Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oat and Raisin Hokkaido Loaf - #BreadBakers

A few weeks ago, I saw Stacy tweet about a bread baking group. I practically pounced on Stacy and asked (read: begged) her to let me in. You see, I really really really love baking bread. It still amazes me how much I love it. Before I started baking bread, I rarely ate bread. I'd buy a loaf and it would inevitably get stale or end up in the freezer. Bread just didn't float my boat. I always loved very buttery (this is important) Jamaican coco bread and freshly made, still warm from the oven, Jamaican hard dough bread. But once the hard dough bread cooled, I'd forget about it.

So what possessed me one morning in March 2011 to grab a jar and some flour and start a sourdough starter? I did not even like kneading dough. Clearly, I had lost my mind. It's been quite a journey. Great loaves and so-so loaves. I actually didn't use commercial yeast until last year - it's been all sourdough/wild yeast. I am looking forward to baking with this group and learning about new techniques and ways to improve my loaves.

For my first loaf, I am making a Hokkaido-style loaf. I have seen other names - milk bread and shokupan. This is essentially a very soft and fluffy Japanese bread. The key to the texture is the long kneading - 10 to 15 minutes in a stand mixer. However, many also attribute it to a roux called tangzhong. I am inclined to believe that it's the kneading that does the trick. I've seen a sourdough version with no tangzhong look even more soft and fluffy than commercial yeast versions using tangzhong.. If you have ever baked with wild yeast, you know that is not an easy feat.Perhaps the tangzhong works in absence of long kneading? One day I will test this theory. But not today. Today I am using the tangzhong, kneading for ten minutes, rolling out my dough, and adding soaked raisins.

Let me back up to the rolling for a bit. Typically, I see that bakers usually divide the dough into at least three pieces, fill them if necessary, roll up each piece and place them into the loaf pan. I did not do that here. I think that style looks best when using a high sided Pullman tin. In regular loaf pans, one seems to  run the risk of the bread exploding a bit. It's not a big deal really. I just prefer the Pullman look and since I don't have one, I did not do the separate section.

This picture does not do justice to the texture of the crumb. It's so soft that slicing is impossible.

Oat and Raisin Hokkaido Loaf

113 grams water
23 grams flour
280 grams flour
48 grams rolled oat
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
24 grams sugar
3 grams salt
1 large egg
15 grams melted butter
113 grams warm milk
80 grams raisins


In a small sauce pan, combine the tangzhong ingredients over  medium heat until it forms a thick pudding. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

After dough has cooled, combine all the dough ingredients except the raisins in a stand mixer. The milk should be warmed to the temperature stated by your yeast's manufacturer. Knead 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled.

While dough is rising, pour hot water over the raisins and allow them to sit until plump.

When dough has risen, drain raisins and a grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Roll the dough out to a 8" x 14" rectangle. Spread the raisins evenly across the dough then starting at an 8 inch edge, roll tightly. Place into loaf pan. The dough will take about 45 minutes to double depending on your room temperature.

Twenty minutes into this second rising, preheat the oven to 350 F.

When dough has doubled, brush with milk, sprinkle the top with oats, if wanted, and bake 35-40 minutes.

Cool before slicing.


The Bread Bakers are baking with grapes today. Here's a list of all our breads. Thanks to Stacy, our host!
How to join #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


  1. So glad you pounced, Kelly, but I don't recall that any begging was necessary. We were delighted to have you!

    I have to admit that I have never tried starting with a Tangzhong but I've been seeing it everywhere and this must change! I can't wait to play around with extra kneading as well. Thank God for the big Kenwood mixer. :)

    Your loaf turned out beautifully!

  2. I'm so glad you joined the group and shared this wonderful recipe. Now I've got tangzhong to investigate (never heard of it before).

  3. I've made a tangzhong bread before and its the softest bread I ever had. I really think it's the roux that makes it so soft and not necessarily the kneading but your bread looks perfect

  4. I love the tangzhong method. It does make for a pretty sticky dough because of all that gelatinized starch. That's what keeps the bread soft and springy--less gluten formation but structure lent through the starches instead. Such a cool method, and I really like your oatmeal/raisin variation. I imagine it makes excellent toast!

  5. I LOVE Hokkaido . Soft cloud like . Yours looks like the clouds are embellished with little gems. Beautiful ! And so glad you joined the Bread Bakers.

  6. This looks like such a fluffy and delicious bread. Definitely must try! :D

  7. I love making Hokkaido milk bread. Yours is so pretty with that perfect swirl of raisins and the oat topping. Welcome to the group!

  8. This is a new one for me. It looks amazing!

  9. I recently discovered tangzhong breads and I am sooo hooked. Can't wait to try your recipe, it looks fab.

  10. Using the thanzong is always a very good idea :)

  11. I have no idea what Hokkaido is but the bread looks delicious. :)

  12. Look at that golden brown top! Delish!