Matcha Green Tea Babka with Black Sesame Swirl

Or the day that someone bought every single jar of tahini from the shops.

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I needed tahini for my Moutabbal dip and for this recipe and boy was it a struggle to find.

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Anyways, this recipe is one of the steps in my quest to use the giant bag of matcha powder I bought from Costco.

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It’s a pretty loaf with a swirl of aromatic black sesame through it. I would probably roll my dough out flatter so I can get more rolls in next time though, since I didn’t get as much filling in the bread as I wanted.

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Matcha and black sesame is a pretty classic flavour combination in East Asian bakeries.

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I got the recipe from here but needed more water and also changed the way the bread was kneaded. I also added tahini into the filling.

Ingredients (makes 1 babka, my loaf pan was about 9x4x4 inch/23x10x10 cm)

Matcha bread

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4g instant yeast
  • 344g all-purpose flour
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 1/2 large egg (85g)
  • 1/2 egg yolk (9g)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of water (if needed)
  • 64g unsalted softened butter, room temperature

Black sesame filling

  • 70g unsalted butter, softened (5 tbsp)
  • 50g cup granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 1/2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp tahini

Syrup

  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 25g sugar (1/8 cup)

Method

Matcha bread

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the water and butter together into a large bowl. Gradually add the water, adding just enough until the dough comes together to form a soft dough (you might not need all the water). Knead well until the dough is smooth.
  2. Knead in the butter until the butter is well incorporated.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours).

Black sesame filing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until well combined and the black sesame seeds are well ground up.

Syrup

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and the water and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Assembly

  1. Knock back the matcha dough and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle which width is the length of your pan.
  2. Cover the rectangle with the sesame filling.
  3. Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll from the short end, ending with the seam at the bottom.
  4. Gently cup the dough into half lengthwise. Arrange each half cut-side up
  5. Twist the two halves together, with the cut-side still facing up.
  6. Place the twisted dough into the bread pan. Cover, and let rise until it nearly reaches the top of the container (about an hour).
  7. Give the bread an optional light egg wash, being careful not to mess up the swirl pattern.
  8. Bake in a preheated 160°C/325°F oven for about 75 mins, or until the internal temperature of the bread is about 93°C/200°F measured with a food thermometer. Or when you tap the bread it sounds hollow.
  9. While the bread is still warm, brush the sugar syrup onto the bread.
  10. Let cool in the pan for about 5-10 mins before turning them out of the pan and cooling them completely on a wire rack.

Notes

  • It’s really awkward to measure 1/2 an egg so if you have enough mouths to feed this recipe will be easier to make if doubled.
  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the milk that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the milk. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-milk back into the bread at the step where the milk is supposed to be added.
  • Kneading the butter into the dough after it’s already been formed helps with the structure of the bread, since butter inhibits gluten formation (apparently).
  • Don’t cut into the bread while it’s still too hot or the steam will escape and your bread will dry out.
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Sourdough Pita with Moutabbal Dip

I hope you like the look of long pitas.

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I wanted a lot of bread to dip into my dip okay. I breathed in a lot of smoke to really get that smoky eggplant taste.

Also, apparently this isn’t baba ghanoush? Baba ghanoush supposedly does not contain tahini and instead the eggplant is mixed with other vegetables like onions and tomatoes and has pomegranate molasses. This dip is actually moutabbal.

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And these pita are made out of sourdough as well, giving it a strong flavour.

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And of course, is it really pita if you don’t have a pocket in the middle?

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I got the pita recipe from here and here, and the moutabbal recipe from here and just adapted it for the oven instead of a grill.

Ingredients (makes 4 pita, and enough dip to generously dip the 4 pita in)

Sourdough Pita

  • 96g starter (mine was at 100%, see notes)
  • 6g salt
  • 38g whole wheat flour
  • 221g white flour
  • 173g water
  • 14g oil

Moutabbal

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 juiced lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 leaf mint
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

