I come back home in the evening, there’s London all around, millions of people that all look more successful than me, there’s rain on my hair, light and transparent that I could not see it from the window before leaving the office. I don’t know what I am doing here and why I am so far from my family and my people, but everything would make sense, or at least a bit more sense, if I could have a piece of artisan made bread, without preservative, calcium propionate & friends.
But this bread was gone in two days only (sic!). The third day saw me staring at the crumbs with melancholy. Because, well, who knows when I’ll have again time and energy to bake it according the Tangzhong method.
Not that this TangZhong thing implies complicate procedures and long preparation time. No, no. The bread could not be my type of bread, otherwise. It’s just one step more when you mix 1 part of flour with 5 parts of water, wait for this paste to cool down and add it into other ingredients of the bread dough. Et voila’.
I might have been a baker in my previous life. No, I cannot boast particularly great baking skills (sometimes I get confused with the powders and mix wrong ingredients, like when I made a pizza with bicarbonate of soda) but I like to believe I had a chance to work on something simple, natural and popular, a staple in everyone’s life. Something that used to be a staple in my diet and that now is just a kind of luxury (I told you why I don’t buy commercial bread, right?). Baking bread might be one of the few things able to reconnect me with a familiar world, far from the metropolis of thousands of fake flavors and mundane encounters.
Extra Soft Milk Bread
For the Tangzhong
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 650 g around 4 Cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 7 g instant yeast
- 1/2 Cup half and half
- 1 T caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- Tangzhong see above
- 1 egg for egg wash
- For the Tangzhong: mix the flour and water together until there aren’t any lumps. Place in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a dense consistency, when it is thick and the spoon begins to make trails.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix for 10, until the dough is silky and smooth. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, roughly an hour.
- Divide the dough into smaller portions. I divided it into 4 pieces that I placed in one loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Cover the pan loosely and allow to rise for half an hour, then glaze with milk or an egg wash. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.