Woo hoo, all of the serious French breads in the book chapter I’m going through have been completed, only sweet, enriched breads and foo-foo pastries lay ahead until we get to Italy. This pain au lait (milk bread) is easy enough, similar to the pastry dough found in croissants or Danish pastries, except for the butter is not rolled in so the crumb is not quite as flaky. The Village Baker claims that because of this important difference from “roll-in” pastries, this bread remains within the domain of the Boulanger.
Pain Au Lait Cream Cheese Snails
Adapted from The Village Baker
1 package dry yeast (one cup of sourdough starter)
¾ cup water
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tbsp milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
¾ cup cream cheese
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
This recipe is supposed to be done in a food processor, but because I have not the patience to find all of my processor’s parts, I did it by hand and it was fine. Put an ice cube in the water and set aside. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and powdered milk. Add the yeast to the eggs and then add to the dry ingredients. Last, add the soft butter and the ice water. Moosh the dough into a clean and oiled bowl with floured hands. Let it double in size in a warm spot, covered, for an hour or two. Then put it in the fridge to cold rise overnight for 8 to 10 hours.
Combine the cheese, sugar, vanilla, and 1 tbsp of the egg glaze for the topping and place on the center of each snail. Let the snails rise for 1 hour until they seem puffy. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees and bake the snails for 15 to 17 minutes.
Special note: you can make a ton of this dough and freeze it after the first rising. It will keep for about three weeks—think of all the happy breakfasts! Let it thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator.