Egg Sandwiches with Homemade Milk Bread

This recipe is a thank-you letter to my mom, since she not only taught me how to make the perfect boiled egg, but gifted me with this super cute bento box, and I have been dying to use it to plate something. Between eggs and the bento, it just made sense to either do something with tamagoyaki, or a Japanese egg sandwich, also called a sando. I first had these kinds of sandwiches at Konbi in Silverlake. They featured super soft, cloud-like bread with the crusts cut off, a creamy egg salad filling, and a boiled egg with a jammy yolk in the middle. They were very aesthetically pleasing, which I personally appreciated. It was kind of like looking at a stain glass window that was decorated with egg motifs. So I figured, why not tackle something similar to those pretty egg salad sandwiches, but in my own way.

I am making my own bread for these sandwiches, since as a baker, I have too much pride not to, but you can also just use really good quality shokupan from a local Asian(preferably Japanese) bakery if you don’t want to commit more than 2 hours of your life to make these. The bread I used was a milk bread, which required me to make a tangzhong or a cooked milk and flour mixture, which gives the bread a spongier, softer feel. I also used a shokupan baking time, which is what gave my bread a perfectly square loaf shape. That portion matters a little less, since you can always just trim the crusts off to make square shaped bread slices too, but I wanted to buy a pan like that for the novelty anyways! Beyond the bread, however, there were some key differences to my recipe compared to a lot of the other egg sandwich recipes out there.

For the egg salad, I started with jammy yolk boiled eggs, and whisked them with a mixture of miso, tahini, umami vinegar(can sub with rice wine vinegar too), miso, kewpie mayo, and a little honey for sweetness. Typical Japanese egg salads include ham and cucumbers, and probably green onion. In this case, I used kale, because I love the color of kale stems and that sort of effects the green onion color, red onion, and since I have a chunk of spam lying around in my fridge, I threw that in there too. I sauteed the kale stems, diced red onion, and spam off with a little oil and minced garlic, then deglazed that with mirin to add a layer of umami and depth, then wilted down the kale in that. I then took that stir fry, which I would honestly have eaten on its own with maybe some noodles, and folded it through the egg salad mixture to form my filling for the sandwiches. The other filling for these were the boiled eggs.

The egg recipe is a slightly modified version of my mom’s perfect soft-boiled egg recipe. The main difference is that instead of boiling the eggs for 40 seconds, we’re boiling them for a full minute, which will bring the eggs past soft-boiled, so that slicing them will be easier. The end result will be jammier yolks that are amber in color. You want a jammier yolk since a super runny one will just create a mess when assembling these sandwiches, while a hard-boiled one would just taste a bit chalky and unpleasant. What is somewhat forgiving about this recipe is that you only need 3 nicely peeled eggs out of 7 that you are required to boil. So that does give you some leeway in terms of peeling these properly. With the peeling, I recommend running the eggs under cold water as you are removing the shells. My mom taught me that doing so causes that inner membrane right underneath the egg shell to contract from the cooked egg white, making it really easy to remove the shell without damaging the white too much. Overall, this recipe made quite a few egg sandwiches, so if you wanted to make these for a picnic or even just for breakfast/lunch, this is a fun recipe that will give you plenty of practice with boiling and peeling a perfect egg!

Makes 6 egg sandwiches:
For the tangzhong:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
a pinch of salt

In a pot, heat up the flour and milk on medium heat, while stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms. Take the mixture off heat, and stir in the butter first. After the butter is fully melted into the paste, mix in the egg and salt. Keep the mixture at room temperature, letting it cool down to below 115 degrees F. This step is important so that the heat from the tangzhong does not kill the yeast in your bread!

For the milk bread:
1 packet active-dry yeast
1/4 cup milk, lukewarm in two parts
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, mix together the yeast, half the milk, the honey, and the salt. Let the mixture sit in a warm place for 10 minutes. Add to that the flour first, and then the tangzhong. Mix the ingredients into a dough first, then knead the dough until it is elastic to the touch. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Then take the dough and place it into a lined shokupan tin. Allow the dough to proof in the tin for 1 hour at room temperature. Bake the bread in the pan at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Allow the bread to cool before slicing into 1/2-inch slices.

For the egg salad:
7 eggs
2oz red onion
2 stalks of kale
2oz spam
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp mirin
2 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp sesame paste(tahini)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp vinegar(I used umami vinegar)

Boil the eggs in a pot of boiling hot water for 1 minute, then turn the heat to low, letting the eggs simmer for another 5 1/2 minutes. Make sure that the eggs are fully submerged in the hot water for even cooking! Peel the eggs under running cold water to help remove the shells easily. Reserve 3 of the eggs for garnish, and use the rest for the salad.

With the red onion, finely dice it. Remove the stems of the kale, and chiffonade the leaves, reserving the stems. Finely mince the stems as well. Cut the spam into small cubes. In a pan, saute the onion, garlic, and kale stems with the olive oil on low heat first. Then add to that the small-diced spam. Stir fry everything until the spam is lightly browned, then add in the mirin and kale leaves. Turn off the heat and allow the mirin to evaporate into the mixture before taking the pan off heat entirely.

In a bowl, start by whisking together the 4 peeled eggs, the mayonnaise, miso paste, sesame paste, mustard, honey, and vinegar together first. The whipped egg salad base should still have some egg chunks in it but should generally have a creamy texture. Then fold that mixture in with the spam stir fry. Refrigerate the salad, just to keep it cold for assembly.

To assemble:
Cut the shokupan into 1/2-inch slices and optionally, you can remove the crusts as well. Cut the eggs in half, and then place half an egg onto one slice of bread – be mindful of what direction you are laying the egg on for final slicing. Layer on about 1/6 of the egg salad onto the egg, spreading that mixture into a flat, even layer, and place on the other slice of bread. Slice the sandwich into either rectangles(if the pointy side of the egg was facing one of the flat edges of the toast) or triangles(if the pointy side of the egg was facing a corner of the toast). Wrap the sandwiches in cling wrap when not eating them, just to keep them from drying out!

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