Monday, November 24, 2014

The Less Fussy and No-Starter Five Thousand Dollars Bread

Five thousand dollars bread?

No doubt that this flashy name had caught my attention...

Since the beginning of 2014, baking this bread recipe seems to be a hit among Asian food bloggers. According to Victoria Bakes, the story begins when a sifu (master) paid ¥5000 (RMB) to buy this recipe. For the substantial amount of money that he paid, this recipe should never be seen in the internet or any public publications until the sifu shared the recipe with 爱和自由, who subsequently published the recipe on her blog. Ops! 

Why is this bread recipe so special?

(1) This original recipe requires a starter culture to kick start the proving of the bread. Thus, it requires three proving cycles with at least 4 hours to complete the baking of this bread. Ai yo! So lay-chay (meaning troublesome in Hokkien)!!!

(2) It uses a specific combination of low protein flour and high protein flour 1:2 ratio in both starter and main dough. Ai yo! So lay-chay again!!!

(3) The dough can be very sticky to handle! According to Vivian Pang Kitchen, the bread has a better texture when they are shaped into rosette shapes. Round buns won't be as good! Ai yo! So triple lay-chay!!!

The curious me thought of baking this bread in an easier way. Instead, this is how I baked my less fussy five thousand bread...

(1) ... with NO starter dough!!! I have combined all ingredients in a breadmaker as it kneaded into one dough. After proving the dough for one hour, I have punched it down and placed it in the fridge overnight.

(2) ... with NO combination of low protein flour and high protein flour! Yes that I did some maths calculation with the ratio of the combination and also the protein percentage of flour.

Assuming that the low protein flour has 7% protein and high protein flour has 12% protein, in 1:2 low protein flour to high protein flour ratio yields a finial 10% protein in the flour used. Then, why not use flour that has 10% protein which is all-purpose flour??? Hmmm....

(3) I did nothing to the no.3 lay-chay point. LOL! Despite that the dough is sticky, I'm sticking to the rosette shaping method as it gives the better texture. Still a little lay-chay here but it is definitely worthwhile doing this.

So, what is the outcome of my less fussy five thousand bread? Brilliant! ... Ops! Hope that I don't sound bragging too much here. Like what Victoria and Vivian has described in their bread, it is indeed a lovely sweet enriched bread. It is moist and soft as has great texture as it tears apart like fibers of tissue. Comparing to Victoria and Vivian, I reckon that I have under-baked mine slightly and would bake this bread with a deeper colour crust the next time.

Which is better? Original or this less fussy one? I can't really comment much on this because I have not baked this bread using the original starter-culture-requiring-4-hours method. All I can say is that this less-fussy method has worked well for me!

less fussy five thousand dollar bread
My less fussy five thousand dollar bread
No starter dough used - I have combined all ingredients and kneaded into just one dough.
See this texture! The bread dough can be very sticky to shape.

Sorry that I couldn't take pictures of the steps that I used to shape these bread as my hands were too messy with bit and pieces of sticky dough! For through rosette shaping instruction, please see this.

Like Vivian said, the dough is too sticky to handle.
After baking, the bread puff up very well and look better with smoother surfaces.
Happy to see that this less fussy bread has great tension too!
See! It tears apart like fibers of tissue!!!
Shaping the bread into rosettes is a must for this recipe :)

Here's the recipe that I have mostly adapted from Victoria Bakes and Vivian Pang Kitchen
Makes 9 small rolls in one 20cm square pan

300g all purpose flour with 10% protein content
65g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12g milk powder
1/2 cup (120ml) water, lukewarm
1 egg, small 60g
3/4 tsp instant yeast
35g butter, soften at room temperature

Using a breadmaker, mix all dough ingredients and knead into a smooth dough and allow it to prove for 1 hr.

As dough can be quite sticky to handle, kneading by hand can quite difficult. If breadmaker is not available, use an electric mixer with a dough hook to combine all ingredients except butter to form a dough. Add butter and knead for 15-20 mins or until dough is smooth and elastic. Allow dough to prove for 1 hr.