Sourdough Pita

  1. Combine the starter, salt, and flours together into a large mixing bowl and stir well.
  2. Gradually add the water and the oil and knead well. The dough should be soft and not sticky, just keep kneading until it reaches this stage and forms a smooth all.
  3. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until about doubled in size, about 6h. (Alternatively you could let rise for about 4h and then leave in the refrigerator overnight to finish the rise).
  4. Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F and place a clean baking tray into the oven.
  5. While the oven is heating up, knock back the dough and split the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces. Roll each ball into an oval 3-5mm thick.
  6. When the oven is preheated, remove the baking tray from the oven and lightly dust with flour. Place the shaped pita dough onto the tray. (Try to do this step quick so the tray doesn’t lose too much temperature).
  7. Bake for about 7-10 mins, or until the pita bread starts to colour and the underside of the pita has a good golden brown colour where the pita contacted the pan. Remove from the oven and cover with a cloth until they are cool.
  8. Best eaten on the same day, or they also freeze well. I like to cut mine, freeze the cut pieces, and just place them in the toaster to heat up.

Moutabbal

  1. Oil a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil (or any oil with a high smoking point) and heat until very hot, over high heat.
  2. Poke the eggplants a few times with a fork, and then char the skin of the eggplants all over on the skillet. Like, REALLY char, until the skins get all blackened, burnt, and wrinkled and you get really scared you’ll set off the fire alarm.
  3. Transfer the eggplants to a cutting board till cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
  4. Trim the stems off the eggplant and cut lengthwise.
  5. Place the eggplants cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 mins, or until the eggplants are very tender.
  6. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplants and transfer the flesh into a colander placed over a bowl. Drain for about 5-10 mins.
  7. Transfer the eggplant to a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Process until smooth but still a bit chunky (or up to personal preference).
  8. Refrigerate until cold.  Taste and adjust for seasoning (mostly salt and lemon juice).
  9. Garnish dip with olive oil, some parsley, and flaky salt.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • The rising time listed is a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of the starter, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re in a little bit of a rush, you could sprinkle in like 2-3g of yeast into the pita dough at the start to speed things up a little. But the sourdough flavour will not be as strong. And bread always taste better with a slower proof.

Crème Brûlée Berry Custard Tart with Chocolate Crust

Loôk àt âll thôsé àccënts.

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It all starts with a tart berry base to the…tart. Which helped with balancing out the sweetness of the brûlée and the maple syrup used in the custard.

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And then the tart is topped off with a veritably THIQQ (the new thicc) brûlée layer, which just shatters upon impact due to the double brûlée method.

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Playing with fire (in a safe controlled manner) is always fun.

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A rich chocolate crust wraps this whole package up. One of my friends said the crust tasted like brownies, and who doesn’t like brownies. If you don’t your opinion is, respectfully, wrong.

And chocolate + berries is always a winning combination to me.

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I got the recipe for the filling from here, and the recipe for the crust from here. Just reworded some stuff and added berries.

Ingredients (I used an 11 inch tart pan)

Crust

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (37g, see notes)
  • 3½ tablespoons granulated sugar (43g)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (164g)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces (85g)
  • 2 tbsp shortening, cut into pieces (26g)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water

Berries

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Custard

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 58g sugar (original recipe was 1/3 cup or 66g but I used less)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks

Assembly

  • 1 egg for the blind bake
  • Sugar for the brulee, about 5 tbsp

Method

Crust

  1. In a food processor, pulse the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and flour together.
  2. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea-sized larger pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and ice-cold water together. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing gently between each addition. The dough should just come together.
  4. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Roll out the disc of chilled dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until it is about an inch larger than your tart pan.
  6. Transfer to your buttered and lined tart pan and press the dough down into the pan. Trim the edges.
  7. Chill in the fridge until needed, meanwhile prepare your berries and custard.

Berries

  1. In a saucepan, combine the berries and sugar together.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in room-temperature water before adding to the hot berries.
  3. Stir over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened. Set aside to cool.

Custard

  1. Combine the heavy cream, light cream, maple syrup, and sugar in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Heat the mixture, stirring over medium heat, until the mixture is steaming and the sugar has dissolved (do not let boil).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool for at 10 mins until the mixture has cooled down slightly.
  4. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, stir the egg yolks together. Then add the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks a bit at a time, stirring well between each addition. This is to ensure you don’t scramble the eggs.
  5. Pass the custard through a mesh strainer into a large bowl and set aside.

