This morning I cooked breakfast and I told Vince . . I’m not planning on cooking anything else today. He said “We’re almost out of bread!” He had told me that yesterday and I told him I’d make bread “tomorrow” and forgot so I asked what kind of bread he wanted and, in typical Vince fashion, he said “Whatever you feel like making!”
We haven’t had English Muffin Bread so I made that. It’s a great bread for everything – sandwiches, toast, French toast and it’s super easy to make. That’s a close to perfect loaf! the little crack at the top of the sides tells me I could have let it rise longer before baking but . . that’s ok. It’s not for show!
I made half the English Muffin Bread recipe so it made one loaf because while trying to decide what bread I should make, I remembered that a friend and I had been talking about Japanese Milk Bread. I had never heard of it and certainly never tasted it. There are lots of recipes, all fairly similar, and there’s lots of info on Japanese Milk Bread. I haven’t read it all but find it very interesting and I do want to read more about it.
This is the recipe I used and the writer includes quite a bit of info about the bread and the background.
The things I did differently:
- Bread Flour – I did not have bread flour. I used hard white wheat to make flour, using the finest setting on the KoMo Classic mill. I then sifted the flour. Of course, I cannot compare what I made to a loaf that has been made following the instructions exactly but I’m impressed with my bread. I doubt I buy bread flour . . I just don’t need something else to keep around here.
- Dough Enhancer – I don’t have it and thought about ordering it but it’s a bit expensive. I found this recipe for making your own. I have all the ingredients so I’ll make some and try it next time and see if it makes any difference.
- Japanese Shokupan (pullman pan) – I didn’t have one and apparently, short of ordering one from Japan, I’ll never have one so I opted to use a cast iron pan.
This is not the recipe I used but this one has lots of information about the process.
As far as the pan goes, a Shokupan bread pan is basically a Pullman pan with higher sides. Most Pullman pans have sides that are 4.1 – 4.3″ tall where the Shokupan has sides that are over 5″ tall. I do have Pullman pans and since this recipe makes two loaves, the next time I make it, I may put one in a Shokupan and one in a cast iron just to see the difference. Apparently, with the lid on, more moisture stays in the bread and creates a different (better?) texture.
There was, for me, a new way to create the shape of the loaf and I had fun playing with the dough.
I should have taken a picture of the side view of the loaf after it’s baked. The swirls are visible and they make the bread look a bit artsy.
I used my regular (old) Kitchen Aid with the dough hook and it wasn’t accomplishing much so I ended up kneading by hand. Later I read that others have had the same issue and were able to knead it with some of the professional type Kitchen Aid mixers. I prefer to knead by hand . . I can feel the dough and know what it needs. Also, since I hadn’t used bread flour and since my milk was whole raw milk with a lot of cream in it, I wasn’t sure if I needed to add more liquid. I did add a bit more water.
The photo below shows the texture of the two different loaves/types of bread.
The English Muffin Bread is on the right and the Japanese Milk Bread is on the left.
The Japanese Milk Bread may be my new favorite bread.
Cindy F says
We love shokupan! I made milk bread once (King Arthur version) and it was good but not quite like the Japanese version. Probably not having their pullman pan was part of it. I love it toasted with butter…yum! The sister who lives in California has a Japanese bakery about 30 minutes from them and sometimes they time it just right and will bring some fresh bread when they come to visit.