On The Fence Brownies

Thanks to my friend, Helen from Bakers Anonymous for turning me on to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups (525g) sugar
1 ¼ cups (155g) Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (180g) flour
1 cup (170g) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.

Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (110°F to 120°F) but not bubbling; it will become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth, then add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 

Black Sesame Milk Bread

I made two loaves of Japanese Milk Bread from Food 52 with some black sesame paste from Studio Baked.

Tangzhong:

6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons bread flour

For the rest:
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
320 grams bread flour, plus up to 30 grams more
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or milk powder (optional)
2 eggs, 1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 splash milk or water, for the egg wash

For the black sesame paste:
½ cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened

INSTRUCTIONS

Tangzhong
In a small saucepan, whisk together 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of bread flour until no lumps remain. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It should thicken to a gel-like consistency after just a few minutes. As soon as lines appear in the mixture when stirred, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small, clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

Next, heat the milk briefly to just above room temperature, about 110° F or lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In the meantime, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the tangzhong, cream, condensed milk (or milk powder), and one egg.

When it’s ready, add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, and whisk gently, just to incorporate. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in all of the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose, shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a semi-smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky — sprinkle the extra 1/4 cup flour, a tablespoon or so at a time, over the dough and your hands as you knead to keep it from sticking too much. I usually use at least 2 tablespoons and often up to the full amount, but you may not need it all.

Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading after each addition. Add the second tablespoon of butter only after the first has been evenly incorporated. The dough will be slippery and messy at this point, but just keep kneading and it should eventually form a soft and pliable dough that’s easy to work with. Knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl with plenty of room and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until well doubled.

Once the dough is doubled gently deflate the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball and roll them out into an oval using a rolling pin on a well floured surface. Fold the right side (lengthwise) over to the middle and then fold the left side (lengthwise) over to the middle so both sides meet but are not overlapped. Roll the dough out into an oval again and then spread with black sesame paste. Starting from the edge of the short side, roll the dough up into a cylinder like you would roll up a sleeping bag.

Place each piece seam side down in the prepared loaf pan and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise for another hour or so. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the dough seems ready, test it by pressing it gently with one finger; when the indentation bounces back slowly but remains visible, the dough is ready to bake.

Whisk your second egg with a splash of milk or water, and brush the egg wash over the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Internal temp should be 200 degrees F.

For the black sesame paste: 
Finely grind the black sesame seeds in a spice grinder or small food processor. Add the sugar and softened butter. Pulse to make a paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside.

You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Baker Bettie’s Baguettes

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I keep trying new recipes and I like this one a lot.  I decided to brine the breads right before they went in the oven and it was delicious.

DIRECTIONS

Poolish
89g bread flour
89g water slightly warm (about 90 F)
1g quick rise yeast

Dough
209g bread flour
62g all-purpose flour
163g water, slightly warm (about 90 F)
1g quick rise yeast
6g Kosher salt

Brine
3g kosher salt
40g warm water

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the Poolish:
The night before making your baguettes or at least 6 hours before, make the poolish. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the poolish. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours, but preferably 8-10 hours.

Combine the Dough:
In the morning, add the rest of the ingredients for the baguette dough into the bowl with the poolish. Stir until well combined. It will appear as if there is not enough liquid at first, but as you work it together it will become a sticky dough. You may need to use your hands to knead it slightly to hydrate all the flour. As soon as all of the flour is hydrated and you have a shaggy dough with no dry spots, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Stretch and Fold:
After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, you will do a series of three stretch and folds with the dough. With the dough still in the bowl, lightly dampen your hand (this will prevent the dough from sticking) and pull on one side of the dough and stretch it up and then fold it down over the top of the dough. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and do the same with the next side. Do this again until you have stretched all four sides of the dough up and over on itself. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 more minutes. Stretch and fold the dough for the second round. Cover and let rest for 30 more minutes. Stretch and fold for the third round. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 more minutes. This is a two hour process from when the dough is mixed to when it is ready to be shaped. Four 30 minute resting periods with three stretch and folds in between.

