The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fig and Apple Yeast Water Hokkaido Half & Half Potato and Tangzhong Bread

dabrownman's picture

Fig and Apple Yeast Water Hokkaido Half & Half Potato and Tangzhong Bread

Lucy saw some Hokkaido Milk Bread yeast rolls posted last week that were based on Floyd’s great recipe.  I said at the time we would see if we could make this bread the traditional Japanese way with yeast water and a Lucy twist with her turn.

First off, we had to find and refresh two different yeast waters, one fig and one apple that have been totally neglected for at least 6 months in the fridge.  We lucked out for sure.  Both revives very easily after refreshing with new fruit some sugar new water and 36 hours on the heating pad.

Yeast water loves to be warm more than it likes to be refreshed it seems.  I think we have two NMNF yeast waters.  Nice to know that they are so hardy and so hard to kill off – just like a NMNF sourdough starter.  I was pretty amazed at how fast it got back to normal since YW is notoriously pretty slow even when at its peak – even slower than SD.

It hits the pan filling it about 40% full.  Then into the froidge it goes.

To get the base recipe I searched for Hokkaido Milk Bread and sure enough Floyd’s recipe was the first one to show up on the list.  I like Floyd’s recipes because they are straight forward, pretty easy, fairly traditional and work without fail.  Lucy wasn’t as impressed with it as I was thouigh and had to change some thongs and even some things around.

The next morning it had proofed quite a bit in the cold.

First off, she went with a 200 g YW levain using 100 g of LaFama AP and 50 g each of both YW’s.  The fig one gave the levain a distinct brown purplish kind of hue.  Oddly in just 4 hours it had doubled – so much for being slow.  This 200 g ended up being an addition to the rest of Floyd’s recipe.

Yum ........Flatbread!  I was reminded of my mom, probably less than 20 years ago, making leftover short crust with sugar on it when she made pies fs a special treat for her 3 boys....when I was a kid:-) 

We subbed half and half for all of the milk products in Floyd’s mix too.   We cut the recipe in half tomake one bigger loaf and dumped everything, except the salt and butter into the Kitchen Aid mixer bowl.  After 5 minutes on speed 2 we added the butter and sugar and did 5 more minutes on speed 4.

When I slid the lid off it looked like this and I kind of destroyed the beginning end of the top as a result

The dough was still wet and not actually pulling away from the sides of the bowl so Lucy made a decision to add 25 g of potato flakes to the mix and sure enough after another 2 minutes on speed 4 it seemed plenty beaten to death and ready to bulk ferment.

We let it sit in the bowl for 3 hours waiting for it to at least look like it was trying rise up and be dough.  It rose about 30% by then so we decided we had had enough of sitting on the sidelines waiting on YW that was back to its old slow self.

We put it in the counter and did some slap and folds to teach it a lesson and try to wake it up.  We covered it with a stainless steel mixing bowl on an oiled flexible cutting board on ….the heating pad!  YW loves the heat and sure enough it perked up and went to work.  In a couple of hours we did a quick set of 4 stretch and folds and into the pan release sprayed Oriental Pullman that this dough was sized. 

Then, to make the process as complicated as possible and even more bizarre, we chucked it into the fridge for an overnight retard since it was already 9 PM and past Lucy’s bed time ….which is anytime from my near 14 year recollection of her sleeping habits.

After a 10 hour retard we took it out of the fridge and put it on the counter to warm up for 2 hours and then onto the heating pad it went for 2 hours more before we took a peek under the lid, found it ready to go and turned on the oven to 400 F.  When it hot we put the Pullman in and baked it lid on for 20 minutes at 350 F


Smoked chicken thighs make for great cheese crisps with home made beans, grilled onions and a variety of peppers, poblano, yellow banana, green chilies and sweet peppers

When we went to take the lid off we found that the dough had oozed though the open end of the top and down the side if the pan onto the bottom stone.  YW is known for its explosive spring and it was showing its stuff by making something new; Hokkaido Milk Flat Bread, for us to turn over on the stone and finish up to eat warm as the rest of the bread finished up.

Lucy reminds us to not forget the salad!

We baked it for another 50 minutes at 350 F convection before it read 200 on the inside. We did take it out of the pan 20 minutes into the dry baking to finish on the rack.  This pan is very tall so it takes about 20 – 25 minutes longer than a regular Pyrex loaf pan like Floyd used.  After we took off the lid the bread continued to expand upwards another inch in the middle!

If I had just baked it with the lid off, it would have been the perfect size for this pan and I could have egg washed the top before baking instead of putting half and half on it when it came out.  If I bake it lid on I will bake it 30 minutes lid on and then 20 minutes lid off before removing it from the pan.  You could also bake it 375 F all the way to cut down the time.

