Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cheesy Loaf & Lost Animals | We Knead to Bake #3

Two years backs while on a visit to Pondicherry, I chanced upon a turtle on the buffet table.
 No,no don't panic.
It was bread shaped like a turtle and it looked so perfect that my friend took a pic of it and even put it on her FB page.
That day I was in awe of baking and the baker who made it.
Little did I know that I would be trying out the same with the third challenge of  We Knead to Bake




It was a fulfilling experience as I shaped the dough into these animals. Ofcourse you can shape it into any of the animals you want but for me, turtle and hedge hog were definitely a stepup in the baking ladder.It was like life has come a full circle.Atleast baking life I mean :)

All thanks to the Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe using the Tangzhong way. I made a cheesy loaf with half of the dough as well. I had already tried out Tangzhong for another event here and it was fun all the way.

Hokkaido milk bread is known for its soft pillowy texture and it easy to make.First you make the tangzhong with 1 part flour and  4 part water and knead it with the rest of the ingredients to form a dough. The bread is mildly sweet and can be turned into sweet or savoury rolls/loaf. 

Ingredients:

Tangzhong:
All Purpose Flour :1/3 cup
Water: 1/2 cup 
Milk: 1/2 cup

Bread: 
AllPurpose Flour: 2.5 cups
Sugar: 3 tbsp
Salt:1 tsp
Milk Powder: 2 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp

Milk: 1/2 cup
Cream : 2  tbsp
Tangzhong: 1/3 cup (or half of the total made from above recipe

Butter: 25 gms soft

Preparation:

Tangzhong: 
Whisk together lightly the flour and water in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring/ whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.

Once you see lines starting to appear then take it off the stove, let it cool to room temperature and its ready to be used.

Bread:
Mix together the dry ingredients of flour,salt,sugar, yeast and milk powder in a deep wide bowl or food processor. Mix the wet items of milk,cream and tangzhong and add in the bowl.Add in the butter and knead to get a smooth non sticky dough. You might start with a sticky dough but knead will make it non sticky and smooth.

Form the dough into a ball and let it rise till doubled in a oiled bowl turning once to coat. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

After this rise, we can divide the dough and shape it. We can ecen go for stuffings and turn the bread into sweet or savoury. I went for shaped loaves of turtle and hedgehog. The other half I turned into a loaf by stuffing with cheese and herb.


Place the dough on your working surface. You don’t need flour to work or shape this dough. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins). Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. If you are making 1 loaf, divide your dough in 3 equal pieces. If you are making two smaller loaves, divide your dough into 6 equal pieces.

Cheese & Herb Loaf-

Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape, about 1/8” thick. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold.

Roll this folded dough with the rolling pin so the unfolded edges are stretched out to form a rectangle.
Spread your choice of filling atop this rectangle.I sprinkled pizza seasoning on the top and spread crumbled cheese cube on top of it.
Roll the rectangle from one short edge to the other, pinching the edges to seal well. Do this with each of the three larger pieces and place them, sealed edges down, in a well-oiled loaf tin.





Shaping the “hedgehogs” and “tortoise” rolls - 
 For the hedgehogs, divide the dough as for the rolls above and shape them so they are a little narrower at one end (the nose of the hedgehog). Use black currants or whatever you have (chocolate chips will melt and fall off) for the eyes and nose making sure they’re pressed well into the dough or they will fall off when baking. You can also use edible markers to draw the eyes and nose after baking the hedgehogs. Using small pointed scissors, randomly make small cuts all over the body (if the cuts are too shallow the pattern will disappear when the dough rises and bakes) for the “quills”.

To make the tortoise, take ball of dough and shape it into a smooth ball. Shape a head and four limbs from smaller pieces of dough. To make the “”shell/ back/ carapace” take another small piece of dough, and shape into a thin round (1/8” thick) and mark it with a knife. The marks should be deep enough but don’t cut through the dough. Wet the underside of the dough with water or milk and attach it to the “back” of your tortoise.


Cover with a towel and leave the loaf and animals to rise for about 45 minutes.


Carefully brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk (or cream) and bake them at 170C (325F) for about 20 to 30 minutes till they are done (if you tap them they’ll sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top. Let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm or cool.
Serve or else store in a bread bin. This bread stays soft and delicious even the next day.


Ahem, You can get a better explanation at Aparna's place  where she has tried out snail,alligator etc.



Excellent bread perfect as a snack or whenever you want to consume.




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