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.

 

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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

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Chocolate Streusel Bread

What differentiates a babka from a brioche?

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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.

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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.

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The star of this bread is definitely its rich, crunchy streusel topping. Reminiscent of 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.