the latter case, simply slip a few squares of chocolate inside the dough.
As with all the breads I make, I used my hands to mix and knead the dough. It is a wonderful meditation exercise.
For about 16 petits pains (half the proportion if you want eight to ten)
1- Start by mixing an envelope of dried baker’s yeast with 25 cl of whole milk. Mix well until the yeast has dissolved. You can heat up the milk slightly in bain-marie if the kitchen is cold as during winter.
2- In a large bowl, mix with your fingers 500 gr of flour (you can use whole or white or a mixture of both), 50 gr of brown sugar (you can replace it with a generous tablespoon of honey), a tablespoon of olive oil (10 cl) and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well running the flour through your fingers to make sure the salt is properly mixed in.
3- Slowly add the milk and yeast mixture and keep kneading until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. Keep kneading for another 10 to 15 minutes.
4- Shape the dough into a large ball and leave in the big bowl covered with a humid towel. Place in a warm place in the kitchen. I simply leave it under a lamp.
5- Let the dough rise for at least one hour.
6- Take the dough out the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Punch it so that the air comes out and shape it into petits pains. You can make them either long shaped or like little balls. At this point mix in additional ingredients such raisins or chocolate.
7- Place in a baking pan and cover. Let it stand for at least 30 minutes. (I like to leave it another full hour).
8- Heat up the oven to 180º c and place a container with water inside so that some humidity builds up. Make sure the oven has reached that temperature before placing the petits pains.
9- Brush the petits pains with egg yolk and place the baking pan in the oven. Take out the water container and sprinkle the bottom of the oven with water so as to create some steam.
10- Bake for 15 minutes. Ten minutes into the process open the oven and sprinkle the bottom part of the oven with water to create more steam.
Take out and enjoy!