Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cranberry Breakfast Bread

I used dried cherries and raisins in this recipe
This is a great bread for breakfast. You can skip the jam, jelly or butter - this bread can stand on its own.
This recipe is adapted from the The Bread Baker's Apprentice.   Check Peter Reinhart's blog for other bread ideas.

Ingredients:
390 grams bread flour
40 grams sugar
4 grams salt
2 eggs (room temp)
9 grams yeast
110 grams milk (rrom temp)
28 grams butter
32 grams water
100 grams dried cranberries
Add walnuts as you like

Ready for last rising - brush with egg first

1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the yeast. Mix the egg and milk in another bowl.

2. Add the egg mixture & water to the flour.  Use a bench scraper to mix and coat the flour. Put on a flat surface and knead for about 10  minutes. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Let rest under a bowl for about 10 minutes.

3. Lightly warm the butter in hands and then put on top of the dough and use a bench scraper to incorporate the butter. Knead again so that the bread is soft & supple. If tough, add a tablespoon or so of milk and knead again. Add in the dried fruit and nuts. Put in a bowl and cover with wrap. Let rise in warm place for 60 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, each with the same weight. Roll each piece into a nice ball. Place on the kneading board and cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes (bench time).

5. Flatten each ball to remove the air and roll again into a ball. Place in the baking pan and rush with egg. Cover with plastic and place in a warm place. Should rise again for about 60 minutes.

After rising - brush again with egg before baking

6. Heat oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Brush again with egg and bake for about 30 minutes. Cover with foil half way through if the top is getting too browned.




Tasty Farmyard Friends



 My friend, Mieko Sato, visited today and brought a wonderful gift. These are handmade sweets - the outside is made of rice flour and on the inside is sweet red bean paste. I think the animals are a recent adaption of traditional ingredients, but creative and cute nonetheless.

I love things with rabbits on them, dishes, towels, etc. I would buy them all if I had enough space.

Thank you, Mieko. These are definitely a labor of love. 

 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Milk Chocolate Mascarpone Pudding

Bowl with chocolate over warm water
This one is quite straight forward and should only take about 20 minutes to complete once you gather all of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

135 grams milk
Zest of 1 lemon
120 grams milk chocolate
167 grams Mascarpone cheese
6 grams gelatin

1. Chop the chocolate and put into a bowl over warm water.
2. Put the lemon zest into
Sift to remove lumps before pouring into dessert cups
the milk and heat until just boiling. Soften the gelatin then add to the milk.
3. Add the milk to the chocolate in
portions and use a small whisk to mix together. Mix until all chocolate is melted.
4. Put in a bowl and add in the Mascarpone cheese. You may need to sift the mixture after this to remove  lumps.
5. Pour into small dessert dishes. Refrigerate until firm.

You can substitute orange zest for the lemon and add a dash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier liquor


Should be firm after about 30 minutes in the refrigerator

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Favorite Tools

A few good tools in the kitchen will make your baking life  easier.

I use stainless steel bowls instead of glass since they are light and give you flexibility if you need to heat them quickly on the stove top.




I like to keep an uncluttered kitchen, but I make an exception to have an easy-to-reach container filled with spatulas and palette knifes. The palette knifes may seem like a strange choice but they come in handy for many recipes.









This is a digital thermometer. It is a bit more expensive than most kitchen supplies but well worth it. It is great when tempering chocolate or checking the temperature of boiled sugar.

A quick search on Amazon found this one. I bought mine bought in Japan so may not be available in the U.S. The plastic cover keeps all of those sticky fingers from making it a complete mess.

Soft Milk Rolls

This is a good recipe for beginner bread bakers. You can either go the traditional way and fill these with raisins or be more creative and use dried apricots, walnuts, etc.

For this recipe I chopped dried apricots. Need to be generous with the fruit so that you can really taste it in the bread.

