Thursday, September 16, 2021

Filled Wool Roll Bread #BBB


If you haven't tried a tangzhong method bread, this is a great recipe to try it out and a fun shape as well!  Our host has chosen a uniquely shaped loaf for us this month. This wool bread has been making the rounds as an impressive looking loaf meant to look similar to a roll of wool.  It is usually made with a milk bread or soft and fluffy tangzhong bread.  I chose a relatively simple recipe for mine and it did indeed turn out a supremely soft and fluffy loaf!

The dough was a milk bread tangzhong recipe from allrecipes.  I reduced the sugar by a tbsp and if using a sweet filling, it could probably be omitted altogether though the 2 tbsp did yield a very nice and lightly sweet crumb.  I decided on an almond filling because I love almond pastries.  I whipped up a quick batch of homemade almond paste and ended up with a bit more filling than I needed.  Too much almond filling may ooze a bit, but is so tasty!  I used more almond paste than called for and would stick to the recipe next time, though hubby thoroughly approved of the final results for the bread and filling.  So soft and fluffy!  I think this is the fluffiest milk bread I have ever made, and am definitely keeping the recipe.  It turned out a very soft and pleasant dough.

This bread is versatile since you can make it sweet or savory, filled or plain.  It's just a wonderfully soft and tasty loaf, any way you make it.  We would love for you to try this fun shaping method with us this month!  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.
Wool Roll Bread
makes 1 large loaf
For the Tangzhong:

    ½ cup water
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour

For the Dough:

    ½ cup whole milk, warmed (I used 2%)
    2 tsp active dry yeast (I used scant 2 tsp instant yeast)
    2 tbsp white sugar
    ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    1 large egg, beaten
    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
    (I also added a spoonful of unfed sourdough starter)
    desired filling, or leave the bread plain
    2 tbsp whole milk (I used 2%)
(I used an almond filling):
½ cup (125 g) almond paste (or make your own: In a food processor finely grind 8 oz (225 g) blanched almonds. Process in 8 oz (225 g) powdered sugar. Then knead in 1 egg white. Store in the refrigerator.
¼ cup (60 g) packed brown sugar (I used 30 g light brown and 30 g dark brown sugar)
¼ cup (55 g) softened butter 
To make the tangzhong, (water roux), whisk together the water and flour in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a gummy paste is formed. The mixture should reach at least 150ºF (65ºC). Remove from heat and let cool completely.

While the roux cools, pour ½ cup warm milk and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and let bloom for 10 minutes.

Add the cooled roux, sugar, salt, beaten egg, flour, and butter to the yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, knead on low speed until a smooth, elastic, slightly sticky dough forms, about 10 minutes.

Cover dough and let rise until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
For the almond filling I used, mix together the almond paste, brown sugar, and softened butter until smooth.  Cover and set aside until needed.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and press into a round disk. Divide dough into 5 equal portions. Form each piece into a ball, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Butter a 10-inch springform pan, or 10-inch round cake pan.  Set aside.

Take one ball of dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an oblong shape, about 4-5 inches wide by 9 inches long. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, make lots of lengthwise cuts, about 1/8 inch apart, starting 1/3 of the way from one of the ends, slicing all the way through the dough to the opposite end, forming many equal-sized strands of dough. (Sharp knife worked much better for me.)  When done, two-thirds of the dough will be sliced, and one-third will not be.  (I would do half sliced and half whole, to allow for better spread of filling in my case.  There is still plenty of string coverage when rolling up.)
Perhaps a bit over generous with the filling...
Roll the unsliced part of the dough to flatten to 1/8-inch thickness. Place desired filling in the center of the unsliced dough, and roll it up, keeping the sides tucked and even, until the filling is covered and you've reached the beginning of the cuts.  Then carefully roll up to form a "wool roll," being sure to not crush the sliced edges of the dough strands.  Finish with the seam on the bottom. Transfer to the prepared pan, and place on the bottom, just barely touching the edge of the pan. Repeat four more times, placing the rolls around the inside of the pan to form a ring.

Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

Brush the bread's surface lightly with remaining milk.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Jujube Mantou #BreadBakers

Our Breadbakers theme for this month is Chinese Breads and our host is A Day in the Life on the Farm. I was sorely tempted by all the scallion breads, but intrigued by the beautiful shaping of the flower buns that is an option when making mantou. I was also curious about the Chinese dates/ red dates/ jujube. They are quite different from Medjool dates, not sticky, not nearly as sweet, and rather spongy with a tenacious pit. They reminded me very much of dried apples with a bit of caramel flavor. The ones I found were enormous compared to what I saw in all the pictures online!

Traditionally, these steamed buns are made with bao flour, which is bleached and yields a nice creamy white bun. I have made bao before with all purpose flour and they turned out fairly creamy white. I was surprised that this batch turned so caramel colored after steaming and I wonder whether it was the jujube fruit, or the fact that I added a bit of corn starch to my flour to approximate a low/medium gluten bao flour.

These mantou are a sweet version, but mantou can be savory as well and filled with many different things or eaten plain.  (I definitely want to try filling them with a scallion omlette!)  The jujube was an interesting flavor that grew on us, especially with the soft and fluffy steam bun presentation.  Like most steamed buns, mantou are best served warm, but may be refrigerated or frozen and then reheated in the microwave or steamer basket.  I took this particular version of mantou from a youtube video by Kimiya Lim.

Jujube Mantou
makes 6 medium steam buns

Yeast mixture:
90ml warm water
5g (1 tsp) fine sugar
3g (1 tsp) instant yeast

190g (1¼ cups) Bao flour (can be replaced with all purpose flour)
½ tsp baking powder
30g (1/8 cup) Caster sugar
15g (1 tbsp) melted butter (or oil)
35g (5~6 pcs) Jujube / Red dates - finely chopped (mine were HUGE and I used 3 - 2 would have been better)

oil to brush the dough 
Activate yeast by stirring into the water, with the 5g sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Pour into the yeast mixture and stir together to form a shaggy mixture. Pour the melted butter over the top and add the chopped red dates. Combine well. Turn the rough dough out onto a work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  Place in a clean bowl, cover and let rest for 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Turn out the dough and knead for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Form each piece into a round, then slightly oval ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

 To shape the buns into a decorative flower, roll out each portion to form an oblong.  Brush the top of the dough with a little oil.  Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut about five lengthwise strips within the oblong, taking care not to cut all the way through the edges.  Pick up the dough and twist the ends, bringing them back together and tucking the ends under to form a spiral flower.  Set each bun onto a piece of parchment or a muffin liner.  Arrange on a bamboo steamer tray with enough room so the sides do not touch.  Cover and let rest for 35-45 minutes until almost doubled in size.


Steam with high heat for 12 minutes.  Let stand with the lid closed or just barely cracked open for 2 minutes when done to ensure the buns are finished and will not deflate.

Serve warm.  The buns will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, or may be frozen for a month.  Reheat in the steamer or microwave to serve.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.



Be sure to check out the variety of Chinese breads by our other bakers: