Japanese Milk Bread

I’ve seen a few posts on Bake Your Own Bread about bread made in the Tangzhong Method. The concept of making what is essentially library paste (okay, a water roux, but it looks like library paste) then adding it to bread dough sort of fascinated me.

Japanese Milk Bread

Japanese Milk Bread (featuring a cameo from our tabby in the background)

The concept apparently comes from a cookbook from Yvonne Chen.  Her book, “65 degrees C Tangzhong,” taught the internet how to make very soft bread at home.

My kitchen is cold unless the oven is on. For reasons I will never understand, the heating vent in the kitchen is jammed into a narrow space between the kitchen cupboards and the wall. It actually faces a window, meaning the warmest place in my kitchen faces one of the coldest, a leaky window. The rest of the apartment isn’t much better. I’ve tried proofing bread in my oven and next to my space heater. Nothing happens. It just sort of lays there. It’s not my yeast, since bread turns out fine in my bread machine.

I decided to just give in and searched the internet for a bread machine Tangzhong recipe. I found one on a blog called “The 350 Degree Oven.” The bread rose beautifully in the bread machine and even after shaping, since I set the pan on top of my pre-heating oven. I did not get quite the oven spring Mika got, but I didn’t do the shaping quite right so I’m pretty pleased.

After it cooled and I cut into it, I was surprised. Yes, it was soft and sweet as promised, but it bore a remarkable resemblance to my Yaya’s Tsoureki. Tsoureki is a Greek bread that my Yaya always made at Easter time. Hers tasted of mastic gum and cinnamon and it’s a bit denser than the milk bread, but the flavor and texture of the bread is similar. We’ve never gotten it quite like hers. Orthodox Easter isn’t until May this year, I’ve got plenty of time to experiment.

submitted to Bake Your Own Bread