Stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (preferred, but not essential)
Loaf tin (approx. 9 x 5 inches, or slightly smaller)
For the tangzhong
For rest of loaf
350gbread flourplus 2 tbsp
7gfast acting yeast
Neutral oilto oil mixing bowl
unsalted butterfor greasing loaf pan
To make the tangzhong, add the water and flour to a small, cold saucepan and mix until completely smooth before turning on the heat.
Once smooth, gently warm the flour/water mixture over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. The mixture should leave a thick trail when stirred.
When thick, scrape the mixture into a bowl and cover with cling film, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the tangzhong to prevent a skin from forming on top.
Allow the tangzhong to cool to room temperature.
While the tangzhong is cooling, add the lukewarm milk to a large mixing bowl and dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in the milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir gently to mix. Allow the milk/yeast mixture to stand for 10-20 minutes until the yeast is activated (the surface will become frothy).
Once the yeast is activated, add the rest of the sugar to the bowl, plus the cooled tangzhong, egg, flour, and the salt. Mix all of the ingredients well then knead either by hand on a floured surface or in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
If using a mixer, knead the dough for around five minutes on low speed, or for a little longer if kneading by hand. The dough will be very sticky at first, but will eventually come together.
After five minutes of kneading, add the butter in four separate batches, mixing each for around 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure the dough mixes well.
Once the butter is incorporated, increase the kneading speed to medium and continue to knead for 5-7 minutes, continuing to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl while kneading. Once the dough is smooth and cleanly pulls from the side of the bowl, it’s ready for the next step.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Return to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a relatively warm place for around an hour, until doubled in size.
When the dough has proofed, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the dough. Grease a loaf tin (approx. 9 x 5 inches) and dust with flour.
Shape the loaf and add to the tin, then cover and leave to rise again until the loaf is just reaching the top of the tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Lightly beat the egg and use it to egg wash the top of the loaf, then bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown. If the loaf browns too quickly, loosely cover with tin foil for the last part of cooking.
Turn the bread out onto a rack and cool before slicing.
Milk bread dough is typically far softer than other bread doughs. The dough will eventually firm up while kneading, and after proofing, so avoid the temptation to add more flour while kneading. Once baked, it’s best to allow the bread to cool before eating, otherwise it’ll be very difficult to slice due to its softness. Cover the tangzhong with cling film while cooling, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the tangzhong, to prevent a skin from forming on top. This bread can be plaited, rolled, or even formed into dinner rolls. If you do plan on shaping the bread, I’d suggest proofing the bread for an additional 2-3 hours in the fridge following the first proof. This will allow the dough to firm up, making it far easier to handle.