This is a versatile sweet dough recipe that can be adapted easily. I’ve made HK Style Pineapple Buns with it and this time I’m making simple dinner rolls. The sponge dough method is pretty flexible and I usually prepare the sponge the day before I plan to bake and store it in the fridge. The next day I mix this with the remaining ingredients to make the final dough. As the gluten development of the sponge is already pretty strong after an overnight resting, the mixing time is actually faster than bread dough prepared with the straight dough method. The bread texture is also softer and more springy and I actually prefer this method over the straight and Tangzhong method.
Dinner Rolls (Sponge Method) 牛油麵包卷(中種法)
For the Sponge
210 g bread flour
3 g instant yeast
125 g water
For the Final Dough
90 g bread flour
45 g beaten egg
24 g dry milk powder
40 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
4 g salt
30 g unsalted butter, softened
15 g beaten egg
1/2 tsp milk
For the Sponge 中種麵糰
Add flour and yeast into the mixing bowl and stir well. Add water and mix with the stand mixer with the dough hook on for about 4 minutes until a shaggy dough is formed. Transfer dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour then refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
*For same-day use, let dough rise at room temperature until tripled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
For the Final Dough 主麵糰
Remove the sponge from the fridge. In the bowl of the stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the sponge and all ingredients of the main dough except the butter. Mix with low speed for about 7 to 10 minutes until the dough comes together and form a smooth dough. Add in softened butter and continue kneading with medium-low speed until all the butter is Incorporated and the dough forms a translucent membrane that would tear with uneven edges when stretched. This could take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a tight ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap or the overturned mixing bowl. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
*If the sponge is used straight out from the fridge, you may cut it into smaller pieces in order for it to incorporate evenly into the final dough
*Monitor the final dough temperature to below 28℃ for best result
Gently deflate the dough then divide into 10 equal portions. Shape each into a ball then a teardrop. Cover and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Roll into a long teardrop shape then flatten and elongate the shape with a rolling pin to around 30 cm. With the smooth side facing down, roll up from the base while trying to wrap the dough three times around itself. Pinch the seams together then place the roll, seam side down, on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, making sure to leave enough space between the rolls. Let rise in a warm place for 40 to 50 minutes or until the rolls are almost doubled in size. I proofed mine using the proof function of my oven.
Preheat the oven to 325℉/165℃ about 10 minutes prior to baking. Mix together the egg and milk to make an egg wash. Brush the rolls with egg wash then bake in the oven about 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Transfer to the cooling rack to cool.
*Adjust oven temperature and baking time according to your own oven.
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