Japanese Jiggly Cheesecake (revisited)

Back with a vengeance.

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What makes this a Japanese cheesecake is whipping the egg whites before incorporating them into the cheesecake mixture, giving the cheesecake an airy light texture.

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As well as unbelievable bounce, look at that! Take all your videos while the cheesecake is fresh out of the oven because the cheesecake is served chilled and you lose your jiggle after chilling.

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I’ve tried this recipe before, but didn’t have as tall a cake since I used a pretty big cake tin. But now I have a tin of the right height (3″ tall).

I also learnt from my mistakes and did not attempt to decorate the top of the cake since I can’t draw.

This recipe is from ieatishootipost.

Ingredients

Yellow team

  • 250g Philadelphia cream cheese (1 block)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 70g sugar
  • 60g melted butter
  • 100ml full cream milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 60g cake flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

White team

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional, for stability of egg whites)
  • 70g sugar

Glaze (optional)

  • About 1 tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Butter a light-coloured tin liberally, making sure to butter the rim as well. Lightly coat with cornflour. Alternatively, spray the tin with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the tin with baking paper.

Yellow team

  1. Boil some water and pour into a saucepan. Place a large heatproof bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the hot water.
  2. Add cream cheese into the bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the egg yolks and whisk.
  4. Add 70g sugar and whisk.
  5. Heat up the milk and butter slightly (basically until it’s not cold) and whisk it into the batter. Then, add the vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  6. Remove the bowl from the saucepan (but don’t throw away the hot water yet). Sift in the cake flour and cornflour and fold in.

White team

  1. Whisk egg whites until foamy.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and whisk until the egg whites look like clouds (bubbles should be very small, but still visible).
  3. Add in the sugar a little at a time until just before soft peaks. Do not overwhip – this may cause your cheesecake to crack.

Assembly

  1. Fold the white team into the yellow team a third at a time. Fold until just incorporated (ie no more white streaks).
  2. Pour the batter into the tin, making sure to leave at least 1.5-2cm for the cake to rise. Tap the tin on the counter to release some air bubbles.
  3. Place a towel in a larger tin and pour in the leftover hot water from the saucepan (basically you want pretty warm water but not boiling hot water or your cheesecake will cook unevenly). Place your tin with the cake in it inside the larger tin, creating a water bath for your cake.
  4. (If using an 8 inch pan) Bake at 200ºC for 18 mins (at the end of this point the top of your cake should be lightly tanned). Then, lower the temperature to 160ºC for 12 mins. Then, turn the oven off for 30 mins. Finally, open the oven door and leave the cake in the hot oven for 10 mins. (see notes for temperature)
  5. Glaze the cake (optional). Heat equal amounts of apricot jam and water, and then sieve it if your jam was chunky. While the cake is still warm, brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam glaze. This is to reduce the wrinkled look of the cake and give the cake a pretty shine.
  6. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Notes

  • This cake looks best right out of the oven. It might wrinkle a bit after a night in the fridge, so take all your pictures first.
  • This cake tastes best after a night in the fridge. Resist the urge to eat it straight away.
  • It’s important to use a light-coloured tin for this. A dark coloured tin heats up too fast and might cause your cheesecake to crack.
  • ieatishootipost did not recommend using a springform or loose-bottomed tin, as he says the water from the water bath sometimes still got into the cake. If you don’t have any one-piece tins, make sure to cover the bottom of the tin well with aluminium foil to prevent the water from entering the cake. If you are using a one-piece tin, like I did, the cake comes out really easily, don’t worry.
  • The original recipe also claims that for maximum consistency, use Philadelphia brand block cream cheese.
  • The most reliable way to tell what temperature to use is to use an oven thermometer. You basically want the oven to be at 180ºC for the first 18 mins. Then you want to lower the temperature to 160ºC by the time it’s 30 mins after you put the cake in. All the temperatures in the recipe above is to take into account the heat lost from opening the oven door, but the most accurate gauge will be to use an oven thermometer – I basically just baked at 180ºC the first 18 mins since my oven didn’t really lose much heat from opening the door.
  • If you still want to draw a design on the top of the cheesecake, you can go to the original recipe link for instructions.

Sweet Milky Cream Filled Bread

I couldn’t come up with a catchier name.

