iBrot #6 Middle Eastern Manakeesh Bil Za’atar (minus Za’atar spice)

 Middle Eastern flat bread - with a LOT of sesame

Middle Eastern flat bread - with a LOT of sesame

Much improved pressed down pattern. I had to press the bread 2 times to get this effect. This is pretty easy dough to knead and don’t need any egg. Maybe I can finally make vegan bread ;-)

Very basic ingredients for  Middle Eastern flat bread

Very basic ingredients for Middle Eastern flat bread

I used multi grain flour thinking it may work better with sesame. Actually I keep it just basic white flour would have shown the subtle sesame favour a lot more. But at least this is a “healthier” version. I have I have too on too much EVOO on the parsley & thyme topping.

EVOO, parsley and thyme topping on  Middle Eastern flat bread

EVOO, parsley and thyme topping on Middle Eastern flat bread

Done baking. A bit disappointed the neat pattern I have spent so much time to create is not really showing.

 Middle Eastern Manakeesh Bil Za’atar (minus Za'atar)

Middle Eastern Manakeesh Bil Za’atar (minus Za'atar)

My most favourite shot. The neat quilted look.

Lovely quilted bread look

Lovely quilted bread look

iBrot #5: Mexican Conchas

Mexican Conchas

Mexican Conchas

Mexican conhas is actually very similar to Hong Kong’s pineapple buns.  There is a thin buttery, sugary crust cover plan basic white bun.  You can get fancy and put in sweet filling like red bean paste.  But the basic bun allows you to serve with a “slice” of butter in a middle of toasted warm conchas.  It tastes good but not necessary good for you ;-)  Hey you need to spoil yourself every now and then.

Started with neatly and evenly created a dozen plan white little buns (I have followed Bread Bible advice from Rose Levy Beranbaum. She suggested adding a couple tablespoon of whole wheat flour to plan white to enhance favour. That really does work, you cannot taste whole wheat but the plain white bread feels earthier)

Plain Bun in the Bottom

Plain Bun in the Bottom

The sugary crust – yes, I think i was a bit too heavy with green colouring. Next time I will not put in as much. Probably will try orange too.

Sugary Crust on for the Top

Sugary Crust on for the Top

Cut a round top and place on top of the white bun. Very simple to make! Cut a little weave pattern to make it more interesting.

Pretty but Delicate Topping

Pretty but Delicate Topping

iBrot #4: Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa)

This is a simple, rusty looking bread that’s actually not easy to make. The kneading process is extremely sticky and messy. The result product is more dense & filling bread. It has nice bite because of the corn meal.

Broa

Bros - Portuguese Corn Bread

Started with cooking the cornmeal for a short time

Cooked Cornmeal

Cooked Cornmeal

Still look manageable in the beginning, but it came awful sticky messy in just sounds …

Messy Kneading Time

Messy Kneading Time

Just before baking, heavy dusted with flour and score the top

Broa - Before Baking

Broa - Before Baking

Made two loaves from this recipe

Ready for Baking

Ready for Baking

After 25 minutes baking in steamy hot oven. Cooling time on a cooling rack

Cooling Time

Cooling Time

iBrot #3: Tofu Red Bean Bun – an pan (とうふあんパン)

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A little unexpected shape & form eh?  Yes, this is not your usual round puffy looking an-pan.  I have seen some google image search call this style “yaki-an-pan”.  The bread is actually still very soft.  Even this bread is made with tofu, you really cannot taste that, so don’t worry if you are afraid of tofu.    The taste is very very subtle.  The tofu provide a lot of moisture to this dough.  Yes, it is a very stick mess to knead but fun!  The best is without additional fat from butter, this bread still remain soft and tender after a couple days.

Humm… I have forgotten which geek video I was watching.  Should be related CSS / javascript optimization.

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Still look like your normal an-pan now…

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Here is the trick!  cover the bun with silicon pat(smooth side touch the buns).  Then put another baking sheet on top.  Heat from  top and bottom will nicely brown the bun on both side and ..

