Welcome to our Milk Bread Experiment Finale!!! We’ve been testing out some of the most popular milk bread recipes online and finally after double and triple checking them, we’ve finally determined our favorite recipes. Can you guess which one it is?
We tested 6 total recipes: Chopsticks Chronicles, Umi’s Baking, Kitchen Princess Bamboo’s 2 recipes, Josh Weissman, and Inga Lam’s. All of them were very tasty, so it all comes down to preferences. We’ll get into our comparison in just a moment but first, let’s go over some of our milk bread making tips that we’ve learned over the course of this series:
Making Milk Bread Tips:
- Yeast is like Goldilocks: make sure your ingredients are room temp before adding yeast.
- Speaking of yeast, make sure you know which one you’re using and whether you need to bloom it (if it’s fresh or instant, you don’t!).
- Both mixing and resting times are important to allow gluten to form, so don’t try to cheat the time! Resting the dough allows the gluten to expand and fully absorb the water, which makes the dough easier to handle (less sticky) and shortens the time needed for kneading.
- The more you bake the more you’ll get to know the feel of your ideal dough. However, the window pane test and the finger poke test are your best friends.
- Keep in mind that when you bake will affect your bread: when it’s colder your dough will take longer to rise. You can use a proofer or the oven set on low to help. On wetter days your dough may feel wetter than usual, that gave us a more French loaf texture than milk bread, so you might actually prefer that.
Day 2 Photo Comparisons
Comparing the Recipes (Baker’s Percentage)
Ok! On to our detailed analysis of the 6 recipes. In order to directly compare all of the recipes, we converted them to the Baker’s Percentage, a formula based on the flour weight which is useful in figuring out your hydration percentage and for scaling your recipes.
- Highest Hydration: Princess Bamboo’s recipes at 87-88%. Josh has the lowest at 60% despite using the tangzhong method.
- Highest Sugar: Josh at 16.5%, Inga 12%, Umi’s at 9.7%
- Highest Butter: Josh at 12.3%
- Uses dry milk: Umi, Inga
- Uses eggs: Umi, Josh
- Quickest recipe: Chopstick Chronicles or Umi’s. They have the longest mix/knead time and so have a shorter rest time. Everyone else’s was the opposite – short mix times and more rest periods.
- Simplest recipe: Inga’s
Day 7 & Day 7 – Frozen Photo Comparisons
Shelf Life Comparisons
We also mentioned in Episode 1 that the starter was first employed to extend the bread’s shelf life, so we also tested that by slicing our loaves and storing them separately to check that the day after baking, 7 days after baking, and also 7 days after freezing it right after baking.
All the breads gained a little more chew once they’ve cooled off the day after baking. So if you absolutely love the softest bread- eat it all right after baking. If you prefer a little more density and chew, wait until the next day to eat your bread.
We felt that Chopstick Chronicle’s bread was the best on Day 2 – still very moist and fluffy with a delightful and even bounce compared to Umi’s, which was a little more gummy and seemed like it has a slightly denser bottom. Both Princess Bamboo’s have more air pockets and a spongier texture than the rest, more fluff and less of chew. It also has more bounce back compared to Chopstick Chronicle’s and Umi’s. Princess Bamboo (Yudane) had a slight tang while Princess Bamboo (Tangzhong) had more of a fragrance. Both Josh and Inga’s were denser and sweeter than the rest, more on the gummy than fluffy side.
After a week, there’s a significant difference in the breads. Freezing the bread locks in the moisture and softness. If you don’t freeze the bread, you can feel the dryness and it even changes the flavor for some of the breads.
Chopstick Chronicle’s is the least affected – there’s the change in texture but not in taste. Umi’s bread had a slight change in the flavor but it was mainly the texture, so we recommend consuming it within a few days, otherwise plan on freezing it.
Interestingly, Inga’s frozen bread resulted in a more yeasty flavor. Either way, her bread was still moist and more on the gummy texture.
The breads that showed the most significant difference between freezing and not were Princess Bamboo and Josh. Without freezing, Princess Bamboo’s loaves both felt old to touch: both drier and harder, though no significant difference in taste. Freezing the breads gives it an even break when you try to tear them, rather than an actual tear. The tangzhong version that wasn’t frozen was just a hair drier on the tongue than the yudane. Freezing Josh’s bread keeps it light and fluffy. It doesn’t tear, but rather breaks evenly and melts in your mouth. Leaving the bread out for a week makes it pretty dry, dense and heavy with a different tear.
Best Way of Storing Milk Bread
The best advice we can give you is eat all of the bread within a few days. If you don’t think you’ll finish in time, you can slice up your bread and freeze it for the best texture.
We simply keep our fresh unsliced bread in a ziplock or airtight container and slice as we eat. If you forgot to freeze it or it starts to dry past your liking, try toasting the bread to help revitalize it.
Our Favorite Recipe
So, which recipe is our personal favorite? Umi’s Baking!! Her recipe is our favorite all around-er and we’ve since made it to share with friends many times, because her original recipe already makes 2 loaves! If you’re looking for more of a typical Asian white bread – try Chopstick Chronicle’s recipe. If you’re more interested in a loaf with more fluff that’s just slightly more like the western loaf, try Princess Bamboo’s recipes. And for all those Hawaiian bread roll fans, try Josh or Inga’s recipes.
Which recipe do you prefer, let us know in the comments below! We hope you enjoyed this Milk Bread Recipe Experiment, happy baking!
Tools Used To Make This Dish*
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Camera Gear List*
- Sony A7III
- Sony A7rIII
- Sony SEL2470GM Lens
- Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22
- Deity V-Mic D3
- Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Blue Compass Premium Tube-Style Broadcast Boom Arm
- Sirui ET Series Tripod
- White Balance Card
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