Wednesday, 29 February 2012


It has been a long while since I made a loaf of bread. Ever since my bread machine broke down 2, 3 years back, I find it more and more difficult to make bread from scratch. Since I don't have a standing mixer (and no intention to get one), the kneading process although rather therapeutic, will make my arms and shoulders hurt for days. I have been looking around for a replacement, but have no luck as I wouldn't spend more than what I paid for my previous bead maker. It so happened that I manage to get a new machine at about the same price when we were in Beijing last year. The design and functions is just like my previous machine, a very basic and economical machine that is affordable and reliable...well, at least for a couple of years.

Here's my first loaf of bread for the year. I followed the tang zhong method and bread rose high and mighty. It rose more than an inch over the top of the rim of my pullman pan that it couldn't fit into my standard bread loaf air tight container. I can't complaint much since it is really a happy problem for me =)

Do pardon me from bragging, but the loaf was very nicely baked, the crust colour was just right! From the picture above, I hope you could imagine how pillowy-soft and fluffy the bread loaf turn out.

'拉丝' a commonly used term to describe a feathery soft loaf of bread...where the crumbs tears off like strands of silk...

The bread tastes delicious even on its own as it is a sweet bread. It remained soft and light for three days, in fact the loaf was so cottony that I had problem cutting it into slices. It is time I get a new bread knife since I don't know how, or whether it is possible to sharpen a serrated knife?

What better way to eat scoops of ice cream than to sandwich them between a slice of homemade bread! I could almost hear the sounds of bells jingling from the ice cream cart...

Raisin Loaf (tang zhong method)

tang zhong (water-roux):
25g bread flour
125ml water

bread dough:
285g bread flour
15g milk powder
54g caster sugar
4g salt
5g instant yeast
30g egg, lightly beaten (about half an egg)
81g water
90g tang zhong (water-roux)*

30g unsalted butter
60g raisins

to make tang zhong:
* Place 25g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 125ml water, mix till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with a hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 mins, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. (Take a look at the video clip here. ) The 65degC tang zhong is ready. Immediately transfer the hot tang zhong into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.

to knead dough by bread machine:
* Place water, egg, tang zhong (use 90g), sugar, salt, bread flour, milk powder in the pan of the bread machine (according to the sequence as stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine). Make an indentation on the flour and add in the instant yeast. Select the Dough function of the bread machine and press start. Leave the lid of the machine open (this is to prevent over heating). After about 10mins of kneading, add in the 30g of butter. Let the machine continue to knead the dough. After the kneading cycle has stopped (20mins), Stop and Restart the machine. Continue to let the machine knead for another 20mins. Remove dough from the bread pan.

* Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.

* Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each dough into smooth rounds, cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let the doughs rest for 10mins.

* On a lightly floured work surface, flatten each dough and roll out to form a longish oval shape. Starting from the shorter end, roll it up swiss-roll style. Leave the doughs to rest for another 10

* Flatten each dough and roll it out again to form a long rectangle (around 30cm x 10cm). Flip the dough over and sprinkle the surface with raisins. Roll up swiss-roll style, roll up as tightly as possible. Pinch and seal the seams. Place the 2 doughs, seam side down, against each side of a well greased (with butter) pullman tin.

* Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 50~60mins, or until the dough rise up almost to the rim of the pan. Bake in preheated oven at 180degC for 30mins. (Note: If necessary, cover the top with foil to prevent over browning). Unmold immediately and leave to cool completely. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

Recipe source: adapted from 65度C汤种面包, 陈郁芬


Blessed Homemaker said...

I've not made bread for a long time, hands itchy to make some but it's so time consuming to make from scratch after my bread machine died on me.

Perfect bread you've got there! And the bread with ice cream, rekindles my childhood memory

The Experimental Cook said...

Your loaf looks classic! In case you are still wondering how to solve the serrated knife problem, I bought a knife sharpener from Totts which can sharpen both serrated and normal knifes. Costs $30, an extravagance for me, but at least now I have no reason to lust for a WMF bread knife.

CaThY said...

pretty bread! :)

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

U deserve 100 likes on this loaf of bread!

Shall u show us the photo of ur new BM ?

happybowl said...

