Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Lately I've been obsessing with sandwiches. Typically I fall back into my comfort zone of Pita breads, Naan breads and Focaccia. That is until I came across this SHOKUPAN 食パン, a Japanese milk bread that I just cannot seem to get enough of. The recipe inspired by Dreams of Dashi, is so easy and took away all the anxiety I usually have when baking bread.
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For the Tangzhong (water roux)
20g bread flour
What is Tangzhong
Tangzhong literally translates in Chinese into water roux. This method is thought to be first invented in Japan, where it is named You-Dane, but the dispute is still left opened and largely undecided. The method of slowly cooking flour with water or milk, into a paste, is commonly used in Asia to improve the texture of bread, making it soft and fluffy. This mixture helps to hold the moisture in the dough when added to the bread flour mix, which translates into a faster and high raise in the dough proofing, which in turn result in a fluffy, perfectly crusted bread.
340g bread flour
150ml milk (you can sub for oat milk or almond milk)
4g instant yeast
1 large egg (optional)
Extra butter and flour for greasing and bench flour
Make the tangzhong by whisking the flour into the water completely in a small pot. Heat up the mixture on medium low heat and continuously stir being careful to get the edges as well until the water roux thickens up to a pudding consistency. When you take a spatula to it you should be able to see the bottom of the pot
Measure out and mix all dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.
Add all of the wet ingredients except for the butter and mix with the dough hook on medium (setting 2-4 if on Kitchen Aid stand mixer) for 5 minutes.
Add room temperature butter and let the mixer go for another 8-10 minutes on the medium setting. The dough should be slightly tacky when done
Shape the dough into a ball with your hands and place in a lightly greased bowl. (I use store bought butter spray).
Cover and let it proof until the dough has doubled in size (time will depend on the temperature, ideal temp is around 75-85°F).
Punch down the dough to release captured gas, and roll into a ball.
Let the dough bench rest for 20 minutes covered with a kitchen towel
Roll out dough to flatten it into a long log and roll up (perpendicular to the direction you folded the dough into thirds). Pinch the ends into the dough to secure tightly.
Place rolled dough into a greased loaf pan with the stitched end side down and cover with loaf pan cover or plastic film for second proofing. It should take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour for the roll to expand to the height of the loaf pan and cover all gaps.
Bake the loaf at 350°F for 35 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and have a hard crust.
Remove the bread from the loaf pan and let it cool on a rack (30-40 min) so that the bread doesn't continue to steam itself.