I love bread. I’m always searching for an easy recipe for a light and fluffy loaf.
I contemplated getting a bread maker now that we are mostly home during the Covid-19 period. But it cannot make the type I so like from Japanese bakeries. The type that is heavenly light and crusty when toasted, like the English Toast loaf from Four Leaves Bakery.
To achieve that texture, most online bread recipes follow the Tangzhong technique that adds a cooked mixture of flour and water to the dough. This recipe does not.
Though less complicated, I got it right only on my third try. The first time I forgot to add yeast. The second time, the dough failed the windowpane test — it was not stretchy enough.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right the first time. Like Dory in Finding Dory says, “Just keep swimming!”
Makes 1 loaf
260g bread flour
3g instant dry yeast
180g 1 egg + fresh milk to make 180g of egg-milk mixture
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients except butter and egg wash. Knead until dough is silky and elastic.
2. Add butter and knead until dough is stretchy.
3. To test that it is well-kneaded and ready for the next step, do the windowpane test. This is crucial to achieving a fluffy bread texture:
i. Take a golf ball-size piece of dough.
ii. Stretch it out into a rectangular shape with your thumb and fingers.
iii. If it stretches into a translucent membrane that does not break, it is ready. Otherwise, continue to knead the dough.
4. Divide dough into 3 portions.
5. With lightly greased hands and on a floured surface, roll each dough piece out flat, then into the shape of a Swiss roll.
6. Place them into a greased loaf pan – I use a 295g one. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for a few hours until they rise to 90% of the pan.
7. Preheat oven to 170 deg C.
8. Brush bread tops with egg wash and bake for 45mins. Cover the bread with foil if it browns too quickly.
9. Cool bread completely before slicing.