Hokkaido Milk Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

Taking full advantage of my new bread pan and what I’m calling “The Instagram Bowl”.

cof

I have made bread using the asian tangzhong (water roux/starter) method before, but according to this new recipe source I’m following, there are apparently different types of tangzhong depending on the Chinese character you use. In the previous case, I used 汤种/湯種, where the first character means soup (which was what the roux looked like). In this recipe however, I’m making 烫種/燙種 where the first character means scalding (which reflects the use of boiling hot water).

cof

In both cases, the key to creating the characteristic tear-able, stretchy crumb of the Hokkaido Milk Loaf is the unique shaping process of the dough, which involves rolling the dough into a spiral before baking it.

cof

If you’re wondering why there were 5 dough balls but only 4 in the pan, that’s because my pan was too small for the recipe (because I didn’t measure the pan before starting). No biggie, I just baked off the remaining lonely dough ball by itself while his brothers could all snuggle and rise together.

Also the top of my bread wasn’t smooth because it rose a bit too much and stuck to my lid as I was taking the lid off. But it all bakes out so it’s fiiiine.

cof

I couldn’t really compare both of the tangzhong methods because the previous recipes I used the 汤种 version in was not shaped the same way. But anyhow this method generates better flavour due to its overnight rest and also had a very tender crumb, so I might stick to this new tangzhong method in the future.

cof

Did I mention that this recipe was 20% whole wheat? That’s healthy. I ruined that by adding loads of sugar and cinnamon as a filling.

I got the recipe from here and added some cinnamon because it’s FALL.

Ingredients (for 11x4x4 inch/28x10x10 cm) loaf pan

Tangzhong

  • 125g whole wheat flour
  • 100g water

Bread

  • 280g full fat milk
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 15g honey
  • 20g sugar
  • 410g bread flour
  • 8g sweetened condensed milk
  • 10g salt
  • 40g softened unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Cinnamon-sugar mix. I didn’t really measure what I used but I usually keep to the ratio of about 1tbsp ground cinnamon with 50g sugar.

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. Knead until the salt 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 5 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. Cover the surface with the cinnamon-sugar mix. 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.
  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 (like I did), 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. If the bread is browning too quickly, cover the bread with a large sheet of aluminium foil.
  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.
Advertisements

Chocolate Streusel Bread

What differentiates a babka from a brioche?

cof

So the original recipe I got this from titled this as a “chocolate babka”. But it used butter for its enrichment, a decidedly non kosher ingredient which removes this bread from its supposed Jewish roots.

cof

Is it a chocolate brioche then? But this bread is slightly firmer and drier than what I would associate with brioche, and y’know, I didn’t want to advertise this as a rich, buttery brioche for my friends to feedback that this bread was DRY.

Which is why I’m just going to call this chocolate bread. But call it what you want because I don’t think anyone actually cares.

cof

The star of this bread is definitely its rich, crunchy streusel topping. Reminiscent of the brownie edges, the streusel adds some texture and flavour variation to what would otherwise be a pretty one-dimensional bread. And makes the top look so appetising.

If eaten warm, the oozing meltiness of the chocolate chips is a big plus point as well too.

cof

I followed the chocolate fudge filling recipe in the original recipe but could not, for the life of me, get the fudge to firm up – even after a night in the refrigerator. And the recipe said the fudge was supposed to be at room temperature! So when I tried to roll the bread dough up with the chocolate filling all the fudge oozed out, leading to the slightly anaemic chocolate swirl you see in the bread.

So I’m not going to include the fudge recipe below. I’d probably straight up roll some chocolate chips into the bread next time, or use a different fudge recipe.

cof

And as I mentioned before, the texture of this bread is more like a babka than a brioche. So it’s going to be more of an everyday (less rich) kind of bread rather than a naughtily decadent brioche. Saying that however, I am a self-indulgent kind of person and would definitely try to top a brioche with the chocolate streusel in a future bake.

I adapted the recipe from here.

Ingredients

Bread

  • 4g instant yeast
  • 33g sugar (1/6 cup)
  • 265g all purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60ml whole milk (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature + 1 egg for egg wash
  • 70g unsalted butter, room temperature (5 tbsp)

Streusel

  • 30g all purpose flour (1/4 cup)
  • 22g sugar (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 6g cocoa powder (3/4 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 32g unsalted butter, melted (2 1/4 tbsp)
  • 30g mini semisweet chocolate chips (1/6 cup)

Method

Bread

  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla and eggs into the dough. Knead until smooth.
  3. Add half of the butter and knead into the dough. Then add the rest of the butter into the dough and knead until windowpane stage.
  4. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel.

Streusel

  1. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
  2. Add the melted butter until evenly distributed.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Put into the fridge to firm up.

