Taking full advantage of my new bread pan and what I’m calling “The Instagram Bowl”.
I have made bread using the asian tangzhong (water roux/starter) method before, but according to this new recipe source I’m following, there are apparently different types of tangzhong depending on the Chinese character you use. In the previous case, I used 汤种/湯種, where the first character means soup (which was what the roux looked like). In this recipe however, I’m making 烫種/燙種 where the first character means scalding (which reflects the use of boiling hot water).
In both cases, the key to creating the characteristic tear-able, stretchy crumb of the Hokkaido Milk Loaf is the unique shaping process of the dough, which involves rolling the dough into a spiral before baking it.
If you’re wondering why there were 5 dough balls but only 4 in the pan, that’s because my pan was too small for the recipe (because I didn’t measure the pan before starting). No biggie, I just baked off the remaining lonely dough ball by itself while his brothers could all snuggle and rise together.
Also the top of my bread wasn’t smooth because it rose a bit too much and stuck to my lid as I was taking the lid off. But it all bakes out so it’s fiiiine.
I couldn’t really compare both of the tangzhong methods because the previous recipes I used the 汤种 version in was not shaped the same way. But anyhow this method generates better flavour due to its overnight rest and also had a very tender crumb, so I might stick to this new tangzhong method in the future.
Did I mention that this recipe was 20% whole wheat? That’s healthy. I ruined that by adding loads of sugar and cinnamon as a filling.
I got the recipe from here and added some cinnamon because it’s FALL.
Ingredients (for 11x4x4 inch/28x10x10 cm) loaf pan
- 125g whole wheat flour
- 100g water
- 280g full fat milk
- 5g instant yeast
- 15g honey
- 20g sugar
- 410g bread flour
- 8g sweetened condensed milk
- 10g salt
- 40g softened unsalted butter, room temperature
- Cinnamon-sugar mix. I didn’t really measure what I used but I usually keep to the ratio of about 1tbsp ground cinnamon with 50g sugar.
Tangzhong (starter, prepare the night before baking)
- Place the whole wheat flour in a large bowl.
- Boil some water, and pour 100g of the water into the bowl.
- Mix with a large spoon until well mixed. When cool enough to touch, knead the tangzhong well until all the flour is well incorporated and the dough ball is smooth.
- Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- In a large bowl, mix together the milk, yeast, honey, sugar, bread flour, sweetened condensed milk, and tangzhong. Knead well until smooth.
- Add the salt. Knead until the salt is well incorporated.
- Add the softened butter and knead until the bread reaches windowpane stage.
- Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and reform it into a ball. Leave to rise again for about 30 mins, or until the dough has risen slightly in size.
- Divide the dough into 5 pieces (using a weighing scale could help). Form each piece into a ball, cover, and let rise for another 15-20 mins or until the balls have slightly increased in size.
- Roll each ball out into a rectangle about the width of your pan. Cover the surface with the cinnamon-sugar mix. Roll up the rectangle from the short end, and place the rolled-up dough into one side of an oiled pan.
- Repeat step 7 with the rest of the dough balls until the pan is filled with a single layer of rolled-up dough.
- Cover the pan and let rise. If you’re planning on keeping the bread a square shape, let it rise until the dough is about 85% the height of the pan. If you’re planning on the bread to have a domed top (like I did), let the dough rise to about 90% the height of the pan.
- Bake in a preheated 390°F/200°C oven and bake for about 30 mins or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap on the top of the bread. If the bread is browning too quickly, cover the bread with a large sheet of aluminium foil.
- When the bread is done, remove immediately from bread pan and let cool on drying rack. Let the bread cool completely before cutting.
- All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
- If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the milk that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the milk. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-milk back into the bread at the step where the milk is supposed to be added.
- Kneading the butter into the dough after it’s already been formed helps with the structure of the bread, since butter inhibits gluten formation (apparently).
- Letting the tangzhong sit overnight is technically optional, but it gives a much better flavour if you allow the tangzhong to rest.