Bread … just flour, water, yeast … then maybe salt, butter, an egg … maybe nothing more, maybe just a tiny more … but good grief how as much as we love it and crave it; the variety using the same basics is overwhelming and awe inspiring.
This month Karen K (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) in her debut as a BBB is bringing us a most interesting bread. Tangzhong Bread (aka Japanese Milk Bread, aka Hokkaido Milk Toast). The recipe is based on the book 65 degrees C by Yvonne Chen, and adapted by Christine Ho. You will find several versions of this bread on Karen’s site but with this BBB bake she went with a whole wheat version and that of course really warms my soul. The bread uses a Tangzhong, a concoction of cooked flour and water that is cooked to 65 degrees C or 149 degrees F. Sounds pretty much like a roux if you ask me. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer cook, don’t even pretend you can make do without it, you need one.
After I’d made the Tangzhong and it was cooling, I started thinking I should really try this baked in my Pullman loaf pan but too bad it wasn’t going to make enough dough to fill my long pan.
READ, I’ll never learn.
It says clearly “makes enough for two loaves”.
I had the final dough ingredients all measured. Luckily for some strange reason I had left the bowl on the scale and tared it out because when I poured the Tangzhong into the bowl it measured 200 grams. The recipe only called for 100 grams. Woops. I was setting up for a mis-measure disaster or total genius. 200 grams of Tangzhong = 2 loaves: That should be enough dough to fill the Pullman pan. So, I quick like measured all ingredients for another loaf … well except no more sugar, no more butter and no more than the 30 grams of flax seed that I had already added. I am overjoyed with this bread in a Pullman loaf pan both with and without the lid.
I know one bread baker who says that even bad bread makes good toast and thinks very poorly of toast. I on the other hand have a very high opinion of toast. I’ll agree that many times less than great bread makes pretty good toast BUT I find there is a toast continuum as there is with almost anything. While this bread is marvelous for sandwiches of all sorts, this bread maybe the ultimate toast. This bread maybe the very definition of toast!
And now if you’re up for my dirty little secret: While I do finally begin to see that Gorn has really begun to appreciate, taste and even differentiate really good bread from the factory stuff (see how polite I’m being not labeling it “library paste”), he still craves his childhood baloney on white bread. In his childhood it was WonderBread; today in Michigan it’s there’s … drum roll please … Hillbilly Bread. I kid you not, it is labeled Hillbilly Bread. He got one of his cravings the week before I baked this bread. His Hillbilly was gone when I baked this but there was still baloney. This bread is the only bread I’ve ever baked that fit’s his craving. Light and fluffy, awesome. With that in mind, I think this might be the first bread I bake that my 7 y/o grandson will like.
WHOLE WHEAT TANGZHONG BREAD
TANGZHONG MIX: ENOUGH FOR 2 LOAVES
50 grams bread flour
FINAL DOUGH: ONE LOAF
110 grams milk
45 grams whisked eggs (about one large egg)
100 grams Tangzhong (half of above) unless of course like me you have that large pullman pan
40 grams sugar (optional: I left out)
5 grams salt
200 grams bread flour
150 grams whole wheat flour
6 grams instant yeast
40 grams unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
Tangzhong mixture (makes enough for two loaves)
Mix the flour and water together until there aren’t any lumps.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 149 degrees F or 65 degrees C. If you don’t have a thermometer, then yes, you really need to get one. Llook for lines in the mixture made by your spoon as your stir. Remove from the heat immediately when it reaches 149°.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the tangzhong. Covering the mixture surface eliminates evaporation. Let it cool, and then refrigerate it for several hours. I did not refrigerate either time I baked this.
Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to use it. Or just let it cool to room temp before using it as I did.
This will last a couple of days. If it starts to turn gray, toss it.
MIXING THE FINAL DOUGH:
Makes one loaf, and is easily doubled Add all of the ingredients except the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also mix by hand or bread machine.
Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Knead until the dough becomes very elastic. More is better.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. I’m sure it could cold ferment overnight, but haven’t done it.
With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 10 inch long oval. Fold the oval into thirds, widthwise, like an envelope. Turn the envelope so that the short side is facing you, and roll it into a 10 to 12 inch length.
Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll, with the folded sides on the inside, and place the piece in an oiled bread pan, seam side down.
Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes, until about 4/5 the height of the bread pan.
Bake in a 175 degree C/ 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Pullman pan with & without lid took 40 minutes.
