I am still trying to get used to our oven down here in Florida. For this bake, I wanted to see how I might add steam to a bake. I wanted some more sandwich bread, but thought I’d make a loaf that used a tangzhong with milk but without milk in the mix or butter in the dough. I decided to use olive oil instead for the enrichment. To add some flavour there is King Arthur whole wheat in the dough and the three types of sesame seeds on the crust.
I think that the large baking pan I used to add water to create steam should have been above the loaf rather than below. I believe it’s position below compromised the oven spring and also you can see that the bottom crust didn’t achieve the caramelization that I usually want and the crumb at the bottom is a bit off.
For 9x4x4 Pullman Loaf Pan
Prepare Poolish – Night before mixing
Mix the poolish ingredients in a container and leave covered to ripen at about 78°F (25°C) for 12 hours overnight.
Tangzhong - night before to allow to cool
Be sure to do this ahead of time to give the pre-cooked flour time to cool before mixing.
Milk alternative: If you want to avoid using milk in this recipe, substitute out the dairy milk in the roux, below, for water (or something like oat milk).
To a medium saucepan, add the flour and milk listed above. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste, about 5-8 minutes. In the beginning, whisk vigorously to break up any flour clumps, and be diligent about this near the end to avoid burning. The mixture won’t seem to do anything until it reaches a critical heat point, be patient; it will thicken.
Once it transforms into a viscous paste (something like oatmeal porridge), remove the pan from the heat and spread it out on a small plate to expedite cooling. Set the tangzhong aside until called for when mixing.
Mix in the morning when poolish is ready
It is easiest to mix this dough using a standmixer, but it’s possible to make this bread without a stand mixer by mixing everything together by hand in a mixing bowl. To do this, you’ll need to mix for around 10-15 minutes, depending on your technique (slap and fold will work really well!).
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the pre-cooked flour, flour, water, ripe poolish, sugar, olive oil, and salt. Mix on low speed for approximately 2 minutes until the ingredients come together, and no dry bits remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium (2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough starts to clump up around the dough hook. It won’t completely separate from the bottom of the bowl, and it will still be shaggy.
To mix fully by hand, to a large bowl add the tangzhong, water, ripe poolish, sugar, salt and olive oil. Stir to breakdown the poolish and dissolve the sugar, salt and poolish. Add the flours and mix until no dry flour remains. Rest for 10 mins. Slap and fold the dough until the gluten is well developed and you can pull a good windowpane. This required about 700 slap and folds for me.
On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2-2.5 hours at 82ºF. There should be some rise visible at this stage.
You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape. Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer. Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.
Prepare your pans by greasing them or line with parchment paper. A tip if you’re using very soft butter to grease your pan, after greasing the pan, place it in the fridge for a bit to firm up the butter that way the butter won’t just melt into the dough.
Prepare your pans by greasing them with butter or line with parchment paper.
Lightly oil the countertop. Scrape the dough onto the oiled countertop. Shape tightly as a batard or roll. On a small cookie tray, add the sesame seeds. Roll the batard seem side down on the sesame seeds, then roll onto the sides and ends to get the dough well covered with seeds except for the top of the batard. We will be applying an egg milk wash to the top of the dough twice before baking and will then add the sesame seeds after this wash is done. I have found that egg washing onto the seeds affects their colour more than I prefer.
Cover and let proof for 3-4.5 hours at a warm temperature. I proof at 82°F. You will need longer than 3-4.5 hours if you chilled your dough for shaping. Proof until the dough passes the finger poke test. For a loaf the dough should reach within 1 cm of the rim of the pullman pan.
Preheat the oven to 350°F setting it up for steam baking and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash when the dough is 30 mins away from fully proofed. Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again. Finally apply sesame seeds to the egg washed top of the dough, then bake.
Bake for a total of 50 mins at 350°F. Pour 1-2 cups of boiling water into the roasting pan and bake with steam for 20 mins. After 20 mins vent the oven and remove the roasting pan. Rotate the bread and bake for another 30 mins.
My index of bakes.