The Japanese milk bread is incredibly soft, light and fluffy bread. This is because of the Japanese bread making technique called tangzhong which adds extra moisture to the dough in the form of roux (pudding-like flour and liquid mixture). The shaping method is also important. The flattening and rolling of the dough into spiral bakes up into feathery sheets producing a wonderfully tender bread.
- Oven – preheat to 350°F
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Kitchen digital scale
- 8 x 4 inch loaf pan – greased
- Small saucepan
- Large glass bowl – lightly greased
JAPANESE MILK BREAD:
- Servings: 3
- Cooking Time: 30M
- Difficulty: Easy
INGREDIENTS: (All measurements are by weight except TBS and tsp.)TANGZHONG (starter):
- 11⁄20 oz bread flour
- 1½ oz water
- 1½ oz whole milk
- 11⅕ oz bread flour
- 1½ tsps instant or rapid rise yeast
- 1 oz sugar
- 1½ tsps salt
- 1 large egg
- 5 oz whole milk
- 2 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 TBS water
TANGZHONG: Whisk flour, milk and water in a small saucepan until no lumps remain. Cook the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly until thickens with pudding-like consistency. It’s ready when whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
DOUGH: In a stand mixer bowl, whisk milk, egg and tangzhong until smooth. Add yeast and remaining flour. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed until flour is fully incorporated or no dry flour remains for about 2 minutes. Scrape dough as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
Add sugar and salt to dough. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Then add softened butter and further mix for 2 minutes until fully incorporated.
Knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to lightly floured kneading board and knead by hand using the stretch and fold method for 30 seconds or until the dough can be formed into a smooth, round ball.
Place it seam side down in a lightly greased large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 1 to 1½ hours or until doubled its size. Press down to deflate the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in 3 equal parts and shape into a ball. Gently flatten each piece into a long rectangle. Fold one side (lengthwise) in the middle and fold the other side. Gently pass over a rolling pin once to flatten. Roll the strip into a snug cylinder, pinch the seam closed. Place seam side down into a loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining two dough.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the loaf is level with the tip of the pan. Brush the surface of the loaf with egg wash.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown in color. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a rack.