Mantou (Chinese Steam Buns)

Yes, I understand that this is a baking blog, but I have explored a little further when I was trying out recipes with yeast.  As I was trying to find new recipes as I work off the fresh yeast in my fridge, I have decided on extending on the possibilities.

As I have been exploring the different techniques of kneading dough, I found that this was one of the simpler ones.  Also, vegan friendly, so not a whole lot of ingredients.

Ingredients:
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
16 grams of fresh yeast
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. baking powder

Sift together flour, sugar and salt on kneading table and create a well to hold the liquid.

Crumble the fresh yeast into the middle of the well.  Add warm water and vegetable oil.
Knead until it is smooth and a stretchy texture. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and set aside at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, until double in size.

 Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and knead well into the dough.  Cover with damp dish towel again and rest for 20 minutes.

Split the dough into two and roll the dough into a rectangle shape.  Fold one third of the dough back into itself, then fold the remaining third over the top of the dough so your Mantou dough will be triple folded.

Roll out the dough into a thin layer (the thinner the dough, the prettier it will be when it is rolled) and then brush water over it.

From the long side, start rolling it up into a log.  Use sharp knife and cut the roll into small pieces.

To steam:  Place buns into a steamer and spray a small amount of water over the buns.  Put the steamers over cold water and turn on the heat on high.  Start timing the clock from boiling point (when there is steam) and steam  for about 10-15 minutes.  Turn the head off and rest for 5 minutes with lid SLIGHTLY ajar.

ALL DONE!

mantou

Cinnamon Rolls with Walnuts and Caramel Icing

I was sifting through my collection of recipes for variations of cinnamon buns, and I came up with this one, as it involves nuts.  It was little bit of a variation, so I decided to try it out.  I found the original recipe a tad sweet, so I adjusted the recipe and retried it again, just so that I know that it is the way that I like it.

Walnut Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients for the rolls:
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
3 ½ cups bread flour, divided
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 egg
1 yolk

Ingredients for the filling:
3 tbsp. butter, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Ingredients for the caramel icing:
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. milk
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups powdered sugar

 

Rolls:  Heat the milk until warm to touch.  Remove from microwave and add the butter. Stir for a minute until butter is melted, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, the sugar, the yeast and the salt.  Mix until ingredients are combined.  Add milk mixture to the mixing bowl and work the dough until dry ingredients are incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk and mix until combined.
On a clean surface, sift the remaining flour and incorporated into the rest of the ingredients. Continue to knead until the dough completely pulls away from the surface (approximately 5 minutes).
Coat a mixing bowl with oil and cover with warm damp towel.  Let it rest and rise to double the size.  Approximately 1 hour.
Filling:  While dough is resting, make the filling. Combine brown sugar, white sugar, walnuts and cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a 12×14-inch rectangle. With a table knife, spread rectangle with the 3 tablespoons softened butter.
Sprinkle evenly with the sugar/walnut/cinnamon mixture.
Starting at a longer edge of the dough, tightly roll into a log. Pinch seam to seal. With a dough cutter or serrated knife cut log into 8 equal size pieces. Use very light pressure to cut. Place cut side up into prepared pan, spacing evenly. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Bake for 20- 25 minutes, until golden and dough in center is done. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before drizzling with caramel icing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Icing:  When the rolls are baking, make the icing. Heat the butter and milk in a medium sauce pan.  Add brown sugar and stir to combine to make sure mixture is not grainy.  Take off the heat and add vanilla and powdered sugar and stir till smooth and lump-free. Icing should be fairly thin but not runny. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk. If too thin add a bit more powdered sugar.
***To freeze, place rolls in freezer uncovered for 1 hour, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap or foil and return to freezer.
Walnut Cinnamon Bun

Coconut Buns/Cocktail Buns

I’ve always wondered why they called these cocktail buns, when nothing about it, looks like a cocktail.  So, inquiring minds went on a Google search.  Apparently in the 1950’s, in Hong Kong, there was a bakery that couldn’t resist the wastefulness of disposing unsold but perfectly edible buns.  So they grounded up these day old buns, added a little sugar and coconut and just wrapped it with a fresh bread dough.  It’s name was from comparing to the bartender’s exotic mixture of alcoholic liquors, formulating a “cocktail”.  Which in Chinese, it was literally translated to a “chicken-tail bun”.  Fast forward to the more modern life, we just make them with a buttery filling mixed with coconut, to make it just as tasty.