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And you end up with disk look

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I have extra dough, so put the rest in cube bread box and end up with basic lovely tofu toast

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iBrot #2: Hokkaido Milk Toast (北海道ミルクパン) with tangzhong (water-roux) method

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Now thinking back, I must have tried to make similar bread on my own with bread machine before. My own recipe was a bit off that it did not turn out as buttery and soft as Chef Marco’s recipe. This is very very sticky dough to knead by hand. But it is actually not too hard to knead if u don’t mean the sticky feeling all of your hands. The trick to fluffy soft texture that last for days is tangzhong (water-roux) method. Instead of using special chemical, this is a all natural way to bust up water content resulting in lasting softness. If you are interested to try out on your own, you can check out recipe from this blog. It has very detail steps and good explanation.

All ingredients (minus the butter)

Hokkaido Milk Toast Ingredients

Very sticky dough, the plastic scarper is a MUST-HAVE tool to work with this sticky mess

Hokkaido Milk Toast - sticky dough

After kneading for a while while gluten developed, add in the butter and continue to knead. Even it is sticky, it feels good to knead this buttery dough!

Hokkaido Milk Toast - buttery goodness

Made 5 baby size loaves and a tiny cube bread. LOVE that square bread box!!

Hokkaido Milk Toast - shaped and ready for cold ferment

After light brush of egg-wash on top, there is secret special ingredient added to make sure the milk toast keep is beautiful shape. Can you figure out what’s the special secret ingredient?

Hokkaido Milk Toast - ready for baking

Beautiful texture eh?

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Any developer probably must have stumble on to stackoverflow site to find answer common programming question. This is pretty cool Google tech talk about that site from the creator(Joel Spolsky). Very good speaker.

iBrot #1: Swiss Berne Brot (Swiss Orange and Nutmeg Bread in Beautiful Winston Knot)

2011-05-29 Baked Swiss Berne Brot

This is first of my weekly bread challenge. I was extremely impressed by the look & smell of this bread. At first I couldn’t find the instruction on how to braid the bread. As I was about to give, I find this extremely useful blog post explain this with detail pictures step-by-step guide.

Started with a bit of kitchen gadget!! So much less work to zest lemons & oranges now!!

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Also bought 5 kg of bread flour! Good workout because I was carrying them on my backpack and taking Canada Line home from Richmond.

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I put in too much sugar with yeast in my first try to wake up the yeast so u see dead one. So I retry without sugar and result in happy living yeast (one with bubbles) .

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My best kneading buddy – iPad playing Google Tech Talk (JavaScript the Good Part by Doug Crockford). Notice the rectangle ceramic dish, is the best (and cheapest) iPad stand! I bought for only 99 cents from kitchen supply store in Richmond (close to Aberdeen Centre)

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Here is personal little tip to knead bread in a small kitchen without proper counter space. I finish the sticky mixing process in my largest mixing bowl first. Then transfer it to my marble board. It is so much neater and easier to handle! Highly recommend getting a full set of stainless steel mixing bowls and marble board. They are must have items in a kitchen!! BTW, notice my sticky hand! I DID knead by hand this time!!

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Here is any probably special (but some may say odd) kneading trick I use. To make sure the entire dough it evenly and completely kneaded, I break up the dough into smaller trunk, then toss the chunks around and knead the pieces back together. It does tak longer, but it works!

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Done!!! Kneading my first brot!! Well I did hand kneading before but it is a low smaller portion with softer and easier to knead dough.

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After first rise, ready to cut out into 6 even size portions. Check out the cut look. Looks pretty eh? Another must have for anyone serious about baking is digital scale. Extremely handy to measure ingredients accurately and

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Ok, rolled to strings… but something looks wrong, how come the strings are so thick?! So I double-check the recipe and oops, that recipe should yield two Swiss Berne Brot, I should have cut in 12 pieces. No problem, just more rolling to stretch out the string and cut in half

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Ready for braiding!!

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Almost done …

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Just flip and tuck and yeahhhh my first Winston knot!! Well actually my 2nd because I completed one during the class but frankly I had no idea what I was doing.

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Done two and put in my daiso bread box and put into the fridge for cold ferment

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The next morning took it out of the fridge and let it return back to room temperature and wait until they double in size.

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Looking too plain.. so added poppy-seed, much prettier eh?

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Done baking!!

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Taste testing and check out a lice of the beautiful bread

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Made this bread while watching: