Pain Au Lait Recipe – French Milk Bread

A bread that’s different yet it’s the same? Check out this Pan Au Lait recipe to find something familiar under a different name!

Pan-au-lait-recipe-1-SunCakeMomMany of us are familiar with the feeling of realization that one of our favorite song isn’t made by the artist we accustomed to but by some long-forgotten musician who we’ve never heard of.

If we are lucky then the new song is better than the original as many times, it builds on a success of something already proven. But sometimes we find that the original was better and our newfound love crumbles under the weight of our disappointment burying the artist as a cheap copycat for eternity.

Trust is a delicate issue for us humans. Once broken it can never be made anew and its cracks will be always a reminder of past injuries.

Although it looks like a pretty tough nut to crack, especially for those so-called nerds back at high school, but gaining trust is fairly easy. Our brain comes with hardwired abilities to read and interpret body language into social signals on the fly.

Unfortunately, our subconscious has little to no way of explaining its interpretation of the world around us other than making us feel good, or uncomfortable in a situation.

This gut feeling is then follow us through the whole interaction forcing our conscious thought process to validate them with every possibility. This could turn out pretty bad for us if we happen to be in a job interview and failed to make a good impression in the first 3 seconds of our interactions.

Such short amount of time is enough for the subconscious mind to read the subconscious projections aka body language of another mind including all the state of the forty-two individual facial muscles of the face and decide its trustworthiness.

Our deepest fears, hopes and present state of mind are all written onto our subconsciously controlled body ready to betray the true intention of every word we say.

Subconsciously reading and consciously understanding body language are two different things though. One would need years of extensive training of studying body language to gain actionable insights from it.

Luckily though we don’t need to be expert in understanding the whys as long as we can master the how. All we have to do is to make a good first impression and that 3 seconds will follow us through the whole of our future relationship.

Once we learn the basics of subconscious communication and how to project likeability to others through body language our trustworthiness will greatly increase and with that our ability to persuade others to support our ideas.

We don’t just use the same method for human interactions though but for many aspects of our life too. First interactions with activities, institutions or types of food will determine future relationship not just with that particular thing but everything we consider related to it.

Like the first bite into Pain au lait, which is essentially the base of any bread made with milk will determine our relationship with such baked good for the rest of our lives.

Pan au lait is French for Milk bread. Although there are a myriad of possibilities how milk with bread could be made Pan au lait refers to the making Bread with milk instead of water or any other liquid.

We may find similarities across the spectrum of baked goods to Pan au lait sometimes even indistinguishable ones like in the case of Brioche but these similarities aren’t a coincidence but consequence of how these goods are made.

Basically, pan au lait is the most basic form of sweet breads replacing water with protein and fat filled milk. With the fat coating the gluten molecules it’s changing their ability of snugly connect to one another creating a bit crumblier texture that we all love so much in sweet breads.

Depending on what we are planning to do with our Pan au lait, if we want to use it for sandwiches, sweet snacks or just on its own, additional sweetener may be required but not strictly necessary.

Once we make our first batch the inevitable realization of familiarity with already well known favorites like brioche, braided bread or challah will hit us fair and square.

The question is that how we’ll see our favorites in the light of our newfound knowledge. Will we still see them as something unique that worth our trust and praise or we’ll just frown at them like sad imitations of the original.Pan-au-lait-recipe-3-SunCakeMom



  • ¾ cup / 100g Flour
  • ¾ cup / 100g Milk
  • 1 teaspoon / 5g Fresh yeast


  • 3½ cup / 400g Flour
  • 5 tablespoons / 75g Butter (softened or melted)
  • 2 teaspoons / 10g Salt
  • 1 teaspoon / 5g Fresh yeast
  • 1 medium / 50g Egg
  • 2 tablespoon / 40g Honey
  • ⅔ cup / 150g Milk
  • 1 medium / 50g Egg for eggwash (yolk only for darker color )


How to make Pan au lait

  1. Mix flour, milk and yeast together, cover it, then put in the fridge for about 6 hours. If short on time just leave it on the countertop for 60 – 90 minutes until doubles. Although it won’t develop a sourdough like flavor many of us yearns for it will be fine.Flour-milk-yeast-starter-box--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  2. Knead the starter with flour, butter, salt, fresh yeast, egg, honey and milk until a uniform smooth and elastic texture achieved.Flour-milk-butter-egg-honey-yeast--box--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  3. Form a ball from the dough and put it into a big preferably plastic bowl that has a lid. Alternatively a moist kitchen cloth or cling foil would do as a cover, the point is not letting the surface of the dough drying out.Flour-milk-butter-egg-honey-yeast--box--gp--2-SunCakeMom
  4. Place the dough into a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to raise, about 45 – 90 minutes.Flour-milk-butter-egg-honey-yeast--box--gp--3-SunCakeMom
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide it into desired sized chunks. We’ll let the dough raise again and it will also grow during baking so expect some volume increase. Start with 3.5oz / 100g sized chunks and adjust if necessary.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-1-SunCakeMom
  6. Roll the dough into balls.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-2-SunCakeMom Check out: How to roll
  7. Or flatten them a bit then roll them up for an elongated bun.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-3-SunCakeMom
  8. Once ready cover the balls and buns with a slightly moist kitchen towel then place them into a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to raise, about 30 – 60 minutes.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-4-SunCakeMom
  9. Brush them with eggwash.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-6-SunCakeMom
  10. Place the Pan au laits into the middle rack of a 350°F / 180°C preheated oven until internal temperature reaches 210°F / 99°C and the top turns deep golden brown, about 20 – 40 minutes.Pan-au-lait-recipe-Process-7-SunCakeMom




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