The Portuguese may have left behind a lot of legacy in Goa, but I'm sure none is as popular as the pao. Once you have eaten the pao in Goa, you have been converted to a pao lover. Pao now is available everywhere across India. What is different is the texture and taste. Goan pao is unique in its crust and crumb. It is not sweet and definitely not crumbly. Goan pao is leaning towards savoury and is stringy with very well developed gluten. You tear a piece of Pao in Goa, not break a piece. After various attempts at making this, since what I usually get in Bangalore resembles a bun more than a pao, I finally succeeded. And I actually got complements from my sister (also my biggest and fussiest critic). If I could convince her it is Pao, it is real pao :). So here goes...


Pao dough before proofing

After proofing

Before baking



Flour - 1/2 cup
Active dry yeast - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup

Flour - 2 cups
Active dry yeast - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Milk - 1 tbsp


Dissolve yeast in water and mix in flour. Briskly stir for 1 min. Stand at room temperature overnight.

Dissolve yeast in water. Scrape in biga and mix. Biga now looks like a bubbly soup. Add salt and flour and mix till incorporated. Allow it to restfor 20-30 minutes.
Using a hand mixer with the dough kneading attachment, knead for 15-20 mins at high. Stop for 1-2 mins in between if the mixer is getting hot. The dough will be watery, do not add more flour.
Cover the dough and allow it to proof for 2-3 hours until tripled. Sprinkle some flour onto a working surface and scrape out the dough onto it. With floured hands shape the dough into paos and place on butter paper or the non stick baking tray. Allow it to rise for another 30-40 mins.
Preheat the oven to 250 deg Celsius, brush the top of the paos with milk.
Bake for 5 mins at 250 degrees. Lower the temperature to 180 deg and bake for another 20-25 mins until done.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Makes 8 paos

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