To prepare sponge:
Combine all ingredients in (A) in a mixing bowl and knead with a dough hook at low speed. Stop kneading when all ingredients are just combined to form a dough .
In an oiled mixing bowl, prove dough for 4-5 hours until surface of sponge dough looks perforated and forms spider- web-like structure when pulled away from edge of mixing bowl.
To prepare Polo skin:
Sift icing sugar and milk powder into a mixing bowl. Add butter, margarine and salt.
Beat mixture until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg gradually, a little at a time.
Fold in sift flour until a smooth polo skin dough is obtained.
Refrigerate skin dough in fridge if it is sticky and too soft to work with.
To prepare main dough:
Combine sponge dough prepared earlier and all ingredients (B), except water, butter and shortening, in a mixing bowl.
Use dough hook of your stand mixer to knead the mixture at low speed (Speed 1 of Kitchenaid).
When all ingredients are just blended, add water gradually and continue to knead until the surface of dough looks smooth.
Add butter and shortening a little at a time. Use medium-low (Speed 2) speed to continue kneading dough for about 10 minutes. Increase to medium-high speed (Speed 4) and knead for further 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic, smooth, non-sticky and pull away from the sides of the bowl. To test, stretch a pinch of dough. This dough should form a thin membrane before it breaks.
Divide dough into 65g portions. Roll each into a ball and rest for 10 minutes.
While dough is resting, divide polo skin dough into 30g portions. Round up. Dust each polo skin with flour and press to form a round thin sheet. Spray water on surface of bread dough. Lightly press polo skin dough on each bread dough so that it covers 90% of the bun's surface.
Prove bread for 1 hour or until double in size (it may take longer depends on weather). If the polo skin does not break as a result of the proving, use a knife to lightly draw pineapple skin pattern on the skin.
Brush polo skin with beaten egg.
Bake in preheated oven at 200 degC for 15-20 minutes.
Characteristics of bread made using Sponge & Dough Method compared to Straight Dough Method:
Long proving time stabilises the dough, which in turn enables sufficient hydration of the dough. As a result, ability of dough to hold more moisture is enhanced.
Long proving time enables various chemical activities by the yeasts.
Bread fermented using this method has better flavour.
Bread baked using this method is moist and soft.
The stretching gluten network of sponge dough results in larger volume bread. Not suitable if you prefer chewy instead of soft bread.
In general for all breads making, the amount of liquid (eggs and water in this recipe) is variable. It depends on types of flour used, type of liquid used, temperature and humidity of atmosphere at the time of making the bread. You may need to adjust the water content of a particular recipe accordingly.
This formula is a commercial bread formula. Buns made using this formula stay soft for at least 2 days. However, it is not advisable to knead this dough by hand. It is too soft and sticky to work with. Remember I used to suggest 2-1/2 hours fermentation time in my previous sponge & dough recipes? In this recipe, I increased the fermentation time to 4-5 hours (room temperature), to give better flavour and volume to the breads.
There is another approach. If you do not want to wait 4-5 hours for the sponge to ferment, make the sponge before you go to bed a night before you actually want to make the buns. Refrigerate the sponge in refrigerator for about 12 hours. Thaw the sponge slightly before you use it.
For step by step instructions in pictures click here http://jodelibakery.netfirms.com/ , then Breads, Polo Buns Serves