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Melon Pan 1

Melon Pan is a Japanese bread which is made as buns. They are soft, rich and somewhat sweet bread covered by a layer of crunch cookie. Pan is Japanese for bread but there is definitely no melon of any sort in this bread. I read about this bread only when Aparna posted it on FB for the “We need to Bake” event. I believe there are a couple of suggestions as to where the “Melon” in Melon Pan comes from. The sugar cookie topping is usually scored in a crosshatch pattern similar to the Japanese presentation of a melon wedge which is also cut into a crosshatch pattern, and bent backwards for serving.  The other suggestion is that appearance of the cracked surface of the cookie dough layer resembles a rock melon/ cantaloupe, and hence the name. Apparently, some Japanese bakers also use melon extract in these buns to add fragrance.

Melon Pan 2

Usually the buns are left plain, though chocolate chips can be added or it can also be filled with cream cheese,custard or pastry cream. Aparna mentioned that if you don’t eat egg, you can leave them out, but substitute for it in the bread dough with a tablespoon of yogurt or milk. However both doughs are made with egg as this gives the bread a better texture. The original recipe was adapted from A Bread a day .

Melon Pan 3

Melon Pan are best eaten the day they’re made. This recipe makes 8 burger bun sized Melon Pan. You can bake a half batch or even make smaller Pan by dividing both doughs into 10 or 12 instead of 8. Like I mentioned above these buns are mildly sweet, soft inside and has wonderful crunchy top. Please watch this video before you start making the bread,so you a good idea on how to shape the Melon Pan.

Melon Pan

Ingredients

  • For bread dough:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra as required)
  • 2 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 25gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • For cookie dough:
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 60gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar (increase to 1/3 cup for sweeter dough)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Castor sugar for dusting (granulated sugar will do too)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, powdered milk, yeast, and salt in the bowl (or the bowl of your machine if using one). In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and cold water together with a fork till well blended. Add this to the flour mixture in the bowl.
  2. Knead (on low speed in the machine) till it all come together as a dough and then (on medium speed) until you have a somewhat stiff dough. Add the sugar and knead well.
  3. Now add the butter and knead (first at slow speed and then on medium) until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough and the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough should well-kneaded to develop the gluten.
  4. Shape the dough into a round, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise till double in volume (about an hour or so).
  5. During this time make the cookie dough. In a bowl, cream the soft butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat till combined. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add this to the bowl. Also add the lemon zest. Beat together until just combined.
  6. Shape the dough into a cylinder (this will make the dough easy to divide and flatten out later), and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate the dough until required.
  7. Now go back to the bread dough. Once it has doubled in volume, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly grease your baking sheet or line it with parchment. Deflate the dough gently and divide it into 8 equal portions.
  8. Shape each portion into a smooth ball like for bread rolls. Work with one portion and keep the others covered so they don’t dry out.
  9. Unwrap the cookie dough. It should be reasonably firm now and easy to work with. Slice the cylinder of cookie dough into 8 equal portions. Use two pieces of plastic sheets or cling film to flatten the cookie dough. Place one slice/ round of cookie dough on a piece of plastic sheet/ cling film. Cover with another piece, and using a flat bottomed pan, press down on the dough to flatten it, until it is reasonably thin but not very much so.
  10. Carefully take on ball of bread dough (it will have puffed up a little so don’t deflate it), and place the circle of cookie dough on top of it. Gently press the cookie dough edge to the bread dough ball so that it covers the top and sides of the ball, but leaves the bottom open. Gently, holding the covered bread dough by the underside, press it into some castor sugar. Then using a scraper, or the blunt side of a knife, mark the top of the cookie dough side of the bread roll with a cross hatch/ diamond pattern. The pattern should be deep enough (otherwise it will disappear when the bread rises and bakes) without cutting through the cookie dough layer into the bread.
  11. Place this on the greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining cookie dough and bread dough balls. Let them rise for an hour.
  12. Bake them at 350F for about 25 minutes, until the tops of the Melon Pan just start turning brown. If you let them brown too much, the underside of the bread will burn. Transfer to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
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Thanks Aparna for the recipe.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Bialys 1 main

Ever since I read about Bialys in Julia Child’s book Baking I have been wanting to make these. Thanks to Aparna who came up with Bialys for the “We need to Bake” event. I baked these as soon as she announced it( which was last Summer ). But these pictures ended up being in my draft for this long.

