Category Archives: Bread

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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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/03/melon-pan/

Thanks Aparna for the recipe.

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

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.

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).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide the dough into 4 parts.

Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter.

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.

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.

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 .

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).

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.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/02/beautiful-bread-daring-bakers-feb13-challenge/

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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Foccacia 3

Just when I thought we are nearing Spring we got hit with another snow storm. It snowed like crazy yesterday. My husband’s car got stuck in the drive way this morning. We called up for help and the snow plow services came to our rescue. My daughter had to miss her school today. Huh..how much winter affects daily life. Let me not crib again!!

Foccacia 2

As mentioned in my previous post I am busy catching up on events and challenges that I have missed in the past. For the month of January, Aparna made us bake Focaccia Caprese. Focaccia is said to be a true stroke of an Italian genius. It’s incredibly simple to make with just few ingredients. I have baked this bread a few times with different toppings. Do check out my Spice Focaccia with onion and Pepper topping. I used cheese for the first time and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Since I had baked this bread a little longer, the cheese had melted completely.

Foccacia 1

Also, I feel that the secret to a great Focaccia is the Olive oil, it has to be a really good one!  With all the garlic, herbs, olive oil and cheese…this one is fully loaded with flavors and this recipe is a definitely a keeper. The original recipe was adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

Focaccia Caprese

Yield: 2 Medium size Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • A little more olive oil for brushing dough
  • For the Topping:
  • 4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into1/4” slices**
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • For the Herbed Oil:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Instructions

First make the herbed oil. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.

Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones like I did. For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I used an 11" by 7" tins) and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.

Transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

Bake at 410 F for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 450F.

Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/02/focaccia-caprese/

 Note – * If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

**If you don’t get fresh buffalo mozzarella use regular mozzarella instead, the kind we use on pizzas. Otherwise, use any “melty/ stringy” kind of cheese you can find.

Thanks Aparna for the recipe:)

Enjoy!

Nina

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Honeycomb 4 main
Aparna always comes up with interesting breads for the “We need to Bake”. This time it was KHALIAT NAHAL ( HONEYCOMB BUNS OR BEE’S HIVE BUNS ).These are cute little buns structured in the form of a Bee Hive. The whole grain health bug has caught me too. I have started making an attempt to use whole grain though I haven’t been able to completely make the switch.

Honeycomb 3 main
The original recipe called for 2½ cups all-purpose flour. I have substituted it with 2 cups of whole wheat flour and reduced the milk to ¾ cup instead of 1. While baking with low protein flours like Whole Wheat, adding Vital Wheat Gluten really helps. Since its purely gluten it goes a long way to improve the elasticity of the dough and rising. The wheat buns were a little dense which was expected,thanks to the flour!!.But if you are used to eating wheat breads you wouldn’t be disappointed with this one. I believe they are traditionally made sweet and glazed with honey flavored syrup. I am more of a savory person so ended up baking the Savory buns. While thinking about filling, Caramelized Onions were the first to cross my mind. They are my favorite!!! I love this bun, the filling in every bite balances the flavor and the taste of the buns.

Honeycomb buns main
The below mentioned recipe makes 18 small buns which is good to go with a 9” round pan. Usually cream cheese is used as a filling; but there are plenty of other choices like feta cheese/paneer(cottage cheese)/cheese. And for the Sweet ones: Chocolate,dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut are great options.

Honeybuns 2 main Incase you plan to make the sweet one, here is the recipe.Sugar Syrup/ Glaze : 3/4 cup sugar;1/2 cup water;A pinch of saffron; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 teaspoon lime/ lemon juice. Make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed. When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the “Honeycomb”. The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top. Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. I plan to try the sweet one next time.

Whole Wheat Honeycomb Buns with Carmelized Onion Filling

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon milk for brushing the dough
  • 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
  • For the filling:
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Mint leaves, a few
  • OR
  • 1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice

Instructions

Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt, sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.

Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get this consistency of bread dough. I used all of 2 1/2 cups of flour for mine.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat completely with the oil. Cover and let it rise till double in volume, for about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces. Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 350F for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.

For the Filling – Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions until pink. Add the sugar which will help to caramelize them. When they are almost done, add the salt; pepper and mint leaves. Mix well.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/whole-wheat-honeycomb-buns-with-carmelized-onion-filling/

Thanks Aparna for the recipe.

Enjoy!!

Nina

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