Another bread experiment

30 August 2018
I've been test baking bread this week. I've wanted to try Japanese milk bread for a long time and finally baked my own on Monday. It was always described as very soft and fluffy bread that had excellent keeping qualities so I thought it would be a good bread to have in my repertoire of bakes.  

The bread has something in common with sour dough in that you prepare a starter before you bake and include it with the ingredients. This starter is called TangZhong, a mixture of flour, milk and water, cooked and allowed to cool to room temperature. It helps the bread retain moisture and is the reason it stays fresh longer. This is the recipe I followed.

The bread looked great, was very easy to cut with my serrated bread knife, Hanno liked the taste but I didn't. It was much too sweet.  I hesitated when I looked at the amount of sugar stated in the recipe (60g/¼ cup), I put in half that amount and it was still too sweet.  I want bread mainly for breakfast toast, so I'm eating eggs or baked beans with the toast and I don't want it to be sweet.  Other than the sweetness, it was a good bread.

I don't like giving up after only one try so I decided to use the TangZhong with my normal bread recipe.   The bread tasted good, I had to estimate how much less water to add, and I think I got it right. The texture was a little more spongy than my normal bread and it's softer the day after baking than the bread I usually bake. But I don't need bread that stays fresh because I make small loaves now and generally use it for toast. So I'm walking away from Japanese milk bread. It was a good experiment, I've learned another skill in that I can make TangZhong, but I'll be staying with my all purpose loaf for the time being.  I've been baking that bread for a long time now and it looks like I'll stay with it for another few years.