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This is a common bread sold at Japanese-French bakeries (which is surprisingly widespread in Singapore). In fact, I worked as a cashier at one over summer break once, and reaped the reward of free breakfast for 3 months.

You get a crusty bread which is soft and fluffy on the inside, accompanied by a gently sweet, milky filling.

milk stick creamy milky filling french bread

It’s called ミルクソフトフランスパン (miruku sofuto furansu pan) in Japanese, which literally translates to milk soft French bread. Accurate, I guess. Some other names I’ve seen include “Milky Stick” (appetising), “Milk Baguette”, and “Milk France”.

I got the recipe from here, but it’s in Japanese. I interpreted the recipe with the power of Google translate and my shitty beginner Japanese.

Ingredients (makes 6)

Bread

  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 50g cake flour
  • 3g salt
  • 5g sugar
  • 160g water
  • 3g instant yeast

Sweet cream filling

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 45g sweetened condensed milk (you can increase this by up to 15g if you like your filling sweeter)

Method

Bread

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add in the water and mix well.
  2. Knead until the bread is soft and elastic.
  3. Cover and leave in a warm place, until doubled in size (about an hour).
  4. When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 (if like me you can’t do this by eye, weigh the dough and then divide the dough into 6 by weight).
  6. Roll each dough piece out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface, and do a book fold but lengthwise, so you end up with a skinnier rectangle 1/3 its original width but girthier.
  7. Lay a piece of clingfilm over your shaped dough, and lay a damp washcloth over the clingfilm, so your dough doesn’t dry out. Leave the bread for a further 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes slightly puffier.
  8. Roll out each dough rectangle to about 20cm long on a lightly floured surface. Roll the rectangle along the long edge like a swiss roll, and leave each roll seam-side down. Arrange the dough rolls on some baking paper, bunching up the baking paper between each roll so the dough rolls don’t touch each other.
  9. Cover with clingfilm and a damp cloth. Place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 230°C and place a baking pan at the bottom of the oven to heat up. Also, make the sweet cream filling.

Sweet cream filling

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the condensed milk until well incorporated.
  3. Add the sweet cream into a piping bag (with a piping tip if you want to get fancy).

Assembly

  1. When the bread has doubled in size, lightly spray some water over the dough.
  2. Pour some cold water into the hot baking pan at the bottom of the oven to create some steam.
  3. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 5 mins, then lower the temperature of the oven to 200°C and bake for a further 10 mins. The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the underside of it.
  4. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack.
  5. When the bread has fully cooled, use a small serrated knife to cut a slit lengthwise down the bread. Make sure the bread is fully cooled! If you cut the bread while it is still warm you’ll dry the bread out and you won’t get a clean cut. Also, the cream filling will melt.
  6. Pipe the cream into the bread.

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), add the yeast-water back into the bread at the step where the water is supposed to be added.
  • Spritzing the bread with water and creating a steam oven gives the bread a nice crust.
  • Keep the bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • A version of this bread adds some granulated sugar into the sweet cream filling to give it a “sandy” texture. If you like this, add about 40g of sugar. The filling will be sweeter but you get that nice crunch.
  • The classic way to package this bread that all the bakeries seem to be doing is to wrap the bread with some kind of greaseproof paper around the middle of the bread, with the paper commonly secured with a bit of string tied into a bow.
  • All the rolling helps create a fluffy texture in the bread.

Matcha Turtle Melon Pan (Turtle Shaped Bread)

The cutest.

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I’ve made melon pan before, and now it’s time to LEVEL UP.

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They grow up so fast.

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Melon pan is basically bread covered with a cookie dough, giving the bread added sweetness and crunch. It doesn’t contain melon, it just kinda looks like one?

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It’s kind of similar to concept to Hong Kong’s pineapple buns or Mexico’s conchas.

I used black sesame seeds for the eyes because I didn’t want to deal with chocolate melting in the summer heat.

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Shhhh they’re having a meeting.

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Here’s a gruesome cut straight through the turtle.

The turtle shell recipe is from Cooking with Dog, and the bread recipe is the recipe I always use for Asian-style bread.

