Uber Soft Milk Loaf
This loaf boasts an incredibly tender and milky crumb that has been enriched with double milk — full cream and milk powder. This technique developed by Adeline also ensures there’s a spring in each slice. Texture-wise, it resembles shokupan (also known as Hokkaido milk bread) a popular Japanese milk bread employing a proven Asian baking technique using a leaven called tangzhong. This recipe is simpler, sans the tangzhong, yet has a crumb that rivals the much–loved shokupan. In essence, it is a classic bread that many of us grew up with, made into sandwiches with a host of assorted fillings.
Total Time: 2½ hours
Yields: 1 loaf
A: Bread Dough
300g bread flour
225g full-cream fresh milk
10g milk powder
3g instant yeast
B: Egg Wash
1 egg, whisked up with a fork
- In a stand mixer attached with a dough hook, combine all ingredients except for butter. Knead on medium speed for 3 ½ minutes until it comes together in a ball of dough.
2. Add butter. Knead until it is fully incorporated into the dough, approximately 3½ minutes.
3. Pause to do a windowpane test. Pinch a small piece of dough — using both your thumbs and index fingers, gently stretch dough in opposite directions.
If you can stretch the dough to resemble a windowpane without it breaking or tearing, the gluten is sufficiently developed. If not, continue to knead another 3-5 minutes and do another windowpane test.
4. Place dough in a deep bowl that has been greased with some oil. Rest in a warm place (turned off oven with a bowl of hot boiling water placed on oven floor) for 30-45 minutes.
5. Shape dough. Prepare a Pullman baking tin.
Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Place it seal side down, side by side into the baking tin.
Alternatively, shape it into a single dough.
Cover with a moist kitchen towel. Let it rest in a warm place for 45 minutes-1 hour until dough reaches 90% of tin capacity, a few inches below the rim.
6. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 180°C for at least 15 minutes.
7. Using a pastry brush, brush top of loaf with an even coating of egg wash.
8. Bake loaf for 30-45 minutes until crust turns golden brown. Allow loaf to completely cool down for a minimum of 1 hour before slicing (See TIP).
The crumb is especially light and fluffy and is best consumed within 3 days.
As you pull buns apart, notice the delicate gluten strands.
PHOTOS: Adeline Song Jun Ling
TIP: Full cream milk replaces water for a burnished crust and delicately tender crumb with a fine grain and velvety texture. Sugar and butterfat lends this bread a longer shelf life. It yields a taller and fuller loaf owing to a greater capacity to retain gas.
TECHNIQUE: Once bread is taken out from the oven, place it on a wire rack to completely cool down. This allows air to circulate around the loaf allowing the cooking process to come to a halt. Slicing into bread while it is still hot will cause crumb to become gummy.