Jul 21, 2010

Pineapple bun

I am sooo happy right now! I was peeking into my oven and I saw the crumbly top formed in my pineapple bun and I knew the baking gods are with me today!! I've tried many many times to duplicate the pineapple bun that I grew up with when I was in Hong Kong...and I finally did it!!!

Okay..let me calm down. =) I haven't actually done it..but I'm very close. The hard part for me was always the cookie topping, and this topping is really really good. The bread itself is okay...but I have tons of bread recipes that I like, so I can swap it.

For those of you who are not familiar with the pineapple bun, it actually has no pineapple in it. It's called pineapple bun because the topping looks like the skin of a pineapple...sort of. It's a sweet bun that you will find in most Chinese bakeries. I remember eating it as a child with a slab of butter in the middle. sooo good!!

This recipe comes from this old Chinese baking book that I have. It's called Chopsticks recipes, cakes and bread and it's by Cecilia J. Au-Yang. I can't wait to bake through this whole book. I think I will definitely try the egg tarts next.

Anyway..here is the recipe. It's half of the original since the original recipe makes 24 buns.

Pineapple Bun
adapted from Chopsticks Recipes Cakes and Bread
makes 12 buns

Yeast paste:
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
42g bread flour

1. Dissolve the dry yeast and sugar in the warm water and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the bread flour and make a paste. Let stand until it's frothy, about 30 minutes.

Bread dough: (see note)
12 oz bread flour
3 oz sugar
1 1/2 eggs
1/8 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
28g unsalted butter, softened (see note)

1. Sift the flour into a medium size bowl. Add sugar, eggs, milk, and warm water and mix until a rough dough forms.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft dough is formed. Add the butter and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Place the dough in a greased mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow the dough to proof until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a long roll. Divide into 12 equal pieces (56g each). Knead each piece into a round ball.

5. Arrange the buns on a greased baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to proof for an hour.

88g all purpose flour
7g milk powder
50g sugar
2 oz chilled butter (see note)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp milk
1/4 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 beaten egg

1. Sift the flour and milk powder into a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and put in all the ingredients. Gradually draw in the flour to knead into a soft dough.

2. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into rounds and use as topping.

3. Place the topping onto each bun. Brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake in a 350 degrees preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • *Remember to use your own sweet bun dough. This bun dough is just okay...if you don't have one, try this Water Roux bun recipe. It's one of my favorites.
  • *The recipe calls for lard, but since I didn't have any, I used butter instead. For the dough it called for 1/8 cup of melted lard. For the topping, it called for 1 oz of chilled lard and 1 oz of chilled butter.

Jul 18, 2010

Bacon, scallion and cheese bread

Bacon, scallion and cheese bread..need I say more?! How can you have those three ingredients in bread and not have a wonderful product. heehee. =) I love this bread!!!! sooooo delicious!!

I used the dough recipe from Chubble bread. Instead of making the little small pieces of bread, I cut the dough into slices. I used the directions from this Lemon scented pull apart coffee cake (also on my to-make list). I decided to use this technique instead because I didn't have too much cheese on hand. Plus, I thought this pull apart bread was so beautiful!

End result is a yummy bread with lots of flavor. Here's the recipe.

Bacon, Scallion and cheese bread
adapted from Mrs. Marv and Elissa

1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water (105°f to 115°f)
3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large bowl, whisk it in, and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until very bubbly and doubled, about 45 minutes.

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105°f to 115°f)
3 tsp olive oil
Sponge, above
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt

1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a small bowl, whisk it in, and let stand until creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a heavy-duty mixer, add the dissolved yeast and the olive oil to the sponge in the mixer bowl; mix in with the paddle attachment until well blended. Add in salt. Add in flour 1/4 c at a time - when you get to 3 cups add flour slower checking it until dough stops being very sticky and is only slightly sticky.

2. Change to the dough hook and knead at medium speed until the dough is soft, velvety and slightly sticky, 3 to 4 minutes. At this point you will be able to pull the dough up into peaks with your fingers. Finish by sprinkling 1 tablespoon of flour on your work surface and kneading the dough briefly. Transfer to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled 1 1/2 hours, or so.

extra virgin olive oil
4 stalks of scallions, sliced thinly
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
7 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into small bits

1. Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. [I suggest using a ruler and getting this as accurate as possible, for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. I also suggest making sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later.] Use a pastry brush, coat the dough lightly with extra virgin olive oil.

2. Mix the cheese, scallion and bacon bits together.

3. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″. Sprinkle the filling over the first rectangle. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with filling as well. Continue to top with rectangles and sprinkle, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all oiled and topped with filling. [I suggest carefully sprinkling the filling and pressing it in lightly to keep it from falling off.]

4. Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.

