This super soft and fluffy Chinese milk bread rivals the kind you’d buy at an Asian bakery. The secret to the fluffiness is tangzhong, which is a flour paste that’s made ahead of time.
I hope that everyone is staying safe amid all the uncertainty. The three of us have been stuck at home since last week. My offices are closed until further notice, and Addie’s school is closed until the end of the month. In addition, her dance classes are cancelled, and the rink shut down until April. We’ve been doing our best to stay out of each other’s hair during the day.
One thing that has given me concern during this crazy time is the increase in racism. I’ve read countless stories about how Asians (particularly Chinese) have been discriminated against. Some bigoted individuals have assaulted Asians and executed other hate crimes. Racial slurs and discriminatory words and phrases have also been used. I hate that this is happening all around the world. In times like these, we need more love – not hate.
I’ve heard that Chinatown has been hurting. Patrons simply aren’t choosing to eat Chinese food or shop at Asian grocery stores for fear of catching the virus. Hearing these types of stories makes me sad.
My family and I are continuing to shop at our local Asian grocery store, albeit with more precaution. If I had an Asian bakery nearby, I’d happily support it. I made this Chinese milk bread to show my Asian pride and to bring the aromas and taste of home into my household. It’s super soft, fluffy, and just all-around perfect.
Hopefully the hatred I’m seeing will quickly dissipate. We need to stand united through this pandemic. We will prevail and become stronger in the end.
Chinese milk bread
- ⅙ cup bread flour
- ½ cup water
- 2 and ½ cups bread flour
- 3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast not active dry
- 2 large eggs divided
- ½ cup milk
- 1 recipe tangzhong as seen above
- 3 Tablespoons butter room temperature
Make the tangzhong
- In a small saucepan, combine the bread flour and water until smooth. Place over medium heat while you continuously stir. The mixture will become very elastic and should reach 150°F (65°C) when it's ready. Allow the mixture to cool before transferring to a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days in advance.
Make the milk bread
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together one of the eggs along with the milk and chilled tangzhong. Transfer this to your large bowl and mix on medium-low speed until a shaggy dough comes together. Add the butter and continue to knead. The dough will be extremely sticky at this point. If mixing by hand, it can take up to 30 minutes to knead until the dough becomes elastic and is no longer sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and place it inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm spot, about 40-60 minutes or more.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly dusted working surface and cut it into 4 equal parts.
- Take one of the dough pieces and roll it into an oval. Place the dough down so the short end is facing you. Take the end closest to you and fold it up halfway. Then take the opposite end and fold it towards you so there is a slight overlap in the middle (it should look like you've folded a letter).
- Flip the dough over and turn it 90 degrees. Roll out the dough once more. Then flip it over so the folded sides are up. Starting from the end closest to you, roll the dough nice and tight. Place it seam side down in a standard and greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Brush the top with the remaining egg and allow to rise for another 40-60 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the tops start to turn golden brown.
- Allow the bread to cool before slicing and serving.
I’m half Japanese, half Korean with a Taiwanese friend. So far, we’ve been fortunate not to have been targeted, though I have experienced racism in the past. We also hope this furor will die down soon. I hope my local grocery stores can stock up on flours again; they’ve had bare shelves this last 2 1/2 weeks, and I’m almost out of AP flour, and I’d love to be (stress relieving) baking again soon!
I’m so happy that you haven’t been subject to any racism. I personally have not either but hearing stories like these breaks my heart. I hope you are able to buy some flours soon so you can bake again!
So far, we found King Arthur Unbleached Flour at Walmart today, but still no bread flour. But it’s a good sign that at least one of their shelves started getting flour again.
Progress is good! Hope you can find bread flour soon!