3 Kinds of Chinese New Year Cakes

Haven’t posted for a while. I still haven’t bought a new oven since my last one was broken down. I’m still interested in eating all those high carb food though. The Chinese New Year has just come and I’ve made 3 kinds of Chinese New Year steamed cakes today. They are Chinese Turnip Cake (left), Sticky Cake in the shape of Variegated Carp, and Water Chestnut Cake (top).

Cake in Cantonese/Mandarin pronunciation is the same as “high” in the same language. Therefore we have these cakes meaning for a better life in the new year.

Happy Chinese New Year guys!

World Bread Day – Sheng Jian Bao (Pan-Fried Bun, 生煎包)

Bread can be “cooked” in different ways. It can be baked, steamed, grilled, cooked in a tandoor, etc. Do you know it can also be cooked with a pan? Some of you might know pita can be cooked with a frying pan. Below is a Chinese bun which is cooked with a pan too.

Basically it’s a the dough of steamed bun, pan-fried for a minute at the beginning and then added with water to cook the bun. Therefore upper part of the bun tasted like a steamed bun while the bottom is crispy to give a tasteful texture. It’s usually filled with vegetable and minced pork inside.

My oven is broken down (!) and hence I prepared this pan-fried bun to celebrate the World Bread Day 2011. Do you know any other ways to “cook” a bread? :)

Would like to submit it to YeastSpotting too.

Cheers!

RECIPE (MAKES 12)

Adapted from a dim sum class that I took in www.masterwhy.com

Buns

Flour 160g (the chef taught me there’s a kind of flour used for making Chinese buns which the protein is lower than bread flour but higher than cake flour, and not exactly the same as all purpose flour. The common one is in this link. Or you can look for other brands in China town that are used for making buns)

Sugar 16g

Yeast 2g

Baking powder 2g

Water 80g

Filling

Minced pork 80g (the pork is minced with a chopper by myself. Also it’s better to have about 1/4 fat inside which would help the filling taste juicer. The fat should be cut into small dices and mixed to the minced lean pork)

Salt 1/2 tps

Rice wine 1/2 tps 

Pak Choi 80g (cut into dices. Cooked with boiling water for 20 secs. Drained. Wait till cool and use your palms to squeeze out extra water. This helps softening the vegetable and avoids breaking the dough during wrapping)

Sugar 3 tps

Corn starch 2 tps

Water 60g

Others

Spring onions, Toasted sesame seeds (for sprinkling on the buns)

To prepare the buns:

1) Mix all the ingredients until smooth. A window pane test is not required

2) Rest for 20 mins (no need double in size. Just wait until the dough is relaxed)

To prepare the filling:

1) Mix all the ingredients except water and pak choi

2) Add the water slowly in 5 times. After adding the first 1/5 of water, mix the pork mixture and water with a pair of chopsticks in circular motion until the water is absorbed. Continue until all water is added.

It might look too much water at the beginning but it will all be absorbed by the mixture at last.

3) Add the pak choi

4) Place the filling in refrigerator for at least 30mins and the mixture will be firmer

To fill the buns: 

1) Roll the dough into a log and cut into 12pcs

2) Press or roll the small dough into a flat one of 8cm diameter

3) Place 1 tps of filling onto the dough

4) Wrap up the dough (as below video which I found from YouTube)

5) 2nd fermentation is not needed

To pan fry the buns: 

1) Heat a frying pan. Add some oil

2) Place the buns to the pan. Each of them should have 1-2 cm spacing between as the buns would be bigger after cooked

3) Pan fry for 1 min. Bottom should look crispy at this moment

4) Add water to the buns to reach 1/2 of the height of the buns. Wait until the water is boiled

5) Cover with a lid until cooked at medium heat

6) Sprinkle with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds

7) Serve & Enjoy!





Sourdough with Amaranth Flour

A sourdough with 13.5% of amaranth flour (to all flour) added to the final dough. Overall hydration is 68%. The bread this time darkened even more quickly compared with the amaranth sourdough that I made before which the overall amaranth was about 9%. I covered the crust with aluminum foil in the midway to avoid the crust getting burnt before the crumb was fully baked. Texture with the increased amaranth flour was also not as chewy as last time as well. I still love the beautiful reddish brown color that the amaranth flour gives to the crust.. :-) Now I’m thinking of other bread recipes with amaranth flour for next time. Any good ideas? :-)

Recipe

Bread Flour 212.5g 85%
Amaranth Flour 37.5g 15%
Water 163g 65%
Salt 5g 2%
Starter (100% Hydration with Bread Flour) 50g 20%

220C for 15 mins. Then lower to 200C for another 20 mins.

