Hokkaido sourdough milk bread
For this bake I followed the recipe that Melissa shared on Breadtopia.com a couple of years ago. It has been on my list to bake for a long time after having made a yeasted version a long while ago. A couple of challenges I had on this bake was using my niece’s starter which needs some work to boost and then baking in my in laws’ oven. However, despite the very slow fermentation the end result is really good.
For one loaf 9x4” Pullman pan
Sweet Stiff Starter
• 53g bread flour
• 24g water
• 18g light brown sugar
• 18g sourdough starter ~100% hydration
Tangzhong classic 1:5 ratio
• 89g milk (adjusted down to 1:5 ratio from original)
• 18g bread flour
Dough Dry Ingredients
• 360g bread flour
• 59g sugar
• 7g salt
• Dough Wet Ingredients
• 139g milk
• 59g egg beaten (about 1 ⅕ of a large egg)
• 67g melted butter Soften but do not melt if you are hand-kneading and see the instructions at the end of this recipe.
Total flour = 431 g
Total weight 899 g
Mix the starter ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 50% growth. (See gallery where 150ml grows to approximately 225ml.)
Press down with your knuckles to create a uniform surface and to push out air. This reduces drying and allows you to see actual CO2 aeration over time.
At room temperature, it typically takes 7-9 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.
In a sauce pan set on med-low heat, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.
These instructions are for using a stand mixer. Scroll to the end for hand-kneading instructions if you do not have a mixer.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, briefly whisk the dry dough ingredients, and then add the sweet stiff starter, separating it into 5-6 portions as you add it to the bowl.
Now pour/scrape in all the wet ingredients (including the tangzhong), with the melted butter last. With the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for a minute, scrape down the sides, and then mix on medium speed for 15-20 minutes. The dough will seem very soft, but as you approach the 15-20 minute mark, it should not stick to your hands and should pass the windowpane test.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, form it into a ball, flip it smooth side up, cover and let rise for 6-12 hours depending on room temperature. If you refrigerate the dough, plan for longer rise times. See photo gallery for approximate dough expansion during the bulk fermentation.
Prepare your pans by greasing them or lining them with parchment which is what I usually do.
Cover and let proof for 2-4 hours (more if you put the dough in the refrigerator). I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.
Bake the rolls uncovered for 30-35 minutes, and loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190F. Cover if your rolls get brown early in the baking process.
Remove the bread from the oven but not the pans, brush the tops with butter while hot, and then let cool for 10 minutes before pulling the bread from the pans. You may need to slide a butter knife down the sides of the pan to loosen the bread, but I have found parchment paper to be unnecessary.
After the bread is completely cooled, store it in a plastic bag at room temp for a week or longer.
Instructions for kneading by hand
Mix all of the ingredients except the softened butter in a bowl with a spatula, dough whisk and/or your hands. Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to your countertop and knead by hand, adding 2 Tbsp of butter at a time, kneading between butter additions until the butter is incorporated and the dough stays together. Now follow the instructions above from when you transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and start the bulk fermentation.
I actually changed up the instructions a tiny bit and we hand mixed. I mixed all the wet ingredients including adding melted butter together and dissolved the tangzhong and added the firm starter. Next I added the flour and mixed. Finally slap and folds were done by my niece until a good windowpane was attained.