Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Japanese Style Cheese Breads

After baking and enjoying our Hokkaido milk toast made with the very-popular Tang Zhong (汤种) recipe from Christine's recipes, I like to try baking another Christine's bread recipe again. Amongst all, I really keen to bake her first Tang Zhong bread recipe which initiated most Asian bakers' belief that Tang Zhong bread baking method can produce softer bread. If you are new to Tang Zhong (汤种), you may wish to refer to my Hokkaido milk toast post for its definition.

This Christine's cheese bread recipe that I'm using is quite similar to the Hokkaido milk toast that I baked previously but this one contains one extra egg and has NO cream. Although I concluded that the use of Tang Zhong to produce softer breads is plausible, I like stick on to Christine's recipe rather than re-inverting the wheel. Why are these breads related to Japanese? I asked myself this question too... According to Christine, Japanese breads are typically soft and fluffy and this is the kind of texture that these breads will be.

To bake my soft and fluffy breads ultimately nice, I like to have my breads as cheesy as possible. Cheesy... in term of cheesy-stretchy, cheesy-tasty and cheesy-loaded but in a right balance. For my initial bakes, I have loaded tall stack of 200g grated mozzarella cheese into each loaf, thinking that mozzarella is a good choice being not too greasy, not too rich and stretchy fun to eat. Are these breads cheesy enough for us???

True enough that we love these mozzarella breads... I was feeling lots of oooh and aaah while snapping the last photos of these cheesy stretchy breads and feeling tortured too that I can only eat them after these photo shots.

Dad: Can you bake these breads with gruyère cheese the next time?
Boy: You failed, mummy! We want gruyère cheese!
Mum, speechless for a while: ... ok!

Are these breads cheesy enough for us? Obviously NOT enough for my husband and son! - my two cheeky fussy fellows!

For my husband and son, I baked two loaves of these breads again!!! For my second bake, I have baked the breads with 120g of gruyère cheese in each loaf... True enough, both breads can be different with different cheese fillings in their taste and texture. The mozzarella one is super cheesy loaded and the gruyère one is wonderfully salty and flavoursome. Honestly, I think both are equally good but my husband and son prefer the ones with gruyère cheese. They said that these gruyère cheese breads are unforgettably GOOD!

Japanese Style Tang Zhong Cheese Breads
My second bake: the gruyère cheese breads
My first bake: the very cheesy-loaded mozzarella cheese breads
The mozzarella that I used
Shaping the mozzarella breads
There is 200g of cheese in each loaf.
Ready to bake!
Look at the dripping cheese! - Yum!
It is soft like cotton...
Japanese Style Tang Zhong Cheese Breads
... with lots of cheese!
Shaping the gruyère breads
Like I did previously, proving...
... and baking
Japanese Style Tang Zhong Cheese Breads
Kinda ultimately cheesy good - very soft and fluffy bread with lovely gruyère cheese :)

Here's the recipe adapted from Christine's recipe

Make 2 x 11x 21cm loaves

For Tang Zhong:
50g bread flour
250ml milk

To make Tang Zhong using Christine's method:

Mix flour in milk well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.

The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, this is the Tang Zhong. You might use a thermometer to check the temperature but this simple method has worked for Christine every time.

Remove from heat. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of Tang Zhong to prevent from drying up. Let it cool completely. Tang Zhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature. Measure out the amount you need. The leftover Tang Zhong can be stored in fridge up to days until next use. Chilled Tang Zhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients

For bread dough:

250ml water
2 large eggs
all of the above Tang Zhong
700g bread flour
50g milk powder
80g caster sugar
5g salt
60g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
4 tsp instant yeast

Fillings: 400g or less 
mozzarella cheese, grated / 240g gruyère cheese, thinly sliced

Milk to brush loaves before baking
Extra cheese as bread topping (optional)

Add all ingredients into a bread-maker, first the wet ingredients (water, egg and Tang Zhong), then followed by the dry ingredients (bread flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, butter and yeast).

Using a bread maker with "dough" setting or an electric mixer with a dough hook, mix bread dough ingredients together and knead into a smooth and elastic dough. Allow dough to prove for 1-2 hr or until doubled in size.

Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide into 8 equal portions. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 mins at room temperature.

Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle cheese evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper shorter end of the dough down to the bottom. Arrange the rolled-up dough with their seam sides down in a greased loaf tins.
Allow the dough to prove for another 1 hr or until the height of the loaves extends out of the loaf tins. Brush milk on surface and sprinkle some extra cheese on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven, 180°C (or 160°C fan forced) for 35 to 40 mins. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container when the loaves are thoroughly cooled.

