The first few times that I'd baked bread from scratch was a disaster! My bread did not turn out soft, not even somewhat soft. It was more like a dense and heavy loaf. I do believe you could have injured someone with it as well.
After a few more tries and a bit more research through the internet and YouTube, I think I've now got a better hand at kneading bread than before. Though I do think it is cheaper to buy a normal loaf of bread from the bakery, there is nothing quite like making it from scratch. There is a sense of tranquility in kneading bread. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the motion of pulling the dough and the feel of it being shaped from a sticky mass to something that's soft and smooth. Maybe it's the state of concentration that I'm in at that point of time. Whatever it is, I do feel a sense of satisfaction at this.
I made these sweet buns on a Wednesday night, after work (ok I'm mad) and by the time I was done with the buns, it was close to 11.00pm (ok extremely mad). Though I was shacked by then, the smell of baking buns is unbelievable. I did not even wait for it to cool down before trying one - absolutely delicious it was. You don't even need to add any spread to it as the bread was slightly sweet due to the amount of sugar added to the recipe.
(makes around 9 buns)
150g bread flour
150g cake flour
5g active dry yeast
60g caster sugar
(1 egg, beaten, for glazing)
1) Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in milk, egg and butter. Mix into a dough.
2) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the gluten is fully developed (see tip below) and the dough is elastic, smooth and non-sticky. It will take about 25 mins to knead the dough by hand. Initially the dough will stick on to the work surface. Do not be tempted to add more flour or even give up kneading! After continuous kneading, the dough will no longer stick to the work surface.
3) Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel or cling wrap to seal in the moisture. Allow the dough to ferment(or proof) until double in bulk. This will take probably take about an hour if you are living in a tropical country like Singapore.
4) To test whether the dough has been fully proofed, press a finger into the dough and withdraw quickly. It should leave a deep impression and spring back very slowly. For an insufficiently proofed dough, the impression will spring back instantly.
5) Take out the dough and punch out the gas produced. Let the dough rest for about 15minutes.
6) Divide the dough into 60g portions. Shape and add fillings as desired. (I left mine plain) Arrange dough in a greased or lined pan. Rest for about another 15 minutes.
7) Brush the top with whole egg mixture. Add topping if desired. (I topped 3 of the buns with sesame seeds, another 3 with sliced almond and the last 3 with grated cheddar cheese)
8) Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 degC. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
To check whether the dough is fully developed, take a small piece of the dough and stretch it with your fingers. If it can be stretched into a thin layer without tearing easily, the dough is fully developed.