taro swirl milk loaf


The money shot.

Most of the time I can’t decide between making/eating sweet soft Asian bread or crusty artisan bread, but after staring at foodporn pics of torn Hokkaido milk bread, I knew I wanted to use the tangzhong method again. Golden crust on the outside, candy floss-like on the inside with a surprise taro filling – I think I’m getting slightly better at this. Although, to be honest, I did position the rolls of dough in the wrong orientation so instead of seeing purple swirls on the cross-section, you have random blobs.

Apart from the pleasure one derives from making bread, there was one more reason to bask in the joyful glory of life today (well, yesterday really): I finally got a new bike! I love it; it’s white and sleek but graceful, and much more effortless to ride compared to my 10-year-old tiny folding bike. I’ve wanted a bigger bike for so long, but never really considered actually getting one, as we only spend a couple of months per year here. But I finally gave in to the convenience of not having to ask for rides or take the very unpredictable/infrequent/slow public transport. When I took it for a test ride yesterday all afternoon, it was confirmed that cycling is indeed faster than the bus, in fact I was so pleased by the freedom I rode for some 10km+.

Having no success at finding a temporary job, we’ve been filling the time by traveling all over the place; today to our neighbouring city Chiayi. It was more of a foodie tour, where we had the famous turkey and rice, and amazing fish head casserole. It would’ve been excessive had we not walked most of it off by spending most of the time being lost.

There are plenty that I’m grateful for this year: family, old friends, new friends, passing second year, being able to attend church when I was able, etc, etc. But I’m also realising and rediscovering many, many of my flaws, like being enthusiastic when it comes to making plans but not persisting with them, like being close-minded and stubborn, and most of all impatience. If there is anything I’d like to change, or at least work on changing in the next year, it would be to show people I love that I love them with my actions, as well as being a more faithful servant to Christ. In case I don’t blog again until next year, which I suspect I will given my boredom levels, I sincerely thank every single person who’s scrolled past, liked, followed, commented on, and cared in any way about this little passion project of mine. A little warmth really means the world to me, and I promise to maintain it with as much honesty, passion and fun as I can instill in my writing and food in time to come.


Taro swirl milk loaf (makes 12oz loaf)

For the tangzhong:
25g just-boiled water
25g bread flour

For the dough:
250g bread flour
30g sugar
3g salt
3g dried instant yeast
1 egg + enough milk to make up 165g
the above tangzhong
25g unsalted butter, softened

For the taro filling:
200g steamed taro
1-3 tbsp sugar, depending on taste
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp cream or milk

Mix together the hot water and flour, set aside to cool then refrigerate for at least 2 hrs before using. When the tangzhong is ready, dump all ingredients for the dough but the butter in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed for ~5 mins to incorporate. Once formed into a dough, slowly add the butter a bit at a time while mixing, then keep kneading for ~15 mins until it passes the windowpane test (when you take some dough and stretch it, it doesn’t tear with ragged edges but becomes a thin translucent sheet). Place the dough in an lightly oiled container, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1.5 hrs in winter for me).

To make the filling, simply mix the mashed taro, sugar and butter together into a paste. Then, depending on the consistency, you may need to add some cream/milk so that it’s just spreadable. Cover and set aside.

Knock back the dough and divide it into 3 equal portions. Keep the others covered while you work with one. Roll the dough flat, into a roughly rectangular shape, thinner if you’d like more thinner swirls; thicker if you’d like less thicker swirls. Spread the taro filling over the dough, 1cm from the edge of the dough, and roll from one of the short edges. Seal the seam and place in a greased tin, with the circular open ends facing the widths of your tin. Repeat the process twice more with the remaining portions, so you end up with 3 rolls side by side in the tin.

Cover the tin and leave to rise again until doubled in volume, about 45 mins. 10 minutes before they’re ready, eggwash the tops (I keep back a tiny bit of the egg in the recipe and mix with a little milk) and preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden on top. Cool slightly on a rack before slicing.


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