Happy Baking
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  1. They sure look "cheesy" enough to me Zoe! My goodness I feel like they are cheese pillow puffs that I could just dive right in to!!! Heavenly:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Zoe...

  2. Omigawd! The bread is so soft and cheesy! I think I can stuff 2 in my mouth, really!
    It's so soft and I bet it melts in the mouth.

  3. Wow! Your bread just floated up into my screen they are so fluffy lol! I have tried Christine's recipe before and liked it very much too! Got to try this one too!

  4. Zoe, You are the Bread Queen. My friends call me Bread Queen too and that's because I love to eat bread. I can live on breads for months, on these Japanese style Cheese buns too!

  5. Love these soft bread with cheese oozing out!

  6. Hi Zoe , just gorgeous , I have to try both , thanks for sharing :)

  7. hahahaha... the men at home sure know how to request eh? sounds like my husband... i'd love the one with mozzarella though.... hahahha... it's so difficulty to please everyone isn't it?

  8. I'm swallowing my saliva when I look at your photos of these bread. Oh dear, I like them, don't care what types of cheese that you are using, I love them!

  9. Hello Zoe
    Your bread is so soft and fluffy. I love savoury bread especially like what you are baking here, cheese bread ! Yum!

  10. Oh my god see the colour and texture of the bread. The stuffed Cheese gives added flavour and taste to this bread.

  11. Your bread like always looks wonderful! I am sure it was so yummy with mozzarella..

  12. Oh dear - to go to so much work and be told you 'failed'. Children are such harsh critics. Both lots look good enough for me :-)

  13. Zoe, these look so yummy!!!
    Happy new year

  14. that bread looks so soft and delicious. and all the cheese!!!

  15. Zoe, though I am not too keen on cheese, here I am admiring your beautiful cheesy breads!

  16. Both bread look so good! The crumbs look so soft. Let's talk about my excessive drooling whilst reading this post... ok, let's not. I am intrigued with the Tang Zhong. I look forward to trying this method. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Zoe, at least you know which one to choose, same as your two men
    For me, I dun think I can choose, I want both! :)

  18. Wow, these breads look amazing Zoe! I can see why your husband and son requested you make this again - love how fluffy and pretty they look :)

  19. Your bread looks so yummmyyyyyyyyyyyy....
    Very glad to follow you...

  20. My mouth is watering here. tempting....sure the kids would love that....

  21. This looks amazing, Zoe. I feel like hugging these..lol ^.^

  22. Zoe, these look crazy good!
    My parents used to take us to a li'l Danish village near Santa Barbara called Solvang. One bakery was famous for a poppyseed-cheese bread. Mom & I used to eat a whole loaf while strolling past the shops! It was addictive. Sadly, they don't bake the bread anymore. But, now I might! Happy 2014! xo

  23. Zoe, this cheese breads looks awesome I know tangzong method makes awesome bread, and that too with cheese really yumm.

  24. Very very cheesy, love the photo of the dripping cheese especially!

  25. woa I like bread with cheese, looks so yummy!

  26. Glad to follow you Zoe... Amazing Recipes and your blog is simple awesome :)


  27. Oh, yummy!! I agree with the gruyere cheese suggestion! These look incredible! Nice job, Zoe...you can come bake at my house anytime! :)

  28. I have never try gruyere cheese but I believe gruyere cheese must be very delicious!

  29. Hi Zoe
    All your breads look so yummy!
    I must quickly start to do bread!

  30. Hi Zoe,
    Lovely bread! My kids would love this, they love anything with cheese and with any cheese!
    I have to try gruyere one of these days, but it is pretty expensive!
    A cup of hot coffee would be lovely with these breads! Yum!

  31. I'm a cheese fiend, so I'd join your son and husband in asking for double cheese! These look really terrific - super recipe. Thanks.

  32. I bookmarked...........!soo tempting and lovely ofcourse kids wud love and demand this........thanx for sharing

  33. A very well-written post. I read and liked the post and have also bookmarked you. All the best for future endeavors.
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  34. Hi Zoe, just wanted to say that I tried this recipe with my two boys last night and the bread turned out wonderfully! Easily the fluffiest bread we’ve baked using the bread maker. And quite a tough recipe too, given that my boys were quite “rough” handling the dough.

    Just a note also - butter seems to have been excluded from the list of wet ingredients to add.

    Thank you so much again! 👍🏼

    1. Hi, Nice to know that you like this recipe and thanks for telling me the typo error. Corrected :)