Bake Along #108 – Hokkaido Milk Bread
Baking breads for family and then baking it over and over again every time the family needs bread. That was on my wish list and I never could make it happen. Hokkaido milk bread is one of the softest bread which has a rich yet a subtle flavor that is the key to a great bread.
My first attempt on the same bread was almost 3 years back and yes, it was a failure. I fail yeast baking over and over again and unlike cakes, I go back to trying it again with a nominal interval of atleast few months. I failed this bread terribly and it took so many years to try it back again, but this time with enough experience of as many failures that there are no more chances of failing anymore
I’m going to make this one, my to go recipe for baking breads. I have always wished to chuck the store bought breads and to serve home made breads for my family, that are as soft as the store bought ones without adding any extra ingredient like the cake improver and not even gluten. This is it!!
Hokkaido Milk Bread by all means is special because we make a paste by cooking flour with milk and water and call this, Tangzhong. It is basically a flour-water roux, here it also has milk that adds to the richness. It says the tangzhong needs to be made ahead and cooled for about 2 hours, and that impatience in me, I started to make tangzhong and transferred it into a plate and froze it for 10 minutes while I was preparing the other ingredients for the dough, by the time the roux was cooled down completely and it was right enough to be added into the dough.
I figured out I am not giving it enough time for the second proving and I get all disappointed when my bread wouldn’t rise. That has never affected my pizzas or rolls where they don’t need to rise up high. Now this time, I had my friend knock down my head to get me patient enough for the bread to take its full size and shape during the second proving and that the bread is not going to build its structure while baking, but it is all just before even starting to bake. I’m insisting this here, because, if you are not a bread baker already, you need to teach yourself patience and got to wait here. The bread should take its height and rise and shine!! After which you will start to bake it, to just cook it and get it golden. You are done.
The bread will not rise during baking but before!
Recipe source: My Diverse Kitchen
- All-purpose flour – 2 1/2 cups
- Granulated white sugar – 3 tablespoons
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Instant dry yeast – 2 teaspoon
- Milk powder – 3 tablespoon
- Milk – 1/2 cup, lukewarm**
- Tangzhong – 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
- Dairy fresh cream – 1/4 cup
- Unsalted butter – 25 gms, soft
- Egg/milk – for egg/milk wash
- All-purpose flour – 1/3 cup
- Milk – 1/2 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup
** Lukewarm – You need to heat up the milk and put your finger into the milk and wait for 5 seconds. If the 5th second is the highest bearable heat, it is ready to be used. If it is too hot then it will kill your yeast, if it is easy enough at the 5th second then it may not activate your yeast. If you are doubtful about your yeast, you need to test your yeast, if it would react with sugar and lukewarm water and wait for 5 minutes. If it gets frothy your yeast is good, if there is no reaction, change your yeast.
1. Add flour and milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Mix well until smooth. Add water and mix well.
2. Bring the pan on medium heat and keep stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken up a bit and reduce flame to low. Keep stirring constantly until you see the bottom of the saucepan while stirring with your spoon. Stir it well so it is smooth enough. Transfer into a wide bottomed bowl and refrigerate until it cools down. You can also cool down the tangzhong in room temperature which might take about 2 hours.
1. Coat loaf pan with oil. Add all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, milk powder and yeast in the bowl of your electric beater. Beat on medium speed until the dry ingredients are mixed up well
2. Add the milk and cream into the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until the dry ingredients are just moistened up.
3. Add tangzhong and begin beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes until well combined.
4. Add butter and begin to beat on medium speed for 1 minute until the butter is fully incorporated.
5. Start beating on high speed and keep beating for about 5 to 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny.
6. Transfer dough in a bowl coated with oil. Make sure oil is coated on all sides of the dough.
7. Cover with a damp towel and keep in a warm place for about an hour or double in volume.
8. Knock down the dough to release the air locked in the dough.
9. Transfer dough onto your work surface. You can make one big and one medium sized loaf with this measure. So I decided to make 7 parts of the dough to make 2 loaves. Based on the size of your pan and how you want to shape it, you can divide the dough.
10. Take one portion off the dough, roll it out into a rectangle.
11. Fold the dough from the short side covering 2/3rds of the rectangle.
12. Fold from the opposite side of the short end, placing it on top of the previous fold.
13. Using a rolling pin, roll that again into a rectangle.
14. Roll it with your fingers, starting from the short side. Repeat the shaping method, to the remaining portions of the dough.
15. Place the rolled up dough in the prepared loaf pan, leaving space between each of the rolls.
16. Cover it with a damp towel and leave it to prove until it takes the full size and fills up the loaf pan. Pre-heat oven at 170 degree C.
17. Brush the top with egg/milk wash very gently making sure not to deflate. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
18. Transfer the baked bread with the loaf tin on a wire rack. Brush the top of the crust with oil while the loaf is still hot. Let cool until warm and remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely.
They are great to eat plain and warm from the oven. You can also slice them and toast them in butter and eat it with soups. Good for a bread-butter-jam. It has a beautiful texture and it such a versatile dough that can be used as a base for any yeasted dough based dish. Mixing it with chocolate chips or rolling and spreading out mint chutney and shaping, garlic rolls, even pav buns could have a better texture with this base of dough.
I am totally in love with this bread and I feel a high rush of having nailed a loaf that will be for a life time