Milk Bread

Sweet, downy Milk Bread gets its unparalleled texture from Tangzhong, a milk and flour mixture that is heated on the stove until thickened into a creamy paste. The second crucial part of the Milk Bread recipe? A rolled and spiraled shaping method, which gives the loaf its towering height and the iconic swirling imprint on the side crust.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Milk Bread
 
Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves or 24 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups (320 grams) warm whole milk (100°F/38°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4½ teaspoons (14 grams) active dry yeast
  • 5½ cups (699 grams) bread flour
  • Tangzhong (recipe follows)
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) whole milk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together yeast mixture, flour, Tangzhong, 2 eggs (100 grams), and salt with a wooden spoon until combined. With mixer on low speed, beat for 5 minutes. Add butter, and beat at medium-low speed for 6 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl, and turn dough over. Beat 2 minutes more. Check dough’s gluten development by using the windowpane test (see note). Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Test dough for fermentation by using the finger dent test (see note).
  3. Spray 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans (for loaves) or 2 (13x9-inch) baking pans (for rolls) with cooking spray.
  4. For loaves: Divide dough into 6 equal portions (252 grams each). Shape each portion into a ball. Roll each ball into a 12x5-inch oval. Fold right third (lengthwise) over middle third. Fold left side over middle. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough, and reroll into a 12x5-inch oval. Starting with one short side, roll dough away from you into a cylinder. Place seam side down in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough, placing 3 portions in each prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. For rolls: Divide dough into 24 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll each portion into a 7x3-inch oval. Fold right third (lengthwise) over middle third. Fold left side over middle. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough, and roll into a 7x2½-inch oval. Starting with one short side, roll dough away from you into a cylinder. Place seam side down in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough, placing 12 rolls in each prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush top of dough with egg wash.
  8. For loaves: Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), about 30 minutes, covering with foil during last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from pans immediately, and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
  9. For rolls: Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let rest in pan 15 to 20 minutes, then remove and let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.
After your dough has rested for 40 minutes to 1 hour, lightly flour the surface of the dough, and gently press your finger about ½ inch into the surface. If your dough has properly fermented, you should be able to watch the dough spring back slightly but still show an indentation. If the dent disappears, the dough is underproofed and needs more time. If the indentation stays completely, you’ve overproofed the dough. (See tip on overmixing and overproofing for more information.) Apply this method for the rise right before the shaping to ensure your dough has the perfect flavor and texture.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tangzhong
 
Makes about ¾ cup
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) bread flour*
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk and flour. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 149°F (65°C) on an instant-read thermometer and whisk leaves lines on bottom of saucepan (see page 85 for The Tangzhong). Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool to room temperature before using.
Notes
We used King Arthur Bread Flour.

 

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