Assembly

  1. When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and roll out into a rectangle roughly twice the length of your container or slightly shorter. Spread the surface of the rectangle with your filling of choice (I’d recommend chocolate chips or some kind of chocolate spread).
  2. Roll the dough from the long edge.
  3. Cut the dough lengthwise, and position the cut edges upwards. Twist the two halves together, and fold the dough in half (see notes).
  4. Place the bread in the container. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Egg wash the top of the bread. Sprinkle the struesel on the bread.
  6. Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for 40-50 minutes. If the bread starts browning too fast, cover the bread with aluminum foil at around the 30 mins mark.

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).
  • For shaping you could see the video of the original recipe, but it’s behind a paywall.
  • Egg wash just means to brush the top of the bread lightly with beaten eggs. Usually it’s to add colour but in this case I think it’d help to stick the struesel to the bread.
  • If you want to be scientific about seeing when the bread is done, you can stick a thermometer into the bread which should read 185-210°C when the bread is done.

 

Toasted Millet Porridge Sourdough

I finally got a Dutch oven, which has made a world of difference.

cof

Oven spring! And -dare I say- the hints of a ear opening up?

Gone are the days of finessing with a spray bottle like a savage. Now I just have to deal with 5 Seconds of Fear as I carefully lower the sourdough boule into hot cast iron.

cof

This sourdough is on the moist side since it contains porridge. Millet porridge to be exact, and putting it in bread is about the only time I’ll eat this grain despite its wide and varied purported health benefits. Although apparently millet porridge is a common Chinese dish, which is news to me and makes me question my Chinese heritage.

Toasting the millet gives the bread a nice nutty flavour. Also, millet is gluten-free but what do I care I’m putting it in bread.

I used one of the recipes here.

Ingredients

  • 225g whole wheat flour
  • 225g strong white bread flour
  • 175g toasted millet porridge (75g dry uncooked)
  • 325g + 35g water
  • 75g sourdough starter (mine is at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 9g salt

Method

Make the porridge (2 days before baking)

  1. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the 75g of millet until it smells good and you hear the occasional popping sound, stirring constantly. It took me longer than the 2-3 mins stated on the linked recipe.
  2. Transfer the millet to another bowl and add 1 cup of water. Cover and let sit overnight.
  3. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 20 mins.
  4. Bring the saucepan off the heat and leave the lid on for 10 additional mins.
  5. Fluff the porridge and cool.

Make the dough (the day before baking)

  1. Mix the flours and 325g of water. Cover and let the dough autolyse (see notes) for about 2h.
  2. Then, add the starter to the dough and mix using the pincer and fold method. Leave for another 30 mins.
  3. Stretch and fold your dough. Leave for 30 mins.
  4. Dissolve the salt in the remaining 35g of water and add to the dough. Also add the millet porridge. Mix using the pincer and fold method.
  5. Stretch and fold your dough an additional three times, leaving 30 mins before each stretch and fold.
  6. Cover and let the dough rise for an additional 6 hours.
  7. Shape the dough and transfer to a well-floured banneton.
  8. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

Bake the bread

  1. Take the banneton out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for about an hour. Meanwhile, place your dutch oven in the oven (haha) and preheat to 260°C.
  2. After the hour, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Carefully place the dough into the dutch oven, and score the dough. Cover and return the dutch oven to the oven.
  3. Bake the bread at 260°C for 30 mins with the lid of the dutch oven on.
  4. After 30 mins, take the lid off and reduce the temperature of the oven to 230°C. Bake for an additional 10 mins.
  5. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
  6. Let the bread cool for at least 1h before cutting.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 80% hydration, although who knows what the real hydration is with the millet porridge. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.
  • If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking it like I used to, for example in this recipe.

Charcoal Buns with Green Tea Matcha Custard Filling

It’s time for some oozy-gooey-flowy matcha.

20170419_181551 copy

Ok so some people seem to get disgusted by the idea of a green sticky filling. Reminds them of snot or something. Well it’s time to open your mind and broaden your horizons because there’s a whole world out there waiting for you to explore. And some of that world consists of green custard, alright?

20170419_205046 copy

The green custard is restrained by charcoal bread, which colour is more for dramatic effect rather than any health benefits, really. Charcoal powder is used quite commonly in Asian baking. I’ve used it before in my Charcoal Bread with Salted Egg Yolk Filling, but this time I’m going to be using a different recipe which I think yields a softer bun.

20170420_075424 copy

Get some dramatic sunrise lighting on those buns.

Charcoal Buns with Green Tea Matcha Filling

If your ability to wrap a filling is better than mine, you’ll probably end up with more custard in your buns. And for those that haven’t eaten matcha before it’s like ground-up green tea, also commonly used in Asian cooking. It kinda has a mildly bitter, earthy taste, but I think it complements sweet things really well.

