Flour Water Yeast = Basic
Flour Water Yeast = Basic + Technique + Shape =
Spectacular Magic Unique Breads
Our host kitchen of the month is Judy at Judy’s Gross Eats. She can tell you about this bread taking the internet by storm. I’m going to tell you about how this is simply amazing. Our son and his three kids raved about the milk bread they baked all during the pandemic. They loved how you could squeeze it and it came back. They just really loved it. Whole grains…ha, those were awful tasting things that ruined any bread. This was all white. This was real bread. I loved watching their productions, the photos and the movies and what they put on their slices. But white bread just isn’t my thing. I didn’t try it.
Then here comes Judy with this milk bread. AND here’s a friend with a birthday. Wow! Great opportunity to bake a spectacular white bread that I can give away. So I baked white bread…I was taking it to the party…there was wind and rain…party got canceled…didn’t give away bread…Gorn loved it.
Truly, this makes for spectacular baking but in my mind, on my taste buds, white bread even with the fillings I used (and they were really really good) I just find white flour bread bland. I feel sure there will soon be a time I bake this again and make it with some character flours.
The magic of three basic ingredients always blows my mind. With this bread, it is a technique and shaping that bring it into the realm of the GLORIOUS. Technique is cooking the flour into a paste, the tangzhong, and adding that to the dough. Shaping adds the final magic. I’m astounded by breads that look spectacular and difficult…then turn out to me relatively simple to execute, and this definitely fits in that category.
My fillings. Well, this recipe called for dividing the dough into five pieces. That gives you the opportunity to use five different fillings all in the same loaf. I used Biscoff Crunchy Cookie Butter, peanut butter, brown sugar & cinnamon, chocolate and left the last plain. Not surprisingly I liked the Biscoff and the peanut butter the best. Fillings can be sweet or savory and my mind swims with the possibilities.
I lost track of width I should have made the five rolls and ended up with misfit. Judy’s misfit I think was stunning, mine not so much but it still worked. I did like the idea of different fillings. Fermenting in my mind, you could make these five rolls smaller and make more pieces and create many surprise flavors. That might make more work but it sounds interesting.
Japanese Milk Bread from King Arthur Baking Company
• 3 tablespoons (43g) water
• 3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk (used half & half)
• 2 tablespoons (14g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
• 2 1/2 cups (298g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
• 2 tablespoons (14g) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
• 1/4 cup (50g) sugar (used 35 grams)
• 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
• 1 tablespoon instant yeast
• 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk (used half & half)
• 1 large egg
• 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted
1. To make the tangzhong: Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
2. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to lukewarm.
4. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by mixer or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms; this could take almost 15 minutes in a stand mixer. I started doing this by hand as I like that best BUT I quickly felt I would get a much better result with the kitchen aid AND I got the smoothest dough ball ever.
5. Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
6. Dough shaping: Divide the dough into 5 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin, oblong shape, then, using a sharp object (I used my 6 inch bench scraper), start about 2/3s from the designated top and make 1/8” to ¼” cuts.
7. Add any filling now at the uncut end. Fold the sides of the filling end in slightly and roll up. Place the roll around the edge of a springform pan (buttered & lined with parchment). Continue with remaining dough balls.
8. Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.
9. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
10. To bake the bread: Brush the loaf with milk and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 190°F.
11. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.
12. Store leftover bread, well wrapped, at cool room temperature for 5 to 7 days; freeze for longer storage.
This bread is versatile since you can make it sweet or savory, filled or plain. It’s just a wonderfully soft and tasty loaf, any way you make it. We would love for you to try this fun shaping method with us this month! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants’ baking results during that time. If you want to bake along with us and receive your Buddy Badge, please send Judy a photo and link by September 29th to be included in the roundup. Kitchen of the Month: Judy’s Gross Eats. or jahunt22dotgmaildotcom.