Thursday, 12 July 2007

In Search of 绵绵土司

After several bread-making sessions, I realised that loaves made with a bread machine will not yield very soft texture. The bread machine doesn't seems to be able to knead the dough till it pass the stretch test...which is the basic requirement to produce a soft and light texture. However, I still find that using the bread machine is such a time-saving way to make a daily loaf. Hence, I have been trying out various bread recipes, with the aim of finding one that will produce a loaf of 绵绵土司 (绵绵 = soft as cotton, 土司 = toast or a loaf bread) that will yield light, tender texture and yet uses the very basic ingredients and can be made easily with a bread machine. It's quite a tall order actually!

I chanced upon this recipe while blog-hopping. I like the fact that the ingredients are relatively eggs, whipping cream are required, and milk powder is used instead of fresh milk...with two growing kids, milk powder is something that will never run out in my kitchen.

After reading reviews and comments from various blogs, I learnt that in order to get the cottony texture of this loaf, I'll have to shape it by hand (using the correct shaping technique) and bake it in a normal oven. Nevertheless, I still went ahead to experiment it with my bread machine. To over come the problem of not enough kneading...I stopped the machine right after the first kneading cycle (10 mins of kneading). Then, I re-started the Basic programme again. This way, the dough was subject to 30mins of kneading instead of 20mins. I added in a pack of left over raisins immediately when the bread machine beeps...only to find out that the raisins were all mashed up by the paddle during mixing :( Next time, I'll know better to add in dried fruits only towards the end of the second kneading cycle.

Here's the verdict:

As the heating element of my bread machine is located a the bottom, a thick crust was formed at the bottom of the loaf. The overall loaf was dark brown...something which I don't really like. The crust on the top was alright though. I find the texture of the bread soft and light especially when freshly baked...although it is still a far-cry from this. It's quite a tasty loaf actually...just a light hint of sweetness from the extra raisins. The best part is, the bread remained soft the next day! I didn't even have to toast it and I could eat it plain, without any butter or jam.

When I find some time next week, I'm gonna do this same recipe by hand...

Original recipe from here.

168g water
24g butter
5g salt
45g sugar
300g bread flour
18g milk powder
5g instant yeast
some raisins (optional)


  1. Pour water into the pan of the bread machine, followed by butter, sugar and salt. Cover with flour, milk powder and make a small indent with your finger on the flour. Place yeast inside the small indent. (Or place all ingredients according to the sequence stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine.)
  2. Fit the pan into the bread machine and set to BASIC white programme. Select 1 lb or 1.5lb loaf size and set to light or medium crust setting (depend on your preference).
  3. Add the raisins towards the end of the second kneading cycle.
  4. Once baked, remove the loaf from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.


  1. Same here ... I also realise the breadmachine is not kneading enough. The brown loaf is probably due to the raisin, everytime I added raisins to the bread, the loaf will come out in light brown.

  2. can i use olive oil instead of butter??if many ml of olive oil do i need?

  3. Hi Jiale, I am sorry I am really not sure whether olive oil can be used here. I guess the use of butter not only helps to enhance the bread and also it will help to ensure a softer texture. I am afraid I am not sure how much olive oil (in ml) will that be? So sorry, I am of not much help here.

  4. Hi,
    I'd love to try this out! But I don't have any milk powder at home, do you think it's okay to substitute the equivalent in milk (168g)?
    Thanks so much! :)

  5. Hi Shopinc, I think you can try replacing the water with milk. I think it should work.
    Happy baking :)

  6. Hi happy homebaker, I use my bread machine to bake bread but I encounter the same problem as you do...the bottom and side crust is thick and hard but top is okay. Have u found a solution to lighten the crust? I also use my breadmachine to bake cake but the crust is also hard and thick like the bread and the texture is like pound cake(compact not loose). Wonder what went wrong...Anything to share? Thanks!

  7. Hi My Family, that's the downside of he breadmachine. The heating elements is located at the bottom, as such, the bottom of the loaf gets more heat than the rest, resulting in a darker and hard crust. I usually set the crust to the lightest option. I think there is no way to get around it, other than to slice off the bottom of the loaf after baking. Nowadays I mainly use the breadmachine to knead the dough and bake it with my oven. I have not tried baking cake with the machine, as such I can't give any comments on this.

  8. hi,
    ca i check if u know the difference when we use milk instead of water and vice versa while baking? :)

  9. Hi,

    You mention using kneading it twice. Which function do you use ? Basic Reg or Dough function twice ?



  10. Hi Linda, for this bread, I used the full Basic cycle to bake the loaf. I set the machine to the Basic function, let it run for 10mins, then stop and re-start it and left it to run the full 3 hr Basic function.

  11. Hi,

    Thanks! Will give it a try. I tried your everyday bread yesterday, my husband commented its the best bread he had eaten so far that was baked by me... now I want to try your raisin bread but wonder can I add 270g bread flour n 30g cake flour just like the everyday bread ?


  12. Hi,

    One more questions.
    Do we need to soak the raisins before adding into the dough ?


  13. Hi Linda, yes you can use mixture of bread and cake flour. I've only recently learned that raisins should be soaked in some water, pat dry before adding to the dough. This way, the raisins will not absorb moisture from the dough.

  14. Dear HHB,
    I love your blog which was recommended to me by a fried in NZ. I bought a Kenwood Breadmaker in Dec last year and have not bought commercial bread since then. I hv tried this recipe and its one of my favourites as I can leave everything in the machine to bake and it also uses very little butter unlike other recipes. I havent tried using the machine to knead the bread and baking it in the oven because I'm plain lazy! I'd just like to report that my machine produces a loaf which is soft and lightly browned. I used the light crust function. The bottom of the loaf is not overbaked or hard. However, i measure the water in mililitres instead of grams and i use about 200-210ml, depending on the weather humidity. I also make sure i take the loaf out immediately once its done coz if i leave it inside, the keep warm function makes it dark brown and hard.

    Thanks for such a wonderful blog!

    Melaka, Malaysia

  15. Hi Linda, thanks for visiting! Nothing beats a loaf of homemade bread, and I am glad to hear that you have been baking your own bread :)

  16. Hi,

    Can I use the dough function ? After 1hr30mins then transfer to the oven ? If so, what should be the oven temp ?
    I use this method for sweet buns and it works..


  17. Hi Ling, You can try baking it at 180-190deg for 30-35mins.

  18. Hi HHB,

    I've tried this bread loaf recipe using my breadmachine on Thur night. The result was great! It was one of the best bread I've baked using BM! I added in some mixed fruits (mixed according to my preference) and sunflower seeds. Yummy!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    Mui Mui

  19. Hi HBB,
    Really like to try ur recipe, but my daughter is allergy to lactose. I know butter can be easily replace by oil, base on ur exp, wat can be a good subsidy of milk/milk powder? This for sharing

  20. Hi RT, for this bread recipe, I don't think it is possible to replace the butter with oil since the butter is used in solid form, not melted. The texture of the bread may be affected. For bread recipes that calls for milk, you can replace it with water. You can omit the milk powder in this recipe. Hope this helps :)

  21. Hi HHB,

    May I know if this recipe makes a 1 pound bread?

  22. Hi I am not sure whether it makes a '1 pound' bread? but for the amount of bread flour use (between 300g-350g), it will fill my pullman bread tin (size: 7.5"x4"x4).