Hot Cross Buns

This was my breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I enjoyed every crumb of it.

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It’s Easter! That means that all my friends and flatmates are either back home or travelling, leaving me to eat all my baked goods by myself. šŸ˜¦

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Or šŸ™‚ depending on how hungry I’m feeling.

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The first baked good that I think of when it comes to Easter is hot cross buns. I just love a good enriched bread with pockets of sweet fruit throughout. The jam used to glaze the buns also gives the bread a lovely shine, and makes eating the bread a fun, sticky affair.

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The bread is AMAZING slathered with butter, and I do mean slathered. As if the bread’s not enriched enough already I love cutting a slice of cold, unsalted butter to eat with the bread.

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This recipe is adapted fromĀ a Paul Hollywood recipeĀ with minor changes (basically just switching orange zest for lemon zest, switching sultanas for raisins, and the type of jam used).

Ingredients (makes 12 medium-sized buns)

  • 330ml full-fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil (for oiling the bowl)
  • 7g instant yeast (1 sachet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75gĀ raisins
  • 50g mixed peel
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored, and finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 75g plain flour (for making the cross)
  • 3 tbsp jam (convention is apricot jam but I just used whatever jam was in the fridge)

Method

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from heat and add the butter to melt the butter. Leave to cool until it’s about body temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. When adding the ingredients to the bowl, add the yeast on the opposite side of the salt and sugar since the latter two could retard the yeast.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm milk and butter mixture. Then add the beaten egg. Mix well.
  4. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. It might be sticky at first but just keep kneading until it comes together.
  5. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Mix the dough with the sultanas, mixed peel, lemon zest, apple, and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is evenly distributed. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Divide the dough into 100g portions to make 12 rolls. Shape each dough into a ball by pulling on the top surface to create a smooth top. Arrange the buns on a baking tray, leaving some space between them for expansion. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour more.
  8. To prepare the paste to make the cross, mix the 75g of plain flour with about 5 tbsp of water, adding the water 1 tbsp at a time so you just get a thick paste. Place the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross pattern onto the top of the bun once they are done with the final proof.
  9. Bake at 200Ā°C for 20 mins until golden-brown.
  10. Gently heat the jam until it’s more runny, then sieve it to get rid of any chunks/seeds. When the bread and jam is still warm, brush the jam over the top of the buns and leave to cool.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a piping bag you can just use a zip-lock bag with a corner cut off.
  • Presentation-wise, try not to get any bits of fruit under the cross when piping since that can cause the cross to go wonky.
  • Any raisins left on top of the bunĀ areĀ going to burn. Speaking of which, I have no idea what the difference between raisins and sultanas are. The ones I used kind of look like sultanas but says raisin on the packaging so eh, use whatever you like.
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Hotteok (Korean Sweet Brown Syrup Pancakes)

Yay another excuse to eat sugar.

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So it’s pancake day and I’ve wanted to try this for aaages.

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This is a Korean yeasted pancake that’s usually eaten in winter (perfect season). It’s traditionally filled with a sweet mixture. In this case, a brown sugar filling mixed with walnuts that melts into sizzling syrup when it is cooked. Together with the crispy, yeasty, and slightly salty pancake, it’s pretty obvious why hotteok is a popular street food in Korea.

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The base pancake recipe can also be used to make savoury versions! The website I took the recipe from recommended filling the pancakes with cheese.

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I took this recipe from Maangchi, who is a great resource for Korean cooking. I’ve tried many recipes from her before and they’ve all tasted good so I really recommend checking her food and Youtube channel out!

Ingredients (makes 4)

Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)

Filling

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (50g)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix water with the sugar, salt, yeast, and vegetable oil.
  2. Mix in the all purpose flour.
  3. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hr).
  4. Knock back the mixture, and let it rise a second time until doubled in size (about 10-20 mins).
  5. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts together to make the filling.
  6. Knock back the dough. Flour a work surface liberally and divide the dough into 4. The dough will be very soft and sticky, and you will need a lot of flour to be able to manipulate it.
  7. Flatten a dough piece, and spoon a quarter of the filling into it. Seal the filling with the dough. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
  8. Heat some vegetable oil over medium heat.
  9. Fry the pancake for 30s. When the bottom is golden brown, flip the pancake and press down on the pancake.
  10. Fry for 1 minute until golden brown.
  11. Flip the pancake again and, over low heat, place a lid over the pan and let the pancake cook for 1 minute.
  12. Serve hot so the syrup oozes out.

