A few weeks ago, I attended a bread baking class to learn on how to bake bread with Sponge Dough method. One of the breads taught in the class is Hokkaido Milk Bread. Hokkaido Milk Bread or Japanese Milk Bread is wellknown of it’s milky flavor, softness and fluffiness. The taste and texture of the Hokkaido Milk Bread is really appetizing and I love it so much. Perhaps, as an Asian, I am very much prefer and enjoy softer and lighter breads.
A few weeks later, I began to try out baking the breads I have learned in the class. I adapted the original Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe and added some grated cheese as the topping. It smells so great when the breads were being baked in the oven, it tastes heavenly in the mouth, not to mention the chewing sensation. Since then, this Hokkaido Milk Bread With Cheese Topping receives a huge demand from my family. Friends and neighbors love the Hokkaido Bread With Cheese Topping as well when I send some over for them to try.
Look at the flossy texture of the Hokkaido Milk Bread, it is soft and stretchy, just like a puffy cotton candy. Together with the yeasty cheddar cheese crust on top of the hokkaido milk bread, ohhh…. Do I need to describe more? Please bake and try it out this sponge dough method of Hokkaido Milk Bread with cheese topping.
Sponge dough method is an indirect pre-ferment bread baking process and it is a two-step process. In the first step a sponge dough (starter dough) is made and allowed to ferment for a period of time, and in the second step the sponge dough is added to the final dough’s ingredients, creating the total formula. A pre-ferment and a longer fermentation in the bread-making process have several benefits: there is more time for yeast actions on the starch and proteins in the dough; this in turn improves the keeping time of the baked bread, and it creates greater complexities of flavor.
Besides learning the Sponge dough technique and bake a few types of healthy bread, we laughed, we took pictures, we joked, we simply had so much fun in the baking class. Thank you, my baking buddies and my baking master. These are the photos I shared on my Instagram, please follow me if you are an Instagram-er too.
- 200 gram Bread Flour
- 130 ml Water
- 1/2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
- 350 gram Bread Flour
- 100 gram Fine Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
- 25 gram Milk Powder
- 110 ml Fresh Milk (chilled)
- 80 gram Fresh Cream (chilled) / Non Dairy Whipping Cream
- 1 Large Egg
- 40 gram Butter
- 1 Egg (for egg-wash)
- 250 gram Grated Cheddar Cheese
Recipe Adapted From Chef Alan Ooi
- Mix Sponge Dough ingredients and lightly knead to form a dough. Cover and leave to ferment for 10 hours (maximum 24 hours) or overnight inside the fridge. Bring it out from fridge and leave it at room temperature 1 hour before using it. (Picture 2)
- Put second dough ingredients (except butter) into a bread maker machine. Set the machine to Dough function to start the mixing and kneading process. When the ingredients are about to combine, add butter. (Picture 4, 5)
- Add Sponge dough into the machine when the second dough is formed. Continue to knead to combine both dough until the kneading process ends. Let the final dough sit inside the machine to continue it’s proofing process for 50 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size. (Picture 6, 7, 8)
- Divide the dough into 8 portions, cover and let rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out and stretch the dough into long pieces with a rolling pin, then roll back into a cylinder. Roll and stretch the dough into a rope with both hands. Braid the ropes, pinching the ends and tuck them under to seal. Place the braids on a greased baking sheet. Space them at least 4″ apart. Cover them and leave them to rise for 50 minutes or until they are doubled in size. (Picture 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
- Heat up the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Lightly beat 1 egg to make egg-wash and brush on the dough. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top. (Picture 14, 15)
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until nice and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Part 1: Sponge Dough / Starter Dough
*prepare 10 hours in advance
- Picture 1
Dissolve dry yeast in the water. Put Bread Flour in a clean bowl, slowly add in yeast water to combine.
- Picture 2
Lightly knead to form a dough. Close the lid. Leave it in the fridge for at least 9 hours, the maximum is 24 hours.
Bring it out and leave it at room temperature 1 hour prior using it to prepare the Hokkaido bread dough.
Part 2: Hokkaido Bread Dough / Final Dough
- Picture 3
Gather all the ingredients as listed above.
- Picture 4
Put the dry ingredients into the bowl, then add wet ingredients (except butter) onto them.
- Picture 5
Set the bread maker machine to dough function to start the kneading process. When the ingredients are about to combine, add butter.
If you are using a stand mixer to knead, change to the dough hook and mix the ingredients in slow speed until they form a dough. Change to medium speed to knead.
- Picture 6
Add sponge dough as soon as the second dough is formed, continue with the kneading.
- Picture 7
The final dough should look smooth, elastic and non-sticky.
- Picture 8
Leave it to proof in the bread maker machine for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it doubled its size.
- Picture 9
Punch down the dough and equally divide the dough into 8 parts.
Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Picture 10
Roll out the dough into a long piece with the rolling pin.
- Picture 11
Rollback into a cylinder. Roll and stretch the dough into a rope with both hands.
- Picture 12
Braid the ropes, pinching the ends and tuck them under to seal.
- Picture 13
Place the braids on a greased baking sheet. Space them apart.
Cover them and leave them to rise for 50 minutes or until they are doubled in size.
- Picture 14
Brush a coat of egg wash on the surface.
- Picture 15
Sprinkles grated cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until nice and golden.
Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Best serve while the bread is still fresh.
- You may use a stand mixer with dough hook if you do not have a bread maker machine. Mix all the dry ingredients in low speed then slowly add in wet ingredients (butter being the last one to add) until they are well combine. Knead it with medium speed until the dough cleans itself from the side of the bowl. The dough should be smooth, elastic and non-sticky. You may do a windowpane test to check if the gluten is well developed.
- Do not add salt directly in contact with the instant dry yeast.
- Lightly grease your hand and roller pin if your dough is a bit sticky during shaping.