Use for either sandwich rolls or toast  for breakfast with jelly. Homemade bread is always a great way to start the day:)


Milk Bread Rolls:
Bread flour 375 grams
Sugar 37 grams
Salt 7 grams
Instant dry yeast 6 grams
Milk (room temp) 188 grams
Egg (room temp) 1.5
Butter 52 grams
Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, etc. 100 grams

1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the yeast. Mix the egg and milk in other bowl.
2. Add the egg mixture to the flour.  Use a bench scraper to mix and coat the flour. Put on a flat surface and knead for about 10  minutes. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Let rest under a bowl for about 10 minutes.
3. Lightly warm the butter in hands and then put on top of the dough and use a bench scraper to incorporate the butter. Knead again so that the bread is soft & supple. If tough, add a tablespoon of milk or so and knead again. Add in the dried fruit. Put in a bowl and cover with wrap. Let rise in warm place for 60 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 70 gram pieces. Roll each piece into a nice ball. Place on the kneading board and cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes (bench time).
5. Flatten each ball to remove the air and roll again into ball. Place on the pan you will use for baking - leave room between each piece since they increase in size during rising. Brush with egg. Cover with plastic and place in a warm place. Should rise again for about 60 minutes.
6. Heat oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Brush again with egg and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until browned.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Decorated Roll Cake

Roll cakes are very popular in Japan. There are many different types of filling such as plain cream, green tea flavored cream, chocolate, etc. Roll cakes are  usually standard items in a bakery.

This roll cake is decorated with cherry blossom flowers. The technique for making the decoration is easy - use your imagination to create a design to match the season - flowers, leaves, animals, etc.

You could also add a little cocoa to the batter for Halloween and draw pumpkins, etc.

Decoration:

10 grams soft butter
10 grams powdered sugar sifted
10 grams egg white
10 grams flour sifted
1. Whisk the butter and the powdered sugar, add the egg white then add the flour. Add coloring.
2. Draw your design on a sheet of paper and place under the parchment paper.
3. Put each color into a separate bag for piping. Your lines should be thin but not too thin, otherwise, they will not show up well after baking.
4. Put this in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so that the mixture becomes firm.

I use a shallow square baking pan (27 cm x 27 cm - height is 2 cm) covered with parchment paper to pipe the decoration on. The recipe below is enough for 2 pans.

Sponge Cake:
1 egg
5 egg yolks
60 grams flour
10 grams cornstarch
Butter 45 grams
70 grams milk

4 egg whites
100 grams sugar
Cornstarch 5 grams

1. In a bowl, sift the flour and cornstarch together.
2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the flour/cornstarch mixture. Mix with whisk.
3.  Put #2 above into a bowl, add in the 1 egg & egg yolks (in portions). Add milk.
4. Whip the egg whites until stiff – add the sugar in portions while mixing. Add the 5 grams cornstarch at the end.
5. Mix the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture mixture.  
6. Pour on top of the parchment paper you decorated. Spread evenly. Tap it on the table to remove air bubbles.
7. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Do not over bake or the cake will not be soft enough to roll.

Custard Filling: 
Milk 300 grams
Egg yolks 4
Granular sugar 75 grams
Flour 20 grams
Cornstarch 9 grams
Butter 20 grams
Gelatin 3 grams (soften in water and drain the water)
Kirsch liquor – 1 teaspoon
Fresh cream 100 grams

1. Heat the milk in small saucepan until just boiling.
2. Combine the egg yolks & granular sugar in a bowl and mix well.  Sift the flour and add to the egg yolk mixture.
3. Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture. Pour back into the pan and strain while pouring.
4. Heat until it becomes thickened. Use a whisk to mix
5. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add the gelatin then the butter.  Mix well to remove any lumps.
6. Pour into a bowl and cool. Add the Kirsch.
7. Whip the fresh cream until a little stiff and add to the cream (#6 above).

 To save time, you can use powdered custard cream.

Putting Together:

1. Cut fruit such as strawberry, bananas or kiwi cut into small pieces (optional).
2. Remove the cake from the cooking pan and remove the parchment paper. Use a clean sheet of parchment paper and put the cake on it.
3. Spread the cream on the sponge cake evenly with a palette knife.
4. Put fruit on the cake in horizontal lines.
5. Start from one end & roll the cake carefully to keep a good shape. Put in plastic wrap and refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Layered Cake with Chocolate Ganache

The layers of cake, chocolate and lemon cream
blend together in a fantastic taste

Fasten your seat belts, this one is going to take  longer to prepare but well worth it. The bottom has a shortbread crust with two layers of cake and chocolate ganache in between. Thin layers of lemon cream are between the cakes and finally topped with a lemon flavoured Italian meringue.

