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Hokkaido Milk Bread

These rolls are incredibly soft and airy using a simple technique involving a roux “starter,” known as tangzhong. The tangzhong is mixed into the final dough, producing a wonderfully tender bread roll.

Hokkaido Milk Bread
These rolls are incredibly soft and airy using a simple technique involving a roux "starter," known as tangzhong. The tangzhong is mixed into the final dough, producing wonderfully tender bread roll.
Author:
Cuisine: Japanese
Recipe type: Buns and Bread Rolls
Serves: 8 rolls
Ingredients
For the tangzhong (starter)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour
For the dough
  • 2½ cups bread flour
  • 1½ tablespoons nonfat milk powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
Instructions
  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 room temperature.
  4. To make the dough: Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
  6. Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.
  7. Place the rolls into a lightly greased round bun pan. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.
  8. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water), and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the centre of the middle roll should read at least 88°C.
  9. Remove the rolls from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
Notes
These rolls can also be baked in a 23cm round baking pan for about 25 minutes.

To make a loaf: After the dough's initial rise, divide it into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a log. Place the logs in a row of four — seam side down and side by side — in a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy. Brush the loaf with milk or egg wash and bake at 175°C for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the centre of the loaf reads at least 88°C. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

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