Notes

  • I ended up with quite a bit of filling left over, but that could be down to my stinginess when filling the pancakes.
  • It’s okay if your filling bursts through the dough when trying to seal the pancake. Just roll it around in more flour and it’ll fry fine.

 

Roasted Vegetables and Cheese Bread

The sweetness of the roasted vegetables just marry together with the enriched bread perfectly in this recipe.

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I used the same base dough recipe as the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and cheese bread recipe I made about a month ago.

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This time I learnt from my mistake and spread the filling across the whole dough before rolling it up.

roasted vegetables and cheese bread

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I baked this bread for a party so I couldn’t get a good crumb shot. I got loads of compliments though! I mean look at it with the filling just spilling out of the dough, like a cornucopia of plenty.

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It tastes good too! I mean, if you like roasted peppers, onions and cheese you’re going to like this. The bread itself is a great enriched bread recipe, not too rich but very moreish.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • 1/4 cup warm water (56g)
  • 1/8 cup sugar (25g)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm, low-fat milk (113g)
  • 1/6 cup extra-virgin olive oil (33g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups bread flour (361g)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 80g shredded cheese of your choice (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Dried rosemary (optional)

Method

  1. Combine water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour together in a bowl. Knead until you get a smooth elastic dough, about 10 mins.
  2. Grease the surface of the dough ball and place in a covered large bowl until doubled in size (about 1h)
  3. Meanwhile, roast the red pepper, yellow pepper, and red onion for 30 mins at 200Ā°C, or until softened. Let cool.
  4. When the dough has doubled in size, knock back the dough. Tip out onto a well floured surface. Roll it into a big rectangle (about 22″ by 8.5″ in size) using a well-floured rolling pin.
  5. Distribute the vegetables, cheese, garlic powder, and dried rosemary over the surface. Roll it from the long edge, so you get a long sausage. Pinch edges to seal and place the seam side down.
  6. Using kitchen shears, cut the dough 1/2″ from each end and 1″ deep.
  7. Shape the bread into an S shape, tucking the ends under the middle of the bread so you get an 8 shape.
  8. Let the bread rise for 45-60 mins, or until roughly doubled in size.
  9. Bake at 180Ā°C for 35-40 mins. Tent the loaf with foil after 15-20 mins to prevent over-browning.
  10. Cool the bread completely on a wire rack.

Notes

  • The filling of my bread was spilling out so much because I used a lot more cheese since I’m trying to finish the one I had in my fridge. If you want your dough to be a bit neater be a bit more sparing with the filling.
  • It is more important to follow how your bread looks like (eg let bread rise until double in size) rather than the timing, since that is very dependant on many variables like temperature.
  • The edges of my bread was really brown since I tore out a really stingy piece of foil to tent my bread. Student budget. Still tasted alright.

Sun-dried Tomatoes, Basil, and Cheese Bread

I’ve wanted to try this bread for ages.

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This bread won an award in the first-ever National Festival of Breads and was created by a Dianna Wara of Washington. So high expectations.

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And it turned out to be one of the easier enriched doughs that I’ve worked with!

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Cutting into the dough to reveal all that filling was so satisfying.

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And I just came back from a trip to Rome so I had some beautiful sun-dried tomatoes from there to use up.

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The dough was on the sweeter side, but still really tasty! Definitely an enriched bread recipe I will go back to again. I misinterpreted the recipe though, and only put my filling on one end, hence the massively uneven distribution of the filling. Live and learn.

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The texture is on the closed side, which I suppose is expected of an enriched bread. The bread had a good chew, and the sweet acidity of the sun-dried tomatoes paired nicely with the bread’s slight richness, the aroma of the basil, and the saltiness of the cheese.

I got this recipe from kingarthurflour, which usually has good bread recipes.

