It's been a few very busy days for me here. Now thinking back, I didn't know what I was occupied with. It could have been the cooking class on Saturday. Or maybe it was the planning for our next family trip to Bangkok. Oh well.. I am back here again.. baking and blogging.
This time, I made the Hokkaido milk loaf, cos our buns/ bread in our freezer has ran out and I need to replenish my stocks as soon as possible. Mom's leaving Sandakan this Saturday. I still have a few days to bake and add up to the stocks. When mom leaves, I may not have the luxury of time to bake specialty bread.
Many blogger friends have baked this. There was even a bake-along last month. But I missed it. It's a nice, soft and fluffy kind of bread because of the 'flour gelatinization' method (known as 烫种）used. The method helps to breakdown the enzyme in milk, which may inhibit the gluten from working, thus giving rise to a soft fluffy texture. I hope my understanding of the method is correct. Just google it if you wanna know further. Christine, whom I adapted the recipe from, is one of the most-searched blogger breadmaker on 烫种bread.
|Fresh out of the oven. My house smells like a bakery.|
|Egg and cream cheese sandwich for brekkie.|
Recipe (adapted from here)
Ingredients of tangzhong (湯種 The amount is enough to make two loafs):
- 50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
- 250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)
Bread recipe (with my adaptations in blue)
- 350gm/ 2½ cups bread flour (mine was a wholemeal loaf, I used 300g breadflour and 50g wholemeal breadflour)
- 55gm/3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar ( I used 1/4 cup honey)
- 5gm/1tsp salt
- 56gm egg (equals to 1 large egg) (I only used egg yolk x 1)
- 7gm/1tbsp+1tsp milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional) (I didn't use this)
- 125ml/ ½cup milk (full cream milk, I used 1/2 cup plus 1tbsp)
- 120gm tangzhong (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
- 5 to 6gm/2 tsp instant yeast
- 30gm/3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature) (I used about 2tbsp)
- about 2tbsp dried organic blackcurrants, pre-soaked in carrot juice
Method of making tangzhong (copied from Christine's)
- Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
- The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. Remove from heat.
- Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature. Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more. (Note: The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients. )
Method of making bread:
- Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. I used a breadmaker. Wonder if it was because I had wholemeal flour in mine, the dough was a little too dry, I added in an extra tbsp. of milk halfway kneading.
- Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done.
- Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a cling wrap. Let it proof till it's doubled in size, about 40 minutes (Note: the time will vary and depends on the weather. The best temperature for proofing is 28C). My proofing time was about 60min. I was in an air-cond room and the weather was humid and cold. It's end of the year rainy season now.
- Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four (three for mine)equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle blackcurrants evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom. Flatten the dough with your rolling pin. Then roll once again. The seals face down.
- Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin (as picture). Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes, or until the dough rises up to 3/4 of the height of the tin inside. I made this in my shop, and it was still hours before home time. I let it proof in room temperature (air cond, probably about 28deg C) for about 30min, then put it in the fridge and to my surprise, it was still proofing and rising in fridge. I had to leave shop to go home and bake it. I didn't want it to overproof. Phew it turned out fine. Lesson learnt: never bake it too early before home time. There's no oven in my shop.
- Brush whisked egg on surface. Sprinkle rolled oat and black sesame seed on top. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. I baked mine at 175deg (fan forced) for 30min, with the first 15min having the loaf covered loosely with an aluminum foil, my oven has a tendency of burning the top. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it's thoroughly cooled. turning the tin upside down.