The original recipe comes from Happyhomebaking . I have modified slightly to make it eggless. Also I added some pandan paste (I use Bake King, which is easily available in all supermarket) for the nice colour and aroma.
Many recipe generally requires light flour-ing during knead. I also tested this using a method that I read from a book by Dan Lepard, "The Handmade Loaf". It uses a method where you knead less, at the same time, uses less flour in order to maintain the high level of moisture content in the bread.
I could see the distinct difference in the texture; the one made using Dan's method is indeed heavier and moist!
Having said that, by its own distinction, the other version is just as good... in it's way - light and fluffy. My colleagues gobbled up all the bread in few minutes!
I have given both versions and you test out and decide for yourself which you prefer.
And oh, by the way, I have quite a few new learnings in these few trials but i am too tired to type it out now. I promise I will complete this post (together with the adapted recipe and method) sometime next week.
This is the high moisture version - I added ham and cheese to make a hearty breakfast! Bevis loves it :-)
Still moist despite leaving it uncovered the unfinished half in an aircon environment for the whole morning It is still very fluffy by the time I eat the other half in the afternoon.
This is version 2 - the conventional flouring method. I brought the dough to office and bake it in the small toaster in the office pantry. As you can see the surface is not as glossy as the other one, which was glazed with milk+sugar before sending into the oven.
See how fluffy it is!
This colour is closer to the real thing. I realised that the green in other pix looks very artificial. Maybe it's the camera setting or the lighting condition =p. Whatever the reason, it's not me *HeeHee*
Modified Recipe for Pandan Milk Bread
178g fresh milk
50g caster sugar
250g bread flour
4g Instant yeast
38g unsalted butter (or neutral-smelling oil like canola or sunflower)
1 tsp pandan paste (or 2tbsp of freshly crushed pandan juice if you choose to go naturel)
- Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre.
- Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir to mix them well.
- Knead for ~10min on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth. Add flour only when abolutely necessary cos too much flour will change the texture of the bread.
- Shape dough into a ball and let it proof in room temperature in a greased mixing bowl. Covered with cling wrap. Takes approximately 60min but may take longer if you have added less yeast. It is ready when it is about double it's original size. A good way to remember is to draw the outline of the dough on the cling wrap with a marker. This way you won't scratch your head to think how it looked before proofing.
- Remove dough and punch out the gas. Divide dough into 3 equal portion. Roll and shape into balls. Let the dough rest and relax for 15 mins. (this 'relaxing' time is needed so that the dough will be easier to roll out and shaped).
- On a lightly floured surface, flatten one dough and roll out into a longish shape. Roll up the dough swiss-roll style. Do the same for the two remaining doughs.
- Flatten the rolled-up dough and roll out again into a long rectangular shape. Roll up tightly, and make as many rolls you can, swiss-roll style for the second time. Do the same for the two remaining doughs.
- Place doughs in lightly greased bread tin/pan. Let the doughs proof for the second time, until it fills up 80% of the tin/pan. Cover with cling wrap. Glaze with milk & sugar mixture before it goes into the oven.
- Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 ~ 190 deg C for 30 to 35mins. Unmould the bread immediately when removed from the oven. Let cool completely before slicing.
Dan Lepard's method:
- After mixing the flour with water, a short pause of 10-20 min allows the particles of flour to swell with moisture, and gives the protein strands of gliadin and glutenin time to hydrate. E.g. mix the dough, leave it for 10-15min. After kneading for 10sec, the dough will feel smooth and resilient. Cover the dough for another 10-15min, then knead for another 10sec.
- Instead of kneading on a floured surface which reduces the moisture content of the dough, lightly oil the work surface. This stopped the dough from sticking, but made certain that the recipe stayed true to the carefully crafted percentages of water-to-flour that gave the loaf its particular crumb structure.
- Basic steps when mixing by hand-
(a) Take the measured amount of liquid and stir into the yeast or natural leaven, breaking up any lumps.
(b) Weigh the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients with the liquid quickly and smoothly. The aim is to try and get the liquid evenly mixed at first, and since the flour will begin to clump as soon as it makes contact with the liquid, the quicker you can mix this the better.
(c) Dig your hands right down to the bottom of the bowl to make sure there is neither a clump of flour nor a pool of liquid, sitting there. Then squidge the dough through the fingers of your hand so that there are few lumps left.
(d) Scrape whatever dough is sticking to your hands back to the bowl, then cover the dough and leave it for 10min.
(e) Lightly oil a small, clean patch of work surface. Scrape the dough from the bowl out on to the oiled surface and knead briefly for 10 sec. Stopping before the dough absorbs the oil and sticks. Cover the dough with a cloth, and quickly clean the bowl out with warn water (this will keep the dough free from stray bits that could harden on the inner surface f the bowl.
(f) Dry and lightly oil the bowl, then lift the dough from work surface and replace it in the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave for 10 min.
Each time you knead the dough, it should be a conscious and deliberate act rather than a frantic aerobic activity. Initially you are looking you mix the moisture through the dough evenly, watching out for any lumps that need breaking up with your fingers and combining the ingredients into 1 smooth, uniform and cohesive mass.
Now repeat the kneading once more. Spread a little more oil on the work surface, then remove the dough from the bowl and begin to knead it gently once more, for 10-15 sec. You will notice at once that the dough seems smoother and more resilient. Also as the yeast cells release carbon dioxide into the dough, these bubbles will become stretched and elongated during the repeated kneading, which will result in the crumb of the loaf having an open texture.
This is a thick book and I attempt to summarise as clearly as I could. If you have further question about Lepard's method, pls let me know. I will try my best to respond.
Learnings Learnt about bread-making:
- Usually if the recipe only calls for 1 egg, you can replace the egg with milk (science: egg is mainly made up of protein, fat and water). However, if the recipe calls for 5 eggs (like Brioche), then you better off not baking this then to replace the eggs cos you will not be able to replicate texture and flavour.
- On the 2nd occasion, I was baking with my son... when i almost finish kneading, I realised that I still have the oil on my table top... Ya, i forgot to add that. Anyway, this recipe is very forgiving; I slowly add it into the dough and knead some more to incorporate as much oil as it could. All went well, heng agh!
- Caster sugar is relatively more expensive than the coarse sugar, and I found that in bread, the coarse sugar works just as fine.
- If you plan to bake the bread on the next morning, just leave the dough to proof in the fridge. Not the freezer part, just the cold compartment.
- If you run 1 or 2 gm short of the instant yeast, no need to run out to buy new ones. It simply takes longer time to rise but it will. Bread that takes a longer time to rise actually keeps better.