30 May 2014

Hokkaido Milk Bread (Tangzhong method) version 2.1

Isn't it ironic? When I finally succeeded, it was the version I wasn't expecting to be good. I just wanted to try with my "routine" flour. I knew I didn't probably have enough cream. I wanted to use the recipe from my latest experiment (version 2.0) and so I started baking, I made tangzhong, then mixed the liquids, added flour on top ( I made this with my bread machine), added all other ingredients. Then I reached from the yeast and remembered that last time I had used nearly all of it. The yeast measured scant 1 teaspoonful. I had baked this bread previously with slightly more yeast than that and they had been dense and underbaked...

Due to a bank holiday all nearby shops were closed. Then I remembered I might have a small piece of fresh yeast in the fridge. I reached for the top shelf and there it was: a small piece covered by paper. I opened the package: it was dried out as I had expected. I carved out the dry parts and weighed the piece: 8 g. Not enough... But as I had already mixed the other ingredients, I decided to advance: I pushed some flour to uncover the liquid part in the bottom of the pan, crumbled the small piece of fresh yeast there, mixed it a bit, then poured the dry yeast on top the flour and started the machine feeling I was already losing the battle.

Against all odds the bread ended up perfect: soft, fluffy, tasty... I'll still have to discover the recipe using either fresh or dry yeast, as it seems too めんどくさい (translates loosely as troublesome in Japanese) to use them both.

Hokkaido Milk Bread version 2.1 (with no Rainbow flour): perfect!!!

24 May 2014

Hokkaido Milk Bread (Tangzhong method) version 2.0

I've talked about tangzhong before. This is a sequel to that post, as my quest for perfect shokupan continues. This time I tried this recipe, slightly adapted (I didn't have milk, so I used water and added the amount of milk powder. I didn't want to use that much sugar, so halved the amount). It's still too heavy. The problem might have been the flour since the start of my experiment: it has been very very strong. I've baked a couple of my old, very tested recipes using that flour, and I've had to scale down the amount of flour up to -25%! Next time I'll might try some oriental food shop to find a weaker flour and mix it with our strong flour.  Luckily this flour is soon finished (it's Rainbow brand). I feel like my effort is wasted baking with it. I'll probably have to start my experiment all over again, once I change to my "routine" flour.

This time I tried the temperature of the cooked tangzhong: it was exactly 65 C as it should! Wow! So if you are not sure about the gelatinized consistency, check the temperature, but otherwise I wouldn't do it.
After making this bread, I counted the liquid:flour -ratios of all three bread recipes I've posted here. This recipe had liquid:flour -ratio of 0.8. The previous ones had 0.75 (epic failure bread) and 0.89 for quite a good bread. So that would mean this bread was still too dry: more liquid or less flour is needed next time. (I would use 0.894 x 235 g = 210 g total liquid and divide that to tangzhong and dough, if I'll have to use Rainbow flour again). But: although on the heavier side, it was actually quite good the next day as it started resembling shokupan: it was still very bouncy and soft!!!  
(Update 29.6.2015: You might want to check this too: it's the one I'm most pleased with among the versions I've tried with tangzhong, at least temporarily.

9 May 2014

ふんわり♥スフレチーズケーキ♪ Cottony-soft Souffle Cheese Cake

"Oh, no! Not again!" I might hear someone say. But yes, I baked again this lovely ♪ Japanese Cheese Cake. But it's so wonderful: soft, fluffy and creamy at the same time. I've posted the recipe only in Finnish before (and here with blueberries, though in Finnish again, sorry) and my previous cakes ended up either collapsing or slightly too dense (that was my own mistake of measuring the ingredients wrong), but this time the cake ended up perfect

Cottony-soft Souffle Cheese Cake a.k.a Japanese Cheese Cake

200 g cream cheese
20 g sugar
17 g unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
100 ml heavy cream
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp rum or other strong alcohol
40 g cake flour (I used SunSpelt spelt/dinkel wheat cake flour: if you can try it, please do! It's my favorite cake flour at the moment)
50 g sugar

Cover the bottom and sides of the 18 cm springform pan with double foil to prevent water seeping in. Warm up the oven to 150 C. Boil a litre or two water.

Put cream cheese, cubed butter and cream in a bowl over hot water. Stir them, until butter is melted. Leave to cool a bit. Add 20 g sugar, rum and yolks and stir. Add sifted flour. If your batter is lumpy, sieve it at this point.

Beat the eggwhites until foamy. Add lemon juice and 1 Tbsp sugar. Continue beating and add the rest of the sugar little by little. Beat until "soft-peak" stage.

Stir first 1/3 of the meringue to the batter and then incorporate the rest. Pour the batter to the prepared pan and place it into a bigger oven pan. Place in oven and pour boiling water to the bigger pan approximately 3 cm depth.

Bake in 150 C for 50 min (or until golden-brown on top). Cover the cake with baking paper if needed. Lower the heat to 125 C and continue baking for 20 min (or until the cake is cooked, test with a skewer). Turn the oven off, take the cake away from the water bath but leave the cake inside the oven (if you leave the cake in water bath, it might end up soaking water despite the double foil. Keep the oven door slightly open, so that the cake cools down slowly (otherwise it might collapse or crackle). Leave to cool and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours or preferably next day.

Adapted from Cookpad.

3 May 2014

Making healthier "butter"

I love butter on my bread but it is often just too hard to spread and the bread crumbles away... Margarines are easier to spread, but tastewise they are not so nice. If you want to have the great taste + easier spreadability (is that even a word?) make your own "butter": it's easy, probably a lot healthier than shop-bought butter-based margarines and also a lot cheaper.

And what's best, you can experiment with different oils: I've tried rapeseed oil and cold-pressed sesame oil this far, and I want to try at least extra-virgin rapeseed oil (which is one of my favorites) and of course extra-virgin olive oil. If the oil is strong-tasting, I recommend using half some neutral tasting oil such as rapeseed or sunflower oil. If you want to maximize the butter taste, choose a neutral-tasting oil.

You can mix your "butter" in a jar you plan to keep it (best: no dishes, except the whisk). Just make sure your jar doesn't contain any smells from its previous contents or you might get a spread tasting like herrings or jalapeno (unless that's the point =). The recipe's amounts are measured in grams, as oil, butter and water have different densities. The ingredients will mix together more easily, if they are at room-temperature, otherwise you might get clumps.

1 part butter, at room-temperature
1 part your favorite oil (or a mixture of oils, see comment above), at room-temperature
0.5-1 part water

Cube the butter. Add the oil and mix them together e.g. with a hand-mixer. Add water. Mix until smooth. Add salt according to taste. You can also add flavorings at this point: garlic, herbs... At this stage it will be quite runny, but after it has been cooled down in the fridge, it will resemble soft butter. Keeps at least 2 weeks if refrigerated.
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