HAM AND CHEESE BREAD (WITH TANGZHONG)

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You can never go wrong with the Ham and Cheese combination. It’s used in so many recipes, Chicken Cordon Bleu, on spreads, flavoured biscuits like Shapes (although they use Bacon and Cheese), but still you get my point.

This recipe is thus far one of my favourites. Family members were raving about it, so that’s always a motivation.

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When it comes to making bread with the tangzhong method, as long as you’ve gotten the main ingredients and processes right, it’s a breeze from there.You can mix it up whichever way you want, throw in raisins, walnuts etc.

Of course, if you’re packing it full with chocolate, it would make sense to reduce the amount of sugar used.

Firstly, start with your tangzhong.

Cook time 2-3 minutes 

1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

  • Mix bread flour and water in a saucepan and ensure there are no lumps remaining. Place it  over low heat, and continue to stir the mixture. It should start turning into a thick paste.
  • Recipes will tell you to remove from heat once it hits 65 degrees celsius. I don’t have a thermometer at home, so once you see strong lines appear, remove from heat.
  • I usually keep it in the saucepan till it is cooled.
  • Do try to use your tangzhong within the day, and if storing, cover tightly with cling wrap. Keep it for long, and it turns grey, which isn’t desired.
Ham and Cheese Bread
Makes  
1 loaf
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time  2-3 hours
2½ cups bread flour
3 tbsp and 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (about half of the tangzhong made)
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
ham, shredded
cheddar cheese, shredded
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre.
  • Prepare your wet ingredients and combine egg, milk and tangzhong. Pour into the well of dry ingredients.
  • I used a normal beater and switched it to the dough hooks (really economical way of making bread). Turn it on medium speed and continue to beat for about 20 minutes. I had mine on for approximately 25-30 minutes. When it starts to come together, add the butter. Mould the mixture into a ball, and the litmus test if the dough is ready (I read this somewhere), is to take a small chunk of dough and stretch it till thin. Some say that when the dough is stretched and tears apart, it should form a small circle, but I don’t really believe that.
  • Once ready, place in a greased bowl and let it proof till approximately double in size. Once again, this is dependent on your environmental conditions (if you place it in the open etc). It should take about 30-40 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a slightly floured surface, and divide into 4 portions (the number of portions you divide it into determines how many slabs you get in the entire loaf). Let it proof again for another 20 minutes.
  • And this is where it gets slightly difficult. Take one portion and roll it to an oval shape of approximately 20cm in length. Garnish with shredded ham and cheese. Roll as you would prepare a swiss roll. Proceed to do so for the remaining 3 portions, and place in greased pan.
  • Let it proof for another 30-40 minutes, and lightly brush with eggwash.
  • Place in a preheated oven of 175 degrees celsius for 20 to 30 minutes.

If I could change anything about the bread I made, I would suggest putting as much ham and cheese as possible. When preparing, the “swiss roll” might not be able to hold as much, but try to squeeze as much as you can! 🙂 The bread rises quite a bit, so you would want a fair ratio of bread to ham and cheese when om-nom-noming.

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