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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Panda Bread


“My Name is Panda, how do you do?

I live in China, I eat bamboo

I love to eat honey, up in the tree.

I have no color, just black and white. ”

This is my daughter’s favorite song.  Even though she doesn’t like to eat my bread normally, I know she cannot resist my attempted panda loaf.

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First two slices quite successful

 

I failed badly the first attempt. Second attempt better because I calculated more carefully (but still cannot trust the portion size of each dough in original recipe because simply multiplication from her pan size to my longer pan size had last time yield a very dense bread which doesn’t make sense), but I used the wrong recipe. It’s super soft, which means it doesn’t stay the defined straight sides after baking and ends up the top collapsed in the middle and I got a green pikachu 😦

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to my third attempt in near future with using a more stable loaf recipe and hopefully I get more slices of good looking panda.

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And the rest of them so evil looking

 

 

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The beauty of this type of buns (排包) is you just tear apart without needing to cut with knife.  Don’t expect the ultra soft texture like the newer Hokkaido milk toast as
排包 was typically sold in Hong Kong bakeries back in the 50-60’s.  It must have its charm for its survival till now.  This recipe is still soft inside and super yummy.  Raisins add-ons / coffee flavor are common if you prefer a twist to this recipe.

 

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I always wanted to try making my own croissants for many years, but always think it’s such a difficult job that I may not have the skills to accomplish it.  These two years my desire to bake my own increases because of a local famous bakery that has really good double baked almond croissants, yet it’s still too sweet (yet yummy) that’s 1/2 hour drive away and it’s over $4.50 CDN for one piece,  I was so determined to bake my own almond croissants that I even looked crazily for the almond paste as the croissants filling, yet haven’t settled on which croissants recipe to try out.  The right timing came when I came across this book in the library.  I highly recommend people to get this book to read if they are interested in making good puff pastries / croissants:  the special recipes are so interesting because it has those Asian flavors as twists.  Who has eaten Yuzu or seaweed croissants?!  This pastry chef is so creative and the book outlines detailed fundamentals of making good layered pastries.  I’m glad I chose his recipe as my first croissant baking.  This really increases my confidence to finally make my double baked almond croissants in the short future! IMG_3663

I made plain croissants, cheese, chocolate, and dried pork shreds + seaweed bits !

I made plain croissants, cheese, chocolate, and dried pork shreds + seaweed bits !

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There is a FB bakery forum in Hong Kong which a lot of amateur bakers post their baked goods and selflessly share their favorite recipes and tips and advices.  It was so nice to see people with similar hobbies to have a platform to chat and share their experiences of baking.  Bake in Oct 2014, there was a sudden trend that all people in that forum talked about this “liquid starter” bread.  All the bread posts were based on this recipe posted by Fion Chong and almost all of us in the forum suddenly knew her name and her famous bread.  I have to admit, this recipe is really awesome as it produces the softest and lightest bread texture while the preparation time is shorter than the traditional bread proofing.

I adapted slightly to fit my need (larger dough to produce more buns) and the humidity (my first two trials were disasters as the dough was way too wet, then I realized I need to reduce liquid by 30 gm to suit this city’s humidity).  Also I didn’t skip the first proof as she did.  I just shorted the first proof, but I recalled I made the bread her way (of skipping first proof entirely) and the result was equally satisfactory.  Anyways, after losing my original printed recipe and had to go through hours to dig out her recipe and recalculate all ingredients last night, I decided it’s time to blog it.

Buns with cheese, corn, cranberries filling.  Sprinkled with sunflowers, sesame seeds and coconut shreds.

Buns with cheese, corn, cranberries filling. Sprinkled with sunflowers, sesame seeds and coconut shreds.

INGREDIENTS:

Refrigerated liquid bread starter:

  • bread flour 200 gm
  • cold water 200 gm
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast (i used instant use yeast)

Mix all ingredients in a container (height taller than 3″ for yeast fermentation, as the dough will rise a bit) using a rubber spatula, then cover with lid and leave to ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.  Then put in refrigerator to ferment for at least 18 hours, or it’s ready to use when there are lots of bubbles.

Tips: I usually do this the previous morning at 9 am, then on the baking day morning which is about 24 hours later, I checked if there are several bubbles. If not enough bubbles I put the container in my soup thermo / a small cooler for extra 1/2 – 1 hour because the temperature would be between fridge temperature and room temperature.

