Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Soft, shreddable bread without a bread machine

So I jumped onto the Tangzhong train craze which was big in the baking blogging industry in 2006. Click here to read what Tangzhong is and what the craze is about. I've been trying this for a few months with some occasional success and numerous failures. As a very late adopter, I have the benefit of reading about all the attempts by hundreds of bakers out there but I can't say I'm all the wiser given there's so much conflicting and confusing information out there. Still, for the soft fluffy bread pictures that I see, I'm prepared to go through some pain. (Ironically, paine means bread in some parts of Europe!)

This week, I made another 2 attempts at TZ bread - good texture and great taste but they were not without their flaws and certainly not something you could put on the shelves of a bakery store. But I would eat them any time and I would not hesitate to feed my family and friends with this super soft and shreddable paine that comes with no artificial ingredients. 

A few of my European and Middle Eastern friends think the bread scene here is truly pathetic and Asians and Singaporeans are deprived of rustic, crusty bread with herbs, fibres and complex flavours. So convinced are they of our deprivation that it has compelled some to open up bakeries in town here. The strange phenomenon though is that Asians l..u..r..v..e.. their breads soft - the softer, the better they sell, resulting in usage of preservatives, bread improvers and flavour enhancers and ingredients that professional bakers are not even required to reveal. 

What I like about TZ is that it is essentially a water roux consisting only of flour and water to act as a natural bread improver. See my TZ picture here.

So, for my bread today, I was happy with each of the 3 stages of the dough proofing. 180C in the oven for 30 minutes and out came this gorgeous babe. Colour - lovely golden brown. Aroma - that of a bakery in the 1970s. Texture - shreddable. Taste - a hint of sweet and salty altogether.

My disappointment came when I cut into the bread and discovered a gaping tunnel in there! What the xxx!!

Went back to look at my pictures and I think perhaps I made 2 mistakes here while putting in the cheese and bacon filling: Maybe I rolled it too loosely and maybe I should have baked the bacon first. 

Better to just lay my bread out this way to cover all the flaws. 

Any experienced baker or TZ gurus out there care to teach me a thing or two?

For the full and original recipe, please refer to this TZ guru at Christine's recipes.

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