James Hoyland is a contestant on The Great Canadian Baking Show and you can read my interview with him here. He has graciously shared his recipe for a fabulous and unique bread that is made in the most amazing way! I can not wait to try making it myself.
Also known as Hokkaido Milk Bread, Tangzhong is a Japanese technique for making beautifully fluffy white bread. It involves taking a small amount of the flour and first cooking it with milk to make a roux. This releases starch which then can hold onto water leading to a moist loaf. Beware the resting times here – this stuff rises like crazy and if you let it go too long it will burst out of your bowl and possibly take over the kitchen like a beast from one of those Japanese monster films from the 70’s.
I’m usually a hand-kneader for bread but I use a mixer for this otherwise it’s quite a long knead with a very sticky dough. The flax seed adds a nice bit of seediness for texture and a bit of extra nutrition. I also often add oatmeal. Whenever I make oatmeal for breakfast I get strangely paranoid there’s not going to be enough so I make way too much and often have it leftover. Already cooked it blends nicely into the dough and adds a nice extra layer of flavour.
This makes one loaf but I usually double it. I have tried both braiding it and making a simple loaf. If you do the latter you should definitely give it a couple of good deep slashes before it goes in the oven. There is a lot of oven spring!
Get the yeast started:
8g active dry yeast
110 ml lukewarm water
While that is foaming make the Tangzhong:
50g all purpose flour
1 cup milk
Put these in a small sauce pan on medium heat and cook it whisking gently to make a roux. It’s ready when your whisk leaves little tracks which remain for a few seconds after the whisk is removed. It should be thick. Remove and put in a separate bowl with clingfilm directly on the surface. Let it cool a while.
Then take 3 tbsp flax seed and soak with a 1/4 cup of hot water and set aside.
Next set up a stand mixer with a dough hook and put in the following:
200g bread flour
150g whole wheat flour (I like to use a fine ground Red Fife)
Mix this all up and when the Tangzhong is cool to about body temperature add it and the yeast mix to the bowl. Mix with the hook for about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes then add:
40g butter (room temperature)
The flax seed mix
Mix thoroughly. It will be a lovely soft dough which leaves the bowl clean.
Optionally: if I have some leftover cooked oatmeal I often add 1/2 to 1 cup of it here. (I always make too much oatmeal!)
Let the dough rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Turn out and knead on the counter with about 1/2 cup of extra flour.
Shape into a loaf and put into a loaf pan to rise. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400F.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400F preferably with some steam at the beginning.
Turn down to 375F for a further 20 minutes.
Suzie Note: Sadly… This week was James’ last week on the show! Oh I am so sad to say good-bye. He went out powerfully though by being the only one with actually properly baked puffed pastry for his mille-feuille and had excellent chocolate-writing skills for his appropriately strongly coffee-flavoured opera cake. It was the croquembouche that did him in, despite Vandana‘s generosity of spirit. She shared her caramel with him when his ran out! How supremely kind and, dare I say, Canadian.
Bravo James! You did so very well and I hope you continue to be a star baker for your family and for all your fans.