Punch down dough and place it in a container with cover and allow it to prove overnight in the fridge.

On the next day, remove dough from the fridge and allow it to adjust to room temperature for about 1 hr. Divide the dough into 9 portions. Shape into rosette as mentioned here.

Place the shaped dough into greased pan and allow the dough to prove for 1 hour or double in size. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for about 20 mins.

Baked at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for 20-30 mins*. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Allow the bread to cool completely before serving.

* Please note that I have under baked mine for 20 mins. I reckon that I should bake the bread for an extra 5-10 mins.

Happy Baking
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Seeing the nice dark crusty hue of Ellena's 5 thousand dollar starter dough bread, I thought of baking my bread further to taste the effect of a more crusty bread...

I have baked my bread further to get a darker crusty finish.
Amazingly, the bread stay equally moist and soft!!!

Crusty or not crusty? Which is better? Being in its lower protein content, this bread tends to have lesser strength holding its shape and stay spongy and structured. It tends to collapse when they are squashed or bite. For this reason, I reckon that this bread is better if they are baked with darker crusts because the crust gives the bread more texture, structure and flavours.


  1. I've never heard of this, but it looks lovely.

  2. hahahaha, the no lay chey version ha? it looks equally good though.. i'm gonna take this recipe away and try it when i feel like an NLC day.. thanks for the tweak and linking back :D

  3. I like your less fussy bread recipe.. You made things look easier, hehe.. Bread looks very fluffy and soft.. I can eat all just like that.. Your last picture looks like butter sugar bun, nice !!!

  4. Hi Zoe...I prefer your less fussy step..looks equally good to me ..Bookmarked.

  5. What an interesting background story! I've heard of this RMB 5,000 bread earlier this year but I didn't know what it was about as it was a blurb on a Chinese food show.

    I love making stuff like that - have two breadmakers at home too, so I'll try out our recipe and see how it goes. I love baking bread but I'm a total newbie so I had to read several times to understand basic things like how flour works e.g. I didn't know all purpose flour is 10% protein! I have seen high gluten/protein flour in baking shops before but never came across low protein flour (until I read it was cake flour).

    There's so much I don't know but I'll love to learn and this sounds like an interesting weekend project. Thanks for sharing Zoe! :)

  6. wow love the part you made into the bread with no starter

  7. wow the bread is looking so great

  8. Aiyorr...I wish I were that patient, Zoe. This looks really good! ^.^

  9. Zoe, I didn't hear of any detailed complaints (hee..hee..) on the other blogs and am I glad to learn of the "laychay" bits from you. Or else I would have been very frustrated if I tried this bread (I wanted to but not yet done anything!). I think the part where you left it in the fridge to slowly proof is brilliant as it mimics the starter dough in a way. Must bake bread! LOL!

  10. Hi Zoe,
    Your lay-chayless version sure looks great! Soft and fluffy! Very nice with a cup of hot kopi-o!

  11. Hi Zoe, hee .. hee... to me bake bread even using the normal method is already 'lay chay'.
    I like the rosettes buns ... so fluffy soft & thanks for sharing ^-^!

  12. Soft, moist and delicious wholesomeness! I definitely try this bread. Love the name!

  13. Hi Zoe

    So this is the bread with the catchy name. I have a breadmaker at home and certainly love to try it to see the outcome. Must be delicious!

  14. Hi Zoe
    So well done! The lay chayless is definitely worthwhile.

  15. Stunning, stunning bread! I love bread that tears apart like that into tissue like strands! Love how you've done it, I'm sure this would be delicious with anything!

  16. The bread looks so soft and moist! I guess the starter dough may keep the bread softer for longer.

  17. The texture really fluffy and soft too,well done!

  18. Hi, is the taste & texture of this bread any better than tang zhong bread? and can I know why shaping the bread into rosettes is a must for this recipe? Thx! :)

    1. Hi Lizzy,

      Both tang zhong and this bread are actually very different and both can be good in their own ways. You can choose to shape this bread according to the way that you like but I reckon the rosettes shapes create more "tissue" layers in the bread.