Friday, August 31, 2012

Hokkaido Milk Bread

I love Asian style breads. They are so soft and fluffy with a hint of sweetness. I also like the perfect square shape of the loaves which are often baked in Pullman Loaf Tins. However, I don't have one of those, so I bake mine in a regular loaf pan. This is a super easy recipe with wonderful results. There are other more complex recipes that look like they produce great breads using the Tang Zhong Method but they are time consuming. One day I intend to delve into the world of Tang Zhong, but for now these are an easy way to enjoy some delicious milk bread.

This time I decided to make the milk bread dough into buns for burgers or sandwiches. They sweetness of milk bread reminds me of those Hawaiian Rolls that are oh so good for burgers, so that's where I took my inspiration for these buns from.

It is also a wonderful way to use up extra milk you might have. I often have too much milk in the house because my son doesn't like drinking it but I keep buying it and hounding him to drink it for the calcium. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup heavy cream but you could use all milk instead and add 1/4 cup melted butter to make up for the loss of the milk fat from the cream.

Here are our grilled chicken breast burgers stuffed to the max with sauteed onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese and honey mustard! A sprinkling of flavored sea salt goes a long way, just like this Sea Salt with Chili for a hint of smoky flavor and kick on your burger.

Hokkaido Milk Bread
Makes 2 loaves | Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

1 cup milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 tbsp sugar
3 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1 large egg
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp salt

1. Bread Machine: Put milk, whipping cream, egg, flour, milk powder, salt, sugar and yeast into the bread machine. Set to Dough function. After the dough has finished it’s kneading cycle, let it proof inside the machine for 45-50 minutes or till it is double in size.

Non-Bread Machine: Warm the milk and cream to 105 degrees F (slightly warmer than body temperature). Stir in sugar to dissolve. Stir in yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is foamy, then beat in egg. In the meantime, mix 4 cups bread flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. It will be stick. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if needed. Try to add as little flour as possible to keep your loaf soft. Too much flour will make it dry. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it into a smooth ball. Put the ball in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour (almost doubled in size).

2. Shaping:
Remove from the pan and divide dough into 2 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, flatten the ball and roll out in a rectangle shape. Roll it up again tightly like swiss roll. Place dough in the prepared bread tin. Repeat with the second ball.
Set aside and let rise 1 hr or until it fills 75% of the bread tin. {I shaped mine into 8 balls and put them on a cookie sheet to rise. They made buns approximately the same size as kaiser rolls.}

3. Bake the loaves at 350 degrees F for approximately 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. {I baked my buns for only 20 mins}.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Raisin Bran Muffins

Why I love this recipe: It's made with Raisin Bran cereal. The kind you buy when you start a new healthy eating food kick, then end up forgetting in the back of your cupboard a week later.

You can save leftover batter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week and the muffins taste even better after the batter has sat overnight!

You have the option of making fresh muffins any morning of the week, scoop into ramekin/mug and microwave for 1-2 minutes. I was skeptical when I first read this but it really does work. Of course it's not as good as baking them in a regular oven, but you can't beat being able to enjoy fresh muffins on a Monday morning.

Raisin Bran Muffins
Makes 12 | adapted from Pinch of Yum

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar (or use a mixture of brown sugar and white sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup yogurt)
4 cups Raisin Bran cereal
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1. Mix all the ingredits in the order listed.

2. Scoop into a lined muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on pan size. (Do toothpick test to be sure they are done).