Put all the ingredients in a bread machine and knead until the gluten develops. I took it out of the machine once the kneading was done and rounded off the dough before the 1st rising. Check with a finger to see if it has risen enough (a hole made floured finger should not bounce back).
Take the dough out and deflate. Divide into 2 to 3 portions, and round off each piece so that the surface is taut and smooth and pinch the seams closed. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.
When the dough has rested, deflate it again and roll out about 20 to 25 cm square. Fold into thirds lengthwise, roll up from the near side, and pinch the rolled end closed.
Put the dough pieces in an oiled bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap and use your oven's bread-rising setting to let the dough rise for 40 to 50 minutes at 30-40°C (2nd rising).
If you want a square loaf let the dough rest to about 80% of the height of the pan. If you want a loaf with a rounded top, let it rise until it's risen a bit higher than the rim.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. When the oven has heated up, bake the bread for 30 minutes at 180°C and it's done. If it looks like the top is browning too fast, cover with a piece of foil.
As soon as it comes out of the oven, drop the bread pan and all from about a 30 cm height to push out the steam. Take the loaf out of the pan.
Dense and bouncy and yet light and fluffy. The result is a bread with a lasting moist, tender texture!
This one is baked in a square shokupan pan. I turned this into sandwiches for an outing. Since the bread stays moist and soft, it was great even after some time had passed.
This is a version with bacon and melting type cheese rolled into the dough.
The version in the top photo was made with my own homemade started. I used 150 g of starter and 220 ml of water.
When the bread has cooled down completely, I slice it into pieces and keep it in bags. It's moist and soft the next day.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make a simple, neutral ordinary bread to eat every day, so I substituted half the butter with vegetable oil to cut down on the base costs a bit. This shokupan is easy to make and we never get tired of it. Perhaps because of the vegetable oil, it's moist/silky and soft even the next day! I really like this bread a lot.
12 to 15 minutes after you start baking this, it may be better to cover it with aluminum foil to prevent the surface from browning too fast. Do it quickly so you don't lower the oven temperature.