Ingredients for water roux:
 1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup milk

In a small bowl, mix the bread flour and milk until there are no lumps.  I poured it through a sieve and into the saucepan over medium heat.  The mixture will gradually thicken. Once you notice some “lines” appearing in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, it’s done. Remove from heat.

Transfer the roux to a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent a hard film from formed on the mixture.  Let cool. The roux can be used immediately once it cools down to room temperature.

Ingredients for buns:
2/3 cup milk, warmed
1 egg, whisked
2/3 cup water roux
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp whole milk powder
3 cup bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or 22 grams of fresh yeast
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

Ingredients for filling:
3/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
4 tbsp milk powder
1 cup unsweetened fine shredded coconut

Ingredients for topping:
1/3 cup cake flour
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, whisked (with a splash of milk, optional)
Sesame seeds
Egg wash

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk to activate. Set aside.  If you’re using fresh yeast, combine it with the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and milk powder (and fresh yeast).  OR once the yeast is active and bubbly, add egg and tangzhong and stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients, incorporating with a spatula or wooden spoon. Dough will be sticky at first DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR.  Once it is completely combined, add the melted butter. Knead on a clean surface, until dough becomes smooth and soft, yet pliable (approximately 8 – 10 minutes).  It should no longer be sticking to the surface that you were kneading on.

Grease the dough and cover with cling wrap or a linen towel and set aside in a warm area until doubled in size (approximately 40 minutes).  While dough is proofing, make filling and topping.

Filling:
Combine the butter and sugar well. Sift in in milk powder, cake flour, and coconut. Mix to combine.  Then form filling mixture into a long tube. Divide into 12 equal portions. Have it rest in the fridge while you continue with making the topping.

Topping:
Mix the softened butter with sugar well. Sift in the cake flour and combine well.  Transfer into a small piping bag.

Transfer proofed dough to a clean floured surface. Gently deflate and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Form into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Press out each portion of the dough into an oval shape. Place a portion of filling in the middle of the oval lengthwise. Fold the bottom third up over the filling, then fold the top third down over the other layers (like a letter). Pinch seam closed. Turn bun over and tuck the ends underneath, pinching to seal.

Transfer bun to a parchment lined baking tray with seam facing down. Repeat this step with the remaining dough portions and fillings. Cover with a plastic wrap and let them proof for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly brush whisked egg on the surface of each dough. Snip off a small corner or the piping bag of the filling and without a tip, pipe two lines of topping and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Baked for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. About 5 minutes before finished, remove from oven and brush tops carefully with sugar glaze, if desired. Return to oven. Remove from the oven and brush on a second coat of sugar glaze. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Coconut Buns

Pizza Dough

This is the first savory recipe that I have posted on my blog.  I am not a cooking kind of person, just a baking kind of person, so there isn’t very much savory recipe that I am that interested to try.  Then again, pizza…..who wouldn’t like pizza?  So here it is.

Pizza

Ingredients:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or 16 grams fresh yeast
2 tsps sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 2/3 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil & 1 tbsp. (for baking)
1 teaspoon garlic powder

If you are using instant yeast, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.