IngredientsĀ (makes 2 loaves, I only made one here so I halved the recipe)

  • 113g warm water (1/2 cup)
  • 50g sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 4 tsp instant yeast
  • 227g warm, low-fat milk (1 cup)
  • 67g extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 722g bread flour (6 cups)
  • 1 jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (241g)
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 170g shredded cheese (1 1/2 cups. I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella, although the original recipe asked for Italian blend)
  • 14g chopped, fresh basil (2/3 cups)

Method

  1. Combine water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Then, knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  2. Grease the dough, including the top, and place in a large bowl to proof. Cover with clingfilm and let proof until double in size (the recipe said 45 mins but mine took closer to 1.5 hours. Depends on the temperature of your room)
  3. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and basil (using kitchen shears is easier).
  4. Deflate the dough and divide the dough into two.
  5. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 22″ by 8.5″. Sprinkle on half of the garlic, cheese, basil, and tomatoes (see notes)
  6. Roll it the long way and pinch edges to seal.
  7. Place the log of dough seam-edge down and cut a slit (using kitchen shears here is easier), starting from 1/2″ from one end and 1″ deep. Stop 1/2″ from the other end.
  8. Keeping the cut side up, form an “S” shape. Tuck both ends under the centre to form an “8” shape.
  9. Cover with oiled cling film and let rise again until doubled in size, about 45-60 mins. (Again, mine took longer)
  10. Repeat steps 4-9 for the other half of the dough.
  11. Bake at 180Ā°C for 35-40 mins. Tent the loaf with foil after 15-20 mins to stop the bread from browning too much.
  12. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Notes

  • Place the filling across the WHOLE rectangle before rolling it up, not on one end. I was wondering why I had so much extra filling URGH.
  • Make sure to let your dough double in size, don’t just follow the timings for the proofing! Those are just a general guide.
  • The original recipe called for 5-5 1/2 cups of flour, but the people at kingarthurflour thinks that the writer of the recipe used the dipping method which results in more flour. So I think following the weight measurement is more accurate.
  • Oiling your pan while working the dough makes it a bit easier to work with.

Chocolate Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks and Toasted Almonds

Chocolate and bread – two of my biggest loves in life.

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Reportedly, this bread smelled amazing while baking in the oven. The rich chocolate aroma permeating the room was enough for my friend’s flatmate to betray her 20 000 yuan personal trainer and actually eat carbs.

Unfortunately I had a blocked nose and couldn’t smell anything. D:

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That doesn’t mean I couldn’t taste anything. The slightly bitter dough contrasted wonderfully with the puddles of chocolate and the fragrant nuttiness of the toasted almonds dotted throughout.

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Sorry for the out of focus picture, I was too excited.

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That being said, this is a chocolate bread, not a chocolate cake. Don’t expect it to taste sweet and buttery, so this might be good if you’re baking for those that don’t really have a sweet tooth (why). A slice of this bread goes perfect with a strong cup of coffee.

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(Sorry for the messy potatoes next to the loaf)

I got this recipe from David Lebovitz, who is my authority for all things chocolate.

IngredientsĀ (enough to make a 9″ loaf)

  • 180ml tepid mik
  • 1 packet dry active yeast (8g)
  • 75g sugar
  • 55g butter, unsalted
  • 85g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 280g bread flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 90g chocolate chips/coarsely chopped chocolate (this chocolate is to be mixed in with the bread dough at the end)
  • 70g toasted almonds/pecans/walnuts/hazelnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted

Method

  1. Toast the nut of your choice (I toasted my almonds at 180Ā°C for 8 mins).
  2. Mix yeast, milk, 11g of sugar in a bowl until bubbles form (about 5 mins).
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter and the 85g of bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler.
  4. Once the yeast is frothy, add the remaining sugar (64g), coffee, egg, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Stir in half of the flour and cocoa powder, then add the melted butter and chocolate. Then add the remaining flour and cocoa powder, stirring until well-incorporated.
  6. Knead until smooth by mixing the dough vigorously in the bowl with a spatula, until it looks smooth and glossy. Cover the bowl with cling film, and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  7. After 2 hours, butter a 9″ loaf pan. Stir in the chopped chocolate/chocolate chips and toasted nuts to the bread dough. Transfer to the loaf pan, pressing the dough into the corners. Cover with cling film and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. Bake for 175Ā°C, 35-40 mins, or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.

Notes

  • You can also melt your butter and chocolate in the microwave. Just use the low setting and don’t microwave for too long (like 10s bursts).
  • I used >70% chocolate for both the batter and the chips, and the taste can be too rich/bitter for some. If you are one of those, maybe try using milk chocolate chips to stir into the bread dough.