Milk Bread

Milk Bread
Milk Bread

Level: Medium

Makes: 2 Loaves

Ingredients:
600 Grams All Purpose Flour
10 Grams Yeast
80 Grams Sugar
8 Grams Salt
1 Egg
250 Milliliters Whole Milk
150 Milliliters Heavy Cream/Heavy Whipping Cream

Vegetable/Canola/Spray Oil

If kneading by hand:
A little extra flour in sieve

Wash:
1 Egg
Milk

Tools:
Kitchen Scale
Large Mixing Bowl
Sauce/Saucier Pan
Spatula
Sieve
Thermometer
Damp Towel/Plastic Wrap
Roling Pin
Bench Scraper/Pastry Knife
Paint Brush/Sauce Brush
Cooling Rack
4.5+ Quart Stand Mixer: Optional

Directions:
Tare scale to sauce/saucier pan. Set scale to Milliliters. Measure milk and cream into the saucepan. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream can be used interchangeably here. I typically buy heavy whipping cream since I make my own whipped cream to use in desserts. Put over low heat until mixture reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit/ 37 degrees Celsius.

Measure sugar and yeast into a bowl. Pour mixture into the warm milk. Mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes so it can bloom. If the yeast sinks to the bottom and the milk doesn’t look frothy the yeast is probably dead. Check the expiration date of the yeast. If the yeast is within the date then the milk was most likely too hot.

Sieve salt and flour into the mixing bowl. Once yeast has bloomed add the egg. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Stand Mixer:
If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook, lock all parts into place, turn mixer to low for 5  minutes. After 5 minutes use the spatula to scrape down the bowl and dough hook. Mix again for 5 more minutes. Scrape the bowl down. If the dough isn’t clinging to the spatula/your hands do the window pane test. If the dough is tearing just before the pane can form, use mixer again for 5 more minutes. After 15 minutes the gluten in the flour should be developed and the dough should be slightly tacky but not stick to your hands.

Kneading by hand:
Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes or until the dough passes the window pane test. Use minimal amounts of flour to keep dough from sticking to the counter and your hands. As you work the dough it should change from being sticky to slightly tacky.

1st Prove: Clean out mixing bowl and apply a small amount of oil. Put dough into the bowl and coat dough in a very thin layer of oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until the dough doubles in size. In a 23-32 degree Celsius/77-90 degree Fahrenheit environment this should take between 1-2 hours.

Knock the dough back and divide into 8 equal weight pieces. Trust me, you need to get the scale out again. I tried eyeballing it once. It was a bad decision. Lightly oil the 2 loaf pans. Roll out the 8 pieces and roll each dough piece up like a scroll/cinnamon roll. Place 4 rolls into each loaf pan. They should be slightly apart from the pan and from each other. Cover with a damp towel/plastic wrap.

2nd Prove: Let dough rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170-175 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let dough rise until it is near/just over the top of the loaf pan. This should let the dough double again. Make an egg wash and dilute it with milk. Lightly brush the dough with the wash. Coat all of the top of the dough, just be careful with the pressure of the brush, we want to keep all the air in the dough.

Once the dough is proved and the oven is preheated, pop the loaves into the oven on the center rack for 30 – 40 minutes. Check the loaves at 20 minutes. If they’re already a rich golden brown on top you may need to create a loose foil tent over the tops of the loaves to prevent further browning. My oven cooks fairly evenly so I’ve never needed to tent my loaves, but it’s something to keep in mind. You’ll know the loaves are done when you can tap the crust and it sounds hollow.

After loaves have cooled for 2-5 minutes in their tins turn them out onto the cooling rack. If you want to cut the loaves like sandwich bread (which I highly recommend) wait for the loaves to cool all the way before cutting into them. Feel free to tear off a roll of the loaf while it’s still warm if you want.

Enjoy!

Side note: this bread takes a lot of patience to make, but it’s well worth it. If the loaf has torn looking texture on the sides and top chances are the dough didn’t prove enough on the second prove. If you want a really glossy look on the top of the bread, brush it with a little bit of heavy cream just after it comes out of the loaf tins.


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