I’ve been somewhat on a Hokkaido milk bread baking craze, trying to find a recipe I like. This is the third recipe I’ve tried and probably the best I’ve had so far. I think I’ll probably “stop” here for now and be content with this recipe unless something else “interesting” crops up.
Most of the milk bread recipes I’ve come across all use the tangzhong method, which is supposed to yield soft, fluffy breads. It is relatively simple, you just cook flour and water together, let the mixture cool and add it in. Breads like these also can be baked within an afternoon as it doesn’t require long rising times. I also used a stand mixer to knead the dough, making my life so much simpler. As such, they are pretty addictive to make. I love having this bread with some butter and jam or soft boiled eggs. It is also awesome toasted or better yet, fresh from the oven on its own. I actually ate a whole chunk of it when it came out of the oven. I sliced and froze the rest and enjoyed them for tea/breakfast the next couple of days.
Hokkaido Milk Bread
(taken from here)
For the tangzhong:
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons bread flour
Rest of ingredients:
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 2 3/4 cups (about 350 grams) bread flour
- Scant 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or milk powder (optional)
- 2 eggs, 1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- splash milk or water, for the egg wash
- Using a small saucepan, whisk together the ingredients for the tangzhong until no lumps are present. Heat over medium low heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture thickens to a gel-like consistency (this happens just after a few minutes), remove pan from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- If using active dry yeast, heat the milk to about 110°F or lukewarm to touch (you can do this in the microwave). Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes till the milk starts to foam. If you are using instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add the yeast to the warm milk.
- Sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
- Mix together the tangzong, cream, condensed milk (or milk powder) and one egg. Mix together with the yeast mixture.
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix on low speed till a shaggy dough is formed and then increase speed and knead for about 5 minutes.
- Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading as you go. Continue kneading till dough passes the windowpane test (basically dough is smooth and elastic), about 10-15 minutes.
- Place the dough in a large bowl (I just leave it in the stand mixer bowl), cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 1-2 hours, or until well doubled. You can also leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, divide it to 3-4 equal pieces, roll out each piece into an oval shape and place them into the loaf pan next to each other. You can also just place the entire piece of dough into the loaf pan.
- Let the dough proof again for another hour or so. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Whisk an egg and add a splash of milk/water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the loaf and bake loaf for about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
- Let bread cool for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.