Hokkaido Milk Bread - Tangzhong Method 3 January 2013
So as part of hosting the International Food Challenge - this was another one of the Hokkaido Japanese recipes I experimented with before I set it as a challenge.
As most of you who do read my blog may know - I love the entire process of making breads - from kneading, proving, shaping and baking....I just love the aroma at home and the satisfaction of eating a slice of home-made bread - simple pleasures of life - I say...
Trust me - with this loaf - once you taste it - there is no going back - it is the most softest bread you will ever taste. Some of you may remember the perfectly square shaped slightly sweet milk bread eaten during your childhood - probably still get available...well this is a much nicer version of that style of bread.
A little bit about the Tangzhong method used in making this bread - this method was revealed by Yvonne Chen in her book The 65 degree Bread Doctor - where she reveals the secret of making a roux (flour and water/milk) mixture and cooking it upto 65 degrees and used to make the bread dough which makes a much moister and longer lasting dough.
Here are some step by step pictures to help you with the process of making this bread.
Do try the recipe and leave your valuable comments below...
1. To make the tangzhong, whisk the flour, water and milk in a sauce pan until smooth and lump-free. Place over low heat, stir continuously and let it cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. The mixture needs to be heated upto 65 degrees but if you don’t have a thermometer when the tangzhong leaves circles while whisking - it is ready to be removed from heat. Let the tangzhong cool completely. Leave it for at least 1 hour.
2. Mix the tangzhong with milk and/or cream until smooth. Use your hands if necessary.
3. Place the flour for the bread in a bowl - add the yeast, salt, sugar and milk powder. Make sure salt and yeast are on opposite sides of the bowl. Add the tangzhong and begin to knead slowly. I used a stand mixer for this step -if you are kneading by hand - the mixture is quite sticky so don’t be tempted to add more flour.
4. Add the unsalted softened butter and continue to knead for 10 to 15 minutes till the dough is elastic and stretchy. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise till double in size. This process takes from 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the weather.
5. Knead the dough again without using extra flour. Divide the dough into 4 balls and roll each ball out into an oval shape. Fold from each end and then turn and roll it up and place the free end at the bottom of a well-oiled loaf tin. Repeat with the remaining 3 balls and place in the greased loaf tin.
6. Cover with cling film and let it rise till its double in size by keeping the tin in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the weather.
7. Brush with some milk and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for about 30 - 35 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before slicing.