I am miserable when it comes to making bread..Your are lucky to bake a perfect loaf...:-)

Happy Homebaker said...

Blessed Homemaker, I can't agree more, bread making is very time consuming, and I have to plan it ahead so that it won't clash with my other chores, running errands and fetching my kid from school.

The Experimental Cook, I have always wanted to visit Totts, but so far didn't make it a point to do so. bread knife cost only $2 from Diaso, cannot justify such an expensive sharpener ;p

Thanks Cathy!

Angel, thanks for your 'likes' :) I won't be taking picture of the bread machine, but I got this exact model, u can take a look at the picture here (

happybowl, hope you will not give up on bread making, with practise, I am sure you will be able to get the perfect loaf!

edith said...

Indeed a pillowy soft bread! and nothing beats having it with ice cream!

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more said...

Oh yes, what better way than to eat with ice cream. It's my fav way :)

Jocelyn said...

Hi HHB, I hv been a silent reader of your blog for the past 2 years. I'm actually looking for a nice bread maker but find those in SG rather ex. Can I check if the one you brought from Beijing easy to use? I hv not use bread maker b4, so I worried after I asked my hb to buy back and I don't know how to use, sure kena scold by him for carrying all the way from China back to SG.

Small Small Baker said...

That 拉丝 effect is great! Very soft bread indeed. Good to see you making breads again. I also have not been baking breads for the same reason.

WokandSpoon said...

Brag away! The loaf looks perfectly fluffy! I'll have to try this by hand (no bread machine unfortunately!).

rafemama said...

all I can say is 'wow'!

just want to know where to buy a pullman breadtin? need to oil the tin first before putting the dough in?

Ronni said...

Hi HHB, I got a China one too but absolutely hopeless in using it. Your functions seemed similar to mine and you made such good bread!!!

So you press #8 for 发面团 is it or do you have a 和面?I really don't quite know which one is the dough function.

Further, does your machine during the dough function rotates for a while then stops to rest for a while then starts again?

Paiseh. Not to treat you like a helpdesk but really hope you can help.

The Experimental Cook said...

Haha! After using the $30 sharpener, my also $2 Daiso bread knife also works like a $50 knife. No kidding :-)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jocelyn, the bread machine comes with the exact same functions as my previous one, it is very easy to use. Of course, you will need to Read Thru the instruction manual, read up how bread machine works (from many online sites) ie there is this specific sequence for adding in the ingredients (cannot anyhow add) and you shouldn't go wrong. However, it really depends on your usage. I only use it mainly for Kneading. I prefer to shape the dough and bake it in my oven, because if I were to bake it using the bread machine it tends to give a thicker crust. If you already have a standing mixer like a KitchenAid, then u don't need to get a bread machine.

Happy Homebaker said...

WokandSpoon, you may want to refer to my earlier post (
I have stated the instructions on how to knead a similar tangzhong bread dough by hand. Hope this helps.

rafemama, you can get it from Phoon Huat or Sun Lik, and yes, need to grease the tin.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ronni, function #8 发面团 is the DOUGH function. The machine will knead the dough continuously for 20mins, and as it kneads, it will get heated up, ready for the proofing stage, which is 80mins.
If I used function # 1 for standard/basic bread, the kneading process is slightly different from the Dough function. Yes, it will knead for a while, stop, then knead again. Let me know if you have other questions on your bread machine.

Happy Homebaker said...

The Experiment Cook, wow, really?! too bad I am not your neighbour if not I would hop over to borrow your sharpener, hehe! Think I will go buy another $2 knife...Totts is a bit out of my way, whereas Daiso is more convenient. I just bought a new cookbook yesterday, I should really refrain from spending too much on baking ;)

爱丝特 said...

Your loaf looks like store bought, I like the 拉丝 photo ^_^

倩♥ said...

do you have red velvet cake recipe?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I have not made any red velvet cake.

Sweet Pea Yeo said...

I love your blog and have been trying out the recipes. Have you gone for some professional training for baking?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sweet Pea Yeo, no, I have not attended any baking class or even demo workshop, learned everything mainly through cookbooks I borrowed from library.

Kirby said...

h really amazing bread, its really looks good.
ive never tried eating bread with ice cream >.<
sorry newbie here.

cd said...