There are several items to prepare before putting everything together.


Bottom Crust:
You can use the same recipe for the crust in the Cheesecake recipe 

Bake in a metal square on top of a baking sheet.




Cake:
200 grams egg white
55 grams sugar

120 grams almond powder
120 grams powdered sugar
20 grams  flour
1. Sift the almond powder, powdered sugar & flour together in a bowl.
2. Whip the egg whites and gradually add the sugar. Whip until the egg whites are stiff.
3. Add in the almond powder mixture. Mix using a spatula. Pour into a shallow baking pan like the photo.
4. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes - until lightly browned.

Chocolate Ganache:
120 grams milk chocolate
180 grams fresh cream (36%)
3 grams gelatin

1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl.
2. Cut the gelatin into several pieces and soak in water until soft. Drain the water. Heat the fresh cream until just boiling then add the gelatin (remove from the heat). Use a whisk to mix in the gelatin.
3. Pour some of the hot milk into the chocolate. Use a whisk to stir & melt the chocolate. Keep the milk hot and gradually add more until all chocolate is melted.
4. Let cool - gradually it will become like pudding. Don't cool too long since it will become too firm.

Lemon Cream:
If you don't have time, you can always buy Lemon Curd, however, the color is not as brilliant.
40 grams butter
30 grams sugar
20 grams egg
15 grams lemon juice

1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg and lemon juice.
2. On a low heat, stir until the mixture thickens.
3. Strain into a bowl and let cool.

Putting Together:
1. Cut the cake into 2 pieces to fit the metal square (piece a couple together if not one full size)
2. The shortbread crust should be on the bottom inside the  square. Generously brush  lemon cream on top to cover all areas.
3. Put the first piece of cake on top of the lemon cream.
4. The chocolate should be like pudding and easy to spread. Spread evenly on top of the cake.
5. Put the next layer of cake on top of the chocolate. Brush with lemon cream.

Lemon Mousse Cream:
180 grams sugar
45 grams water

90 grams egg white
70 grams fresh cream (36%)
45 grams lemon juice
20 grams sugar
6 grams gelatin
5 grams Lemoncello liquor

1. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Add about 1 teaspoon sugar while whipping.
2. Heat the sugar and water together in a pan until about 110 degrees Celsius. Pour the hot sugar  into the whipped egg whites while whipping them. Continue to whip until they are firm.
3. Soften the gelatin in water. Heat the lemon juice until just warm - add to the gelatin and melt. Cool lightly.
4. Add the gelatin mixture to the whipped egg whites using a spatula. Add the liquor.
5. Whip the fresh cream and add to the whipped egg whites.
6. Put the whipped egg white on top of the cake. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the mousse becomes firm.
7. Decorate with the remaining lemon cream.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Bakery Animals

Food is too cute, just had to take photos of these.

Panda face bread.



Turtles making their move to escape from the bakery.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tourist Treats

Fish isn't the only food on sale
The city of Atami is only about a 45 minute ride on the infamous bullet train from Tokyo Station, however, it is world's apart. Atami probably had its economic peak about 30 years ago, but given its close proximity to Tokyo it is great place to go if you want to see visit a clean & enjoyable beach.

The town is built on a large hillside so if you don't enjoy walking up and down slopes, you may need to take a taxi. Fishing is still popular and local catch can be found in all of the supermarkets, restaurants & souvenir stands. I am not a big fan of dried fish (of any variety) but it is popular in Japan.

Atami is a natural hot spring area and hot water is bubbling up from the ground everywhere. The bad news is that the town is sitting atop a cauldron - hope it doesn't explode in my time.

Cakes called Manju

Hot water comes up through the fountain
You can steam your eggs using the
attached basket