5. Preheat oven to 400°f. Brush top with olive oil and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Jul 14, 2010

Orange cranberry scones

I'm really enjoying my sewing class. Sewing is so out of my element and everything has not come very easy to me, but I love every minute of it. My teacher is so wonderful and so encouraging. She offers extra sessions at her home. I went to one of her extra sessions this week and decided to bake something for her.

I needed something really easy and quick because this has been a crazy work week for me. I made these orange cranberry scones from Baking Illustrated. It's so easy to make and the result is absolutely wonderful!

I made a little substitution because I ran out of all purpose flour!!! Have you heard a baker that runs out of all purpose flour?!! I needed 10 oz of all purpose flour for this recipe, but I only had 7 oz. I substitute 3 oz of cake flour. I'm not sure if it's because of this substitution, but the scones has such a nice crumbly texture. Sooo good!! You need to make this right now! Here's the recipe.

Orange Cranberry scones
adapted from Baking Illustrated

7 oz all purpose flour
3 oz cake flour (see note)
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.

3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses. Add the orange zest and cranberries and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. Transfer dough to a large bowl.

4. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a counter top and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.

6. Pat the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Punch out dough rounds with a biscuit cutter. Push together the remaining pieces of dough, pat into a 3/4 inch thick round, and punch out several more dough rounds. Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet.

7. Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • * I made a glaze for the scones. To glaze the scones, brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle sugar on them just before baking.
  • *The original recipe uses 10 oz of all purpose flour.

Jul 10, 2010

Cranberry yogurt chiffon cake

I made this cake the other day for my friend. I didn't get a chance to try it so I made it again for my family. I was so intrigued by this recipe when I first saw it on Dodol and Mochi. My family loves chiffon cake, but I've never heard of yogurt in chiffon cakes before.

The result? Yummy!! It was so soft and light. The yogurt gives the cake a moistness that normal chiffon cakes don't have. It was just sweet enough for me and my family, but I think most Americans would think it's not sweet enough. It's not really a dessert type of cake, but more of a cake you would eat with some afternoon tea. The dried cranberries added a little tartness to the cake that was so refreshing. I would definitely make this cake again.

Here's the recipe.

Cranberry yogurt chiffon cake
adapted from Dodol and Mochi

5 egg yolks, at room temperature
43g castor sugar
65ml neutral-flavored oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
130g plain yogurt
130g cake flour, sifted twice
7 egg whites, at room temperature
87g castor sugar
95g dried cranberries
enough cake flour to coat cranberries(I used plain flour for this)

1. Whisk egg yolks and 43g of sugar together until the mixture is fluffy and the color is a pale yellow. Add the oil.

2. Add the lemon juice and yogurt to the yolk mixture and combine well, then sift in the 130g cake flour and fold to fully combine it into the mixture. Set aside.

3. Evenly coat the dried cranberries with enough cake flour till they are well-coated with flour, then sift away excess flour. Set aside for use later

4. For the meringue, whip the egg whites on low speed till it's foamy; gradually mix in the 87g sugar as you whip the egg whites on low speed. Continue whipping the egg whites till it's reached stiff-peak stage--this is the meringue

5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture to "lighten up" the yolk mixture as the density of both the mixtures differ greatly. Then, GENTLY fold the remaining meringue in 2~3 portions into the yolk mixture till they are just incorporated. DON'T overfold as you may risk deflating the meringue!

6. Add the flour-coated dried cranberries into the batter and using a wide rubber spatula, gently fold till the berries are just evenly scattered throughout the batter.

7. Pour the batter into a clean, grease and dirt-free 20cm chiffon cake tin all in one shot. Then, make sure the surface of the batter is leveled. Briefly knock the cake tin over the counter to get rid of large air pockets.

8. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes till the chiffon is cooked through, i.e. toothpick should be clean when removed after being inserted into the center of the cake.

9. Quickly remove the chiffon tin from the oven, then immediately invert the tin to let the cake cool inside the tin completely.

10. Carefully unmold the chiffon once it is completely cooled. Slice to serve or store airtight. Best consumed within 2~3 days.

Jul 7, 2010

Yummy cream cheese frosting

Mr G. and I attended a 4th of July potluck this past weekend. I made a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake itself was bleh, so I won't even post the recipe...but the frosting is soooo yummy!!!

A friend of mine gave me this recipe and I tweaked it a little bit. It was supposed to be a creamy brown sugar frosting for a carrot cake. But I wanted a white frosting for my lemon cake so I used white sugar instead. This frosting is a lot lighter than most cream cheese frosting because it has whipped cream in it. It's so wonderful, I will definitely use this frosting again.

Here it is, unfortunately, I don't know the original source.

Yummy cream cheese frosting
source unknown

1 1/4 cup whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened (see note)
3/4 cup white sugar (see note)
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

1. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks are formed, set aside.

2. Combine cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Fold in whipped cream in three additions. Refrigerate until use.

  • *The original recipe uses reduced fat cream cheese

  • *The original recipe uses 1 cup packed brown sugar


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