Love the Blister ~

Photo – bread baking with iron drum

An old man baking flat bread with an iron drum on the street of Shanghai

Taken in 1992 (From http://weibo.com/1805489442)

Genzano Country Bread (Pagnotta)

According to Daniel Leader’s “Local Breads”, Genzano Country Bread is a round loaf with a thick bran-coated crust which is baked almost black, but has a moist and full-flavored crumb inside. The dough is of high hydration which is almost 80%. It requires long baking which leads to the thick and charred crust. The bread is also made with high proportion of sourdough (approximately 28%) which makes the crumb more sour. Authentic Genzano Country Bread is huge and a smaller version is called Pagnotta which is what I baked today. My bread doesn’t look as black as the photo from Daniel Leader’s book but there is already a big contrast in taste between the crust and crumb. The charred crust and sour crumb have made it a stronger flavored bread. See some twist on the crust and crumb can make a dough so different. Love it :)

Genzano Country Bread (Pagnotta) - from Daniel Leader's "Local Bread"

Didn't take care for my sourdough for 2 months but it's still vigorous :)

Nils’s 60/40 Rye (Ze 60/40)

Life is miserable when I need to eat those commercial, pseudo and bland bread for breakfast. This is what happened to me in the last 2 months. Working day and night and not having the time to prepare a dinner or bake something for myself. Why can’t there be better breakfast or dinner choices in Hong Kong? In the coming months I wish to keep on baking at least once a week and preparing dishes for myself. That means much better management of my work and life.

Always happy to see the sourdough rise. It smells naturally sweet and great :)

I’m happy to see my sourdough got energized after feeding for once though I didn’t take care of it for 4 months. My good companion, haha. The bread tastes really good too. I particularly like it after after the first day when all the flavors mellow. Mildly sour, mildly moist, strong wheat flavor, moderate bites from the brans of rye flour, lightly charred and thick crust. Thanks Nils who shares so many great German bread recipes. :) You might take a look at Joanna’s blog as well which had very good result with this recipe too.

I used Dan Lepard’s method to rest and knead the dough. The bread is comfortably done under the hot weather. :)

Real breakfast tomorrow ~ Yay~

Nils’s 60/40

  • 270g rye sourdough, hydration: 100%, made from fine dark rye flour, Type 1150 (I used Doves Farm’s Organic Wholemeal Rye Flour)
  • 135g fine dark rye flour, Type 1150
  • 180g strong white flour, Type 550 (I used Gold Medal’s Bread Flour)
  • 200g warm water, temperature: 52°C minus Your ambient temperature (I used tap water)
  • 2g fresh yeast
  • 9g sea salt

Mix to a smooth dough, let rest 45 minutes, give a turn and let rise for another 45 minutes. (I used Dan Lepard’s method to rest and knead the dough – mix the dough, rest for 10 mins and knead for 10 sec. Have rest and knead for 2 more times. Then I let the dough rise for 1 hour and didn’t turn the dough more)

Shape oblong or round, proof for about 1 hour, slash and bake at 260°C for 5 minutes with steam, reduce heat to 220°C and bake for a further 45 minutes. Let cool completely.

Fruited Tea Loaf


A delicious bread studded with glace cherries, raisins, orange peels, lemon peels mixed with rum. I particularly love the toasted almonds inside which provided more texture and a balance of flavor to the really enriched bread. Did I say the crumb is very tender too? Yum… 

Recipe (2 small loaves)

(Adapted from “Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread” byRichard Bertinet)

i. Mixed fruits (Mix and leave overnight)

  • 75g Glace cherries, quartered
  • 25g mixed orange peels and lemon peels
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 75g raisins

ii. Others

  • 63g flaked almonds, slighted toasted
  • Extra flaked almonds for topping
  • Extra egg for egg wash

iii. Dough 

  • 150g full fat milk
  • 8g instant yeast
  • 250g bread flour
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 1 large egg

Prepare as general sweet doughs.

Then mix in the fruits and almonds.

First fermentation: 1 hour

Shape into 2 loaves

Final fermentation: 1.5 hours (until nearly double in size)

Brush with egg wash and topped with almond flakes

Bake: 200C for 25 mins

Rice Dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival

I like traditional food. Yesterday I’ve made some rice dumplings which are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, which is on 6th Jun this year).

There is story about the rice dumplings that their origin was to prevent fish eating the poet Qu Yuan’s body, who drown himself in river for failing to prevent his king against the expansionism by the other State during the Warring States Period.

Anyway, I think rice dumpling is decent, beautiful and delicious as food itself. There are different recipes and wrapping methods in different places of China, as well as both savory and sweet versions. Below is a simple and delicious savory recipe that I like.

