Pav / Pao / Indian Bread is an easy to make bread and uses a few ingredients. Although, the recipe looks lengthy and daunting, it is quite easy to make. We’ve tried to imitate the way commercially sold bread is made, in detail and hence this post is more descriptive. There is no milk, egg or butter used in this recipe. However, if you like your bread to be shiny you can coat the top of the dough balls lightly with milk and after baking with a little butter. I have used a stand mixer to make the dough but you can knead it by hand also. It will take a little more muscle power and time though. (For a No Knead Pao, click here)
Yield: 18 Pao
Baking Time: 15 to 20 Mins
- Maida [APF] – 750 gms
- Sugar – 3 tbsp.
- Instant Yeast – 2 tsp.
- Refined oil (neutral taste) – 4 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
- Salt – 1 tbsp.
Step 1: Activating the Yeast
Take 200 ml lukewarm water in a bowl (not hot, or the yeast will die). Add the 3 tbsp. of sugar and mix. Then sprinkle the yeast into the bowl. Mix lightly and cover the bowl and keep aside in a warm place till it is frothy (10 minutes or so). The mixture has to be frothy. If it is not, that means your yeast is not active and you cannot use it.
Step 2: Preparing the Dough
A). In a stand mixer bowl take the maida and the salt. Attach the dough hook and mix the dry ingredients for a few seconds on a low setting. While the stand mixer is still operating add the yeast mixture. Then add 250 to 300 ml luke warm water (see tip 1 below) and continue kneading at speed 2 for about 2 minutes.
B). Continue kneading for another 15 to 20 minutes on low speed adding 1 tbsp. of oil in intervals till all 4 tbsp. is used (use only 4 tbsp. oil here). A smooth but sticky dough will be formed.
Step 4: 1st Proofing of the Dough
Oil your palms and take the dough out of the mixer bowl. The dough will be sticky and stretchy. Form a ball and transfer to a large bowl / vessel (see tip 2 below). Apply a very thin layer of oil on the top. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and keep aside in a warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours to rise.
Step 5: Punching the Dough
After 2 hours the dough will have risen. Take the dough out of the bowl and transfer to a clean kitchen platform / bench. Punch the dough (see tip 3 below).
Step 6: Shaping the Dough
A). Apply some oil to your baking tins / tray and dust it with some flour and keep ready.
B). Dust the kitchen platform / bench lightly with some flour. Keep some dry flour at one corner of the platform.
C). Dust you hand with the flour at the corner of the platform / bench and pinch out some of the dough (double a ping pong ball). Do this each time to form 16 to 18 smaller portions of the dough.
D). Dust you hand with the flour at the corner of the platform / bench and then take a portion of the dough and flatten it on the platform. Tuck in the edges of that portion of dough and then form into a ball either on the platform or on your palm using the thumb and fingers of your other hand. Place this ball on your greased baking tray. Do this for all the portions of dough. (Remember to dust you hand, and the kitchen platform with flour after you form each ball) Place the balls on the tray about ½ to ¾ inch apart.
Step 7: 2nd Proofing
Place the baking tins / tray into your unheated oven and leave to rise for another 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Step 8: Baking the Bread
A). Remove the baking tins / tray from the oven and keep outside. Set the oven to pre-heat at 220° C for 10 minutes.
B). If you want to coat your pao, see tip 4 below.
C). Place the baking tins / tray into the oven and bake at 220° C for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do not add the 250 to 300 ml water all at once. Add it 2 to 3 times and add the last 50 ml only if required.
- The bowl used for the 1st Fermentation should be about 4 times the volume of the dough.
- You can either punch the dough with your fist in a kneading like action or you can just take the dough in your hand and drop it with a little force onto the platform a few times.
- If you want your bread to be shiny, you can a little milk and coat the tops of the dough balls gently, with a basting brush.
- You can also coat the tops of the bread with butter, after they have baked, with a basting brush. The bread will look shinier.
- We have followed the crude method of baking bread, like how it is done by the commercial high volume bakeries. Therefore, there is no measuring while forming the dough balls.