Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Basic White Bread (Tangzhong method)

I love the smell of freshly baked bread. Even though the carbs from bread can make you fat, but who can resist the soft, fluffy, and the wonderful smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread?
Ever since my hubby got me the bread machine a few months ago, I've been crazy about baking bread. I'm always searching for more creative ways on baking different kinds of sweet and savory bread. I read about Tangzhong method bread online. Tangzhong is a water roux starter that is very easy to make. It only takes some bread flour, water, and some heat. Then your bread will be so soft and the fluffiness will last for days. Check out how to make Tangzhong and the basic white bread here.

Basic White Bread (Tangzhong method)
(12 servings ~ 150 calories each)

Tangzhong (water roux):
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

Japanese fluffy bread:
2 1/2 cup bread flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
3.5 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup non-fat or reduced fat milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup tangzhong

1) To prepare Tangzhong, blend the flour and water in a small sauce pan until well mixed, then stir with a whisk or a silicone spatula over medium heat. As soon as the mixture thickens, and swirl lines appear (around 65C or 149F), remove from heat and allow to cool. (This recipe will provide a double batch of tangzhong – store the unused half in the refrigerator for your next loaf, for up to 3 days, if it turns gray, discard it.)

2) Once the Tangzhong has reaches room temperature, you may start preparing your bread dough.
In a bread machine, put in all the wet ingredients first: egg, milk (egg slightly beaten, mixed with milk), tangzhong, then put in sugar, salt, and cubed butter (some say to wait untill the bread dough is mixed before putting the melted butter, but I usually just dump everything in the bread machine and it's been working fine for me), then pour the bread flour in. Make a well right in the middle then put the active dry yeast right into the well. Set your bread machine on dough setting, then press START.

 My bread machine takes an hour and 50 minutes to finish the dough cycle.

3) When the dough is ready, divide it into 4 pieces.
4) Roll each dough piece into an oval shape, then fold it to one-third of the length of the dough, and fold the other third right on top. Flip the dough up-side-down, slightly roll it out again, then flip it back so the folding side is facing you. Roll the dough from the bottom up, smooth side out, set aside and repeat with the other three pieces. (see the above link for demonstration with step-by-step pictures)
5) Place the rolls into a non-stick loaf pan, put a plastic wrap on top, put the pan in a warm place and allow the dough to raise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
6) Preheat oven to 335F.
7) Prepare egg wash by mixing an egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water. Brush egg wash on top of the dough right before baking.
8) Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, allow to cool before removing from pan.
Let it cool completely before slicing.

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