Hi, i have the same oven like yours. Every recipe that I follow from food blogs (one of it is your lovely 'magical rolls' :p) I always follow the recommended baking time..but how come my bottom still look like pale/undercook? May I know do u have additional setting other than upper & bottom fan? i bake my bread on the 3rd rack from top. thanks in advance...

Janine said...

ahhhh ice cream and bread! one of my favorite things to have - in fact, i still have them at orchard from those uncles on a hot day ;p

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi cd, my oven is this model: Bosch HBN331E2J. Is it the same as yours?
I usually do not have problem with baking temp and baking time, most of the time quite close to the time recommended, but some bakes may take 5mins longer.
- For baking on two trays, eg cookies, or two pizzas, I usually use the top and bottom heat plus the fan mode. I used the drip tray (the black enamel tray) to double up as baking tray. As such the bottom tray of cookies/pizza will also brown at the same time as the top tray (I use a tin baking tray) since the black material absorbs heat faster.
- For baking just 1 cake, I set to top and bottom heat. I usually use the 3rd rack from top...rule of thumb: position the rack so that your cake pan will sit in the middle of the pan. Sometimes I will flip the rack over and place it on the 3rd position so that it is much higher than the actual 3rd rack position.
- For baking bread loaf, I used the 3rd rack. I placed the pan directly on the rack. Some may find it easier to retrieve the pan if placed over another baking tray, but this may affect the bake.
Also, for the magical rolls, I used a non-stick blank pan (my roasting pan actually), so maybe that is why I didnt have problem with the bottom not getting browned.
btw, I always remove the drip pan from the oven if I only bake on 1 rack, this is for better heat circulation.
The other thing is, do use a oven thermometer to make sure your oven is preheated to the right temp, do not trust the indicator light, which turns off when the temp is is not very reliable.
Hope this helps to solve your baking problem, good luck to your next bake :)

Cd said...

Thank you very much for ur detail explanation ... My oven is exactly same like yours... Is it because I use paper cup / bread paper case when baking therefore it affect the bottom part? I ever bake sausage bun without paper case, the bottom is dry but the color still light brown. Well probably i will follow ur suggestion to use oven thermometer and keep trying to get wonderful bread like yours ;)

Ronni said...

Hi HHB, thanks for the help! I shall try again... now i just have to convince my hubby to dig it out from the piles of stuff in my storeroom.... :P

Anonymous said...

I realised that you normally proof your bread without using the bread machine. Is there a reason for this?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, my room temperature is just right for proofing bread dough so it is not necessary to use the bread machine, saves energy too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homebaker,

Can i use this recipe and bake with breadmaker directly with basic function (function 1) or make dough first (1.5 hours) then bake (1hour plus). Will the bread be soft like urs? Coz the normal recipe i use now will turn hard the next day and on 3rd day is so very very hard.



Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ooiling, are you referring to bread made with straight dough method? if the dough is well kneaded, the bread should stay soft until the next day.

For this tangzhong method, the bread will stay soft on 3rd day, kept in air tight container. You may use the basic function ie the full cycle from kneading to baking with your bread machine. However, the dough is quite wet, you have to let the machine knead for 30-40mins. What you can do is, let the machine knead, then stop and restart the machine again. Or, first use the Dough function, let it knead for 20mins, stop and restart, then set to Basic function, and let the machine run full cycle. Do remember to leave the lid open during the kneading cycle during the Dough function to prevent over heating.

Anonymous said...


Ya, i was using the basic straight dough method with Tesco brand bread maker. The texture of the bread turn out to be rough and next day will turn hard. So i wonder is it because of the brand of the bread maker?

Will try out this tangzhong method tomorrow.

Thanks a lot.


Butterfingers said...

I made this 2 days ago and it's still very soft today! Thank you HHB!!! I reduced the sugar to 25g as I am watching my weight hee. My raisins were not evenly distributed though, I think I need to improve on my rolling technique. Can I flatten the dough into a large rectangle and sprinkle raisins before rolling up instead of separating the dough into 2 portions? Thank you!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Butterfingers, yes you can make it into one dough instead of dividing it into 2 :)

lamb recipes said...

oh my so yummy and sweet a perfect dessert.