Ingredients (makes 7 large buns)

Tangzhong

  • 125g white bread flour
  • 100g water

Bread

  • 280g full fat milk
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 15g honey
  • 20g sugar
  • 410g white bread flour
  • 8g sweetened condensed milk
  • 10g salt
  • 40g softened unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Black sesame seeds

Cookie dough

  • 50g softened unsalted butter
  • 70g sugar (plus some extra to coat)
  • 50g beaten egg
  • 160g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp matcha powder

Method

Tangzhong (starter, prepare the night before baking)

  1. Place the white bread 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 and let the bread rise until doubled in size (about 1h).
  5. While the bread is rising, make the cookie dough (recipe below).
  6. When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough.
  7. Weigh the dough and split into 8 pieces (the extra bun is for the head and legs of the turtle).
  8. Shape 7 of the pieces into rounds.
  9. Roll out the cookie dough and cut out rounds of cookie dough large enough to cover the buns (I used about 26g of cookie dough per bun). Coat each cookie dough round with some sugar.
  10. Cover each bun with a round of cookie dough (this might be easier to do if you roll out each round on some cling film).
  11. Cut criss-cross patterns onto the cookie dough.
  12. Pinch off a bit of dough from the last bread dough piece to form the head of the turtle. Pinch off four smaller pieces for the legs. Place the dough pieces under the “body” piece.
  13. Place two black sesame seeds on the head for the turtle’s eyes. Press the sesame seeds in gently so it stays in place.
  14. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 40 mins). Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170°C.
  15. When the buns have doubled in size, bake for about 15-18 mins, or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the buns.
  16. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  17. Eat within the day preferably, as the cookie dough softens over time.

Cookie dough

  1. Whisk the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar to butter and beat it until fluffy and pale.
  2. Gradually add the egg to the sugar/butter mixture. (Wet ingredients)
  3. In another bowl, add the baking powder and matcha powder to the cake flour and sift it. (Dry ingredients)
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix. Add the next third. Mix. Then add the last of the dry ingredients. Mix. (Don’t over-mix)
  5. Shape the dough into a cylinder shape in clingfilm. Put in the fridge until ready to use.

Notes

  • This is the melon the bread is supposed to resemble. Yeah I kinda don’t really see it.
  • When dividing the dough, it’s much easier to use a weighing scale so you get evenly sized buns (nobody likes uneven buns).
  • 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 my cookie dough doesn’t look like it’s covered in sugar…it’s because I forgot that step. And so my bread noticeably didn’t have the extra crunch that the sugar would have given.

Warabi Mochi

I suck at buying presents, so usually I just make something edible (which means I get to eat the “present” as well). But when I asked my sister what she wanted for her birthday, she replied with warabi mochi, a traditional Japanese confectionery which required loads of specialty ingredients. Of course she did.

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I didn’t have a small enough container so I had to shove the mochi into a corner of my brownie tin and balance everything with a measuring jug. That’s lateral thinking.

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Warabi mochi is a soft, jelly-like dessert that’s quite different from normal mochi, in that it has more of a gelatinous texture rather than a chewy one. I personally prefer warabi mochi, especially the more traditional ones actually made out of bracken instead of the corn starch that I use.

Warabi mochi is usually served with kinako (roasted soybean flour) and kuromitsu (something like molasses?). And this trinity is a  w i n n i n g  combination, especially in the summertime. The warabi mochi itself doesn’t have much of a flavour, it just serves as a refreshing vehicle to deliver the earthy flavour of the kinako and the sweetness of the kuromitsu.

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It’s best to eat the warabi mochi right after making as the texture deteriorates over time. I got the recipe from here and watched this to get a better idea of what to do.

Ingredients

Warabi mochi

  • 50g corn starch (or わらび餅粉 warabimochiko if you can get it)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 300ml water (see notes)
  • Kinako (きな粉, enough to coat the warabi mochi)

Kuromitsu

  • 50g unrefined brown sugar (黒糖, kokutou, looks like this)
  • 50g white sugar
  • 50ml water

Method

Warabi mochi

  1. Mix the starch and the sugar in a pot. Then add in the water and mix well.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.
  3. When the mixture is translucent, remove from heat.
  4. Pour the mixture into a rectangle container of a suitable size, such that the mixture is 1 inch thick. Place the container in an ice bath for 10 minutes, or until the warabi mochi is about room temperature.
  5. Unmould the warabi mochi onto a wet surface and cut into cubes using a wet knife. Place the cubes into room temperature water after cutting for easier handling.