I used my standard Asian-style bread recipe originally used here, and just adjusted for the charcoal powder. I got the recipe for the filling from here.

Ingredients (makes about 12 buns)

Green Tea Custard

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60g sugar
  • 10g flour
  • 10g matcha powder
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Water roux

  • 75g water (1/3 cup)
  • 14g plain flour (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Bread dough

  • 300g bread flour (2 1/2 cup minus about a tbsp)
  • 14g charcoal powder
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 110g heavy cream (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sweetened condensed milk (1/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 37g unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 tbsp)

Method

Matcha Custard

  1. In a pot, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, flour, and green tea powder.
  2. Add in the milk and set over medium-high heat. Heat until the custard thickens, stirring continuously.
  3. When the custard is thick enough that when you dribble a bit back in the dribble briefly retains its shape, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Divide up the custard into tbsp-sized portions and place on a lined baking sheet (making sure you have at least 12 portions, or however many buns you want to make). Freeze until solid.

Water roux

  1. Mix the water, flour, and salt together in a microwave-proof bowl until there are no lumps.
  2. Microwave on high at 15 seconds intervals, whisking the mixture until smooth every time you take the bowl out of the microwave. The mixture is ready when it is thick and leaves behind ribbons.
  3. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bread dough

  1. Mix together the bread flour, charcoal powder, yeast, and sugar. Then add the water roux, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and egg white. Knead well until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
  2. Add the softened butter in 3 additions, adding a new addition after the butter has been well incorporated into the bowl. Keep kneading until your bread reaches windowpane stage.
  3. Cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm and let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  4. Knock down the bread dough and split the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each dough piece into a ball shape, and roll flat.
  5. Place a tbsp of the frozen matcha custard in the middle of the dough disc, and wrap the dough around the custard well, making sure to seal tightly.
  6. Let the buns rise until doubled in size, about 1.5h.
  7. After doubled in size, brush the tops of the buns with some oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  8. Bake at 200ºC for 15-17 mins.

Notes

  • The frozen custard dough will retard the second rise of the dough, take that into consideration when planning the bake.
  • It can be difficult to judge when the bread is done since it is so dark, I just judged it by smell.
  • The times given for proofing the dough are a rough guide, since it is very dependent on temperature. Follow the visual cues (ie doubled in size) rather than the exact timing.
  • You have to use ground up matcha powder don’t use green tea leaves.
  • Make sure to seal the buns well!! The custard is super gooey and will seep out of any holes you’ve missed.
  • Use vanilla essence/extract whichever you prefer.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins

My first sweet sourdough!

20170326_171902 copy

I think that this is a bread that will satisfy both those who have a sweet tooth and those who don’t really like sweet things.

20170326_182510 copy

The dough itself is on the bitter side because of the cocoa powder, but this also gives it a rich chocolate flavour. And of course you get the little pools of melted chocolate within which are to die for.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (2)

And then you get the classic chocolate complement of aromatic, crunchy walnuts and plump, sweet raisins just to add a bit of textural variety to the bread.

I also don’t know why my crust looks purple.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (1)

The crumb itself was really soft and moist. The crust is a little on the chewy side though, which was described in the original recipe as well. If you like your crust a little bit more crispy, a good toasting is the solution to all of your life’s problems.

20170326_190317 copy

And when you toast it and add cream cheese? NEXT LEVEL.

20170326_191225 copy

I got the recipe from here, but used my own timings.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g malted milk powder, optional (ie ovaltine, I just thought it’d taste good)
  • 50g sugar
  • 150g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 400g water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8g salt
  • 65g chopped walnuts
  • 65g raisins, soaked in water for at least an hour
  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips (see notes)

Method

  1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar together. Then stir in the sourdough starter, water, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and autolyse for 1h (just let it sit).
  3. When the dough is done autolysing add the salt, chopped walnuts, raisins, and chocolate using the pinch and fold method.
  4. Stretch and fold your dough four times over the next 2 hours (so every 30 mins).
  5. Cover the dough and let rise in the fridge overnight.
  6. In the morning, turn your dough out into a well-floured banneton. Shape your dough by basically pulling the dough from the sides of the ball towards the center.
  7. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours.
  8. 15 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
  9. Tip out your dough onto a lined baking tray. Score your bread if you want with either a bread lame or the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
  10. Place the bread in the steam oven. Mist the oven generously with a spray bottle to generate more steam. Bake at 260°C for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for 20 mins or until done. Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow.
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 70% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • I soak raisins beforehand so that they’d remain plump after baking.
  • Use chocolate chips not chopped chocolate. The original recipe source tried using chopped chocolate and it just melted into the dough, so you don’t get the pools of chocolate which is honestly the whole reason why you’re eating this bread in the first place.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.