I love to bake.  I bake when I’m stressed, I bake when its rainy.  I bake for my kids, coworkers, friends, my favorite Monday morning coffee moms and sometimes I just bake for the hell of it.   You can often find me in my kitchen surfing cookbooks or the internet looking for inspiration (or an excuse?) to pull out the butter, flour sugar and eggs.

Monday was that kind of day…tick tock tick tock, my “bakeological” clock was going off…. time to send care packages to my kids.  All of them are in the homestretch of classes with finals looming around the corner, they need a lift, on top of that Jamie is dealing with Noah’s Ark like flooding in Houston…yep, it was time to send some boxed love.

So, all of the usual suspects made it into the boxes, CCC, Wes’s Good Cookies, granola, dried mango, trail mix and one newbie…Japanese Milk Bread Rolls. Yummmmmmmm.

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As much as I bake, yeast breads is not something I have tried very often.  As enticing as it sounds to knead dough and then PUNCH it down after a rise, waiting a couple of hours for the dough to sit just isn’t all that appealing.  I do have a bread machine (gadget addiction) but all I do for that is dump in the ingredients and forget about it until the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the house. It’s like cheating.

I came across this recipe for Japanese Milk Bread on one of my favorite sites, Ipso Fatto.  Despite being yeast bread, it seemed pretty easy (it was) and sounded delicious.  It is best described as a cross between Hawaiian Sweet Bread and the sweet soft bread rolls found in Asian bakeries.  Trying it became a no brainer when I discovered the source of the recipe was King Arthur Flour.  Here is the recipe .

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First batch tasty but texturally dense and biscuit like. Not enough kneading!

The first time I made it I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook. Being a novice at bread making I don’t have a feel for how long to knead bread or what the dough should look like.  My first batch, though tasty, texturally was a little dense and more like a biscuit.  Puzzling, since words like airy, fluffy and soft were most used to describe these Hokkaido treats.  Back to the drawing board.  The next batch, I admit I CHEATED.  I used the dough cycle of my bread machine which took care of the mix, knead, and first rest cycle.  All I had to do was shape the dough and let it rise one more time before popping them into the oven.

 

EASY PEASY  YEAST BREAD EASY.

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These were soft and fluffy! Knead dough until smooth!

The dough was much smoother and softer in look and feel than the first batch.  My second batch of rolls I can proudly describe as soft and fluffy and delicious!  A home run.  For all of you that haven’t tried baking bread, try this recipe.  And if you have a bread machine, cheat!  Use the dough cycle to make it even easier.  It is a keeper and definitely makes me want to try my hand at more bread baking and without using my bread machine!

 

P.S. My kids LOVE these rolls, I vacuum packed them and sent them out priority.

 

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