I recently came across this milk bread recipe from the lovely Bake From Scratch magazine. It looked so shiny and fluffy that I immediately knew I wanted to make it. And I was so happy I did! It has such an amazing flavour and a crumb that is airy and incredibly soft. The texture reminds me of cotton candy. Also, it’s how I remember really good brioche. Still I cannot possibly describe how great this bread is, please just make it and see for yourself. Also, it is very easy to veganise because even though it calls for three eggs all together, you can totally do without them. Yeast dough almost never needs eggs. Especially since most of the great texture here comes from an extra step that you should not leave out.
While you prepare the dough, you will have to cook some milk and flour until it has thickened and resembles a paste. Later, you will have to mix the paste with the dough. This Tangzhong or milk roux is a means of making the dough keep fresh longer and it helps with texture. When you cook the flour in a liquid like that, the starch in the flour can take up much more water than it usually would. Which of course helps to keep more moisture in your bread.
Since the eggs in the original recipe add moisture, tenderise the crumb and lighten the texture, we will still need a substitute for that, right? Well, not exactly. Moisture, yes. Tenderising and rising? No. First of all, there is so much yeast in this recipe. You won’t have to worry the bread won’t rise. In fact, you will be pretty surprised how big it gets. To tenderise the crumb there is also fat and soy milk (soy milk has lecithin in it, just like eggs) in this dough, which can do the job just as well. As for the moisture, I simply replaced the eggs with blended silken tofu.
The original recipe calls for bread flour, but we don’t have that here in Germany. Our flour is very soft and has much less gluten than US or UK flour. (Ours is more like cake flour!) I made up for that by adding a bit of wheat gluten. Depending on what flour you have on hand, that might not be necessary. In fact I think that working with just all-purpose flour will be fine, as long as you knead the dough well enough. This bread was calculated for two smaller loaf pans (23 x 13 cm), which I don’t have. Instead I used my largest bread pan (30 x 10 cm) and had some leftover dough that I turned into rolls. (You are supposed to divide the dough into 6 pieces and I was able to stuff 5 of them into my pan.)
For the egg wash, I usually use sugar syrup. I know there are many methods out there, but I find that this is the most simple and most reliable one. Of course, your bread will be a bit sticky on top. But also super shiny and very pleasant to look at!
Tangzhong Bread dough Egg Wash This recipe was adapted from a Bake From Scratch recipe for milk bread. *If you have it, use 700 g bread flour and leave out the gluten. Or use 700 g all-purpose flour and make sure to knead the dough really well, so that the gluten will develop properly.
180g soy milk
30 g all-purpose flour
320 g luke warm soy milk
130 g sugar
10 g active dry yeast
680 g all-purpose flour*
20 g wheat gluten
100 g silken tofu, blended
6 g salt
85 grams vegan butter, soft
2 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water
This recipe was adapted from a Bake From Scratch recipe for milk bread.
*If you have it, use 700 g bread flour and leave out the gluten. Or use 700 g all-purpose flour and make sure to knead the dough really well, so that the gluten will develop properly.