If you are using fresh yeast, combine in a medium bowl, 1 cup of the flour, salt, sugar and the fresh yeast.  Stir together the warm water and olive oil.  Make a small well in the dry ingredients and mix together with a whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Sift the remaining flour on a clean surface and pour the dough mixture onto the flour and knead. The kneading can stop, when the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the surface. It may take some time for the dough to come together.  I found that the dough was a little dry when I was kneading, but remember not to add any more water.  Once the dough becomes smooth, then it is ready for proofing.

Shape dough into a boule and lightly coat the bowl with olive oil.  Place the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a damp towel and place the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Combine the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil and garlic powder.  Roll the dough out into a 6 inch circle and place it onto a prepared pan.  Top with your desired topping and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bottom of the crust is hard and crispy.

Pizza Slice

Blueberry Swirl Rolls with Lemon Glaze

I was actually looking at all of the pictures that I posted on my instagram account and realized that it’s mostly chocolate, coffee and lemon.  With a freezer full of blueberries, I decided to try this recipe out.

This recipe doesn’t ask to proof them before rolling, but to do it after.  I felt that these rolls are quite airy.  I’m not too sure if I proofed it too much, or the fact that there was no proofing needed before I roll the blueberries into the dough.  Also, I wanted to explore this, because I wanted to try a different method than the cinnamon recipe to see if this is any better.  So if you have tried my cinnamon bun recipe, this is interchangeable.  Just hold the filling and replace it with the blueberry filling.

Blueberry Rolls

Ingredients for rolls:
2 and 1/2 cups bread flour
3 tbsp.sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast or 16 grams fresh yeast
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 tbsp.unsalted butter
1 egg, at room temperature

Ingredients for filling:
2 cups frozen blueberries (or more if desired)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch

Ingredients for lemon glaze:
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk

Filling:  Make the filling first, as it need time to rest.  Combine the frozen (must be frozen NOT fresh and NOT thawed)  Combine the frozen blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Gently toss the mixture and let it stand, while preparing the rolls.

Rolls:  In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/4 cup of flour , sugar and salt.  Add the yeast and mix evenly dispersed. Set aside.

In a microwave proof bowl, combine water, milk, and butter together and heat in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch.  Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and then the remaining 1/4 cup flour to make a soft dough.  Knead the dough on a clean lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elasticity texture.  It might take a little bit of time to get to that stage.  Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Pour the rested blueberries on top and gently spread them to cover the dough surface. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9X13 inch rectangular pan. Loosely cover the rolls with a wet cloth and allow to rise for 2 hours.

After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

Lemon Glaze:  Mix all of the ingredients together. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar.  Right before serving, top your blueberry rolls with glaze.

Blueberry Roll with Lemon Glaze

 

Cinnamon Buns

Like pie crusts, I have always felt very intimidated with trying recipes with yeast.  It has always been a very long process of the whole kneading and proofing, and if the end result isn’t even remotely reasonable, that would be very discouraging.  However, stepping outside the comfort zone gives me the opportunity to grow, so here we go.

Ingredients for cinnamon buns:
20 grams fresh yeast (if using instant yeast, use 1 package and dissolve in 2 tbsp of warm water)
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups bread flour (in addition to previous)

