Instead of crusty bread, my family prefers Asian milk bread, which is soft and fluffy with a glossy crust. Milk bread is the most common bread in most Asian countries, and we love them for breakfast.
Step into any Asian bakery and you will spot a dizzying array of milk bread varieties. You will see plain ones in a loaf or pull-apart form. And you will see milk bread filled with sweet and savory fillings.
The most popular milk bread recipe is undoubtedly the tang zhong milk bread recipe, but today, I will share with you this single proof Asian milk bread recipe. You can bake a successful milk bread with only a single proof, which means you can enjoy a batch of homemade milk bread at half the usual time.
Ingredients for single proof Asian milk bread
This is a very basic bread recipe using all-purpose flour/bread flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, egg, milk, and unsalted butter.
I stock all-purpose flour in my pantry, so I almost always bake this bread with all-purpose flour. But you will get an even better result from bread flour, so definitely use that if you have bread flour in your pantry.
I mainly use Saf instant yeast gold as this particular yeast is more suitable for sweet dough like this milk bread. I buy them in a 1-pound bag and always store the yeast in my freezer. If you often bake milk bread at home like me, it can be more economical this way.
Step-by-step to knead, shape, and bake the milk bread
1. Knead the dough
Place all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl. Make a well, add in the egg and warm milk, stir into a shaggy mass, and knead until the dough is smooth. Add unsalted butter and continue kneading for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
2. Shape the dough
Grease an 8″x3″ round pan with butter. Divide the dough into eight pieces, roll into balls, and arrange in the pan.
You can also use a 9″x2″ round pan or an 8″x8″ square pan. It may be easier to divide the dough into nine pieces for an 8″x8″ pan.
3. Proof the dough
Cover the pan with a wet kitchen towel, proof for one hour in a warm kitchen, or until the dough fills the pan.
4. Bake the bread
Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Serving, storing, and reheating leftover milk bread
Remove the bread from the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
You can serve milk bread plain, or with a pat of butter and fruit preserves. My family’s favorite is peanut butter and strawberry preserves combo. For a light meal, I love making sandwiches with thinly sliced cheese and ham. Choose any cheese and deli cuts that are good for sandwiches.
If you have any leftover, wait until they are completely cool before storing. Store any leftover in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days at room temperature. If you love warm bread, please reheat in a microwave for 10 seconds before serving.
Milk bread with a sweet or savory filling
You can treat this milk bread recipe as your basic dough recipe and fill them with your favorite fillings.
For a savory filling, try using this dough to prepare sausage bread, ham and mayonnaise bread, pizza bread, or curry chicken bread.
If you love sweet filling, you can try black sesame seeds bread, orange sugar bread, taro bread, or chocolate and banana bread.
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