Anonymous said...

Hi i've tried the recipe twice, once hand knead and once with the bread machine. The dough turns out very very wet and sticky. I added near a cup of flour and it's still the same @@ Can't shape, jz dumped the whole sticky dough into the loaf tin. Any idea on this problem?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, the dough is very wet and sticky especially if u need by hand. If you were to use bread machine to knead, it should be easier to handle. just dust your hands and the dough with flour before handling the dough. After the first proof, the dough will not feel sticky any more. It is quite easy to handle and shape, just a light dusting of flour on the dough and work surface will do.

Farzana said...

If the dough is so wet, doesnt it sink in the middle once it is in the oven baking? Also, can I omit the egg? My son has anaphylactic shock to eggs :-(

Happy Homebaker said...

Farzana, the dough will not be wet after continuous kneading, it should come together to form a smooth dough. After the first proof, you need to shape it before placing in the baking tin for 2nd proofing before baking. The dough will rise even higher upon baking. I don't think you can omit the eggs. Maybe you can look for other bread recipes that doesn't requires eggs?

Anonymous said...

Approximately how big was your pan? Thanks so much and I can't wait to try out this recipe!!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, my bread pan size is about 7.5"x4"x4",

Cheesetomato said...

Hi, can I substitute milk powder with fresh milk or skimmed milk instead? If yes, how much should I add? Thanks!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, Cheesetomato, you can either replace the water with milk (either fresh or skimmed, bring to room temperature) and replace the milk powder with flour; or,
you can just use water and replace the milk powder with flour.

Lisa Lee said...

Hi HHB, ur blog inspire me alot. U really utilise ur duty as homemaker. So i picked up the easiest bread baking using BM but in the end it turned out to be the hardest as i don't understand how to use DIY setting on my donglim T10 & i used basic bread menu.. But the chocchip i put in dispenser was auto dispense out during kneading and it melted ;( can u guide me just the basic how to use the machine. Is the choc chip, nuts etc only can be put after kneading done ? Really appreciated. Thank you.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, which recipe did you use?
for BM, you need to make sure you place the ingredients in the correct sequence...that is, all the liquid ingredients first, followed by the dry ingredients.
My BM doesnt come with auto dispenser. I usually add in nuts and chocolate chips after kneading is done, I knead in the nuts by hand, or, I add in a few minutes just before the kneading cycle is about to complete. The BM will start to heat up even when during the kneading process, in preparation for the next stage (proofing), so maybe that is why the chocolate chips melted.

Lisa Lee said...


I m using this recipe

Isit the dough too much for my 700-900g BM ?
So if i use ur method, i haf to press 和面 For kneading ? Cos i really dun get wads the difference among :
和面 (20min)
发面 (1:30min)
发酵 (1hr)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I don't think the dough is too much for your BM, but did you prepare the tangzhong according to the instructions?

和面 function refers to kneading only.
发面 refers to kneading + proofing (known as the 'Dough' function for most BM)
发酵 means proofing/fermentation...I guess for your BM it means proofing only with no kneading. My BM doesnt come with the 和面 or 发酵 functions, it only has the 'Dough' function. I will turn off the machine once the kneading is done, remove the dough and leave it to proof in room temperature, shape and let it proof for the second time and bake with my oven. I hardly use the BM to bake as the crust tend to be too thick for my liking.

Lisa Lee said...

Thanks, HHB. I am trying again using ur method. he mian for 2x 20 min with the cover open and let it rest to double up 2x with the first one need to punch the gas out. Hope this round successful. Appreciated a lot. Thanks again and have a great weekend ahead with baobeis

serendipity2wenty2 said...

Thanks HHB, I tried this recipe and the loaf was so soft and fluffy! Almost squished it while popping it out of the bread tin.
Question here, can we safely use 20g flour to 100ml water or 1:5 ratio instead for the tang zhong? I realized I had some portions left over .

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, thanks for trying this recipe :) Yes, you can use 20g flour to 100ml of water, it should be enough to make 90g of tang zhong.

serendipity2wenty2 said...

Hi HHB, would you have a wholemeal bread recipe using tang zhong method as well?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I do not have a tangzhong wholemeal bread recipe.