Ever since I received a preloved Zojirushi bread machine, I have been baking homemade bread regularly. The bread machine is very compact and as it doesn't take up too much space I have left it permanently at the corner of the kitchen counter. With it so visibly in sight, I am constantly reminded to bake a loaf of bread every other day.
I have lost count of the number of times I have baked this milk loaf. As long as there is fresh milk in the fridge, this is the bread to make. The recipe is from a bread machine cookbook by a Japanese author (荻山和也╳cuoca用麵包機烘焙專業級麵包) and I will be trying out a few other recipes soon.
This milk loaf recipe uses the most basic ingredients: bread flour, milk, sugar, butter, salt and yeast. It has a very high liquid to flour ratio, at 80%. That is, for 500g of flour, it will need 400g of milk. The usual liquid to flour ratio for most handmade bread ranges from 60% to 70%. The dough is quite wet and at first I thought it may not even come together to form a dough. After the kneading cycle which is about 20mins for my bread machine, the ingredients came together and a slack and sticky dough was formed. Nevertheless, it survived the next three cycles of rising with two auto stir down (or the common term 'punch down' by the kneading blade) in between. The dough became smooth and rose well before the machine went into the baking cycle.
After 3.30 hours, I was rewarded with a beautiful and tall loaf of bread. The crust was thin and evenly browned.
The texture of this bread is very soft and fluffy. The bread stays soft for 2 days (kept in air tight container) but I am not sure whether it would remain soft for 3 days as my family finishes the loaf within 2 days. The texture is slightly different from bread loaf made with tangzhong method. This one using straight dough method doesn't have the slight chewy texture as compared to the tangzhong method.
I have also tried using the bread machine's "dough function" to just knead and proof the dough but used the oven to bake the bread. With the exact same amount of ingredients, the dough was able to fill up my pullman tin. With only 20 mins of kneading by the bread maker, the dough was not able to reach the window pane stage. However, to my delight, the texture of the finished pullman loaf was just as good!
The bread tastes good with just the right sweetness. It can be eaten plain on its own especially when freshly baked. Besides the bread machine wholemeal loaf, this is another regular everyday bread which we won't get tired of having it for breakfast everyday!
Bread Machine Milk Loaf
(makes 450g/1 lb loaf)
200g milk (I used full cream fresh milk)
250g bread flour (I used Prima brand unbleached bread flour)
20g caster sugar
20g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3g instant yeast
- Place milk, bread flour, sugar, salt, butter 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 with your finger and add in the instant yeast. Select the Basic or Regular function of the bread machine. Select Light crust function and press start. (Note: due to our hot weather, I use cold milk from the fridge.)
- When the cycle completes, lift the pan out of the machine and carefully shake the loaf out of the pan. Leave the loaf to cool for at least an hour before cutting and remove the blade/paddle, if necessary. Store in airtight container.