Updated: Oct 3, 2021
I made this cheese loaf last year and thought it could do with some improvement. Instead of making them with the generic recipe, I have change it to a Tang Zhong base so that it stay soft for longer. This recipe yields a soft interior crumb and is absolutely delicious on its own or as compliment for savoury dishes.
On the same day when I made this loaf, I was preparing Indian curry for dinner and dipped the bread in the sauce and needless to say, the loaf didn't last long enough to see the next daylight. I should have taken a photo of it but I rarely take any photo of my dinner which I should with my baking. :( Perhaps next time I will share with you my curry recipes, which is one of my household's favourite. :)
I have used the Pullman bread loaf tin to make these loaves and if you are unable to find them, you can bake them in basic bread loaf tin, but they just wouldn't come out as a block. If you want to know more about Tang Zhong or Yudane Method in bread making, visit my blog on Whole Wheat Yudane and Shokupan Milk Bread Loaf .
When making bread, there are two proofing process that the dough needs to go through. This first or initial proof is called "bulk proof" or "bulk fermentation" where you allow the dough to rise, usually at room temperature, to double its size as a whole or in "bulk". Once the dough have gone through the first phase of bulk proofing/fermentation, it is then divided and shaped. The shaped loaves are then left to proof again to 50% or double its volume individually on a lined baking tray. The last proofing process are usually referred to as a " final proof" stage where the next step would be to bake them in the preheated oven.
The first initial proofing of the dough is essential as this allow the yeast to feed on the food source that are usually available in the rest of the ingredients in the bread dough. By leaving the dough undisturbed allows the yeast to produce carbon dioxide gas and also strengthening of the gluten strands in the dough which helps the dough to rise better and stronger. Allowing time for the first fermentation to take place also enhances flavour to the dough.
Once the initial fermentation is achieved, the bulk dough is then "punched down" or "knocked down" which usually refers you gently deflating the dough by pressing down on the dough gently to release some of the additional gas produced by the yeast before final shaping and final fermentation.
Punching down the dough is important as having too much gas during the whole fermentation process can cause the dough to create too much air pockets which can in turn put stress on the gluten strand in the dough which makes it difficult for the gluten to withstand. If the dough were not punched down from the initial fermentation, the dough can become too airy and when baked in the oven, the interior structure can collapse.
Tang Zhong is an Asian bread making method that involves making a "water roux" by cooling a small amount of flour and water from the recipe until the starch in the flour starts to absorb all of the water and gelatinises. This gooey mixture is called the Tang Zhong, which is then added into the final dough that helps preserves the water from getting lost during baking. Tang Zhong helps retain the moisture in the baked bread leaving it soft for a longer period of time without going stale.
If you are interested to know more about this method of bread making, visit my page on Shokupan Bread Loaf.
Yield: 2 x 600 g small loaves
Loaf Tin: 2 x (170mm x 100mm x 95mm depth)
Preparation time: 90 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
1 loaf 2 loaves
25 g 50 g 8% Bread Flour
125 g 250 g 40% Full Cream Milk
1 Loaf 2 loaves
260g 520 g 91% Bakers Flour (12% Protein)
4.5 g 9 g 1.6% Instant Yeast
6 g 12 2% Salt
20 g 40 g 7 % Castor Sugar
30 g 60 g 10% Egg - Equivalent of 1 medium egg
110 g 220g 38% Full Cream Milk (24°C)
25 g 50 g 8% Unsalted Butter - softened
600g 1200 g Total Weight
Paprika Butter spread & Fillings
1 loaf 2 loaves
8 g 16 g Soften Butter
1 g 2 g Paprika
1 g 2 g Salt
20 g 40 g Mozzarella Grated
8 g 16 g Vintage cheese - shaved
Melt the butter and whisk in the paprika and salt. Leave to cool slightly and ready for assembly.
1. Lightly grease two small loaf tin or 1 large loaf tin with oil and line with parchment paper slightly overhanging from both sides of the tin. Set aside until ready to use.
Prepare the Tang Zhong. Place the milk and flour into a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until it starts to turn to a thick sticky mass. Transfer the Tang Zhong into a clean bowl, cover with cling film touching the surface and leave to completely cool at room temperature or in the fridge.
Note: You can prepare the Tang Zhong a day ahead and store them in the fridge. When you are ready to use, simply bring the TZ to room temperature before adding in with the rest of the dough ingredients.
2. For the Final Dough, place all of the dough ingredients except for the butter together with the cooled TZ into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment.
4. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes until the ingredients have come together and starts to form in to a wet dough. Scrape down the bowl if necessary, add in softened butter, then continue to mix over low - medium speed another 10-12 minutes or until the dough starts to look shiny, is starting to pull away from the side of the bowl and feels pliable.
When adding in the softened butter, the dough will start to slip and slide a little at the beginning, increase the speed slightly to help the dough absorb the butter a lot quicker then decrease the speed again. Over time, the dough will start to come together again into a smooth dough. Scrape the side and base of the bowl half way through mixing.
After the recommended mixing time, pinch a small piece of the dough and check with a "window test" by gently stretching the dough between your two hands. If you are able to stretch it thin enough to see through, you have developed enough gluten and your dough is ready. If the dough starts to break apart when you stretch, you will need to mix for a little longer and do the window test for every 2 additional minutes of mixing.
Note: . I am using Kitchenaid's 4.8 litre mixing bowl. If you have a smaller mixer bowl, it is best that you divide the dough into two recipes for mixing.
5. Once the dough is ready, dust the work bench with some flour (not too much) then transfer the dough onto your work surface and shape the dough to a semi tight ball.
Place the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl with oil big enough for the dough to double in size, seam side down. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to bulk ferment or double in size. This process takes roughly around 1 - 2 hours depending on the ambient of your kitchen.
6. When the dough is almost ready, prepare the paprika butter by melting down the butter then whisk in the salt and paprika. Leave to cool slightly.
When the dough have doubled in size, press down onto the dough gently to release some of the gas then divide to two equal portions. Working with one dough at a time, roll the dough flat in to a rectangle roughly around 170mm x 350mm rectangle.
7. Divide the paprika butter (if you are making two small loafs). Spread the paprika butter on top of the rolled dough and sprinkle with the cheeses.
8. Roll the dough lengthways to a log starting from the ends closer to you and rolling it away from you. Pinch the seams to help hold the dough together. Adjust the dough length if necessary to allow for it to fit snugly into the baking tin. Cover with tea towel to final proof or until it increase double its volume.
Meanwhile, pre heat the oven to 180°C.
9. Lightly grease the underside of the lid then cover the tin fully with the lid and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45 to 50 minutes.
Once the time is up, remove the loaf tin from the oven, open the lid half way to cool for 10 minutes before remove the lid fully and tilt the bread loaf and remove them from the tin to cool on to the wire rack.
10. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting.
For better keeping quality. Once you have release the bread loaf from the tin, if not consuming soon, wrap it tightly in cling film to keep it soft for longer.
The loaf can last up to 5 days at room temperature. If you are keeping for later, you can freeze the dough for up to 2 weeks. Simply bring to room temperature and toast before consuming.