Milk Bread

Milk Bread

There is no failure in this recipe for Asian milk bread. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we’ve spent months trying to perfect the recipe for Asian bakery milk bread, which is often very soft and buttery. That is, until this last weekend, when we really did it.

Many milk bread recipes available online are somewhat involved. Many of these dishes never turned out the way I hoped they would, whether I used them from other food blogs or from Chinese recipe sites. They rarely looked like the original design. Over the course of a year, nobody found anything. Oh, how embarrassing.

In that case, where did the recipe for milk bread originate? My cousin Heidi turned out to have the best recipe all along. As a bonus, this is the easiest recipe I’ve found that yields results that are virtually identical to the authentic Asian milk bread sold in Chinatown markets and bakeries.

Making the dough is as simple as throwing all of the ingredients into a mixer, letting it rest for an hour, then giving it another kneading, shaping it, giving it another hour to rise, then baking it. Easy preparation with no unusual materials or methods required. The finished product is golden, light, fluffy, and slightly sweet, as seen in our images. There don’t seem to be any downsides.

This bread has been in our family for years, thanks to my cousin who bakes two loaves a week. My only regret is not having asked her sooner. Well, I guess everything worked out in the end, and I’m so happy I’m spinning. Now that I don’t have to worry about finding something, I can go on to the next recipe on my long list. But before I go, I just had to tell you about this ridiculously simple milk bread recipe I came up with so you may reap the benefits of my (largely pointless) efforts.

You can use a bread machine to create the dough, but the proving cycle is too hot for this bread, so I recommend proofing it in a separate container.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 cup of milk plus 1 tablespoon (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of cake flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • Egg wash
  • Simple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a mixer, put the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, bread flour, cake flour, yeast, and salt. Set the mixer to “stir” using the dough hook attachment.
  2. Allow it to run for 15 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to push the dough together. If you don’t have a mixer and want to knead by hand, add 5-10 minutes to the kneading time.
  3. The dough is ready for proving after 15 minutes of kneading. Warm the bowl for 1 hour or until the dough doubles. We proofed the dough in the oven (we used the rapid proof option on our oven for 5 minutes, then turned it off and closed the oven door).
  4. Meanwhile, butter two baking dishes, such as two standard loaf pans or a loaf pan and a 9-inch round cake pan, on all sides.
  5. After an hour of proofing, return the dough to the mixer and whisk for 5 minutes to remove any air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and place it on a lightly floured surface. One-half of the dough can be used to form a loaf by cutting it into three pieces and placing them in a loaf pan.
  6. Cut the remaining dough into eight equal pieces and shape them into buns. You can shape the dough any way you want. Allow the dough to prove for another hour after shaping.
  7. Center a rack in a 350°F oven. Brush the egg wash over the rising dough. Bake for 23-25 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves. Brush buns with sugar water to add gloss, sweetness, and color.

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