Bialys 2 main

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I am really not happy with the pictures and wanted to re-do, but just haven’t had the time for it. These Bialys are best eaten when warm. Also, if you want to make  it slightly chewier, refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough. Anyways here it is warm chewy rolls with Caramelized Onions.

Bialys – Chewy Rolls with Carmelised Onion Topping

Yield: 8 Large Bialys

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (use bread flour if you can find it or all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Milk for brushing the dough
  • For the Onion Filling:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the dough first. If you are using bread flour or vital wheat gluten, then your dough will be tougher to knead so if you have a machine you can use, I would say go ahead and use it. Me, I always take the easier way out provided I get good results. If you’re doing this by hand, just adapt the instructions to that.
  2. Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.
  3. Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours. If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  4. In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the crackle, add the onions, and sauté over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sautéing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Add the garam masala and stir well. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.
  5. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough) till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.
  6. Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.
  7. Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.
  8. Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelized onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk.
  9. Bake the Bialys at 450F for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Bialys keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.
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Thanks for the recipe Aparna.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Yay I finally made it on time . It has been ages that I completed a Daring Baker’s Challenge on the revealing day. The name says it all - Beautiful Bread.
Bbread1
 Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of Chef in Disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

bbread3 As Sawsan mentioned this challenge seems complicated and intimidating but trust me it is not, its very easy. The original recipe was a sweet bread with cinnamon and sugar filling. We were allowed to make any kind of filling, I decided to use cheese( Italian cheese blend), seasoning and chili flakes. The bread tasted good but lacked little salt. The next time I would add more salt to the bread and also add some to the filling.

bbread4

You can come up with any kind of filling – just plain cheese, nutella,coco powder, dry coconut etc. The possibilities are endless. It takes less than ten minutes to prepare the dough and about fifteen minutes to shape them. So its definitely an easy one to try:)

bbread5

After shaping the bread I was left with some dough, so I decided to make rolls. I rolled the dough into a rectangle, sprinkled the filling on one half  side ; folded the dough; cut into strips;twisted them and finally baked it until golden brown.

bbread2 Thanks Sawsan for the Beautiful Bread. Here is the recipe.

Beautiful Bread – Daring Baker’s Feb’13 Challenge

Serving Size: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour, approximately
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, optional
  • For topping
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Between the layers
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • ½ cup cheese,herbs( I used Italian cheese blend and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and little chili flakes)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. Set aside . In another bowl sift the flour with the salt and the optional cardamom. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.
  2. Place it in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double (If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 390°F then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl).
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide the dough into 4 parts.
  4. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter.
  5. Brush the first layer with butter then sprinkle with cheese,herbs and chili flakes. Place the second layer on the first layer repeat the brushing and sprinkling and then do the same with the third layer. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.
  6. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles.Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle.The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip.
  7. Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside. Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet.Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together Note: If you would like to add the little bread coil in the center simply roll a piece of dough into a rope then form it into a little coil and place it in the center where the heads of the triangles meet .
  8. Brush the dough with milk. Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 500°F (rack in the middle). (Go for the hottest your oven will do). Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 500°F, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 400°F and bake for 15-20 more minutes (ovens do differ greatly, so the time may differ…..what you want is to bake it until the under side is golden brown).
  9. If you have a broiler (grill) in your oven. Turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden brown on top(I did not do this). Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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If you plan the sweet one, instead of herbs and cheese use cinnamon(4 tablespoon) and sugar(1/2 cup) also after baking just drizzle condensed milk (1 can) on top when warm. Also, I must say it would be alot easier to shape the bread if you are using simple sugar and cinnamon as filling. With the cheese filling, I felt it was slightly tricky to shape them.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Cake 1

I absolutely love surprises. Most of the presents that I receive have been been pre bday/anniversary presents.  My husband tries hard to keep them up, but ends up giving in hours and sometimes days before the actual “moment”.  I somehow believe the surprise element adds a whole new dimension and makes gifting experience even more memorable. How I wish I could change this characteristic of his!  This Valentines day for me was no different. He got some stuff for me and supposedly hid it on the trunk. On our way to the dinner, he blurts out what he has got for me and also ended up saying that it was right inside the trunk!  Huh! Such are his skills.

