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Emily Roux's Pain au Lait

Lovely served straight from the oven just as they are, these little buns are wonderfully versatile and can easily be transformed into an indulgent sweet or savoury treat. Split and served warm with a variety of fillings pain au lait is equally delicious with hot sausage or bacon tucked inside or spread with jam and clotted cream. For the best of both worlds, divide your dough in half and add chopped bacon or olives to one batch and leave the other plain. Try adding cinnamon powder or saffron to the mixture to make these little buns extra special.

You can easily bake your pain au lait the day before and store in an airtight container. Otherwise, give them a couple of minutes in the toaster to regain their softness.

Emily Roux's Pain au Lait

I love this recipe as it brings back so many fond memories. Both my grandmother and mother baked these classic brioche-like buns when I was growing up. They are a perfect addition to a homemade breakfast feast.

About this recipe

Preparation Time 150 Minutes
Cooking Time 15 – 20 Minutes
Makes 6
Emily Roux's Pain au Lait Emily Roux's Pain au Lait


  • 240g plain flour
  • 8g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 180ml milk
  • 25g cubed butter
  • 8g fresh yeast, or 1 tbsp. dried yeast
  • 1 egg yolk, mixed with a dab of milk (to make an egg wash)
  • optional - 40g chopped cooked bacon or 30g of chopped black olives.
  • optional- cinnamon powder or saffron to taste



Preheat oven to 180ºC.


In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar. Rub butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.


In a small saucepan gently heat the milk with the yeast. Once the yeast has completely dissolved add the lukewarm liquid to the dry mix.


Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together to make a sticky dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.


Once it has doubled in volume, knock back the dough and knead for a further minute. (At this point, add the chopped bacon or olives if using.) Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll into balls in the palms of your hands. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and leave to rise for a further hour.


Brush the buns with egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºC.

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