I am starting my blog off with this recipe simply because this is what I just took out of my oven half an hour ago. Forgive me for the horrible pictures, I am 1.5 semesters away from taking a photography class. I promise they will get better then.
This is my first time using the tangzhong method (I found out about this method on Christine's blog) and it worked wonderfully. The bread turned out to be extremely fluffy and soft. The crust was a bit too crunch for my taste, since I usually dislike bread crust, but it is much softer than other bread crusts I've had.
My biggest recommendation for this recipe is to either have a dough mix/knead processor or be prepared to exercise your arms.
Chinese Milk Bread
· A rolling pin
· An 6x8 inch bread pan
· A dough kneading processor
For Tangzhong Method:
· 1/6 cup all purpose flour
· 1/2 cup water (can be replaced with 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup milk if desired)
· 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour + excess flour for dusting
· 3.5 tbsp sugar (if you want substitute in a sweetener, use 2.75 tbsp)
· 1/2 tsp salt
· 1 large egg, lightly beaten (save 1 tbsp of this egg for brushing on top of the bread)
· 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
· 2 tsp instant yeast
· 3 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
For Tangzhong Method:
· Mix the two ingredients together and get rid of all clumps. The easiest way to do this is to pour the mixture through a sieve and smash the clumps against the sieve until they are thoroughly mixed.
· Pour this mixture into a small pot. Constantly stir the mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Heat until lines appears from the stirring.
· Take the pot off the heat, put a damp towel (I used a damp cheesecloth) over the pot and let it cool to room temperature. This takes approximately 45 minutes.
For the Bread:
· Combine flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl (if you are using a mixer, put it in the mixer bowl). Make a well in the center and add milk, egg and tangzhong.
· Knead the dough until it all comes together.
· Add in the butter and continue kneading. Knead the dough until smooth, approximately 25 minutes. When the dough is ready, it will be stretchy and not too sticky.
· Form a ball with the dough, put a damp paper towel or damp cheesecloth over it and let the dough rise for 45 minutes, until it double in size. I usually turn one of my stove burners on for a minute, turn it off, and put the bowl into the unheated oven underneath. It is a good warm environment for the yeast to do its work.
· Take the dough out and divide it into four pieces. Roll them into balls and let rise again for 20 minutes, covered with the damp cloth.
· Roll the dough into an 8" diameter circle using a rolling pin and some excess flour to keep everything from sticking together. Fold the dough into thirds. Flip it around and roll it up. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. Put these dough one after another into a bread pan.
· Let the dough rise again for another 45 minutes.
· Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Brush the top of the bread with the beaten egg for a glossy brown egg wash finish and let it bake for 30 minutes.