I baked it with the lid on first and we loved the bread.
But it made me wonder what the crumb would be like if I baked without the lid.
What did you say? Well, of course you want a slice … oh well, yes a loaf would be better. That’s a great idea. Just get in that kitchen and bake it! Then pop over to Karen’s Kitchen and get the details on how to be a Bread Baking Buddy this month.
This is lovely bread. You’ll want to check out all the Babes baking this month, we are a most creative bunch.
October 16, 2015 at 8:58 pm
I love this post! Sometimes you just need to get some whole wheat into your loved ones while masquerading it as white bread =) Now you have me craving baloney! xoxo
October 16, 2015 at 9:11 pm
“Masquerading”! How very spot on the idea of masquerading! It is marvelous when we can win the nutrition battle with a masquerade! I think the best I ever managed was when I started adding spinach to our Thanksgiving turkey dressing when our boys were 4 and 7. They never looked at it as spinach but I really packed it full 😉
October 17, 2015 at 5:13 am
Ha! This is brilliant. The hilarious thing about the masquerade is that whatever has been introduced becomes the norm. I have been sneaking wheat berries, bran, rolled oats into sandwich bread for years.
This past Thanksgiving weekend, there were complaints as I was about to bake a couple of rustic loaves in preparation for the sandwich festival the following day (there really is nothing better than Thanksgiving leftovers for sandwich filling, is there?) and a number of pleas for “sandwich bread, can’t we just have good old fashioned sandwich bread like your Mum’s instead?” And suddenly, the bread-making was taken out of my hands. The rebellious one demanded that Mum’s sandwich bread recipe be located and he proceeded to make bread. As he was getting out the ingredients, he called out to ask where the flaxseeds and wheat berries were. And the wholewheat flour. Could I get out the wholewheat flour?
Do your boys (men) insist on spinach in their turkey dressing? (good idea, by the way!)
October 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm
People are really fun aren’t they … I take it you did get out the wholewheat flour.
Yes, spinach has become the key ingredient in turkey dressing at our house. It’s healthy but it’s beautifully colorful as well.
January 17, 2016 at 10:02 am
Excuse me for replying to this so late…. Of course. I far prefer bread that has at least a little whole wheat flour in it!
October 17, 2015 at 2:09 am
They loved it here, old and young, I think it was because it was sweet AND fluffy, it really does have the feel of a store bought, plastic wrapped loaf but better!
October 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm
Yes Ilva as in much better than store bought.
October 17, 2015 at 5:02 am
It is amazing, isn’t it? How can those few simple ingredients be turned into something like library paste in one factory kitchen and something sublime in zillions of other kitchens?
My husband must have grown up with Gorn. He is always clamoring for “sandwich bread”…. Seeing how many rolls of dough you put into your pullman pan makes me realize that I probably should have jammed more than three into my oversized pyrex containers. Maybe then, there would have been the promised loft and I too would have been raving wildly about Tangzhong bread. (Hmmm, I bet there was something in the recipe that talked about size of pan too. But with my inability to read/retain, I must have missed it.)
Clearly, I’ll have to try making this bread again.
October 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm
I think our reading abilities are about on the same level Elizabeth, we just ‘read’ different things. I don’t remember anything about pan size. I think I may have an extra long pullman pan: 13 inches long x 3 3/4 inches high and wide
October 17, 2015 at 5:20 am
Love that loaf of yours with that clear swirl on the sides. You know I love pullman loaves of any kind, but these hills on top (without using the lid) are even prettier! Yes I agree it works without the sugar very well too!
October 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm
Oh yes Lien I forgot the hills! I especially liked Ilva’s three hills with the highest in the middle. I actually tried for an alternating effect like that but don’t think I got enough difference in the weight of my rolls.
October 17, 2015 at 11:25 pm
Yes, it looks like the ultimate bread for toast and one that pleases balloon bread lovers, too. With white whole wheat flour it might even fool someone into thinking it has no health benefits…total junk food. Fools them every time. Love that you made the Pullman loaf with that lovely fine grain!
October 18, 2015 at 11:38 am
I’m so glad you baked this in a pullman pan. I was wondering how a full recipe would work in it! Love it! I also love toast bread!
October 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm
Hmmmm I see a thin slice of ham being rolled up…. and maybe some Parmesan, Because it goes well with a glass of red, don’t you know….
October 20, 2015 at 8:02 am
… and yes I do know! and so much better than baloney!
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