This milk bread isn’t as sweet as many other recipes. If you like yours sweeter you can add up to 3 ounces of sugar to this basic formula. Note that I’m making twice the amount of tangzhong as I need, but it’s tough to make half of this without overcooking it, much less getting it all out of the pan!
For the Tangzhong
1.6 ounces (1/3 cup) bread flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk the mixture over medium-low heat until “tracks” appear on the surface and it thickens noticeably. Set it aside to cool completely. Place plastic wrap over it to prevent a skin form forming. The tangzhong can be used immediately or up to two days later.
For the Bread Dough
4.8 ounces tangzhong, room temperature
12 1/2 ounces (2½ cups) bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg lightly beaten, room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk, room temperature
1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) melted butter
egg wash (1 egg + 2 teaspoons water)
Combine all the ingredients except the butter and egg wash in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Stir on low until all the ingredients are moistened, then switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Add the butter and knead until the dough is once again nice and smooth, about another 5 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with a towel and let it rise until it’s doubled, 45 minutes or so.
After the initial rise transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Using a rolling pin roll each ball into a long oval. Fold in the long sides of the oval, then the top sides to make a long strip about 3″ wide. Flatten the rectangles and then roll them up, placing them side by side in a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan.
Proof the dough for about another hour until it has once again doubled. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the loaf with egg wash and bake 30 minutes until golden. When the bake is finished, remove the loaf pan to a rack and let it cool 15 minutes before turning the loaf out of the pan.