cake 3

Anyways coming to the recipe : Aparna chose a Beinenstich Cake for “We need to Bake” for the month of Dec’13. For this month she asked us to bake anything of our choice or work on any missed post. So I decided to go for this German delicacy.  Bienenstich means “bee sting” in German and probably got its name from the honey flavored topping that it typical of this yeasted cake. It is made with an enriched Brioche like dough. This yeasted cake is filled with pastry cream mixed with whipped cream. Instead of the custard powder as mentioned in the recipe I used white chocolate pie and pudding mix along with whipped cream. The filling was not stable and strong enough to handle the weight of the top layer,  it oozed out a bit. So using custard powder is the best choice. Of course the other options are to use Buttercream or Bavarian cream.

Cake 2

Also once done it gets difficult to cut the cake because of the top layer, so it’s better to pre-cut the almond toffee layer into slices; Place the base on a serving platter, make a collar around it with a double parchment paper (which should be taller than the height of the cake) and then spread the filling on the lower layer; finally place the pre-cut layer on the top and refrigerate for at least couple of hours before serving.

Bienenstich Kuchen (German Bee Sting Cake)

Yield: One 8" cake

Serving Size: serves 8 - 10

Ingredients

  • For the Pastry Cream Filling:
  • 250ml milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vanilla flavored custard powder or any other as per choice
  • 200ml cream
  • 1 tbsp corn-starch
  • For the Dough:
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 6 tablespoons +2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • For the Honey-Almond Topping:
  • 3 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon butter butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup almonds, sliced

Instructions

  1. Make the custard for the filling first. This can be made the previous day and refrigerated till required. Keep aside 1/4 cup of milk, and put the remaining milk and the sugar in pan. Over medium heat, bring this to a boil while stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. In the meanwhile, dissolve the custard powder in the 1/4 cup of milk. Add this in a stream, to the boiling milk and keep whisking so that no lumps are formed.Keep whisking until the custard becomes very thick. Take the pan off the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. Whisk it on and off so it stays smooth. If it does become lumpy after cooling, use a hand blender to make it smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Once you are ready to fill the Bienenstich, whip 200ml of cream till soft peaks form. Then add the corn-starch and whip till it forms stiff peaks. Whisk the custard to make sure it is smooth. Gently fold the cream into the custard. If you feel it is too soft, refrigerate for a couple of hours and then use.
  3. To make the dough, heat the milk until it is quite hot but not boiling. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the milk, stirring it until the better melts completely. Let it cool a little.
  4. In the meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well and then add the egg (leave the egg out if you don’t use it). Run again till the egg has also mixed well. Now add the butter-milk mixture (it should be warm, not hot) and the then knead till it forms a smooth and soft (loose) brioche-like dough that’s just short of sticky. It should come way from the sides of the bowl and be easy to handle.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover loosely and let it rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This dough will rise quite well but not to double or as much as your regular bread dough.
  6. Deflate the dough, and shape again to a smooth ball. Place it in a 8” spring form cake tin lined with parchment. It is important to do this otherwise the topping will make the bread/ cake sticky and difficult to unmould. Flatten the dough a little, pressing down lightly so that the dough fits the cake tin. It doesn’t matter if its not touching the sides like batter does. Let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. It will not rise very much and look a little puffy.
  7. Prepare the topping while the dough rises. Melt the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pan, over medium heat. Keep stirring frequently and it will start bubbling up. Let it cook for about 3 minutes or so until it turns to a light beige colour. Add the sliced almonds, and stir well till the almonds are well coated. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit. The mixture will become quite thick.
  8. Now get ready to bake the bread/ cake. Once the dough has risen, use a spoon take bits if the topping (it will be quite thick, like a sticky fudge) and distribute it uniformly over the surface. If there are small gaps they will get covered once the bread/ cake is baking.
  9. Bake at 350F for about 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. A cake tester through the centre should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for abpout 15 minutes. Then gently loosen the sides with a spatula and unmould. Let it cool completely on a rack.
  10. When it has cooled completely, slice the cake into two equal layers carefully, using a very sharp knife. Spread the pastry cream on the lower layer and top with the upper layer and refrigerate till ready to serve.
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Thanks Aparna for the recipe:)

Enjoy!

Nina

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