Recently I have been researching and experimenting with a few Japanese Milk Bread recipes. If you have never had it, you are missing out! It’s such a soft and fluffy Japanese sandwich bread recipe that is very unique I think. There seems to be a few recipes on the internet, which originated from the same sources in Japan - while they are all good (I tried 4 of them) - my basic one is slightly modified and is a regular stable on our table. Using the Japanese/Chinese water roux method is the key to this bread. The kids love its soft texture and ask for me to make it weekly.
I read on similar blog that the same dough could be used to make cinnamon rolls, which I did and it was absolutely delicious. Made me think what else could I use this soft and sweet dough with - Red Bean…. It works! My wife calls it the red bean donut bread because the texture is very similar to the donut cake.
So I call it the "Azuki Donut Loaf"
BTW, if you like me needed some advice on can openers for that red bean can, look no further then here.
350g bread flour
7g active dry yeast
1 egg (about 55g)
228 fine red bean paste (use the Koshi An specifically)
42g unsalted butter
Tangzhong (water roux): about 250g (will make 2 portions
65g bread flour
Make the Tangzhong - place the flour and water in a small skillet at medium heat. You can either whisk or I prefer a silicon spatula swirling around the skillet continuously seems to capture more of the mixture without leaving some behind the way a whisk can do.
Continue to swirling/whisking over medium heat until you start to notice the streaks it makes as it thickens.
Once you see the lines form, you can pull away from the heat but continue swirling/whisking for at least 30 more seconds. Texture should be a bit thick now.
Pour the milk into a bowl, add the red bean paste and mix together well until its consistently smooth.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl and combine with the milk/red bean mixture.
In a large mixing bowl or a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, combine the flour, sugar and yeast and wisk to combine, then spread out the salt and mix once more.
Add the milk/red bean/egg mixture, mixing on low/med speed
Add the now cooled Tangzhong (125g)
Knead in the mixer until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky
Allow to rest for 10 minutes then knead again for 10 more minutes
Cover and allow to rise until double - The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.
Lightly dust your counter with flour
Punch down the dough gently to release the air.
Divde the dough into 4 equal sizes (I weigh them usually 2 slightly less than the other 2 for shaping like a mountain loaf (Japanese call this "Yama Shokupan"
Take each piece individually and flatten. Shaping them with a rolling pin to an oval
Try not to add too much extra flour at this point, it will lead to a drier dough
Fold down the dough from either direction in thirds
flip over and rollout to flatten again into a rectangle shape
Once you have repeated with each individual piece, roll them each and set aside
I use a 9 x 4 loaf pan, place the 4 rolls side by side with the seam side down
I mentioned earlier that I did 2 of slightly smaller doughs. If you followed that path, then insert those on the outer inside of the pan
Insert the larger 2 dough rolls in the middle of the pan
If you have a large proof bag, insert the pan
Allow to rise in a warm area for 30 minutes or about 1" off the edge of the pan
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 170C
Bake for 15 minutes and loosely cover with aluminum foil
Bake for another 15 minutes uncovered
Remove the loaf from the pan on a wire mesh rack lie the bread on its side for 5 minutes
Alternate to the other side for 5 minutes
repeat the process twice
Julia Child use to do this and so do I since it seams to help the side structure
Allow to thoroughly cool before slicing
Try lightly toasting and drizzling some icing on it for a breakfast treat!