Just Baked: Hokkaido Milk Bread

“All sorrows are less with bread.” -Miguel de Cervantes Saaved

I have been itching to make bread again after the success of my attempt at making wheat bread using the turbo, no-knead method. As good as that bread was, it was the type that you finish within the day you baked it. With only water as the hydrating ingredient, the bread could turn out to be tough the following day.

While trying to feel sleepy one night, I searched for bread recipes that called for milk and eggs because my favorite loaf of bread from Goldilocks, a famous chain of bakeshops in the Philippines, was made with those two ingredients included. I figured, those two will give me soft, fluffy, and yummy bread that will not be hard or tough the following day.

From my search, I found the Fluffy Asian Milk Bread (Hokkaido Milk Bread) recipe from Pai’s Kitchen. Her ingredients were pretty straightforward and she had a video to show how it’s done as well. Remembering I had dough hook attachments to my electric hand mixer, I figured that I can do it too.

Her recipe starts out with making the tangzhong, also called as roux. It could be made with flour and water or milk. I like that Pai’s recipe used milk since I think that will help enhance the flavor.

The tanzhong’s purpose is to be able to put in much liquid to the dough without making it too sticky. Also, the roux will help lock in moisture that will allow for a bread that remains soft and fluffy even after a day or two.

I added 20 grams of flour to 120 ml full-cream milk/whole milk.

I mixed the flour in the milk until dissolved. Then, I went to my stove to heat the mixture up, mixing continuously trying to prevent the milk from burning. For some reason, the mixture thickened in around ten seconds and I was close to burning it. My induction stove can be difficult to work with at times. Oh well.

But, my tangzhong still turned out okay. I dumped it in my 120 ml evaporated milk to cool down faster.

Meanwhile, I prepared my 320 grams flour (I just used all-purpose) and 2 tsps of instant yeast.

I added one egg to the milk and tangzhong mixture after it has cooled to prevent the egg from scrambling. Then, I poured it into my dry ingredients.

I used my hand mixer with dough hook attachments to mix the dough until there’s not much dry flour left. I covered it with a tea towel, as instructed by Pai, for 20 minutes. This is the autolyse method, aimed to help making a dough that’s easier to work with.

After 20 minutes, I proceeded with kneading the dough using my electric hand mixer, adding my 2 tbsps of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt gradually while kneading.

I had to stop every now and then not only to rest my mixer’s engine, but also to remove the dough from the dough hooks to ensure even kneading. I had to this a couple of times until I got a dough that clings to the hooks and do not separate anymore. Then, I added 56 grams of butter a little at a time until the dough absorbed it all.

However, my dough remains sticky no matter what I did and how long I kneaded with the machine. I also could not achieve the smooth baby bum texture. I decided to get a little bit of flour and kneaded the dough with my hands inside the bowl. That helped a bit but it still wasn’t the baby bum look that I was aiming for.

Anyway, I got tired of the kneading and the windowpane and poke tests were pretty much showing it’s okay. I decided to call it a day and just get on with the rest of the process. I really need that Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

I placed the dough in a clean bowl that was oiled to prevent sticking. I made sure to coat the entire exterior of the dough before I covered the dough with cling wrap. I covered it additionally with a tea towel and placed it on a warm area to proof.

At around 20 minutes, the dough has already rise . Look!

I was excited for the rest of the steps. After 40 more minutes, it was just huge!

I poked the dough, degassed it, and kneaded it a bit. I then started making 60 gram chunks until I arrived 12 buns with exactly the same weight.

The buns on the first tray had already started the second proofing. Hence, it looks bigger than those on the left. I covered the trays with cling wrap and then with a tea towel to proof for 45 minutes more.

Ah!!! Soooo big!

I popped them in my oven that was preheated at 190°C. But, as soon as they got in, I lowered the temperature to 175°C.

I baked them for 15 minutes and they went out golden brown with a hollow sound when tapped. They were so cute!!!

I just to try one as soon as it cooled a little bit so I would not burn my hands. Look!

It was fluffy, it was soft, and it was yummy! It went really well with butter. The best part? It was still as soft the following day and even the day after!

I’m excited with what else I can do with this base dough. Maybe a custard bun? Or maybe I can fill it with meat? Ooooh! I am so excited!

I shall endeavor to achieve that baby bum texture the next time I try it. What an arm and hand workout that will be!

2 thoughts on “Just Baked: Hokkaido Milk Bread

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