…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? We often think of great bread as originating from in Europe. But as strange as it may seem some of the best French breads, baguettes and pastries I ever tasted came out of Asia. Both baking and breading-making take a certain amount of time and patience which shows itself in the amazing breads made of Asia.
This beautiful bread is to die for. It is soft, sweet and fluffy and unlike any commercial bread you can find in the States. The bread is started with an unfermented starter—tangzhong—which is a technique that mixes a cooked flour mixture into bread dough to keep the bread tender and fresher longer. The heating of the flour and water to a temperature of 150⁰ F helps to gelatinize the starches in flour, which improves water absorption and results in a bread that’s soft and more elastic. Milk bread recipes frequently claim tangzhong’s ability to produce ultra-tender bread with a prolonged shelf life. This is a somewhat complex recipe but is well-worth the time.
Prep time: 1 hour
Proof time: 2 hours to 30 to 40 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Cool time: 35 to 40 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves
For the tangzhong
1/3 cup high-gluten bread flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
For the milk bread:
1 recipe tangzhong (see above)
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
4-1/2 teaspoons or 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
4-3/4 cups high-gluten bread flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at warm room temperature
1 large egg yolk, for the egg wash
To make the tangzhong
ChefSecret: Tangzhong can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. Milk bread is best served the day it is baked, but you can store it at room temperature in a paper bag for up to 2 days, or well wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. If frozen, milk bread is best sliced and toasted to freshen it up.
Quip of the Day: “Why was the baker so grumpy? She woke up on the wrong side of the bread.”
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