Softest Gluten-Free Bread: Japanese Milk Bread By: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8 to 10
Super soft & tender gluten-free bread made with a Japanese water roux
3 cups (420g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus more by the tablespoon if necessary (and extra for dusting)
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
4 tablespoons (48g) sugar
2½ teaspoons instant (or rapid-rise or breadmaker) yeast
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 extra-large egg plus 1 extra-large egg white
1 cup warm milk (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not), about 100 degrees F
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ c (140g) water roux (half the yield of the recipe referred to earlier)*
Grease a loaf pan that is no larger than 9 x 5 inches and set it aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place 3 cups flour, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar and yeast, and whisk with a separate handheld whisk to combine well. Add the kosher salt, and whisk once again to combine. Add the vinegar, eggs, milk, butter and water roux, mixing well after each addition with the mixer on low speed. Once the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the wet ingredients, turn the mixer up to high speed and allow to mix for about 5 minutes. Cover with a tea towel in case any loose bits of dough fly out of the mixing bowl.
The dough should be shaggy and tacky to the touch. If it is wet, add more flour by the tablespoon and mix to combine well until it is no longer truly wet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with flour, and pat into a rectangle about ½ inch thick.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Dust each piece with flour, and roll lightly or pat out into a flat disk about ½ inch thick (see photo), sprinkling with flour if there are sticky spots. Fold each disk loosely in half from one short end to the other (see photo). You don’t want to compress the dough at all.
Stand the prepared loaf pan on one short side, and begin to stack the folded pieces of dough one behind the other, the rounded (folded) part facing up (see photo). Handle the dough gently, still taking care not to compress the dough at all. You want it to have room to rise, and to expand in the oven so it bakes evenly.
Right the loaf pan on its bottom, spray the dough lightly with warm water, and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free location to rise (I use a Brod & Taylor home proofer – see the sidebar) until it has reached about 150% of its original volume. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (for a softer crust, heat the oven to only 325 degrees F, and bake a few minutes longer).
Once the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic wrap and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Return the bread on the baking sheet to the oven and continue to bake until the loaf is firm to the touch and sounds hollow when thumped, another 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
*The water roux is made by combining ⅓ cup (47g) all-purpose gluten-free flour with 1 cup tepid water in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to where the whisk leaves a trail visible behind it (see photo). Allow to cool completely. It will yield approximately 280 grams, enough water roux for 2 loaves of bread. Store leftover roux in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Adapted from The 350 Degree Oven: Adventures in Mika’s Kitchen (http://bit.ly/A2Uc4Q)