Prep: 35 mins – Cook: 35 mins – Total: 70 mins
- 1/4 cup bread flour
- 1/4 cup milk (for vegan: use unsweetened oat milk)
- 5 tablespoons water
- 325g bread flour
- 20 grams sugar
- 7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 4 grams salt
- 1 large egg (for vegan: mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Let sit for 15 minutes before using)
- 130 milliliters room temperature milk (for vegan: use unsweetened oat milk)
- 50 grams unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes (for vegan: use vegan butter)
- To make the starter (tangzhong), whisk the flour, milk, and water, in a pot until smooth, and turn the heat to low. Stir and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes a gelatinous paste.
- Turn the heat off and transfer the tangzhong to a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let cool for 30 minutes. Simple tip for fluffier bread: let the tangzhong sit for an additional 1-2 hours if you have the time. This will yield an even fluffier texture.
- Use the bowl of your stand mixer and add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir until the ingredients are well mixed.
- Add the egg, milk, and tangzhong, place the dough hook on the mixer, and knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter and knead on medium (speed 4 on a stand mixer) for an additional 20 minutes, until the dough is springy and slightly sticky.
- Meanwhile, lightly grease a bowl and set it aside.
- Lightly wet your hands, or rub a little oil on them, and scoop the dough. Shape it into a ball and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 50 minutes somewhere a little warmer than room temperature (75-85ºF), until it doubles in size.
- Punch the dough down and transfer it onto a flat surface. Equally cut the dough in half and shape into 2 balls. Cover the balls with a kitchen towel and let them rise for 15 minutes.
- Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball into a 6-by-9-inch oval.
- Fold each side of the oval and make them join in the center. Do the same with the top and bottom (bring them to the center).
- Tightly roll the dough into a log and place it on one end of the loaf pan, smooth side up. Repeat the same steps for the remaining ball of dough and place it in the other end of the pan.
- Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 40 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- The dough is ready when the logs are touching in the center and are at the same level, or slightly over, as the pan.
- Brush the top of the dough with a little milk.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. If the bread is turning a golden brown too quickly, lightly cover the pan with foil. The bread is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 190ºF.
- Take the pan out of the oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack immediately.
- Let cool for at least an hour before eating.