For some reason, my local overpriced grocery store hasn't recently sold any milk in 4L jugs that have a due date over 8 or so days. I find this most annoying, as their Trail location sells the same milk but with due dates 13 days hence. I can't always get to Trail to buy my milk, and I do use a jug within a 13 day period, but not usually in an 8 day period. So, I'm now looking for ways to use up my milk near its expiration date, and last Saturday, since my milk's time was drawing near on the 6th, I decided to use some in my breadmaking.
I first fell in love with milk bread when I was in Italy. We used to buy our bread fresh daily, and the pain au lait buns at our local bakery were fantastic. The following recipe for milk bread comes from the culinary school I attended four years ago. It's a great recipe, but it requires a digital kitchen scale, something I recommend everyone have around anyways. We used to make buns from this dough, but I turned it into a loaf for myself. It's slightly sweet and it's rich-tasting, and the dough is wonderful to work with.
Milk Bread/Pain au Lait
500g bread flour
50g butter, softened
50 - 100mL water
* we used fresh yeast in school, and normally you'd double the measurement to get an equivalent in dried yeast, but in this case that equaled over 2 Tbsp of instant yeast, and that amount isn't necessary to rise 500g of flour. I expect 1 Tbsp of quick/instant yeast would be adequate. Mind you, I used the 2 Tbsp and my loaf turned out just fine.
See here for general instructions.
In terms of shaping, I rolled my dough out into a long snake-like shape, and then rolled it up to resemble a large cinnamon bun, making sure to tuck the end underneath so it didn't come undone during the rising or baking processes. I egg-washed my loaf and added sesame seeds, and baked it for about 20 minutes at 400F. It was far too dark for my aesthetic, but it'll do. It tasted wonderful!
This is a pretty versatile dough; as I mentioned, we used to turn it into buns, but it would be a good base for cinnamon buns, too.