Ingredients for filling:
1/2 cup butter softened (spreadable)
1/3 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Ingredients for frosting:
4 tbsp. butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened (I used the spreadable tub)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon Buns:  In a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, sugar and salt.  Make a small well in the flour mixture.  Add the yeast.  Then the warm milk.  Slowly stir in the egg and the melted butter.
Sift the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour on a clean surface and work the dough mixture into the flour.  The mixture will be VERY sticky.  ***DO NOT ADD FLOUR***  Knead the dough until it does not stick to the clean surface and become smooth.  Work the dough into a boule (making sure that there is tension on the surface).  Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel.  Then let the dough complete first round of proofing for 1 1/2 hours, best temperature at about 28°C.
Turn the proofed dough onto a clean and well floured surface (Be sure that it is well floured, or the dough will stick to the surface).  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape measuring approximately 12″ x 18″ and 1/4″ thick.
Filling:  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Smear the softened butter all over the dough surface, making sure that it covers the entire surface.  Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the smeared butter, making sure to cover the dough evenly.
Cin filling
Start on the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up.  Using a dough cutter and cut the rolled up dough in half. Cut each half in half again. Then cut each quarter into equal thirds so you have 12 pieces.
Place each piece into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish with the spiral side up.  Cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight.  (If you want to bake on the same day, let the baking dish rest on the kitchen counter and rest and room temperature for about 2 hours)
The following day, remove the baking dish from the fridge and let it sit in a warm spot in your kitchen for one hour.  Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Place the baking dish on the center rack of your oven, and bake for 24-27 minutes. The tops will be golden brown.
Frosting:  Cream the softened butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth and then add powdered sugar and whisk again on low speed. When all of the powdered sugar is mixed in, add milk and cinnamon. Whisk on medium high speed for about a minute.  Smear on top of warm cinnamon buns.

Chinese Pineapple Buns

This is the the traditional Chinese Pineapple Bun, also known as the bolo bao.  It seems to be a very popular item in Chinese style cafes, and served with a slice of butter in the middle.  For those of you that have tried this, have you ever wondered why they call this a pineapple bun, when there is no trace of pineapple in it, whatsoever?  I have.  After an extensive google search, the reason why they call this a pineapple bun, is because the top crust becomes checkered top when it bakes, which resembles the image of a pineapple.  I decided to give it a try with the limited knowledge of baking with yeast.  I was pleasantly surprised that the outcome was better than I expected.

Ingredients for water roux (also known as the tangzhong roux):
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup milk

Ingredients for topping:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup milk
2 cup cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Ingredients for buns:
2 cups bread flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. milk powder (no skim milk powder)
22 grams fresh yeast (if using instant dry yeast, 1 package)
1 1/2 whisked egg (use the other half for egg wash)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water roux
1/4 cup  butter, melted
Additional flour for working surface

Egg wash:  1/2 egg + 1 tbsp. milk

Water roux:  First off, the water roux will need to be made, as it needs time to cool.  Mix the flour with the milk, making sure that there are no lumps (I poured it through a strainer, into the pot).  Cook over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, to prevent burning and sticking to the pot.

The mixture will become thicker and thicker.  Once you have reached to a pudding or a cake filling consistency, it’s done.  Remove from the heat.

Transfer into a clean bowl.  Cover with a saran wrap, sticking to the surface of the roux, to prevent a film layer from developing.  Let it cool.  Should cool to be at about room temperature.

Topping:  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks, baking soda and milk.  Mix well.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and mix by hand until it’s smooth and not sticky.  ***Be careful not to overwork the dough***

Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Buns:  In a large bowl, combine bread flour, sugar, salt and milk powder.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, whipping cream, milk and water roux.

Sift the dry ingredients onto a clean surface.  Make a fair size well in the mixture and add the yeast, then the wet ingredients.  Carefully combine the mixture.  When the ingredients have come together, pour in the melted butter.  The mixture should feel very stick in the beginning (DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR).  Continue kneading until smooth and elastic like.  Once the dough is no longer sticking to the surface while kneading, the first kneading process is complete.  Shape the dough into a boule (making sure that there is tension on the surface).  Place in a well greased bowl and let the dough complete the 1st round of proofing (about 40 minutes), best temperature at about 28°C.

Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface.  Deflate and divide into 12 equal portions.  Cover lightly with a damp paper towel and let it rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flatten each portion of the dough to deflate and roll into a round shape, again with tension on the surface of the buns.  Place on cookie sheet for second round of proofing (about 40 minutes), best temperature at about 38°C.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Carefully divide the topping into 12 portions and flatten each portion between the plastic wrap.  Place on top of the buns after the second proofing.  Brush whisked egg on surface.  Bake on middle rack for about 20-25 minutes.  Until golden brown on the surface.

Pineapple Buns