TANGZHONG HAMBURGER BUNS

There are hamburger buns, and hamburger buns with Zen. These will Zen you out. Tanzhong is a method of Japanese baking in which part of the flour is cooked before being incorporated into the dough. What that does is create quite a unique crumb, with more moisture and tenderness. Perfect for hamburger and hot dog buns in which the crust is secondary. All you want is pillowy bread. You will need about 30 minutes of extra time before mixing the dough, but the outcome it totally worth it.

TANGZHONG HAMBURGER BUNS
(slightly modified from Domestic Gothess)

for tangzhong:
20 g (2tbsp) strong white bread flour
100 ml water

for the dough:
350 g strong white bread flour
7 g (2 tsp) fast-acting dry yeast (or regular instant yeast, but expect longer rising times)
1 tsp salt
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) full fat milk
1 large egg
35 g softened butter

to glaze:
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk
sesame seeds

To make the tangzhong, place the flour in a small saucepan and gradually whisk in the water. Place over a medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until it has thickened to a wallpaper paste-like consistency. Remove from the heat, scrape into a bowl and cover with clingfilm directly on the surface, set aside to cool.

Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, lightly stir together and make a well in the center. Add the egg, milk and tangzhong to the well and mix on a low speed until it comes together into a dough.

Add the butter and mix on medium-high speed until the dough is very stretchy and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and either place somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours (dough can be refrigerated overnight at this point if you prefer).

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the risen dough into 8 equal pieces (or fewer if you like bigger buns) and shape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Spread the balls out well spaced apart on the baking sheet and loosely cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise for about 1 hour until puffy.

Heat the oven to 400F. Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until deep golden. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool. They are good for couple of days stored in an airtight container, or for a few months frozen.

ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click
here

Comments: Mitsuo Ayano was the person who first came up with the idea of making a water roux (yu-dane) and use it to bake bread. Later the process was simplified by a baker from Taiwan. In the US and Europe it is more widely known by its Chinese name, Tangzhong. At any rate, it is a nice technique to have in your repertoire, and pretty much all kinds of breads can be adapted to take some cooked flour in the formula. Check out this great version, made a few years ago by my friend Karen.


The crumb is so tender and flavorful! I’ve been making this recipe regularly, the moment we have 2 buns left in the freezer, another batch gets started. They can be shaped of course as regular buns or oblongs for hotdogs. I now settled on shaping each bun with around 110g dough, because the husband likes to slice each large roll in four thin slices crosswise, so it’s easier if the buns start big. I get about 6 large buns from one batch buy doing so.

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OLIVE OIL BRIOCHE

Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories is a source of endless inspiration for me. Particularly on anything related to bread, she finds the most unusual, exotic, unique recipes, and then bakes them like it’s no big deal at all.  Just to give you a recent example, look at this incredible concoction for which she used 12-ounce empty soda cans wrapped with foil as a baking “pan.”  Amazing, isn’t it? Today I share with you my adventure with her Olive Oil Brioche. I made only half the recipe and still had a ton of dough to play with. Enough for a large loaf and 6 buns. For reasons that will be discussed in the comments, if you make it, be ready to have one loaf and 8 buns. The amount for the loaf pan was a tad too much.

OLIVE OIL BRIOCHE
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the poolish:
100 grams all purpose flour
100 grams water
1.5 grams instant yeast

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator over night.

for the levain (Sourdough)
1 tablespoon starter
110 grams all purpose flour
110 grams water

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature until bubbly.

for the final dough: 
200 grams poolish
150 grams levain
500 grams bread flour
12 grams salt
7.5 grams instant yeast
250 grams eggs
120 grams milk
80 grams honey
Zest of one Meyer lemon (optional)
25 grams water
220 grams extra virgin olive oil
For the egg wash: 1 egg plus one tablespoon milk

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast, eggs, milk, levain, poolish, honey, lemon zest, and water and mix on low for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Mix the dough with the spiral hook on medium to high speed for 8 minutes.
With the mixer running on medium,  add the oil slowly, pausing so that the oil is absorbed. I did it in three additions. Incorporation of the oil will take time, so exercise patience.  Add a sprinkle of bread flour to speed incorporation if you so desire, but do it only in the second and third addition. The dough should end up very smooth and not tear when  you stretch it.

Allow the dough to bulk ferment (in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap) for 2 hours at 70 degrees F. Do three stretch and folds during the first 90 minutes, one every thirty minutes.  When the dough is ready, remove three pieces of about 250g each and braid them. Place in a slightly oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan for final proofing. Divide the rest of the dough in 8 portions, shape as buns, and proof.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  After the bread has been proofing for 1 and a half to 2 hours (until doubled), brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature is 200 F. You can sprinkle sesame seeds on the buns if you so desire.

Un-mold the large loaf and cool on a wire rack together with the buns.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I will not lie to you, this is a project. The bread requires a sourdough starter, a poolish (fermented flour using small amount of commercial yeast and prepared the day before), and commercial yeast in the final dough. But it is a total pleasure to work with, rises like a rocket and the texture and taste? You will not miss the butter, that’s for sure. As Karen said, it keeps a lot better than the traditional version. And freezes beautifully too.

When you start adding the olive oil, you will be sure the whole thing is ruined, and might have a few rude thoughts directed at me. It seems impossible for the dough to come together. Have bread faith. And here is a little tip that might help: as you add the olive oil and the mixer is going and going, with a puddle of oil all around and looking hopeless, add just a sprinkle of bread flour on top. It will help things get in shape faster. But just a sprinkle, I say 1 tablespoon or so. If you add the olive oil in three additions, do that in the final two, when the dough will have more trouble incorporating it.

