Imagine feathery, light, fluffy, super soft, buttery dinner rolls and you have to be thinking about Pav Buns or Pao Buns! These Indian buns are also called Laddi Pav for they are pull apart white dinner rolls that are made in 6s. Popular all over India, these are served as Pav Bhaji – one of the bestest street foods in India.
Bread making is an art. It is indeed a magical experience and not everyone’s cup of tea. When I started baking years ago, I learnt hard and fast that baking is science. Come to think of it, bread baking is rocket science 🙂 One needs to know their ingredients, the chemistry between them and the way this little magical creature yeast works. It is not so easy, requires a lot of patience and that’s why I said it is not for everyone. But then, with little trial and error – success is guaranteed and I can vouch for that. If not, there are always easy no-knead bread recipes for anyone – try this Garlic Bread or this Focaccia!
Few years ago if someone had told me that I would be making my own bread at home and a great one at that, I would have laughed at their face. In fact, I won’t shy away from admitting that my first bread does not look all that great and today, I have enough knowledge up my sleeves to make it far more better. From then to now, I have grown leaps and bounds. These Pav Buns are the proof for that.
To make these golden buttery dinner rolls, pav buns successfully at home requires two things – a well working yeast and perfect kneading. I use Active Instant dry yeast (which looks very fine and light brown in color), which never fails to proof. Come to the kneading part, Pav buns will turn hard either by over working or under working the dough. It has to be perfectly kneaded. The rightly kneaded dough should bounce back and stretch without tearing – this is key. Youtube has a ton of content on dough kneading. I kneaded my dough on my kitchen counter that was lightly dusted by stretching it with the heel of my palm pushing it away from me and turning it by a quarter, folding it – repeating this until the dough was smooth.
There are a number of recipes for making Butter Pav Bun at home but what inspired me is the one from King Arthur’s! I modified it based on the ingredients I had at home and the result was just amazing and out of the world. I have made this a number of times ever since the first time and it works like a charm every single time.
How to make Pav Buns | Buttery Soft Dinner Rolls –
Detailed step by step picture tutorial of making Pav Buns | Buttery Soft Dinner Rolls –
Proofing the yeast –
1. In a bowl, add 1/3 cup of warm water and 1 tbsp of sugar. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved. Add Active Instant Dry Yeast and mix it well. Let this sit undisturbed for 3-5 mins.
2. The yeast should turn frothy and double up. This means that the yeast is working.
Preparing the dough –
1. In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of (loosely packed and heaped) all purpose flour along with milk powder and salt. Mix it well.
2. Add the proofed yeast mixture followed by 1/2 cup of warm milk.
3. Mix it all together and form a ball of dough.
Kneading the dough –
1. Empty the dough on to a clean kitchen counter. Add 1.5 tbsp of soft butter.
2. Start kneading the dough by pressing & stretching it using the heel of the palm, pushing it away from you. Fold the dough, turn it by a quarter again bringing it towards you and continue the stretching process. Repeat this for 5-7 mins at the least until the dough becomes smooth.
3. Don’t add extra dough even if the dough is sticky, keep kneading without a break for 5-7 mins at the least and the dough will be firm but soft. When pressed in, the dough should bounce back. Stop kneading immediately.
Resting & Re-Kneading the dough –
1. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover it with cling film.
2. Leave it in a warm place for 60 mins or until it has doubled up.
3. Slightly punch down the proofed dough and empty it onto the working area.
4. Knead the dough again for another 2-3 mins following the same approach as before.
Shaping the Buns –
1. Cut the kneaded dough into two halves and roughly shape them into logs.
2. Cut each log into 4 equal parts. Be careful as to not tear down the dough but cut it with a sharp knife so that the gluten is not affected.
3. Roughly shape the balls and make sure all of them are of same size.
4. To shape the bun, take a ball, slightly stretch it tucking the ends below and roll it gently between your palms until it is a perfect round.
5. Place the shaped balls in a well-greased baking pan at 2-3 cm distance from one another.
6. Rest them again for the second rise in a warm place until the buns have doubled up in size. This should take about 20-30 mins.
7. Apply a layer of milk on top of the raised buns. This will help the dough from drying out.
Baking the Buns –
1. Bake the buns in a pre-heated oven at 180° C for 18-20 mins until the sides and top are golden brown. Brush a layer of milk again towards the end for even browning.
2. Brush the buns with 1/2 tbsp of butter immediately after taking them out of the oven.
3. The buns will have a hard top soon after removing from oven but will soften up as they cool down.
4. Slightly warm up the pav bun by toasting it in butter when ready to serve. Store in an airtight container in fridge for longer shelf life.
- Check out King Arthur’s youtube channel for tips and tricks on measuring the flour to kneading the dough.
- I have used Milk powder in this recipe which is optional but it adds to the taste as well as softness of the pav bun.
- The liquid content for the dough varies depending on the climatic condition, region and flour used. Adjust accordingly.
- The dough when first mixed should be sticky. Don’t add any more extra flour as it impacts the softness of the buns. As it is kneaded, it becomes non sticky and soft.
- Proofing time for the dough depends on a lot of factors from the temperature, humidity in the air, consistency of the dough, age of the yeast.
- Wait only until the dough has raised up by double, anything more – dough might fall back by its own weight and will not work.
- Don’t tear apart the dough for any reason. Always cut it so that the gluten is not impacted.
- For equal sized buns, weigh the dough so that each ball is of same weight. I eyeballed it approximately.
- Brushing the buns with milk with help with the moistness of the dough and buns. It will also help in even browning of the buns.
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