We bake pretty much all our bread ourselves. And we love white and sinful bread with a little cold butter.
Tangzhong Baking Method
A while ago, I came across a Japanese method of baking – it is called Tangzhong. Tangzhong is a kind of forage consisting of flour and water and cooked to a paste. It looks quite like wallpaper paste.
Start by boiling flour and water, and when it thickens like a paste, let it sit until it reaches room temperature. To fasten the cooling process, I usually place a bowl with Tangzhong on a deep plate with cold water. When the mixture gets a little colder, I put them in the fridge for about 10 minutes. It can be refrigerated until the next day. Remember to coat films so that it will not dry out on the surface.
It is a bit technical to calculate how much flour and liquid you need to make, but you take 5 to 10% of the flour, and the number of grams you get you to have to multiple by 5, and then you have how many grams of liquid you should mix up, for example, like this recipe, 40 grams of flour and 200 grams water.
With the above method, you can make all your yeast bread recipes using the Tangzhong method. However, it would be best if you always used 75% liquid compared to flour. So, if you use 500 grams of flour, then you will need 375 grams of liquid.
When water and flour are boiled together, a gelation process takes place, which allows the dough to absorb more liquid later than usual. This means you get a super delicious ultra-soft and fluffy bread that stays much longer than the usual white bread.
The soft dough
The dough for this recipe is soft. You may find it a little sticky, but it is not once it was swollen or raised. Remember, do not add more flour along the way to the kneading. If you want to use more flour, then add it from the start.
I used bread flour for this bread loaf, but alternatively, you could bake this with all-purpose flour if bread flour is not available where you live. However, using low protein all-purpose flour will not guarantee perfect results, so stick to bread flour if it’s available to you.
Here in Denmark, we have all-purpose flour, which is also high in protein, making it similar to bread flour.
The trick to a soft dough is to knead the dough until you can make a perfect gluten test. In short, you can pull out the dough until it becomes transparent like a piece of tissue paper. Wet your fingers and pull out in a lump of dough. If your dough breaks as you stretch it out, knead it a little longer, but remember to stop in time.
Preparing the dough in advance
To make this recipe in advance, prepare the dough until it doubles in size (first rise). Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let it rise slowly overnight in the fridge; the next day, proceed with the remaining process.
Our suggestion for a Milk Bread Loaf recipe that gives airy and delicious loaf can be eaten for breakfast or at the lunchbox.
You will need:
For the Tangzhong
- 200 grams (200 ml) water
- 40 grams (1/3 cup) bread flour
For the milk bread
- 500 grams (4 cups) bread flour
- 60 grams (about 1/3 cup) granulated white sugar
- 10 grams (1 + 1/4 tsp) salt
- 10 grams instant dry yeast (or 30 grams fresh yeast)
- 10 grams of skim milk powder
- 260 grams milk, lukewarm (I used whole milk with 3% milkfat)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 50 grams (about 4 tbsp) butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 egg, for egg wash
For the Tangzhong
- Mix flour and water in a saucepan. Cook and heat it over low heat and under vigorous stirring until it becomes thick like a paste. Don’t walk away during this process.
- Take the pan off the heat, pour the forage into a bowl and place it into a bowl with cold water to fasten the cooling process. Let it cool to room temperature before using. To quicken the cooling process, I put it in the fridge while preparing everything else.
For the milk bread dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, and dry milk. Mix well by stirring and make a well in the middle.
- Add the egg, milk, and Tangzhong mixture to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
- Then attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead the dough until the dough comes together. Then slowly add the softened butter to the bowl and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Continue kneading for 15 to 20 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Watch my video tutorial on how to check if your dough is properly kneaded. While the dough is kneading, greased a large-sized bowl, then set aside.
- Transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Cover with a plastic film and let the dough rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a loaf pan, then set aside.
Forming the milk bread
- Press down on the dough to deflate and place it on your working surface. You don’t need flour to work or shape this dough. This recipe makes enough dough to make two loaves and nine small rolls. Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. If you are making one loaf, divide your dough into three equal pieces. If you are making two smaller loaves, divide your dough into six equal pieces. Watch the video tutorial and see how I did it.
- Take one dough at a time and shape it into balls. Cover with cling wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Watch the video tutorial. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Pinch the seam to close. Take the other end and fold to meet on top. Then turn the dough 90 degrees and flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Take one end of the dough, then fold and seal again, and roll the dough up.
- Place each of the rolls into the loaf pan and repeat with other balls of dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, you can now start to preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
- Carefully brush the top of the bread with a little egg wash and bake them for about 22 to 25 minutes or until they are done (if you tap, they will sound hollow). If your bread browns too fast, loosely place a piece of foil on top of the loaf for the last part of baking to prevent further browning.
- Take the loaf out of the pan immediately by turning the pan upside down and shaking it until the loaf becomes unstuck. Enjoy!
- You can make 2 milk bread loaf using this recipe or 1 loaf and 1 bread rolls.
- For this recipe, it’s important to use instant yeast mixed right into the dough, not dry active or fresh yeast, which needs to dissolve in water before using.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure all your ingredients. It is always best to be as consistent as possible when baking bread.
- Don’t walk away while you’re making your Tangzhong. Let it cool to room temperature before using.
- Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. You should be able to stretch the dough out fairly thin without it breaking (the window test).
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make this bread. But kneading this dough by hand takes a long time, about an hour.
- Grease your loaf pan really well, so your bread will not stick to it.
- If your bread browns too fast, loosely place a foil for the last part of baking.
- If you don’t have bread flour, you can use plain all-purpose flour for this recipe. While you can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, it is highly recommended to follow the type of flour required by the recipe to yield optimum results.
- Use warm/room temperature water instead of hot water.