Mom got a breadmaker about 8 months ago but we have not been able to replicate soft breads successfully. The recipes included in the instruction manual were suited for Western palates – hard, crusty breads that went dry after a day. Asian palates are more accustomed to soft, cottony breads, much like the breads we get in Asian bakeries here.
So I researched and tried many recipes before hitting gold! The secret to cotton soft asian bread is this starter called Tang Zhong. It is basically a flour paste (that resembles glue paste), 1 part flour to 5 parts water/milk.
I used the recipe here and did everything in my bread maker I did modify it a little though, by omitting the yeast & butter and using the dough function for 10 minutes. I then added in the butter and yeast and started the dough function again to get it incorporated into the dough. After the dough cycle ended, I then started it on the regular bread function. 3 hours later, the smell of freshly baked bread permeated the entire house.
I couldn’t wait and cut a slice to try. The crust was crispy and the inside was soft and sweet. Yummy!