In my earlier posts I've been trying to make Japanese sandwich bread (aka Shokupan), namely trying to imitate one sold at Anderson bakery. This time I think I'm getting pretty close to what I want. Last time the texture wasn't quite right. It needed a bit more chew or tenacity when being pulled apart. This told me that I needed a bit more gluten development. I could achieve this in different ways: autolyse and/or adding higher protein flour (like Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat and Gluten Flour -- 22 oz). For this trial, I'm going to adapt a recipe from my bread machine for making "Milk Bread". The combination of milk and butter should soften the texture of the bread without causing it to lose its chewyness. I also decided to do only autolyse, since its expensive and doing an autolyse is essentially free. We also need to contend with how to incorporate the butter. Traditionally you don't add fat in the autolyse because that reduces gluten development. On the other hand, I tried added butter on top of the autolysed dough, hoping the machine would mix it in evenly. Unfortunately, that didn't work so well (I found small streaks of glossy dough in the bread). So this time I folded in small chunks of butter into the dough with about 4 folds. That seemed to work well without seriously affecting gluten development.
271g bread flour
3/4 tsp yeast
Mix the flour and yeast first in a large mixing bowl. Then add the milk and mix until it comes together in a shaggy mess.
Fold in butter:
2 1/3 Tbsp butter
Cut up the butter into little cubes, I think I cut my cube of butter into 16 little cubes, but you could get by with less I guess. Just sprinkle a quarter of the cubes on top of the dough. Fold the dough over like a book and repeat until all the butter is gone. Don't try to work the dough at this point. We're just getting the butter chunks evenly distributed without mashing them into the dough.
Add the dough rest of the ingredients to the machine:
1 Tbsp bread flour
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Add the dough to the bread machine dough. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top in the order provided. This additional flour will act as a buffer between the dough and the sugar/salt. Sugar and salt are very hydro-philic (water loving) so they will draw moisture out of the dough which will in turn dissolve the sugar and salt and get reabsorbed by the dough interfering with the autolyse.
Wait and start the machine:
Our machine automatically initiates a "rest" phase which we can count towards our autolyse period. Depending on your machine's rest period, you'll want to delay when you start the machine so that you get at least 30 minutes of autolyse. If your machine has a delay start timer, then you can use that.
This bread turned out pretty well. My wife thinks its good enough for her, but I want to see if I can eek out a little more chew. The version pictured below had one egg and more yeast so it rose all the way to the top of the machine. The egg gave a crunchier crust which I don't like for sandwich bread.