May 7, 2012 This post comes a year late. Having ended finals earlier than Friday of the exam week period, I gave myself some baking therapy and baked up some treats for my sister and friends who still had a few days to go before reaching freedom from finals. Along with the Nutella whoopie pies (which can be found here,) I tried my hand at making Hokkaido Milk Toast Bread. Anyways, I think this might become a tradition of sort. It's incredibly relaxing to knead the dough as well as to exercise patience in waiting for the dough to rise. And pulling out that loaf of bread from the oven 3-4 hours later is just incredibly satisfying. And I just wish I could somehow transfer the wonderful aroma of the freshly baked bread that fills up the house to you.
So, back to the bread. I was introduced to this oh-so-pillowy bread via the Korean bakeries that I frequent, where the most standard sandwich bread is either the Hokkaido Milk Toast Bread or a Pain de Mie. I always wondered how, the bread managed to be so moist and soft. It turns out that the secret lies in using a water roux, known as the tangzhong method.
Adapted from Christine's Recipes
Yield 240 grams
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water (1 cup milk, or 50/50 water and milk)
1.) Add flour and water in a pot and mix until smooth. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.
2.) Continue stirring mixture until lines appear in the mixture as you stir.
3.) Remove mixture from heat and transfer mixture to a clean bowl.
4.) Cover the mixture with cling wrap making sure the cling wrap wticks to the surface of the tangzhong. Allow mixture to cool and chill in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight
5.) Let tangzhong come to room temperature before use.
Hokkaido Milk Toast Bread
Adapted from Christine's Recipes (click here for step by step tutorial)
2½ cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (1/2 of tangzhong from above recipe)
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cubed, room temperature)
1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Add in milk, egg and tangzhong. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed. Knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic for about 20 minutes.
2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let ball of dough proof until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into balls. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top.
5. Flip dough over with the folds facing down,and flatten dough with rolling pin.
6. Flip dough over so the folds face up. Now roll the dough up. Place each of the rolls into the bread pan and put a piece of plastic wrap over the rolls. Let them rise until double the size, about 40 minutes.
7. Beat an egg and brush egg mixture on top.
8. Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.