There are many methods in making bread I learnt from cookbooks, Japanese and Chinese foodies' blog. Different methods produce different texture of bread, of course other factors like room temperature, ingredients and technique of manipulating the dough affect the quality of end product too.
For soft bread, add small amount of evaporated milk or condensed milk, and/or substitute half amount of water called in recipe with milk. Here are some methods I learnt over the times:
- Direct (直接) - This is the simplest method adding all ingredients, except butter, in one time, knead till smooth, add in butter and continue to knead till smooth and elastic dough is formed See sample recipe here.
- Water Roux (汤种) - Prepare water roux using 5 part of water and 1 part of flour, mix well and cook till smooth paste is formed, cooled then chilled. The amount of water roux use in a recipe is 20%-25% of the total weight of the recipe. See sample recipe here.
- 100% Starter (100%中种) - Prepare dough with all ingredients EXCEPT sugar, salt and fat. After 90 minutes of first proofing, add in sugar, salt and fat and knead to form elastic dough. Divide dough, rest 10 minutes, shape, second proofing before baking. Noticed that some recipes called for small amount of yeast and sugar in the starter dough.
- Overnight Starter Dough (隔夜面) - Prepare starter dough with small amount of yeast, 30-45 minutes proofing in room temperature (Malaysia/summer) then keep in the fridge overnight up to 48 hours. Check out recipe appended below.
- Chilled Batter (冷藏液种) - Similar to Overnight Starter dough method, instead of dough, the starter is prepared with the same amount of flour and water, and small amount of yeast. 30-45 minutes proofing in room temperature (Malaysia/summer) then keep in the fridge overnight and up to 48 hours. See sample recipe here.
If you are wondering which method to use, I normally use the 100% Starter method which is easier and less time consuming. Bread made with method 2-5 stayed soft for 2-3 days without adding softener or improver.
Recipe adapted from Alex Goh’s Baking Code, makes 2 loaves (20 x 11.5 x 11.5cm). I prepared the starter dough for two loaves but halved the recipe for main dough made only one loaf without using the lid of the loaf pan.
Overnight Starter Dough
100g bread flour
60g water, room temp
¼ tsp instant yeast
- Mix the instant yeast with 20g of water until well blended. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead to form dough.
- Let it proof for 30min. Wrap with cling film and keep in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48hours.
550g bread flour
80g sugar (I used 70g)
20g milk powder (I used my boys formula)
10g instant yeast
150g overnight starter (all the above)
1 cold egg
270g cold water (-15g, readers feedback dough too sticky, updated 19 Aug 2011)
75g butter (soften)
- Mix A until well blended. Add B, then C, knead to form a dough.
- Add in D, knead to form a smooth and elastic dough. Cover it with cling film. Allow it to proof for 45 min.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, shape it round. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough flat with a floured rolling pin, then roll it up like swiss roll. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this step one more time.
- Place 3 rolls of the dough into a greased loaf tin (20x 11.5x 11.5cm). Let it proof for 50 minutes or until 80% full of the loaf tin. Cover it with the lid. My experience, let it proof till 90% full.
- Bake at 200C for 35 minutes (without lid bake at 175C-180C for 35 minutes at lower rack). Remove it immediately from the tin when baked. Cool on rack.