Kuromitsu

  1. Mix the sugars and water in a saucepan and heat until the mixture is boiling and all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Assembly

  1. Sprinkle the warabi mochi pieces with kinako and drizzle with kuromitsu.
  2. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you’re using corn starch instead of warabimochiko, the warabi mochi is going to have a bit of a unpleasant aftertaste to it. You don’t really taste it with the kinako and the kuromitsu masking it, but it’s still best to use the warabimochiko. The recipe source suggests making the warabi mochi with green tea instead of water to mask this aftertaste, but I didn’t try that so I don’t know if that works.
  • I got all the ingredients from Daiso, basically a Japanese dollar store, so if you have one around your area yay.
  • For storage, store the warabi mochi separate from the kinako and the kuromitsu. Don’t store in the fridge or the warabi mochi will lose its soft texture.
  • Some people say that dark muscovado sugar can be substituted for kokutou, but they don’t look alike to me so I can’t vouch for this substitution.

Shiro Anpan (Buns with Sweetened White Bean Paste)

Continuing to live vicariously through food. In this case compensating for not actually being in Japan.

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This sticky mucus-y water roux is the first step to making fluffy Asian-style bread. I was a bit weirded out by it at first but the results are goooood.

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And no, I don’t have two of the same bowl, I just combined two images to save on the limited memory allocated to me with my free wordpress account (student life). I don’t even know why I thought it was important to show both images.

But moving on.

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I had some leftover sweetened white bean paste (shiro-an) from my attempt at wagashi and read that shiro anpan’s a thing. I eat normal anpan (with sweetened red bean paste) all the time in Singapore, so I was really excited to try this variation on it. I thought that the shiro-an had a bit of a lighter and more delicate flavour than normal sweetened red bean paste.

By the way, sweetened bean paste is a common thing in East Asian desserts. Some of my (non East Asian) friends get a bit weirded out by the idea of it but give it a try!

And now, a lovely 3 image collage detailing the rise (and rise) of my bread. Enjoy.

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Well, that was fascinating.

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Oh yeah check out that pull.

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And here is me trying to make a cross-section shot of my bread look aesthetic but failing abysmally.

I got the recipe for the bean paste from here, and used my standard Asian bread dough recipe originally detailed here.

Ingredients (makes 8 buns)

Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste)

  • 1 can cannellini beans (235g dried weight)
  • 75g granulated sugar

Water roux

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

Bread dough

  • 310g bread flour (2 1/2 cups)
  • 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)
  • Some white sesame seeds to decorate

Method

Shiro-an

  1. Drain the beans thoroughly and mash through a strainer. Apparently this step is easier if you skin the beans first but it was honestly a pain and it was easier to just start mashing and pick out the skins as you go. I ended up with about 190g of strained beans.
  2. Put the strained beans in a saucepan and add the sugar. Stir until thickened. The paste will cool down as it cools.

Bread dough

  1. Mix together the bread flour, 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 8 equal pieces. Shape each dough piece into a ball shape, and then roll each ball flat, with the edges a bit flatter than the middle (makes it easier to close).
  5. Divide your shiro-an into 8, and place each divided portion into the middle of the dough disc (if you think it’d make it easier to handle, freeze each portion of shiro-an first. But note that this will retard the second rise). Close the dough around the filling, and seal well. Shape each bun into the ball shape (see notes). Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  6. After doubled in size, create a egg wash with the leftover egg yolk and a splash of leftover cream. Brush over the top of the buns. Decorate with some white sesame seeds.
  7. Bake at 200ºC for 13-15 mins, or until golden brown.

Notes

  • This video shows pretty much how I shape my buns. It’s potato quality and out of focus but eh you get the general idea from it.
  • Heavy cream is also known as double cream or whipping cream.
  • 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.
  • It’s important to oil the clingfilm to cover the bread or the bread will stick to the clingfilm and you’ll lose some of the volume in the bread when removing the clingfilm. That’s a lot of clingfilm in one sentence.
  • I’ve made matcha green tea buns containing sweetened red bean paste as well! But the dough from this recipe’s nicer. Life is a never-ending pursuit of knowledge.
  • Also. No, housemate-who-shall-not-be-named-and-shamed, my cover photo does not look like anal beads. Get your head out of the gutter.