Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back to baking

Virtual champagne for everybody! (That is just a random stock photo, by the way.  It's not Remi spewing champagne.)  I got my degree for the biological analyses program which will re-qualify me for working in a lab. It’s what’s called a BTS in the French system. I’ve spent the last week hanging out in the school computer lab just to note my presence (we had to do it to get paid) working on CVs and cover letters (or just shooting the breeze with the other students). Starting back at the English teaching gig next week and it feels a bit weird to put myself into the teacher role again. I know I’ll slip back into it but there’s always a transition period. And though I’m getting better at transitions, but it’s still a bit tough sometimes.

Now that I have a bit more free time (no more studying, yeah!) I’ve been able to put my energy into more pleasant things. Like baking. Truth be told I never gave up the odd batch of muffins on a Saturday afternoon but I did cut back a bit. Last Saturday to celebrate my new-found freedom I made a recipe I’d been wanting to do for a while- petits pains au lait. They are basically just yeast rolls. The recipe was surprisingly simple and I enjoyed munching on warm bread with Juliette at snack time. It’s even better with a little butter and honey…

I got the recipe from a French blog site but I’ll translate it into English. Though this recipe already had imperial measures, let me pass on Diana’s Desserts website ( which has a wonderful measures converter.

500g (4 and 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 and 1/5 cups (30 cl) of milk
30g (2 heaping tablespoons or 1 oz.) of butter or margarine
30 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1/3 oz. of dry yeast...not so sure how to measure that in US, any ideas?!: (1 packet of levure de boulanger (5 g) for those living in France)
A pinch of salt

Heat the milk (not to boiling) and the butter in separate saucepans. I heated my butter up in the microwave.  

Add the yeast to the warmed milk and mix and let sit 15 minutes.  
Add the milk/yeast mixture to the flour, sugar and salt. Then add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon (why wooden, I don’t know).  

Knead by hand. Add a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky.

Form into a ball and let the dough sit for an hour or an hour and a half in a warm place. Cover with a clean dishcloth. The dough should approximately double in size.
Form the dough into small rolls, elongated or round. You can also add things like chocolate chips or fruits. Or form the balls and then arrange them into a clover or flower shape (with the rolls touching) on your non-stick baking sheet. Let rest a few minutes. With a knife cut a few lines on the top of each roll.  

Place into pre-heated oven (175°C/350°F) for 20 minutes.
And enjoy!