Ham and cheese bread (Tangzhong method)

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On the last day of 2013, I had the privilege of sharing how to bake yogurt bread with my friends of many years. It always gives me a very warm feeling when people are willing to learn from one another and when the product is being consumed. That is simply contentment, to me.

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Since I was making bread, I went on to make Ham and Cheese bread for Faith. Of all the kinds of bread that I have made, I still prefer those made with Tangzhong and brioche because the end-result is soft which makes chewing easier for Faith.

The following recipe is taken from Christine’s recipe and she has a wide and useful variety of recipes. Love her site. I’m going to record it here for future references.

For Tangzhong:
50gm bread flour
125ml water
125ml milk

To make tangzhong:

1. Mix flour in water & milk well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.

2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, it’s done. You get the tangzhong. Remove from heat.

3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature.  Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey. (Note: The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients. )

For the Ham and cheese bread:
Ingredients of bread:

350gm bread flour
55gm caster sugar
5gm/1tsp salt
56gm egg (equals to 1 large egg)
7gm milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
125ml milk
120gm tangzhong (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
5 to 6gm/2 tsp instant yeast
30gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Fillings:
Ham, to taste
cheese, to taste
( I do think the types of cheese and ham (and even milk) that are used will result in different taste in the bread).
1. Using a standmixer with dough hook, combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in the mixer bowl. Mix for about 10 seconds. Add in the wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong and knead until a dough is formed. At this stage, add the butter and continue to knead until the dough passes the window-pane test – stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done.
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2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 – 60 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle slices of ham and cheese evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom and seal the bottom well.
5. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes.
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6. Brush whisked egg on surface. I sprinkled some dried parsley flakes on the surface too. Bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

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