Assembly

  1. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill with some pie weights (I used some rice)
  2. Bake the tart crust in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for about 20 mins or until the crust is dry around the edge.
  3. Remove the paper and weights and place the pie back into the oven and bake until the surface of the crust looks dry (about 5-10 mins).
  4. Brush the crust with a beaten egg and return to the oven for about 3 mins or until crust is dry (the above 4 steps are blind-baking to prevent a soggy crust).
  5. Take the crust out of the oven and use a spoon to spread a thin layer of the thickened berry mixture across the bottom of the tart.
  6. Slowly pour the custard into the tart.
  7. Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 60-70 more minutes, or until the edges are puffed and the tart wobbles slightly in the middle when nudged. At this point I don’t care too much about it browning too quickly as I’m going to brulee the tart later.
  8. When the tart looks ready, switch off the oven and leave the oven door slightly, and let the tart cool down in the oven for about 15 mins (to prevent cracks from forming – although this step is kind of optional since you’re going to cover any defects with the brulee).
  9. If not serving immediately, cover the tart and chill.
  10. Just before serving, sprinkle the pie with a layer of sugar, and brulee using a kitchen torch until the sugar is melted and dark brown. When you’ve bruleed the first layer of sugar, add a second layer of sugar and repeat the brulee step. This helps with creating a thick brulee so you get that nice ASMR crunch when you stab the tart with a knife.

Notes

  • The original tart base recipe used Dutch process cocoa powder, which usually gives a richer chocolate flavour. But I didn’t want to go out to buy some so I just used the natural cocoa powder I had in my house. And since natural cocoa powder is more acidic than Dutch process cocoa powder I also omitted the apple cider vinegar used in the recipe. More on the differences here.
  • If you’re using clingfilm to cover the baked chart to chill, try not to adjust the clingfilm too much as it’ll rip the top layer off the cart (oops). Don’t worry though once the tart is cold the clingfilm peels off easily.
  • I didn’t actually get a clean layer of berries with a layer of custard on top, it was more of a mixed berry-custard situation.

Apple, Rosemary, and Honey Challah

Did you know that the plural for challah is challot/challos? Which means the time is ripe to make shallot challot.

But I digress.

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Apple and rosemary is just a winning combination for me. The aroma and savouriness from the rosemary perfectly complements the sweet tartness of the apples. You don’t really taste the honey but I’d like to think that it’s doing something to how good this bread tastes and smells.

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The most difficult part of this recipe was definitely trying to keep the apple pieces in the dough. I was too scared to reintegrate them into the dough but I’d say be brave in the future and do it because I was getting only one piece of apple in a slice of bread.

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And of course you could braid it in a round way, or more like a loaf.

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The secret to the DELECTABLE brown crust of the challah is the double egg wash which is absolutely necessary don’t skip it.

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And the best part about making challah? Making french toast with it the next day. An eggy enriched bread with MORE EGGS? DELICIOUS.

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Also, guess who just figured out how to make gifs using photoshop? Enjoy this video of me fingering my bread.

I got the recipe from here, I just added rosemary, used a different shaping technique, and made some minor changes.

Ingredients (makes 1 challah)

  • 7g instant yeast
  • 2/3 cup (158ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (79ml) plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup (79ml) olive oil, plus more for the bowl (although you could use other neutral oils like vegetable oil, I just like the flavour of olive oil in challah)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk (+1 large egg for egg wash)
  • 8g (1 1/2tsp) salt
  • 578g bread flour
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut to 1/2-3/4 inch chunks (I used Granny Smith apples, see notes)
  • Lemon juice to keep the apples from browning (optional)
  • About 2tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped.

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, water, oil, honey, and 2 large eggs + 1 large yolk. Then add the flour, salt, and chopped rosemary. Knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. Coat the dough ball with a little bit of oil, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  3. Turn the dough out onto an oiled surface and roll out (with a lightly oiled rolling pin) into a rectangular shape. Spread 2/3 of the apple chunks over 1/2 of the dough.
  4. Fold the other half of the dough over the apples and press the dough down around them. Spread the remaining apples over half of the folded dough, and fold the other half over the apples, pressing down again. (You should end up with a square-ish lump of dough).
  5. Fold the corners down under the dough ball and form it into a round shape.
  6. Cover and let rise until about doubled in size (about 45 mins).
  7. Divide the dough into 4 pieces (you can weigh the dough if want ~perfect balance~), and roll each piece out into a long log. Shape the challah like this onto baking paper-lined baking sheet.
  8. Beat a large egg until smooth and brush over the challah (egg wash). Let the challah rise for another hour until it looks about doubled and puffy.
  9. Before baking, egg wash the challah again. Bake in a preheated 190°C/375°F oven for 40-45 mins until very brown or when you tap the bottom of the loaf it sounds hollow. If it starts browning too quickly tent a piece of aluminium foil and place over the loaf.
  10. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Notes

