Indian Bread Rolls / Ladi Pav #eggless

You can call it by any name – bread rolls, ladi pav, Bombay pav, buns, dinner rolls – these are soft, light, fluffy bread shaped into round balls and baked close to each other. If you’ve visited Mumbai or Pune in Maharashtra, you must have eaten a lot of dishes with these pav – pav bhaji, vada pav, masala pav, misal pav, dabeli – the list is endless and I am salivating already! If nothing else, just spread some butter and eat them with a hot cup of tea 🙂

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The yeast does all the work here, you just have to make the dough, proof (“proofing” means resting the dough to allow yeast to ferment and the dough to rise), roll them into balls, proof and bake! Add to that, these are eggless so even lesser restrictions. Milk powder in the recipe helps in making a softer loaf by providing the fat content, it also helps in developing, sweetening and softening the crumb structure.

Bread making is an art as well a science and I’ve been reading a lot about it across the internet, and I’ve realised that only thing that’s foolproof is what works for you! So this is my first attempt and it has turned out well, still, I plan to try this recipe couple more times with slight variations and come up with more recipes (for example, replacing part of it with whole wheat flour, or adding honey, or some herbs, or garlic – so many ideas already!). I’ll keep updating on the blog 🙂

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 250 grams (2 cups)
Milk Powder – 1 1/2 tbsp (about 20 grams)
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk – 100 ml (You can take same quantity of milk and add a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, leave it for 10 minutes till it curdles)
Water – 100 ml (lukewarm)
Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp
Butter – 30 grams (about 2 tbsp)

Some milk and butter for brushing the tops.

Process

1. In a cup, take the lukewarm water and add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. The yeast will dissolve and get little frothy.
2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients – flour, salt, sugar, milk powder – and mix them well.
3. Add the buttermilk and yeast water to the flour and mix until well combined. Do not knead it, just mix till no dry flour remains.
4. Add the butter and mix it well, knead it for 3-5 minutes till you get a soft dough, it might be little sticky but that’s okay. Shape it into a round ball.
5. Oil the bowl (I use the same bowl) a little and put the dough in it. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it rise. I put it in a switched-off microwave oven.

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6. Rising process will take about 1 hour, depending on the ingredients and the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. Refer to my notes at the end for checking if the dough is proofed.
7. Take the dough out on a flat and floured surface. Knead it slightly. Make 9 equal parts (about 55 grams each, I used the scale) and roll them into a ball.
8. Prepare an 8×8 inch pan – oil the sides and put a parchment paper on the base and oil it too (I didn’t do this bit and it was slightly difficult to get them out of pan, you learn something new every time 🙂 )
9. Line the balls in the pan will little distance between each of them. Cover them with the same cling film from earlier. Let this proof again like before for about an hour in a switched-off microwave oven till they rise to almost double and fill up the spaces.

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10. Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Brush the rolls with some milk. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes at 180 deg C. Increase the oven temperature to 200 deg C, brush the rolls with milk again and bake for 5-8 minutes to get a golden crust on top.
11. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for few minutes. Brush the rolls with some butter to get a beautiful shine. Turn them out on a wire rack and let them cool completely.

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12. If patience is not a virtue, apply some butter on warm rolls and eat them like I did 😀

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How to check if the dough is proofed –
Gently push your finger into the dough –
a. if it springs back immediately, it’s not proofed yet
b. if it springs back slowly, it’s done – the gluten strands are strong enough to hold the gas but still allow some expansion.
c. if it doesn’t spring back at all and the indent stays, it’s over-proofed.

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