Milk Tea Bread

By Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here's my newest creation playing with dough -  a Milk Tea Bread :)

can you see the little specks? they are actually tea leaves

It's my first time trying the "17 hour low temperature" pre-ferment dough method to make bread, and I'm thankful to Honey Bee Sweets for the inspiration. When I visited her blog, and saw pictures of the many breads she has made, I told myself I have to give this method a try.

I quickly did a search to see if the book "天然麵包香" can be found in the library. This is a very popular book, and many of them are on loan... but lucky me still managed to find it at the library near my home *beams brightly*

I can connect to the author of the book, 獨角仙 who also started as a home baker. That struck a chord in me, because like her, I'm just a person who likes home-baked food. I like her adventurous spirit too - after watching a show on TV, she actually got her friends (also home bakers) together to make their own stone oven.  I don't know how they managed to figure it out. It just sounded so cool to me!

It is said that by proofing the dough at a low temperature for 17 hours, you will be able to get a chewy, moist and yeasty bread that have a longer shelf life.

Recipe: (yields 2 loaf;  I half the amount to make 1 loaf)

Pre-ferment dough
464g bread flour
265g water
13g fresh yeast (i use instant yeast; turned out fine)
7g sea salt
13g skim milk powder

Mix all the ingredients above together, and knead until soft. Cover the dough in cling wrap, and refrigerate to let it prove for 17 hours. Do use a bigger container to allow space for the dough to expand.

199g bread flour
27g skim milk powder
7g sea salt
80g sugar
80g egg
80g milk tea concentrate (made by infusing 20g Earl Grey tea leaves in 133g hot milk for 15 mins)
7g fresh yeast (i use instant yeast)
66g unsalted butter
13g ground Earl Grey tea leaves (i use red tea)

  • Mix all ingredients for dough together, except butter. Add in pre-ferment dough piece by piece.
  • Knead after each addition till soft and smooth. Add in butter, and knead until window-pane stage.
  • Put dough in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let proof for 25-30 mins. *As majority of the dough has been proofed once under low temperature, the proofing time is greatly reduced.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion with your hands to drive the air out. Shape into rounds/ square. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 20 mins. 
  • Flatten each dough to drive out the air. Roll the dough up, and put into bread tin. Cover with cling wrap, and let it proof for 40-45 min or until the dough reaches 80% of the tin. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 to 180 degree celsius for 30-35 mins.

I seem to have overbaked mine (see how dark the top is). Therefore, my bread tasted a bit hard on its side. It also didn't have any 'tea' smell/taste. Haiz... I was hoping to get off with it by using red tea.. but there's probably no substitution for Earl Grey if I want the fragrance.

Anyway, I'm going to give this method another go...  *must perserve on, don't give up!*

Here's ending off with a quote by 獨角仙
"做面包不能太隨意,也不需要太執著,要視乎季節,溫度,食材等等因素,根据自己的經驗調節, 跟發酵中的面糰溝通 ﹣說穿了,正是用心烹調之道." - when making bread, one shouldn't take it too easy, or be too stubborn. Depending on the weather, temperature, and ingredients used, one should also use his experience to make adjustment, and communicate with the dough - simply put,  one needs to bake with his heart.

This, I think is the secret to making good loaves :)

Am sharing this on YeastSpotting

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