Freed from the relentless pressures of weeknight cooking and living without the help of my cook, days start at the stove and often end with the stove finally being turned off at 9pm. The weekdays is when fast and furious dictate my menu; so on Sundays I opt for things that will take time, because that’s the one day I want to cook patiently, taking my time with the ingredients, the entire process of it. Immersing myself in getting the best flavors out of my dishes while keeping it easy enough for me to spend time with my family.
My weekends are mostly reserved for baking breads, sweet pick me ups like pies and galettes with in season berries. Sometimes it’s spent roasting a whole chicken just so I can have a ready protein for the whole week. I love prepping for the week ahead by grinding my idli and dosa batter, boiling potatoes and eggs to store in jars in the refrigerator. And then I make a languidly simple chicken biriyani flavored with 26 spices, sometimes a spicy Kerala chicken curry that can literally cook itself after the first ten mins at stove. Slowly simmering pot of kheer and dal makhni are other things I make over weekends. On Sundays, I turn to things I crave. Easy things. Slow things.
Like this Hokkaido milk bread. A loaf of bread with just the most fluffiest cloud like texture ever. There’s milk bread and then there’s this specific Hokkaido milk bread. A Japanese style of making a simple paste of flour and water called the tangzhong method. Often thought to be complicated it is honestly so easy. It is basically a paste that you make with flour and water and add to the dough. This paste seems to help lock in the moisture which creates this incredible soft bread, and it helps it stay soft for longer.
As for the bread itself? When I first tore this bread open and saw the pillowy soft interior, I was over the moon with joy and literally had to stop D from eating it just so I could take a shot! I am not joking when I tell you it was like a puff of cloud. The texture was like cotton, feather light and the sweetness of milk just coming through.
On the weekend when I make this bread I usually start in the morning..It does not need to rest for very long, two hours max or you can do it overnight in the fridge too but I like to give my dough time to relax, like we all want to do on Sundays. The longer it sits, the more relaxed it gets, and the fluffier the bread bakes.
A quick knead, a second proof, a simple shaping, 40 mins in the oven and what you come out with at the end of the time is the fluffiest milk bread ever. I mean – no offense to the basic milk breads that have sustained me all my life but now I can’t imagine going back to the basic.
This is my new Sunday ritual.. and while it’s perfect for thick French toast slices, trust me when I say it’s heavenly with just room temperature butter spread on it. Or some cold cream cheese and blistered peppery tomatoes over it. Failing the patience for any of these, you can simply tear it and eat as is.
I doubt anyone will fail to love this Hokkaido milk bread.