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Slamming dough yields slammin' loaf of bread


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POSTED: Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Baking bread is great for stress relief, especially today's recipe, which involves 10 minutes of kneading and much throwing of dough against the counter top.

Do this and not only will much aggression seep from your body, but you'll turn a sticky mass of dough into a lovely, soft round of bread-to-be. Suddenly all will be right with the world.

So thank you, C. Wales, for asking for a recipe for Japanese white bread. “;They make the best grilled cheese and tuna sandwiches,”; she wrote.

This type of bread, sometimes called shokupan, is soft, evenly textured and much firmer than Wonder Bread. I couldn't find a recipe in Japanese cookbooks or bread-making books, but I did find a lot of online chatter from bread lovers like Wales who were yearning for a slice. Recipes in English are hard to find. This one is adapted from one posted at cornercafe.wordpress.com.

It takes a bit more effort than standard bread recipes — you have to make a roux first by cooking flour and water into a paste — but I was able to pull it off on the first try, even though I've only made about a dozen loaves of bread in my whole life. I tried the bread warm out of the oven, as a sandwich and as toast. I can verify it works extremely well in all cases.

 

JAPANESE-STYLE WHITE BREAD

2-1/4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon powdered milk

2-1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar (see note)

1 teaspoon salt

2-1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) dry yeast

2/3 cup lukewarm water (110 to 115 degrees)

2 tablespoons softened butter, cubed

» Roux:

1-1/2 tablespoons bread flour

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

To make roux: Mix flour and water in small saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until thickened to a paste, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

Sift bread flour, milk powder, sugar and salt onto work surface. Add yeast and mix with hands. Form well in center. Add lukewarm roux and mix in. Gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form a slightly sticky, soft dough (keep hands floured to make dough easier to handle).

Knead 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Throw onto work surface a couple of times every few minutes to improve dough structure.

Knead in butter. (Your beautiful dough will get greasy and start to fall apart, but do not be alarmed. Just keep folding, kneading and stretching until butter is incorporated.) Form into ball and place in large greased bowl. Cover with clean towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down, knead briefly and form into ball again. Divide into 5 portions. Form each portion into a ball and let rest 15 minutes.

Grease a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan.

Roll out each portion into a rectangle about 12 by 4 inches. Roll up from the short end like a jelly roll. Place the 5 rolls into loaf pan. Let rise 20 minutes until dough nearly fills tin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Approximate nutritional information, per slice (based on 10 slices): 110 calories, 3.5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 3 g protein

Note: Superfine sugar is also sold as baker's sugar, caster sugar or fine granulated sugar. Find it in supermarkets next to regular white sugar.

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Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. Send queries to “;By Request,”; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Send e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).