Friday, 19 April 2019

Mia Bakes: Tang Yuan Milk Bread (Soft bread with minimal kneading)

Hey fellow bread-lovers! Yup, I'm back with yet another bread recipe, and this time you can get soft and fluffy bread with minimal kneading. Yes, MINIMAL kneading. NO WINDOWPANE STAGE REQUIRED! And the method of making the dough is like a one-bowl yudane method, coupled with high hydration level, to give you soft and fluffy bread without an extreme arm's workout. 
Sounds super easy, right? Let's go! 

The idea of this delicious tang yuan bread comes from super talented youtube-baker Tears of Happiness. If you haven't heard of her, you should totally check out her videos (it's all in Mandarin, though). 

So, to get 10 tangyuan buns, you'll need:

200g all purpose flour 
(or bread flour, if you fancy)
1.5 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp oil 
(I used vegetable oil)
1 large egg (around 50g w/o shell)
42ml BOILING HOT water
70 - 75ml whole milk (lukewarm)
(I added around 72ml)
10 frozen tangyuan (glutinous rice dumpling) of your choice, DEFROSTED
(I used peanut filling) 

First up, in a large bowl, add in the flour, salt and sugar, and give it a quick stir. Then, pour in the HOT (make sure it's BOILING HOT, just like making your yudane dough) water and stir it around with a spoon or chopsticks. Part of the dry flour will start clumping together to form bits of "yudane dough". Set the bowl aside and for the hot dough bits to cool down. 
In a small bowl, pour in the lukewarm whole milk and add in the yeast and give it a quick stir to mix well and set aside. 
Then, crack in an egg into the flour/dough bits mixture and pour in the milk-yeast mixture. Mix well with a spoon or chopsticks until fully combined. At this point, the dough will be extremely, extremely wet and mushy. If you attempt to tear off bits of the dough, it will just break off without any form of resistance. Cover the bowl with some clingwrap and set aside at room temperature for around 20 to 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to form on its own. 

After 20 to 30 minutes, you can check the dough by pulling at a corner of the dough ball, it should start to stretch well for gluten has developed. Then, add in 1.5 tsp of oil and start kneading the dough in the bowl. DO NOT knead the dough on a counter as it will be super sticky and nearly impossible to work with. Due to the addition of oil, hand-kneading of the dough will start off as being rather easy as the dough will not tend to stick to your hands. But after just a few minutes of working with the dough, the oil will be fully absorbed by the dough and it will start to be extremely sticky to both your hands and the bowl. Continue kneading the dough by a "folding" method instead. Pulling out the dough from a corner and tucking it back into the centre of the dough ball. Knead the dough for around 10 to 15 minutes until you are able to roughly tuck it into a ball shape. 
Then, wrap the bowl with clingwrap and leave it at a warm place for 1st proofing for about 1 hour. 

After 1 hour, check for completion of the 1st proofing by coating your finger generously with flour and poking it right down the centre of the dough ball. The hole should remain as it is with very minimal rebound. 
Then, sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the top of the dough ball and coat your hands with more flour and punch down the dough to deflate it. Knead it slightly until all the air bubbles has been deflated before overturning it out onto a well floured work surface. The dough will still be very sticky, so do make sure that your work surface is well dusted with flour. With flour-dusted hands, shape the dough ball into a log and cut it into 10 equal pieces and fold each piece roughly into a ball (you probably won't be able to make the dough into round balls by the traditional surface-rolling method as it'll stick) and cover with a clingwrap to prevent drying. 
Taking a piece of the dough ball, you can either roll it out slightly with a well-floured rolling pin, or simply flatten and stretch it out using your hands, as the dough is VERY soft, it will be very easy to flatten and stretch out. Then, take a piece of the defrosted tangyuan and wrap it into the dough ball. Pinch at the seams to seal properly and roll it around in between your hands to ensure roundness of the bun and set it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, seam side down. 
Repeat with the remaining 9 dough balls/tang yuan to get a total of 10 buns. 

If your oven has a proofing function, proof your buns in the oven for around 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns grow around 1.5 to 2x in size. If your oven does not have a proofing function, you can either 2nd proof the buns at room temperature for a longer time (around 45 minutes), or save a bit more time by placing a bowl of hot water under your baking tray in a closed oven. 
Check for completion of the 2nd proofing by coating your fingertip with some flour and lightly press down on the side of the bun. If a slight indentation is left behind with a little bit of rebounding back, the buns are ready to be baked!

Pre-heat your oven to 175 degree Celsius and bake the buns for around 15 to 18 minutes, until the surface turns a light golden brown and when you tap the surface with your fingernails, it produce a hollow sound. 


I was expecting the filling to be more runny, like Liu Sha Bao, but they turned out pretty dry. These buns are best eaten when still warm, when the peanut filling are still moist, the mochi soft and chewy and the bread super soft and fluffy.

Look at that fluffiness!

Only a 10 minutes easy kneading required, no windowpane stage achieved, and using just plain flour. 
Awesome, right? 

Till then,
Mia Foo

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