For a 9 x 5 loaf pan, I advise you to make three strands with about 250g of dough in each. Then divide the rest in 8 buns. When you do that, you will be able to let the shaped loaf proof for closer to 2 hours and it will not rip a bit like mine did. I had no choice but to bake after 1 hour and 10 minutes, the dough wanted to leave the pan and explore the kitchen. No bueno. That’s because I used 300g per strand, a bit too much. Don’t be put off by the complexity of this recipe, once you have the starter and the poolish prepared the day before, it is just a matter of weighing all other ingredients and having some fun.

Karen, thank you for the inspiration, I know I tell you this all the time but it’s so true… Your blog is a pleasure to follow!

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HOT CROSS BUNS

Until this year, I’ve been a Hot Cross Bun virgin, as I had never even tasted one. They did not exist in Brazil as I was growing up, but are very popular in many places of the world, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, New Zealand. They are usually served on Good Friday, to mark the end of Lent. They are marked with a cross to represent the Crucifixion of Jesus, and contain spices that were said to be used to embalm his body. Some point their origin to the year 1361 in a monastery in St Albans, England. But that is debatable. What is not debatable is how delicious they are, and how much I regret having waited so long to make them.

HOT CROSS BUNS
(very slightly modified from Global Bakes)

for the buns:
180 mL milk warmed to 110 degrees F
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used osmo-tolerant yeast)
100 grams light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons greek yogurt, at room temperature
70 grams (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
460 grams all-purpose flour, divided
40 g dried figs, finely minced)
100 g raisins
zest of 1 large orange

for the flour cross:
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons cold water

for the glaze:
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sugar

Make the Buns
Whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.

Add to the bowl the brown sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and 125 grams (1 cup) of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds or stir by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour, the dried fruit, and the orange zest. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time just until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in the machine for about 4 minutes in low-speed, then transfer the dough to a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.  When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Weigh the dough and divide it into 15 roughly equal pieces (my pieces were 77g each).  Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. Arrange in prepared baking pan. Cover shaped rolls and place in the fridge overnight.

Remove the shaped buns from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Whisk the cross ingredients, adjusting consistency with water or flour so that it is thick enough to form a stable design. Spoon paste into a piping bag. Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Five minutes before they are done, make the glaze by boiling milk and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved and the glaze thickens slightly.

When they buns are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with the warm glaze. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy still warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Tanya was my source of inspiration, she actually made those for the first time also this year, and I just tagged along. I did not have many different kinds of dried fruits in our pantry, so I used just raisins and dried Mission figs. The whole batch went to the homeless meal that happened to fall exactly on Good Friday, but Phil and I decided to share one because I really had to know how they taste.

I loved it! The bread is soft, reminds me a bit of a cinnamon roll, but not as decadent.  I like the addition of baking powder to the flour paste, which I saw in Celia’s blog post of years ago. I think it makes it a bit lighter.

Making them was a very nice, trouble-free process (discreet knock on wood, don’t want to upset the baking gods, as I intend to make macarons in the near future).  I hope you give Tanya’s recipe a try, in her site you can see how to do it in a single day.

Thank you Tanya (globalbakes.com), for your constant inspiration!  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home… and let’s bake!

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BRITISH BAPS, A TECHNICAL CHALLENGE

Baps. Very popular in the UK, these are what on this side of the pond we know as rolls or buns. When I was in London, I realized that breakfast baps are all the rage, you slice one of these babies, and add the usual suspects: bacon & eggs, sausage, ham & cheese, or whatever you crave early in the morning. I don’t eat breakfast, but had to try one of these classics at lunch during my visit. Soft, delicate, quite delicious. And as you can see from this post, pretty simple to make.  I modified a bit a recipe from Paul Hollywood to add a touch of whole wheat. Just because. These were the technical challenge last week in the Great British Bake Off. Some of the contestants committed the shameful sins of underbaking or underproofing, but most did pretty good. They also had to make a veggie burger pattie to go with the buns, so the challenge also involved sizing baps and filling appropriately. That is not as easy as one might think, as the patties had to be made while the dough was proofing. Great fun was had by all. Or almost all…

BRITISH BAPS
(adapted from Easy Online Baking Lessons)

350 g bread flour
25 g whole-wheat flour
7 g salt
7 g fast-acting yeast
30 g sugar
30 g butter
250 mL water (I used a little less)

Add all ingredients (but hold back a bit of the water, maybe 25 mL or so) to the bowl of a Kitchen Aid type mixer and knead on low-speed for about 8 minutes. If needed, add the rest of the water.

Place in a large oiled bowl and ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes.

Punch the dough down (delicately) and divide it in 8 equal portions (about 85 g each). Roll each as a tight little bun. Place each roll on a mat lightly coated with flour and flatten it in one direction with a rolling pin, making it into an oval shape. Turn it 90 degrees and do the same. You will end up with a round, more flat type of roll.  Do the same for all other buns, then place at room temperature covered with a cloth for 30 to 45 minutes, while you heat the oven to 425 F.

Coat the buns lightly with flour, bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Even if you are not comfortable baking bread, I think this would be a very nice recipe to try. Yes, it was a technical in the GBBO, but a lot of the complexity in the show has to do with timing (pretty tight) and the preparation of the veggie burger component plus toppings as the dough rises. If you just tackle the bread and don’ worry about a timed deadline, it’s quite doable.

The bread has a tight but moist crumb, if made with white flour only will be even softer, but I like the more assertive taste that the whole-wheat offers. They freeze well, and defrost quickly, so it’s the perfect type of bread to have around.

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