I've attempted a cinnamon swirl bread with a little less than 1/2 the amount of yeast called for in the recipe here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/bnb.
So, I thought I'd push the limit a little more. The hokkaido milky loaf was a recipe I was very interested in. The entire recipe calls for almost 2 pounds of ingredients with the flour contributed more 50% of the weight. I reduced the yeast to a scant 1/3 of the amount called for in the recipe, so probably around 2.5 to 3 oz
I consulted members here about the unusual pan size used in the recipe. Unfortunately the pans were only available online and were pretty expensive. I decided to throw caution to the wind and use a regular 9x5 loaf pan.
Very low yeast content and the wrong pan size seemed like a recipe for failure, but I went against my good judgement and started mixing.
I wanted a pretty moist and soft dough so I held back about 40 g of bread flour. The dough was very sticky and unweildy but after 10 mins of kneading turned into a smooth, supple elastic dough.
I put the dough, covered, in the oven for the first rise. After 2 hours the dough had no discernible activity. So I set a saucepan of hot water in with the dough and turned on the pilot light. After 2 hours, I saw a little bit of rise. I then turned the pilot off and left the hot water in.
5-6 hours later the dough had more than doubled.
I took the dough out of the bowl and did not punch it down. Cut it into 4 pieces. After the 20 mins rest. I spread each quarter with a filling of dark brown sugar, ground walnuts, orange zest and cinnamon and rolled them up. All 4 rolls fit in very snuggly into the 9x5 pan.
The 2nd rise took only 2 hours with a saucepan of water in the oven. The rolls doubled beautifully.
My oven only heats by 25 f increments, I can't set it 340. So I chose a temp of 350F and set the timer to 35 mins with ice cubes in a tray on the bottom rack.
I was very surprised by the amount of oven spring. The bread increased about 1/4 its size in the oven. The resulting loaf is tender, moist, cotton soft. Very very delicious!
Original recipe: http://schneiderchen.de/237Hokkaido-Milky-Loaf.html