I’ve always loved Asian style white bread. The bread usually has a very soft texture and will stay soft and fresh for days. A few years ago, a woman named Yvonne Chen wrote a book entitled "65 Degrees" This book details her secret to keeping bread fresh and soft - the secret : "Tangzhong" a flour and water mixture that is cooked to 65 degrees to make a flour paste which you add to the bread mixture before kneading.
So in honor of this "Ancient Asian Secret" plus the Japanese Art of Bread Characters (http://cuteyummytime.wordpress.com/2009/02/) and lastly my love of the Simpsons...
I present Mr. Sparkle's Super Awesome Tangzhong Bread DOH!
Step 1: The Ingredients...
For the Tangzhong:
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water
For the Milk Bread:
2½ cups bread flour
3 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120 g tangzhong
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter softened at room temperature
+ 2 Hard Boiled eggs for the eyes...
A mixer would be great but I do not have one so all I used was a few mixing bowls and some elbow grease.
Step 2: Tangzhong Magic...
Mix the 1/3 cup bread flour & 1 cup water together and whisk until it is completely dissolved and no lumps remain.
In a small pot on medium heat begin stirring the mixture constantly as it heats up, it will begin to thicken.
When the temperature of the mixture reaches 65 degrees Celsius, remove from the stove and let it cool.
If you do not have a thermometer then as you continually stir the mixture it will start to have “lines” in the paste, when you see these lines appear it is done.
Once the mixture is cooled, pour it into a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. Place the wrap directly onto the mixture to keep it from drying out and put it in the fridge for at least several hours and preferably overnight.
- The Tangzhong paste does not keep well, so use within a few days.
Step 3: Milk Bread Dough - DOH!
Combine 2½ cups bread flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar and 2 tsp instant yeast in a bowl.
Make a well in the center.
Add in all wet ingredients: ½ cup milk, 1 large egg and 120g of the Tangzhong.
- Knead until your dough comes together and then add in the 3 tbsp butter & continue kneading.
Step 4: I Knead You...
Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic.
I kneaded the dough for about 18-20 minutes. When the dough is ready, you should be able to take a chunk of dough and stretch it very thin before it breaks.
Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a wet towel.
Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough into portions needed for Mr Sparkle. Knead into balls - Large main Head, Mouth area, small Nose & two Ears.
Assemble Mr. Sparkles (Note: I did this at this time and there was some issues with the dough mis-forming but I am not sure it would have been better to do it at a later time as the dough gets very sticky and soft)
- Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes. (Cover very loosely as Mr. Sparkles nose is very delicate!)
Step 5: Mr. Sparkles Gets Baked...
Take the two hard boiled eggs and place as eyes (again if I was to do this again I would probably skip this step and just use balls of dough as the eggs ended up getting "swallowed" into his head - Doh!)
Beat an egg with a little water & brush this mixture on top to create a shiny egg-wash finish. (If I had to do this again I would only do it on the chin area to give him the traditional Homer look)
Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for a bit.
- Slice and enjoy! The bread is super soft & contains no additives. if made in a traditional bread pan this recipe would make an amazing sandwich bread loaf.
There you go: Mr. Sparkle's Super Awesome Tangzhong Bread DOH!
Guaranteed fun to make and fun to eat! (and for some reason there was a fight for his nose!)