  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the water that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the water. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), the yeast-water is ready to be used. Be careful not to make the water too hot or you’ll kill the yeast.
  • I definitely used a lot less apples than the original recipe writer did (I think I ended up using just under 1 apple). The amount of apples that she had in her pictures looked more like 1 apple to me, and it felt like my dough could not handle any more apples as well. But then again I thought that there wasn’t enough apples in my loaf so I would encourage trying to squeeze as much of the 2 apples into this bread as humanly possible, and poking any apple pieces that fell out back into the dough.
  • The original recipe uses flour to make the dough easier to work with but I’ve always liked working with oil better to prevent drying out the dough.

 

Everything Bagel Hokkaido Milk Bread

When you want an Everything Bagel but with the fluffiness of Hokkaido milk bread.

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A quick recipe this time! This is basically the same recipe as my previous Hokkaido Milk Bread with Cinnamon Swirl recipe, just scaled down and with the cinnamon swapped out for Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning.

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Sesame seeds? Good. Minced garlic? Good. Minced onion? GOOOOOD.

The original recipe is from here.

Ingredients (for 9x4x4 inch/23x10x10 cm) loaf pan

Tangzhong

  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 80g water

Bread

  • 224g full fat milk
  • 4g instant yeast
  • 12g honey
  • 16g sugar
  • 328g bread flour
  • 7g sweetened condensed milk
  • 8g salt
  • 32g softened unsalted butter, room temperature
  • About 6tbsp Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning (but add as much as you want lol)

Method

Tangzhong (starter, prepare the night before baking)

  1. Place the whole wheat flour in a large bowl.
  2. Boil some water, and pour 100g of the water into the bowl.
  3. Mix with a large spoon until well mixed. When cool enough to touch, knead the tangzhong well until all the flour is well incorporated and the dough ball is smooth.
  4. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bread

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, yeast, honey, sugar, bread flour, sweetened condensed milk, and tangzhong. Knead well until smooth.
  2. Add the salt and about 3tbsp of the Everything Bagel Seasoning. Knead until the salt and seasoning is well incorporated.
  3. Add the softened butter and knead until the bread reaches windowpane stage.
  4. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and reform it into a ball. Leave to rise again for about 30 mins, or until the dough has risen slightly in size.
  6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces (using a weighing scale could help). Form each piece into a ball, cover, and let rise for another 15-20 mins or until the balls have slightly increased in size.
  7. Roll each ball out into a rectangle about the width of your pan. Roll up the rectangle from the short end, and place the rolled-up dough into one side of an oiled pan.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the rest of the dough balls until the pan is filled with a single layer of rolled-up dough. Sprinkle the remaining 3tbsp of Everything Bagel Seasoning over the top.
  9. Cover the pan and let rise. If you’re planning on keeping the bread a square shape, let it rise until the dough is about 85% the height of the pan. If you’re planning on the bread to have a domed top, let the dough rise to about 90% the height of the pan.
  10. Bake in a preheated 390°F/200°C oven and bake for about 30 mins or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap on the top of the bread. 
  11. When the bread is done, remove immediately from bread pan and let cool on drying rack. Let the bread cool completely before cutting.

Notes

  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the milk that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the milk. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-milk back into the bread at the step where the milk is supposed to be added.
  • Kneading the butter into the dough after it’s already been formed helps with the structure of the bread, since butter inhibits gluten formation (apparently).
  • Letting the tangzhong sit overnight is technically optional, but it gives a much better flavour if you allow the tangzhong to rest.
  • If you don’t have access to a nearby Trader Joe’s, you could try making the Everything Bagel seasoning blend