I am always partial to anything Japanese, and this includes their Hokkaido Milk Bread. Asian breads and pastries tend to have a little more of an innocent finesse to them that cannot be found elsewhere. Perhaps it is the lessening of cream and the lighter amounts of sugar. Whatever it is, I find that I tend to enjoy the Asian pastries more than the decadence of those from the French. It could be also that I grew up eating many of these pastries, but for some reason, heavy just doesn’t sit well with me as I get older.
After having some Texas Toast this weekend at Swallow At the Hollow, I was talking to one of my besties about how to find or make good Texas Toast. BK then mentioned that the Korean bakery Cafe Mozart actually does a good rendition of a milk bread that makes for fabulous Texas Toast if you buy the loaf pre-cut. This then spurred me to try out a Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe on my own. I found this recipe on food.com, believe it or not. While it did not come out as fluffy as Cafe Mozart, the flavor was still there, and it definitely had more “fluff” to it than my whiskey egg bread. One thing I did not have on hand was evaporated (powdered) milk, but the recipe still turned out fine. I definitely plan on trying this again, except with roll form. In addition, I may try to make a custard and hopefully be successful at making a Taiwanese custard bun the next go round. But let us continue…
Ingredients (Tanzhong prep)
- 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of all purpose flour (for the tanzhong roux)
- 1/2 cup of water
Directions: Tanzhong roux
In a small saucepan, whisk together the 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of AP Flour in with the 1/2 cup of water. On low-to-medium heat (depending on your pot and stove), gently heat the mixture whisking and stirring constantly until the tanzhong can be streaked across the surface with a fork and the indentations remain. Pour into a small bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap (Saran wrap), and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- 2.5 cups AP flour (I may cut this to 2 cups of flour in the future)
- 1 egg
- 4 Tbsp (or half stick) of butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of milk (I used 3/4 cup of milk)
- 3-4 tablespoons of honey
In a small saucepan, slowly heat the milk slightly before boiling. Dissolve the honey while stirring constantly to prevent that “milk skin” from forming. Turn off heat and pour into a bowl on the side. Let cool slightly to moderately warm (above room temp). Mix in the yeast and set aside to proof.
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, the salt and crack one egg.
Add in the cooled tanzhong and the primed yeast from above and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are moderately incorporated, then mix in the butter. The dough should be fairly sticky and be able to “stretch out like a windowpane” (according to the original recipe). Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a warm cloth, and allow to rise until it is doubled in size (approximately 2 hours).
After the first rise, deflate the dough with one punch and then divide the dough into bite-size rolls OR into however many “bumps” you want on the top of your loaf (you will understand from the picture).
Take each roll and shape it into a oval football-like shape – keep in mind, this is still very sticky but the original recipe did not call for flouring the countertop surface so I essentially rolled it out with my hands. Fold in the smaller ends into the middle and then roll out the dough ball one more time. Then finally roll the dough into a Swiss Roll and shape. Repeat for each roll and set aside.
Grease or butter a bread pan (9×13) – if you want to do rolls, a flatter but still moderately deep pan as the dough will continue to rise while baking. Line the rolls individually in the baking pan. Cover with a warm towel and set in a warm place to rise a second time (approximately 1-2hrs).
Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees. After the second rise, place pan and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
The original recipe called for 30 minutes but I felt that it left too much of a browned crust on my bread as well as on the sides. So in that sense, I am going to cut this down by a few minutes on my version.
Invert pan on the side and allow to cool.
Recipe makes: 1 loaf, serves 4.
Another version of this recipe can be found here. It actually has pictures of how to shape the dough and roll each piece in addition to giving better notes on the “windowpane” test. This may be why my first attempt did not come out incredibly fluffy compared to hers. I did like the flavor and it was pretty darn tasty with a little bit of butter. My lucky parents get to be the guinea pigs of all my bakings haha, especially since I am on a low-carb diet for the time being. #livevicariously
If you do try this recipe and find it to be successful, I hope you share your comments with me as well as any tips/tricks you found useful along the way! Thanks so much for stopping by!