Try this white bread recipe and learn the secret to have the softest and most pillowy homemade white bread you can ever make without using commercial or synthetic bread softener.
Because Madiss asked for it, so here it is! The recipe for the softest and most pillowy homemade loaf or white bread (that I can find). Inspired from dessert first girl.
One of the things that I miss when I moved to Germany is the white bread. In the Philippines, it is known in different names: loaf bread, pan, tasty, toast or others just call it, Gardenia, referring to the most popular brand. Germans do have really good breads and they are quite proud of them. Most of these breads are hard crusted and chewy, the complete opposite of a white bread and from time to time I miss the soft, pillowy white bread that I have loved for so many years. It has been a staple in our household for as long as I can remember: as an alternative for pandesal for breakfast, for making sandwiches as our ‘baon’ (packed food) for school or as snacks when we are are having long road-trips and it is also always present on our table for every special occasion.
I’ve tried some of the toast breads that are sold in the groceries here but of course, it is not the same, not bad only different. I would say the only similarity would be the square shape. So I knew that the only solution would be to learn how to make one!
I’ve tried different recipes already for white bread, but so far the closest I can find to the one I know is the milk bread or Hokkaido bread. Most recipes though asks for bread flour but I always just use a regular all-purpose flour. The difference is that bread flour has more protein which helps to create more gluten and more rise in baked breads. BUT ( yes there is a big but in there) you usually use bread flour if you want your bread to be chewy or elastic and firm which I do not want my white bread to be. I want it soft and fluffy. This white bread recipe also uses Tangzhong or water roux (which is easier to make than to pronounce or spell I would say). Tangzhong or Water Roux is simply a mixture of flour and water or, in this case, milk cooked into a smooth paste or pudding-like consistency. This is the secret to achieve that soft, springy white bread and it also keeps it like that longer as it helps the dough absorb more liquid and retain moisture.
If you happen to have some leftovers, I would suggest using it for making some Cinnamon French Toast Sticks like I usually do. This loaf is just the perfect bread for making these heavenly breakfast treat!
- 125 ml whole milk
- 1 pack instant dry yeast
- 350 g all-purpose flour
- 60 g sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 30 g unsalted butter
- 1 small egg + 1 Tbsp water for egg wash
- Water Roux
- 25 g flour
- 100 ml milk
- Prepare the water roux or Tangzhong first by whisking together the flour and milk in a saucepan and cooking it while stirring or whisking continuously over medium-low heat until it gets a pudding-like consistency. Let it cool down to room temperature before using.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and 1-2 Tbsp of sugar (from the 60g) and warm it in the microwave to lukewarm. Add the yeast and let it proof for few minutes. (make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast.)
- Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Add the bloomed yeast, Tangzhong, butter and egg to the flour and mix for 10 minutes at medium-low speed. It will be very sticky dough at the beginning but just keep on beating until the dough gets smooth and no longer too tacky. Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30-40 minutes or until it doubled in size.
- Roll dough into a long rectangle, with a length almost thrice the length of the loaf pan. Then fold a third of the dough from the right covering the center third and then the one from the left on top of the 2 layers. Then roll the dough, jellyroll fashion, from an adjacent side of a fold.
- Place the dough in a greased 5"x9" loaf pan with the seam facing down and cover with kitchen towel. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes to rise for the second time.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30-35 minutes with the pan placed at a lower or middle rack.
I only brush my loaves with egg wash 10 minutes before they are done.
Make sure to check halfway the baking time if you need to turn your loaf for even browning.
If you do not have a stand mixer, then simply knead by hand for about 15 minutes.