Monday, October 30, 2017

Japanese Milk Bread - Tangzhong Method

There's something magical and exciting about yeast and bread making from the first rise when your little ball of dough doubles in size to the amazing aroma when your masterpiece comes out from the oven. This Japanese Milk Bread will mark a very active bread making season! Chio is going to be put to work!

matcha pistachio spread - yasss!

Japanese Milk Bread
 (aka Hokkaido Milk Bread)
recipe adapted from The Little Epicurean
makes one 9 x 5" loaf

1/3 cup (45 g) bread flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 1/2 cups (325 g) bread flour
1/4 cup (60 g) granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp non-fat dry milk powder, optional *did not add
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg, lightly whisked, room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter, softened
heavy cream, as needed for brushing *brushed with milk
Starter: In a medium pot, whisk together bread flour, milk, and water. Set over medium heat and stir often, making sure to stir the bottom edges of the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until mixture has thickened to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to lay directly on top of starter mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, sugar, yeast, milk powder and salt.
2. Attach dough hook to mixer. Add in 1/2 cup of cooled starter mixture, egg, and milk. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl to ensure thorough mixing.
3. Add softened butter and continue to knead on low speed for 5 minutes until butter is integrated into dough. Increase speed to medium and knead for another 5 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour, or until dough is doubled in volume.
5. Line a 9 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease and set aside.
6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured working surface. Divide dough into four equal parts and roll into balls. Cover dough with plastic wrap as you work to prevent it from drying out or forming a skin.
7. Working with one ball of dough at a time, flatten or roll out dough to a length of about 8-inches and 5-inches wide. Fold in about 1-inch of the sides. Starting from the end closest to you, roll the dough into a log. Place log seam-side down in prepared loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough balls. 8. Cover loaf pan with plastic wrap and let sit for 30-45 minutes until dough has doubled in volume.
9. Lightly brush the top of the dough with heavy cream. Bake dough in a 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown and internal temperature of bread is at least 190 degrees F.
10. Let cool in loaf pan for 5 minutes. Unmold bread from loaf pan and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cool, slice bread accordingly.

Making this bread is effortless if you have a stand mixer. It does all the hard work (aka kneading) for you, and you just have to wash the dishes pretty much.

The bread honestly did not come out as light as expected. I wanted to see the stringy pull inside the bread when I rip it open! I think the slightly tougher texture (don't get me wrong, it was still fluffy) was due to me not rolling each dough ball flat/thin enough in step 7. Definitely going to get some milk powder and try this again.

For a first attempt, I am pleased. Just look at how cute the domes are and how golden brown the crust is.

Taste: 4.5 stars out of 5
Sweet and great on its own, no spread needed.
Texture: 4 stars out of 5
When fresh, it has a slightly crisp crust with a soft interior. As it sits, the bread becomes more crumbly esp when toasted. 

- Step by Step -

step 1+2

after step 2

step 3

dough is smooth and pulls away from sides

step 4

step 6
step 7 - need to roll thinner!

step 8
let dough double in volume, brush and bake!
*heart eyes*

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