I have been highly enamored with Kristina Cho’s new cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread; I can’t stop baking from it. The first recipe in her book, the Mother of All Milk Bread dough, is incredible and can be used in many applications, both sweet and savory. And I know I rarely share savory baking items here, but this Deep Dish Pizza Bread was the best dinner I had had in a long time, so I couldn’t resist.
What is the tangzhong method?
Kristina writes that “what sets … Asian enriched breads apart from other enriched breads is the use of tangzhong, a roux made of milk and flour. Tangzhong makes a huge difference in the quality of the bread… [w]hen you add tangzhong to the dough, the dough is able to retain a higher moisture content, and the result is a fluffy bread with delicate crumb and ethereal softness that lasts for days.”
I have used this dough over and over again the last few weeks, and have fallen in love with it. Cinnamon rolls, classic three-segment loaves, pull-apart milk bread buns have all been in rotation. This pizza is the newest addition to the list, and it is incredible. The edges are laced with crispy mozzarella cheese (a la Detroit-style pizza), and the dough is soft and delicious.
Kristina also writes that “my version of [pizza] bread would be right at home at your local school fundraiser or graduation party, but it’s so good it could even pass as an impressive appetizer at your next dinner party or game night.” I have to agree. My kids have already requested it to be made frequently over Christmas break, and the dough can be made ahead of time, which works out well if you remember to plan in advance.
More Savory Bread Recipes:
Deep Dish Pizza Bread
Milk Bread Dough
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons [100g] milk
- 2 tablespoons [20 g] bread flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon [125 g] warm 110°F [42C] milk
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup [50 g] granulated sugar plus a pinch
- 2 2/3 cups [335 g] bread flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons [55 g] unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1 teaspoon canola or other neutral flavored oil for bowl
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups [275 g] tomato sauce homemade or your favorite store-bought variety
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups [450 g] shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup [142 g] sliced pepperoni
For the Milk Bread Dough
- Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the flour and milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the paste into a small bowl, scraping the sides of the saucepan with a flexible spatula; let cool until warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Texture should resemble mashed potatoes.
- Make the milk bread: In a clean or new small saucepan, scald the milk over medium heat, bringing the milk to a gentle simmer (watch carefully as milk tends to boil over). Pour milk into a small bowl and cool until warm to the touch (about 110°F [42C]). Stir in yeast and a pinch of sugar and set aside until the surface of the mixture is foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the sugar, 335 grams bread flour, salt, and egg. Add the tangzhong and milk and mix on low until shaggy. Add the softened butter one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated before adding the next. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to knead the dough until it is tacky and slightly sticky, 8 to 9 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking, pinch and pull the ends of the dough to form a smooth ball.
- Coat a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the dough to the bowl, gently turning it to cover with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours (or place in the refrigerator to proof for at least 8 hours or overnight).
For the pizza
- Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
- Brush a 10 in [25 cm] cast-iron skillet or round cake pan with the olive oil and sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella around the edge of the pan.
- After the first proof, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to a roughly 10 by 18 in [25 by 46 cm] rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the tomato sauce over the dough, leaving an ½ in [12 mm] border around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and sliced pepperoni (if using) over the tomato sauce. Roll up the dough lengthwise to form a tight roll, pinching the seam to seal. Place the dough seam-side down on the work surface. Cut the roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Arrange the halves of the dough parallel to each other. Pinch one end of each roll half together and then begin crisscrossing the two rolls to form a twisted braid. Carefully transfer the braided loaf to the cast-iron skillet and bring the two ends of the twisted dough together to form a round loaf. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and let the loaf rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F [190C]. Right before baking, make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and cream in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the loaf, focusing on the areas not covered in sauce.
- Bake until loaf is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve the bread directly from the case iron or transfer to a plate.