Hokkaido Japanese Milk Bread
Me and Bryan's first vacation together was Japan. We were dating for about 8 months and we got drunk one night and decided to book a flight 5 months out. Good think we really liked each other or else that might have ended bad. When he first proposed going to Japan, I immediately thought, no way I want to go there! I really liked him though and the wine was flowing, so I of course said yes. A week later, I start looking at a million travel sites and planning the whole trip. By the time it was time to go on our trip, I was more excited than Bryan. I never realized how amazing the food scene was in Japan and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
My favorite thing about Japan were all the bakeries everywhere. No surprise there, huh? I wanted to try EVERYTHING. I would literally order 5 pastries at breakfast for just myself and that doesn't include all my in-between meal pastries. This is how I fell in love with this soft milk bread. I became a straight up addict. They use this for so many different types of pastries. They will use it in savory pastries with corn, mayo, and ham or ones with different types of fruit. I didn't care how they had it, I wanted it all
When we got home, I had to learn how to make this. I needed this in my life and was so sad I had spent 25 years of my life without it. I even remember googling where all the asian bakeries were in a 50 mile vicinity of my house, so I can go eat this bread.
I now make this bread quite often and it's a big hit with everyone that tries it. The great thing about this is that it keeps so well in the fridge!
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoon bread flour
FOR THE REST
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream or half and half
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs (1 for the dough and the 1 for egg wash)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Whisk tangzhong ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture thickens, but don't bring to a full boil. It should thicken to a gel like consistency after about 3-4 minutes. As soon as lines appear in the mixture when stirred, remove it and let it cool at room temperature
- Heat your milk to 110 degrees F by microwaving for about 15 seconds. Stir in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes. You will know your yeast has activated once you see foam forming
- Sift together bread flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and in a separate bowl, whisk together tangzhong, half and half, condensed milk, and one egg
- Add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk to incorporate.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until you get a shaggy dough.
- Now start kneading with your hands for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough forms into a smooth ball. The dough will be sticky, so you may sprinkle a little flour on your hands and the dough, but try not to over flour.
- Add your softened butter to the dough one tablespoon at a time and continue kneading. The dough might feel messy, but that's okay! Knead for another 5 minutes and you'll eventually have a dough that's smooth and easy to work with.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. You can also let this dough proof in the fridge overnight if you don't want to bake it that day.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a ball and put into a greased pan. I used a round casserole dish for this. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- The dough will now go through it's second rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Whisk your other egg with a splash of milk and brush it over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.