It helps to have a nice breakfast on bake day especially with a SD blueberry pancake, hot sausage, pepper bacon and white cheddar Omelette 


Since we already ate the bonus flatbread we know what it tastes like.  It is a sweet bread and being a diabetic I would cut the sugar by 25% next time since the YW also lends a certain sweetness to the bread too.  Otherwise it is delicious.  Can’t wait for it to cool so we can see the crumb.  I expect it to be a bit compressed to being confined under the lid and not allowed to expand like it wanted to.

Then there are always those beautiful Arizona sunsets to enjoy with your favorite libation.

This bread slices easily into 1/4 inch slices like a well rested pumpernickel and the thin slices bend without breaking.  The crumb is tinged a beautiful light beige due to the Fig water which makes look like it has saffron in it.  It has a very soft and shredable crumb.  The smell is intoxicating. Toasted it quit bending and stiffened up and was delicious with butter.  It will make great French Toast!  We know why this bread is so famous.

A lily is as pretty as an AZ sunset!


Danni3ll3's picture

But I think that my favourite part is the part that oozed out and you finished off on the stone. I can almost taste it!

By the way, it’s is good to know that yeast water keeps that long in the fridge. I made some a couple of years ago and I pitched it after a couple of weeks because I had no idea that you could keep it longer than that. Do you leave the fruit in it?

dabrownman's picture

flat bread that had the same recipe as challah and this bread had to be like that except that no saffron and a bit sweeter.  Amazing how folks from around the world are making nearly the same bread and calling it different names.  This one even had the yellow tinge due tot the fig water:-)  It was just as good as flat bread as it was a loaf- maybe better.

I know Ian tossed his YW too after some neglect but it is tough stuff!  Yes leave the fruit in it.  I wonder if Modern Bread has a chapter on yeast water? These wee beasties are hard to kill if you don't nuke them and get them too hot.  I think I remember that Mini said she warmed up some SD in the microwave - no worries.  Who knew?  I know if you nuked me I would perk up for sure:-)

Maybe it is just because I like sourdough bread but, this one was a bit too sweet for me and I would cut the sugar in half from 1/4 C to 1/8th C.  I already had an extra 100 g of flour in the mix and 25 g of potato flakes so just think how sweet it would have been without those additions?  Still tit was a fun bake and I love using that Oriental Pullman Pan every chance I get - next time sans lid so we can see the explosive fabled YW spring really in action.

Happy baking Danni

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I know how this one tastes except the yeast water tones. Mine is also neglected in the fridge for months already because dried persimmons are hard to come by here so I can't refresh it regularly. Discovering sourdough is also my current project and I like to take things one at a time. When my SD curiosity is curbed, I will try YW bakes. I'm excited about the insane spring it promises.

dabrownman's picture

are sweet and sour is not wanted or needed.  It has explosive spring and opens the crumb if any heavy bread just like commercial yeast - so no need for commercial yeast in my book if speed is not required.  Yeast water canl' make a SD bread and SD can't make a YW one.  They both have their place as well a comb SD and YW breads which are some of my personal favorites - especially rye ones where the YW really opens the crumb and lightens them up.  Glad you like this one Job.  Loved you latest bagels!

Happy baking

leslieruf's picture

it has a very even fine crumb, so perfect for sandwiches.  

look forward to the next explosive one :) happy baking dabrownman


dabrownman's picture

been toasting a slice with butter for dessert every night and for breakfast open faced sandwiches with home made pineapple and strawberry jam, Kerrygold Irish white cheddar, sausage, pepper bacon and an egg on top.  Just the best thing ever making Egg McMuffins totally not worth eating:-)  This bread grows on you.  Want to make French toast tomorrow.  Glad you liked it .  This is one bread folks need to make just to know how great it is.

Happy baking Leslie

pul's picture

Yummy, perfect meal accompanied by a nice and soft loaf! All finished off with a nice sun set.

dabrownman's picture

around here for sure but the sunsets can be breathtaking.  I'm really impressed with the color and sweetness of the fig yeast water and how easy it was to get going.  I had re-hydrated some dried figs for a bread and just kept the left over re-hydration water warm and covered with plastic or a few days and poof - fig yeast water.  Very soft  bread it is! 

Happu baking Pul

isand66's picture

Max and Lexi are not big fans of sweet breads, but they told me this one they like since their Mom would love it too!

Funny to see the explosive nature of the YW in action.  I have to make a new YW soon.  I didn't realize as you said that it can keep for so long...who knew?  I figured it would be too much of a science project to keep it that long, but you learn something new every day!

Happy Baking!

Ian and the East Coast Gang (who are giving me the evil eye and not happy that I have not taken them for a walk in the 20 degree cold this morning yet :).)