Shokupan – Japanese Milk Bread

Redefining the word fluffy, this Japanese Milk Bread recipe uses a method of pre-ferment called Yudane, making the bread so soft and fluffy… worth a try !
You can see the threads of dough which shows how soft the bread is. Perfect for toasts, sandwiches, bread pudding and the best French Toasts.

Easy to prepare, the pre-ferment consists of mixing milk, water and flour, until it starts to thicken…this pre-ferment which transform the dough texture and make it soft and light.

For the Starter
1/3 Cup Bread flour (45 Gr.)
1/2 Cup / 120 ml. milk
1/2 Cup water

For the dough
325 Gr. All purpose flour (2 1/2 Cups)
60 Gr. Sugar – (1/4 Cup)
7 Gr. Active dry yeast. (If you double the recipe, a 10 Gr.envelop works well)
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Milk
60 Gr. Butter – cool – (If you double the recipe, 80 Gr. butter works just as well)

Make the starter – In a small saucepan, whisk the flour, the milk and 1/2 cup of water, together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, but still pourable. (About 7-8 minutes)
Let it cool at room temperature.
To make the dough, in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix for a few seconds until combined.
Add the egg, milk and 1/2 cup of the starter. Turn the mixer to low speed and knead for 5 minutes.
Add soft butter and knead another 10 to 12 minutes (it will take a few minutes for the butter to be incorporated), until the dough is smooth and a little tacky.
Cover the bowl with cling film and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Deflate the dough and use your hands to scoop it out onto a surface.
Cut the dough in half and form a ball with each one. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, giving time for the dough to relax before a final shape.
Using a rolling pin, gently roll out one dough ball into an oval shape. First roll away from you, then pull in, until the oval is about 30 cm long and 15 cm across. Roll the dough into a log and place in buttered pan, seam side down and crosswise. You can place two logs in each pan.
Preheat your oven at 185 Celsius or 365 Fahrenheit
Cover and let rest 30 to 40 minutes more, until the dough is just coming over the edge of the pan and the dough logs are meeting in the middle. Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until golden brown and puffed up, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the bread rest for 10 – 15 minutes… splurge !

TIP DU JOUR : The starter recipe produces enough to bake 2 loaves. This is an opportunity to make two breads. Simply double the ingredient for the bread. The rest of the work is done by the mixer anyway !
As we are only the two of us, we slice the breads and put them flat in a plastic bag and freeze them. We pull out what we need for the best breakfast toasts.

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