Milk bread , you’d think all country’s interpretation for milk bread is dough that is made with milk as major ingredients , right ? Well , though part of it is true , i guess the American way is the only way i knew how to make it . That is .. until i heard Japanese Milk Bread .. i thought what could be the difference ? Surely it’s about the same to make bread everywhere . I did my research , and the only thing that made it different is the water roux or it is called tang-zhong , a combination of water and bread flour , heated on the stove and then it gets very thick just like a paste or glue and that becomes the water roux that will be added into the dough when making Japanese Milk Bread . The result was soft fluffy and springy bread , almost reminds you of a loaf of wonder bread , except without all the chemical and the preservatives they added in making those wonderful bread .
You can make this without mixer , but it would be helpful with mixer , since you have to knead it for at least 8-10 minutes . Don’t rush into adding more flour if it looks too wet or too sticky , let the machine to keep the kneading job , the dough should come together eventually .
To make the water roux :
1/3 cup of bread flour
1 cup of water
In a medium sauce pan , combine the water and bread flour . Whisking continuously , under medium heat , and the mixture should be thicken really quick and once it gets thick like a paste , the swirls should appear . Remove and let it cool totally . It gets really thick like a glue , set aside .
To make the bread dough :
Approx. 2 1/2 cup of bread flour ( i didn’t use full amount of bread flour , i mixed 1 1/2 cup of bread flour with more or so 1 cup of all purpose flour , i don’t always add in the flour in full amount when making bread dough , because you might end up with too dry of bread , if it’s too sticky you can always add more flour a little at a time , but if you put too much , you can’t do anything but end up with dry bread . The amount of flour it depends on how humid your place is too .. sometimes you need less sometimes you need more )
2 tsp. of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm milk , lukewarm
4 tbsp. of sugar
3 tbsp. of melted , slightly cooled butter
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup of water roux
1. In a large bowl , add the warm milk , beaten egg , salt , sugar , melted butter and water roux . Then add the flour and make a well in the center , add the yeast . Stir with wooden spoon , until you can’t stir anymore , then use your hands , add more flour if it’s way too sticky . Add little bit at a time. If you opt to use mixer with dough hook , instead of stirring with wooden spoon , use the dough hook and watch , because the dough is sticky and you will be tempted to add more flour , and this could end up with a dry bread if you rush to add too much flour . Add per tablespoon of flour if you must do it . At least if it’s not enough you can always add some more . My favorite choice would be the manual , using your hands .
2. Once the dough cleans up the side of the bowl , remove and start kneading by hand for 15 minutes . Or let mixer knead it for 10 minutes at least . Until window pane is reached . ( how to do window pane is to take out just a little bit of from the dough , stretch it out as much as you can without tearing , that means the gluten in the dough is fully developed and ready for bulk fermentation )
3. Lightly butter a big bowl , and shape into a ball , seam side down , place the dough in there and cover with plastic wrap , let it rise for an hour or so in a warm place . Then take it out , and divide into 4 equal size of balls .
4. Working on each ball , flatten them up with your hands or rolling pin , then fold into thirds , flip it and roll it out until smooth again , flip it again , and start rolling into a jelly roll style from the short end . And place in a parchment paper line loaf pan , seam side down . Do the same with the rest of the dough .
5. Let it rise for 45-60 minutes in warm place , if your oven has proof setting you can use this . Preheat to 325 F and bake for 30 minutes . If the top gets too brown too quick , cover with foil half way through , brush with melted butter once it’s done .
Japanese Milk bread , look at this soft and fluffy bread ..