Frankly, is this as light as air? Hmm.. maybe for western standard, it could be. I have never eaten breads besides what is made in Malaysia and Singapore
Growing up with commercial breads made with chemicals like improvers and softeners, this bread is definitely not as light as air. Gardenia definitely is the winner, hands down. Which is why I prefer High 5 if I want to buy. High 5 has better structure, better chew, more to swallow. LOL.
But if you compare a direct method bread, made with natural ingredients, it is definitely soft and good. Don't compare it with breads made with bread improvers or softeners. It doesn’t contain that much of fat compared to wonderfully soft bread or breads made with cream like Hokkaido Milk Loaf. It doesn’t take hours of proofing like 17hrs bread, nor does it need any half cooked dough like the Tang Zhong method. Those said methods produced very soft breads, and this just a basic bread with flour, salt, water, wee bit of milk powder and 1 Tbsp of oil. The only addition is semolina or sugee. Perfect for that someone who hates wholemeal bread but wants something healthier. Semolina is very rich in protein.
The semolina feels rough and gritty during kneading but after the first proofing… it was barely felt by touch, and after baking it seemed non-existent. The cold oven baking also gave the bread a final push on rising. The initial recipe called for the bread to baked in a covered stoneware loaf baker. But where do I have that? I can’t put this into a Pullman tin, as it required the top to be slashed, of which in the end I chickened out to do, worried I might disfigure the bread with my not so sharp knives. I just put this bread into 2 Daiso loaf pans and when it rose to the rim, I started baking it with only the bottom heat and used an inverted baking tray to reflect heat to reduce the risk of the seeds on the crust from burning. I also lined the loaf pan instead of greasing it as I find lining it creates a very soft thin crust compared to a greased pan.
I’m very happy with the way this loaf turned out. Beautiful sesame seeds still sticking onto the crust after slicing, with only a minor amount falling off. Soft crust, beautiful crumb, beautiful texture and I love the taste of it, it has a light nutty taste, which is not found when baking with only bread flour. Although not a bit of sugar in it, it has this “sweetness” when it reacts with the saliva in your mouth. I only ate this with butter because the bread itself has its own flavour that I do not want cover up with lots of other things. My mom and hubby as usual, went with kaya and butter. Even Lydia's ex nanny who happenned to get half a loaf from me commented the bread is very flavourful.
Will I make this loaf again? Definitely!
And I made it twice
Once as a big loaf, jacked up the recipe 150% and baked it in a 5X5X13 bread tin
And another time, as buns.
Light as Air Seed Bread
Recipe source: King Arthur Flour
Recipe is converted to metric weight by me, Wendyywy
240gm bread flour
140gm semolina (sugee)
18gm milk powder
6gm salt (1.5tsp)
2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
250gm lukewarm water
1 Tbsp each Black and White sesame seeds for coating, or other seeds if preferred
1. Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds and knead until stretchy. (I was alternating between speed 2-4 on KA for 25 minutes)
2. Cover and let it proof for 1 hour or until double (my double was 1 hour 15 mins).
3. Divide dough into 2 and form into long loaves.
4. Place formed dough into two 3X7 loaf pan or one 9X5 loaf pan. (either line or grease the pans)
5. Let loaves proof (covered) until double. (another 1 hour 15 minutes)
6. Brush top of loaves with water and sprinkle sesame seeds over. Very gently press them on.
7. Place dough loaves into a cold oven.
8. Place a baking tray over the bread (2 inches above the dough’s top. This step is to bake the bread using reflected heat and prevent the sesame seeds from burning, it's optional)
9. Turn the temperature to 200C (lower heat only, if you choose to use top bottom heat, ignore step (8)) and bake for 20 minutes (30mins if your oven preheats slower, my oven takes less than 10 mins to reach 200C, the bread will look slightly golden).
10. Remove the upper baking tray from oven and turn the heating to top and bottom heat and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until desired colour is achieved.
Verdict: Taste nutty, good mouthfeel (springy). Good for toasting (the sesame seeds smell so good after toasting), low sugar, low fat, not manual kneading friendly (very sticky). Stays soft for a day and a half only, so toast it after that for crunchy sesame toast.