Not only is this homemade bread light, fluffy and highly comforting, but its vibrant purple hue brings an element of fun to the table.
Tangzhong starter paste*
100g (3.5 oz) bread flour
150ml (5 fl oz) water
300ml milk (10 fl oz), at room temperature
30g caster (superfine) sugar
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp ube extract*
7g instant dried yeast
450g (15 oz) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
oil spray, for greasing
To make the starter paste, mix the flour and water together in a medium saucepan until smooth and place on medium heat. You’ll need to watch this closely and stir constantly, as it thickens very quickly. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the milky appearance disappears and a thick paste is created. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the paste out onto a sheet of cling wrap. Roll up securely, then place in the fridge overnight.
Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer. In the stand mixer bowl, add milk, sugar, butter, ube extract, yeast, flour and salt. Add the starter paste in.
Turn the mixer on low until the ingredients have just combined, then turn up speed to low-medium and knead the dough for 30 minutes. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place it onto a floured surface and roll into a ball. Grease a large bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover with cling wrap for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, place on to your kitchen surface and dust with flour. Punch the dough down and cut into 2 equal parts (please make sure they are equal in weight). Roll into 2 balls.
Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into rectangles roughly 10cm x 40cm (4” x 16”). Roll up each rectangle into a tight scroll.
Grease 1 loaf tin and evenly place in both rolled dough pieces, with the swirl facing the width of the tin. Cover with a wet cloth and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Once the dough has risen, bake for 40 minutes or until the top edges of the bread look golden and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on the top crust. Loosen the sides of the dough with a butter knife and tip the load out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool before slicing.
– Tangzhong is an Asian bakery technique that originated in Japan. The idea is that you cook a percentage of the flour and water before adding it to the dough ingredients. This technique allows the starches in the flour to absorb more water, which makes the dough easier to knead, encourages a higher rise and keeps the dough soft and moist.
– Ube is a tuberous vegetable, also known as a purple yam. You can buy a liquid extract online or from some Asian grocers.
– As this recipe requires a degree of precision, I prefer to weigh out these ingredients rather than use cups or spoons. In short, you should definitely use kitchen scales!