As much as I enjoy my sourdough loaves, my Asian palette always appreciates a nice, soft milk toast every now and then. So when I came across this recipe, I knew I just had to give it a try. I have always wondered why dough has to be proofed twice, so it is interesting to see how a single proof bread would turn out.
The original recipe goes for the standard Hokkaido toast shape, where you roll up 3 pieces of dough, and proof them together in a loaf pan. But I love braided loaves, so, here I decided to give the 4-strand plait a go.
Makes one medium loaf
260g bread flour
3g instant dry yeast
1 large egg + enough heavy cream to a total of 80g
100g whole milk
30g unsalted butter, softened
Some heavy cream and poppy seeds to garnish
1) Add all the ingredients except butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix using a dough hook until a smooth dough has formed.
2) Add butter and knead until the window pane stage. This is crucial and takes about 15 minutes on a KitchenAid mixer.
3) Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each into a strand approximately 35cm long. To make the plait, connect the 4 strands at one end, spreading the other ends out with the tips facing you. From the left, number the strands 1, 2, 3, 4. Follow this pattern: 4 over 2, 1 over 3, and 2 over 3. Repeat until you get to the ends of the strands, then pinch the tips together to seal.
4) Cover with a slightly wet cloth and allow to proof until dough is about double.
5) 15 minutes before baking, preheat convection oven to 170C.
6) Brush heavy cream lightly on the risen dough and sprinkle poppy seeds.
7) Bake in the middle rack of preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes until crust is browned.
I think I might have over baked the loaf a little as the crust was darker then I would have liked. The crumbs were a little dry but it is relatively soft. I would most definitely give this another go. Probably with a slightly shorter loaf and baked on lower heat.