食パン (Japanese Milk Bread)
Are you a bread lover, like me? If so, I think you owe it to yourself to make a loaf of this classic Japanese bread, known as Shokupan (食パン). Shokupan slices are typically what you find in the famous tamago sando or katsu sando from 7-Eleven (Yes 7-Eleven is very different in Japan and actually serves pretty good quick on the go meals!) or Lawson stores in Japan. While the egg salad or katsu fillings are an important part of each sandwich, the shokupan slices offer a pillowy texture that is perfect for any kind of sandwich. These days you can find shokupan or similar from your local Japanese grocery store or bakery like Mitsuwa Marketplace that makes bread fresh daily near me..
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 "tangzhong roux" method is the key to this bread. . The name was coined by Yvonne Chen, author of the cookbook 65 Degrees C. Bread Doctor, and is a pudding like roux made from 1 part flour to 5 parts water. It makes breads softer, fluffier and last longer. The kids love its soft texture and ask for me to make it weekly.
BONUS I read on similar blog that the same dough could be used to make cinnamon rolls, which I did and it was absolutely delicious. I'll post the recipe next time. I also use this soft and sweet dough with - Red Bean as well. My wife calls it the red bean donut bread because the texture is very similar to the donut cake. Here is the link to that recipe.
Kitchen Scale (Optional): If you enjoy baking, I can't stress enough the wonderful benefit of having a simple Kitchen Scale. Measuring in grams is just plain more accurate than measuring by cups. When measuring, grams are the easiest to use, since you don't have to convert pounds into oz etc. I use the Q-Hillstar Digital Food Scale - Rechargeable Kitchen Scale with Back-lit LCD Display and Stainless Steel Panel
Bread Pans: You will need a 9x4-inch loaf pans to make this bread. We prefer to make Shokupan in a Pullman-type loaf pan with a cover, for a perfectly square loaf, that's ideal for sandwiches.
Pan I use is a USA Pullman Loaf Pan 9 x 4 inch With Cover -
350g bread flour
7g active dry yeast
1 egg (about 55g)
42g unsalted butter
Tangzhong (Yudane or water roux): about 250g (will make 2 portions)
65g bread flour
Make the Tangzhong first (this will make 2 batches - you can store the other half in the refrigerator up to 3 days) - place the flour and water in a medium 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. set aside to cool off.
Pour the milk into a bowl,
Beat the egg in the same bowl and combine with the milk and slat
In a large mixing bowl or a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, combine the flour, sugar and yeast and wisk to combine
Add the milk/egg/salt mixture, mixing on low/med speed
Add the now-cooled Tangzhong (125g) and the cubed butter
Knead in the mixer until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky (1-2 speed for 3 minutes then 5-6 speed for 15 minutes - rest covered for 5 minutes, then knead for another 10 minutes)
Cover and allow to rise until double - The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.i set my toaster oven to 26C or 80F.
Lightly dust your counter with flour (Very lightly otherwise it will make the bread dry)
Punch down the dough gently to release the air.
Divide the dough into 4 equal sizes (I weigh 2 of them slightly less than the other 2 for shaping like a mountain loaf (Japanese call this "Yama Shokupan" if I don't use the cover for the pullman)
Take each piece individually and flatten. Shaping them with the palm of your hand or a lightly floured rolling pin to an oval
Try not to add too much extra flour at this point, it will lead to a drier dough - I can't stress that enough!
Fold down the dough from either direction in thirds
Flip over and roll out 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
If you desire that sandwich perfect square loaf then close the lid if your pullman came with it now.
Bake for 15 minutes and loosely cover with aluminum foil so not to brown the top too early
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 Nutella on it for a breakfast treat!