Bread Dough:

  • 77 gm egg (1 extra large egg + 17 gm of beaten egg)
  • 100 gm cold milk
  • 400 gm refrigerated liquid bread starter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300 gm bread flour
  • 145 gm whole wheat flour (or can use 445 gm of bread flour total if skip whole wheat flour)
  • 90 gm sugar
  • 30 gm milk powder
  • 7 gm instant-use yeast
  • 60 gm butter (may cut into small cubes / 5mm slices)

Egg wash:  Beat one egg in a small bowl.  Use 17 gm for the dough.  Remainder can be put in the fridge till use.  Add 1 tsp of water and use this egg/water mixture for egg wash. (I do this because I always left with 1/2 beaten egg after baking bread since I can never use a whole egg as egg wash. This way I don’t waste much and can make a lot of bread in one setting).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put all the above ingredients except butter into the bowl of a stand-up electric mixer (I put the ingredients in the same order as written here).  Use the bread dough hook and turn on to speed 1 to mix the ingredients, then speed 2 to knead until a dough forms (may take about 3-4 minutes). Add the butter and continue kneading at speed 2 for 6-8 more minutes till the dough becomes shiny. Stop the mixer and check if the dough is ready.  Pull a part of the dough out carefully: it should stretch to form a thin membrane / a hole but strong enough so the dough pulled wouldn’t be broken from the main dough.
  2. Punch down the dough couple times and lift it up.  Spray the mixer bowl with PAM then leave the dough inside the greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and then a damp towel.  Leave in a slightly warm oven (about 100 degrees F) for 35-40 minutes for first proof to 2x – 2.5x the size .  (original recipe skip this first proof, she went straight to resting and shaping)
  3. Remove the dough and punch down to release air.  Divide into 60 gm each and roll into balls.  Cover with a large piece plastic wrap and rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Shaping: Roll each ball out with a rolling pin to release air bubbles.  Roll the thinned dough and shape into buns.  (eg. roll with two hands against the counter into a 14-16″ long roll (about 1 cm diameter) to wrap a sausage to make sausage buns)
  5. Place shaped buns onto a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or silicone mat).  Put back into a warm oven for second proof (about 100-105 degrees F, may maintain heat by turning on the oven light and place a bowl of hot water on the lower rack) till the dough has doubled in size (about 50 minutes).
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with toppings.  Bake for 12-13 minutes till the breads are golden brown (be careful not to burn the bottom).  (each oven is different, so the baking time may vary: I put the baking sheet on the 2nd rack in my oven because it’s hotter and requires only 12 minutes.  The baking time may be 15-18 minutes if I use the middle rack)
  7. After slightly cooled, move the breads onto a metal wire rack till completely cooled before storage.

    (mobile phone pic) Sausage buns, with sesame seeds, coconut shreds, and cheese topping.

    (mobile phone pic) Sausage buns, with sesame seeds, coconut shreds, and cheese topping.

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These scones were made just the day before I finally greeted my little boy who had been hiding in my belly for the past 10 months.  These are so easy to make, especially you have an opened carton of whipping cream and don’t want to pour all of those fattening cream to make just 4 portions of pasta.  I froze the scones and took a few out at a time to thaw for next day’s breakfast.  My younger brother said this recipe (adapted from a recipe of lemon scone, from a local radio station; a few ingredients were modified, thus I won’t bother to post the original here) tastes better than he could get from outside!!

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Nothing from my kitchen is healthier than this:  homemade bread that does not have added chemical, that would have whole grain / nuts / dried fruits / whatever you like.

My husband never asked me to make anything particular, except once in a while he would say: Grace, it’s been a while since last raisin bread!

Yes, he only cares about raisin buns.  I feel guilty of not making any breads lately, thus today is the day to satisfy him.   Baking bread at home isn’t as hard as it sounds.  It’s time consuming because it takes time for the dough to rise, then you shape, then let it rise again before baking.  After trying out a few different recipes, I like the basic sweet dough recipe the most (from this Chinese baking book by Alex Goh):

With that recipe, I always make one loaf of raisin bread (only for him), and make a few small buns with various fillings to give away.  Today I am wrapping raisin and chestnut inside, then sprinkle some coconut and almond bits.

Raisin Chestnut Bun with Coconut almond top

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I’m hosting a dinner for my best friend’s birthday tommorrow.  Because we went to Barcelona and Italy together a few months ago, I want to prepare food that remind us of the two countries that we visited.   Grissini is always something I want to try and the crispy breadsticks will pair great with the prosciutto ham or the spinach dip that’s in my fridge.

Flaxseed Grissini

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