I’ve got the secret to unbelievably soft homemade bread. If you’ve ever had bread from a Japanese bakery, you know what I mean. It’s velvety in texture and a little sweet, it really is incredible. So here’s the secret…TangZhong a cooked mixture of flour and water is the simple secret to pillow soft bread. Adding TangZhong is a simple step that will change your bread baking game for the better. This recipe makes quite a lot of dough so I usually make a loaf, some rolls and some filled buns. The bread freezes well after baking so you can wrap it well in foil and enjoy it later.
First make the TangZhong and let it cool to room temperature, you can make it a day in advance and store it in the fridge.
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk (whole, 2% or skim will all work)
Stir all ingredients together in a sauce pan, whisk until smooth. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 140 °, this should take about 3-5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before use. When finished the tangzhong should be the consistency of pancake batter.
SOFTEST BREAD RECIPE EVER
5-5 ½ cups ap flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup powdered milk
2 envelopes (about 4 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
All the TangZhong from the recipe above
1/2 cup warm (not hot) milk-about 100-110 Degrees
2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) soft butter, plus a bit extra to butter a bowl, the pan and your hand
Start with 5 cups of flour, add the additional ½ cup of flour if your dough does not not form a ball after 2 minutes of mixing. Combine all ingredients except butter and knead in mixer for about 3 minutes on low. Slowly add soft butter about a tablespoon at a time. Knead for an additional 10 minutes.
Butter a large bowl and butter your hand as well. With your buttered hand, transfer dough to buttered bowl and cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Punch the dough down and divide dough into 3 sections for 3 loaves of bread or divide into 36 sections or smaller for dinner rolls.
For Loaves of Bread
Butter 3- 8 ½ inch loaf pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. On a clean counter press a section of dough out into a square about 8 inches. Roll the dough into a tube and place the dough into the loaf pan. Repeat with the other sections of dough.
Let the dough rise for another hour. Brush the tops of the loaves with milk or egg wash. Bake loaves for about 30-35 minutes at 350° Let cool for 5 minutes in a pan, then remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Divide dough into 36 rounds and place on a baking tray. Let the dough rise for another hour. Brush the tops with milk or egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove rolls to a rack to finish cooling