For day 2 of BM# 29 under ‘Bookmarked Recipes’, I made a bread that was featured on almost all of the food blogs. Every baking group in the blog world baked this amazing Hokkaido Milk Bread using Tangzhong starter. I’ve drooled over the pictures of a ton of my favorite bloggers and finally I made it and enjoyed it at home. Like the saying goes, “it’s better late than never”.
This bread uses ‘Tangzhong Starter’ unlike Sourdough this is a cooked starter and keeps well only for 3-4 days in the fridge. The resulting bread is super soft and stores well for a longer time.
Starter is made by cooking flour with water and milk. Then it is set aside to cool completely and rest for 2-3 hours. I read somewhere that chilling the starter makes for even better bread, so that’s what I did. Then the starter is mixed with the usual bread ingredients to form the dough. This dough is very versatile and can be used to make various baked goods like plain loaf or dinner rolls. You can even stuff them with savory or sweet fillings and even make Pav Buns with it.
One recipe for the bread requires only HALF the starter, the other half can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I made Whole wheat White bread with one half of the starter and used the other half to make pav buns.
½cupWater(you can use all water or any other combination of milk & water to make 1 cup)
For the Bread:
1½cupsAll purpose flour
1cupWholewheat flour(or just use 2½cups of all-purpose )
3tbspsSugar(use only 2tbsp if you want a savory bread)
½cupMilk(I used 2% milk)
2tbspsCream(this can be substituted with milk)
1/3cupTangzhong Starter (HALF of the starter from above)
2tbspsUnsalted Butter-at room temperature
Make the Starter: Combine flour, milk and water in a small saucepan. Whisk until there are no lumps and well combined. Place the saucepan on stove and over medium heat, cook the flour mixture stirring constantly until a smooth roux forms. It is ready when the temperature of the roux is 150°F or 65°C. If you don't have a instant read thermometer, then it is ready when the mixture thickens considerably and it forms lines when whisked.
Remove the starter into a clean container and place a plastic wrap right on top of the flour mixture. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and rest for at least 2-3 hours before using. Or refrigerate it overnight and use it.
To make the Bread: Combine the flours, yeast, sugar, powdered milk and salt in a stand mixer bowl or a food processor or large bowl. Whisk milk, cream and tangzhong starter in a small bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until it forms a sticky dough.
Add the soft butter and knead the dough until it forms a soft, pliable dough -- this takes about 12-15 minutes in a stand mixer. To test the dough if it's ready, take a small piece and try to stretch it, it should not break right away. When it does break, it should will form a circle.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover lightly and let rise until it doubles in volume, about 45minutes-1hour.
Gently deflate the dough and remove onto a work surface. At this point, this dough can be used to make any of the following: 1 (9"x5") loaf bread/ 2 (6"x4") loaves/ 12 muffin rolls or 9 pav buns.
Depending on what you want to make, divide the dough accordingly: I made 1 (9"x5") loaf with the first dough and with the other half of the Tangzhong, I made another dough that I used to make 9 pav buns.
For 9"x5" loaf: Divide the dough into 3 equal parts; roll each part into 1/8" oval. Fold the sides over and turn it over so that the seam side faces down. Roll it out into a 12" oval. Now starting from the farthest side, roll into a tight cylinder and place seam side down in a greased baking pan. Repeat with the other 2 parts. (Sandhya has clear pictures on how to do this).
Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Brush the top of the bread with milk or cream. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Make note that the different size breads bake at different times, so keep an eye on them.
Remove from oven and invert the bread onto a wore rack and let cool completely before slicing.
I repeated the process of bread making with the other half of the starter and made Pav buns (that were devoured with Misal Pav).
This bread keeps well at room temperature for at least 3-4 days. Starter keeps well for 3-4 days, once you that there is a change in color--discard it.