I think I missed the boat on the enriched white bread recipes when quarantine first hit since everyone has moved onto taking care of their sourdough starters. Weirdly enough, I haven't really made sourdough bread in a month or two and have been making more simple breads like this Japanese milk bread. My dad likes to eat breakfast sandwiches so when we ran out of bread he asked me to make some. So, instead of going with a wimpy wonder bread loaf why not make one of my favorite white breads.
Japanese milk bread is my favorite sandwich bread. Its super fluffy, soft, a little sweet, yet sturdy enough to hold a bunch of different fillings and when toasted it get a beautiful golden color along with a light crunch and your kitchen ends up being filled with a buttery toasted bread aroma. What's not to love?
I played with the shape of the bread from a classic white bread shape you get at the store to a the rolled up sections to a pullman loaf. However the bread always tasted the same... delicious. So shape the bread however which way you would like. If you want to go the traditional route, create the four rolled section and baking it off in a pullman loaf for that perfect square. I really like the look of the rolled sections puffing up to create the domes so thats what I went with but really as long as it taste good Im cool with whatever shape it comes in. It may not be traditional but it sure is yummy.
If you didn't know panko breadcrumbs are actually make from Japanese milk bread so if you can't find any you can always make it. For whatever crazy reason you don't end up eating all of your bread in a week (highly unlikely might I add) you can always cube up the leftover bread, toss them into a food processor, dump it out onto a baking tray, and bake them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes giving a toss half way through for some panko breadcrumbs!
Japanese Milk Bread
300 grams of all purpose flour or bread flour, plus a little more for kneading
30 gram of butter, unsalted and softened
30 grams of sugar
6 grams of fine salt
6 grams of instant rapid rise yeast
130 grams of whole milk
45 grams egg (1 large egg is about 53 grams, so save the 8 grams of egg for the egg wash!)
In a large bowl combine 300 grams of all purpose flour or bread flour, 30 gram of unsalted softened butter, 30 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fine salt, 6 grams of instant rapid rise yeast, 130 grams of whole milk, 45 grams egg until you get a shaggy dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and begin to knead for about 5 - 7 minutes.
Let it rest and absorb some of the liquid for about 20 minutes covered with the bowl so that it doesn't dry out. After the 20 minutes passes, come back to the dough and continue kneading for another 5 - 7 minutes or until you get a smooth and supple dough. It should feel like a baby's butt.
Place into the bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 minutes. Once the 45 minute is up, gently flatten it out being sure not to knock out all the air out. Give it a book fold (See pictures above*) then let it rest for another 45 minutes.
Once the 45 minutes is up, gently flatten it out again into a rectangle & roll it into a log. Place it into your loaf pan (I used a 9 inch loaf pan) & let it proof for about 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size. If you want to make the more traditional loaf you will cut the dough into four equal pieces and roll them into an oval/rectangle shape and roll them up into a log. Place the four logs with the end facing down into your loaf pan and let proof for about 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and once your bread has doubled, give it a milk or egg wash, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the internal temperature is 210 degrees. Let it cool before slicing into it!