My quarantine bread baking marathon continues with this red bean milk bread. It’s super soft and fluffy and has a wonderful sweetness from the red beans. My parents would approve!
Are you guys able to find flour anywhere? I read online that people across the country have been doing lots of baking during this social isolation period. People who were weekly bakers (like me) have turned into daily bakers. And those who baked occasionally have begun doing more baking. I guess it’s been a way for families to bond together. Sadly, this has caused an issue in the supply and demand for flour.
Our regular grocery store did not have flour; nor did one of the specialty stores. Since I was out of some of the ingredients for this bread, I had to hold onto the recipe for a little while. Thankfully, I found some baking supplies in another grocery store and was finally able to bake this bread.
A bread-baking trick I’ve learned during my quarantine (er… technically it’s social isolation since thankfully we are all safe and healthy) is to allow shaped bread to rise one more time before baking. I’ve tried recipes where the author will tell you to shape your bread and pop it into the oven for baking. Instead, I’ve allowed the bread the proof and rise one more time so that it’s nice and puffy before baking. I find that this yields a nicely shaped bread so you know what it will look like once it’s fully baked.
This bread was fantastic. Red bean is one of my favorite Asian dessert ingredients. And luckily, I had a can of it in my pantry. I baked two loaves of this bread – one to eat now, and one for later. My daughter chowed down on the bread and swooned over the red bean. My husband, who typically isn’t as big of red bean, also loved it.
If my parents were here to sample this, I know they’d enjoy it as well. The bread was soft and fluffy, just as they like it, and full of red bean flavor. If you can find flour near you, I’d highly recommend you try this!
Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
Red bean milk bread
- ⅔ cup heavy cream room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup cake flour If you can't find cake flour, use all-purpose flour. Remove one Tablespoon of the flour and replace it with 1 Tablespoon of corn starch.
- 3 and ½ cups bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ can sweetened red bean paste You can find this at your Asian grocery store and sometimes in the international aisle at your local grocery store
- 1 egg for an egg wash
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand, add the ingredients in the following order: heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt. Mix on low speed until the ingredients all come together and leave the machine on to mix for another 10-15 minutes. If the dough is too sticky and sticks to the bottom or sides of the bowl, you can add some more flour, about ¼ cup at a time. Don't over-flour the dough or else your bread will be dense and hard. Your final dough should be soft and pliable - it will be tacky but not stick to your hands. If mixing by hand, knead for a good 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or a sheet of plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. It should double in about an hour or so. I put my dough in the oven and turned on the bread proofing function and it rose in less than an hour.
- Generously grease two 9"x5" loaf pans and set aside.
- Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half. Take one half of the dough and roll it out to a large rectangle. Spread some of the red bean paste onto the dough, leaving at least a 1 inch border untouched. Do not spread on too much red bean paste or you will have a huge mess on your hands later.
- Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter and make sure to pinch the ends shut. Otherwise, your red bean will ooze everywhere as you go on to the next step.
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle like you did before. Fold it again into thirds like a letter, and roll it out one more time into a large rectangle.
- Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut your dough into 3 long strips. Braid the dough, cut-side up. Tuck the ends underneath and place the dough into your prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and place it in a warm place to rise once more. Again, I put my dough into the oven in the bread proofing mode and the bread rose in about an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Brush the top of your dough with the egg wash. Bake in your preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the bread is golden. If desired, you can brush the top with a simple syrup (equal parts water and granulated sugar - melted over a stove or in the microwave).
- Allow the bread to cool before slicing and serving.