Rice Dumpling (Zongzi) (makes 20 small / 10 large dumplings)

Ingredients

Glutinous rice 500g

Split mung beans (i.e. green beans) 250g

Pork belly 250g

Duck egg yolks 10pcs, cut in half for small dumplings

Dried bamboo leaves – 20 large pcs or 40 small pcs

Hay straw 10 pcs or 20 pcs (1 for each dumpling)

Marinate for pork belly: 1 tp salt, 1/2 tp five-spice powder

Marinate for glutinous rice: 2 tps salt, 2 tbps peanut oil

Marinate for mung beans: 1 tp salt

Steps:

1. Soak glutinous rice in water for 4 hours. Drain and mix with the salt and oil

2. Soak mung beans in water for 2 hours. Drain and mix with the salt

3. Cut the pork belly into 20pcs. Marinate with salt and five-spice powder for 2 hours

4. Soak to soften the dried bamboo leaves in hot water for few minutes

5. Wrap the dumplings as below video.

For large dumplings, put 2 tbps glutinous rice, 1 tbp mung beans, 2 pcs pork belly, 1 whole duck egg yolk, and further 2 tbps rice and 1 tbp beans, then wrap up.

For small dumplings, put 1 tbp glutinous rice, 1/2 tbp mung beans, 1 pc pork belly, 1/2 whole duck egg yolk, and further 1 tbp rice and 1/2 tbp beans, then wrap up.

6. To cook the dumplings, covered and boil the large dumplings in hot water for 3 hours, and small dumplings for 2 hours. The water would be absorbed by the glutinous rice quickly, hence will need to add additional hot water to the pot every 20-30 mins.

7. Serve hot with soy sauce or sugar! Yum!

Easy Chocolate Muffin

Easy & delicious~ Good when you want to have some fun in kitchen, or bake something easy for snacks, friends and family~ Stay moist on next day.

Recipe:

Mix in bowl (A):

130g all purpose flour

30g chocolate powder

1/4 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Mix in another bowl (B):

70g brown sugar

1 egg

50g melted butter

120g milk

Also: 50g chocoalte chips (C)

Mix A, B & C. Bake at 220C for 10 mins, then lower temp to 200C for another 5 mins

Adapted from a HK newspaper. Temperature should be 200C? Mine was 220C as I forgot to lower the temperature. Anyway the muffins rose high…Note that the mixture was wet, but the result was good. :)

Amaranth Sourdough

I love playing around with different grains. When I saw the Amaranth Flour from Bob’s Red Mill in the supermarket, I bought it without hesitation. There was very little information about amaranth flour in my bread books on hand. Luckily I found a formula on whole grain sourdough in MC’s blog. MC is a devoted blogger on bread who shares so much information about her SFBI workshops and passionately visited and introduced to us different bread bakers in her blog where I’ve learnt a lot. Do visit her site (though I guess many of you already know her). :)

 

Back to amaranth flour. It is gluten-free as it is not wheat and is produced from amaranth grain. It has a  smell of grass and raw carrots. The formula in MC’s blog was suggested by Safa Hamzé who was the instructor the SFBI workshop and has developed techniques working with whole grains. You can find some of the information in an article in “Whole Grain Mania” in Baking Management.

Hence this bread is made of 20% amaranth starter. The starter smelt less “grassy” when ripen but did not smell as sweet as starter made of wheat.There was no amaranth flour in the final dough and so overall amaranth flour was abot 9%. When baking the bread gained color pretty quickly and turned into beautiful reddish-brown. Safa mentioned in the Baking Management article that amaranth kept moisture well which I agree from my result this time. The crumb of my bread was nicely moist and did not stale as quickly on the next day. The crumb was also open and color was yellower. However I could not taste the slight lactic flavor as mentioned in the article. I could not taste the “grassy” flavor from the amaranth neither.

I am happy with the result of this time and agree with Safa that bakers can consider adding amaranth flour to their breads in order to help extending shelf life of the bread. Safa has suggested overall gluten free flour should remain under 15% in overall formulation,  and I will try playing around with 15% of amaranth flour next time.

This bread will be submitted to Yeastspotting. Let me know if you have more ideas or other information about amaranth or whole grain sourdough. :)

Recipe:

Bread flour 250g 100%
Water 163g 65%
Salt 5.5g (approx) 2.2%
Amaranth Starter (100% hydration) 50g 20%
Instant Yeast 1/8 tp (approx) 0.2%

*I baked at 220C for first 25mins, the bread gained much color that time. Then I lowered to 200C for another 10mins, and kept the bread in oven for another 5 mins with oven turned off.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers

%d bloggers like this: