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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Alton Brown’s Amazing Soft Pretzel!!

This is so simple to make.  Such a wonderful dough to knead by hand too.  The pretzel turns out beautiful!   Highly recommending trying out this “Good Eat” recipe!!

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Here are the ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (will reduce to 1/2 because the baking soda after taste was a bit too strong on the surface)
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (I use very coarse sea salt)

Combine the water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. In a large mixture bowl, add the flour &salt and mix well.   Make a hole in the middle of the flour and put water & melted butter.  Mix into a dough ball and start kneading a little inside the bowl.  Then take out to clean surface and start seriously kneading until dough is elastic and not sticky to touch.  When it feels ready, you can take a small piece of dough and stretch it until you can see through thin layer of dough without breaking.  Lightly flour the bottom and top of dough and cover it a big stainless steel bowl.  Let the dough rise until it double in size and it should look like this

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Followed AB advice use digital scale to divide the dough into 4.5 oz piece. It should yield 8 pretzel, but I ended up a little bit more so I make a 1 oz tiny dough ball.  I think 4.5 oz is a bit too big.. (totally American size Smile with tongue out)  Next time I will make 16 smaller pretzel.

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Single twist version actually looks pretty after baking because after the dough expanded, the simpler version actually looks prettier.  Keep the dough cover and prepare the baking soda boiling water (10 cup + 2/3 cup of baking soda).  I will reduce the baking soda to only 1/2 cup because baking soda after taste too strong following the exact recipe.

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After 30 second of boiling and light brush of egg yolk wash.  Huh, they look exactly like the bagels I used to made.  Don’t worry about the winkles surface.  It will become smooth after baking.

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Decide AB’s size is too big so next tray is smaller version.  Use for different type of toppings (sesame, poppy seed and quinoa) to see which one turn out the best.    The winner is quinoa and leaving just plain is 2nd best.  Poppy seed just does not show very well.

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After 12 minutes of baking at 400F

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After another 6 minutes of baking taking the bigger pretzel out as well.  Very soft yet slightly chewy dough.. lovely with mustard sauce!

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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.