Prep the Oven & Other Equipment:
During the final resting period, prep your pans and your oven. Position one oven rack in the very bottom position in the oven and another rack in the middle position. Place a cast iron skillet or another heatproof skillet on the bottom rack and a baking stone, baking steal, or a sheet pan turned upside down on the middle rack. Preheat your oven to 500F (260C). You want your oven and pans to be heating for at least an hour before the bread goes into the oven. You will also need to set up a lightly floured lint free towel or baker’s couche to let your shaped dough rise on. Additionally, prepare a pizza peel or an unrimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Pre-Shape & Rest the Dough:
If you have a scale, weigh the dough and divide it in two equal pieces by cutting it (do not tear it). Each piece should be about 305 grams each. You can also eyeball this if you do not have a scale. On a very lightly floured surface, press one piece of dough out into a rectangle and gently stretch the short ends out. Fold each short end into the center and press down with your fingertips to seal. Fold each long end into the center and press with your fingertips to seal, creating a seam in the dough. Set the dough aside and repeat this process with the second piece. Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Shape into Baguettes:
With the seam side up, press the first piece of dough into a thin rectangle. Starting at the top left edge, begin folding down the dough about 1/2″ (1.5 cm) and sealing it with your fingertips, working your way across the top. Repeat this process, continuing to fold down on the dough and sealing to create a tight log. Once you have a thin, tight log, turn it seam side down. Using both hands, roll the dough on the counter-top, working it into a long thin snake shape. Try to keep the dough as even as possible and work it into about a 14″ (36 cm) baguette. Move the piece of dough to your prepared towel or baker’s couche. Push the towel or couche up on both sides of the baguette to create folds to hold the dough’s shape. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough.

Let the Dough Rise:
Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap and let them rest for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size.

Transfer the Dough & Score:
Place a baguette board or a small cutting board right beside one of the baguettes. Gently pull up on the towel to flip the baguette over onto the board. Move the baguette over to the parchment lined pizza peel or unrimmed baking sheet. Gently flip the baguette onto the parchment paper, so that the seam side is down. Repeat this to move the second baguette over. Using a very sharp knife or a bread lame, cut 4-5 slashes in the top of the baguettes.The slashes should go diagonally and at a slight angle, going about 1/4″ (.5 cm) deep. Mix the salt with the warm water and brush on to the loaves before baking.

Bake:
Fill a small bowl with about 2 cups of ice cubes. You want to work quickly and carefully when transferring the baguettes. Open the oven and gently slide the whole piece of parchment paper with the baguettes onto the preheated baking stone or sheet pan. Quickly pour the ice cubes into the preheated skillet and immediately shut the oven door. Turn the oven temperature down to 475F (246 C). Bake for about 25-40 minutes. It is traditional for baguettes to have a very dark crust. Check them at 25 minutes and decide if you would like a darker crust. I bake mine for 40 minutes for a dark, almost charred, crust.

Cool:
Allow the baguettes to cool before slicing. This will completely develop their flavor. Baguettes are best when eaten the same day. However, leftover baguette can be wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Orange & Ginger Choux

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I love the smell of orange and ginger in the morning. I started them last night and filled them in the morning.  Don’t really want them sitting around too long.  But I doubt they will.

INGREDIENTS

Orange & Ginger Filling
530 ml milk
3-4 pieces of fresh ginger
75 g egg yolks (about 5 eggs)
90 g sugar
60 g cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Zest of two oranges
1 vanilla bean pod
270 g heavy whipping cream

Choux
375 ml water
150 g unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
240 g flour
6 eggs (335 g)

DIRECTIONS

Orange & Ginger Filling
In a medium pot, heat milk with chunks of ginger and seeds from vanilla bean pod until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and then strain out ginger.

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks and sugar then whisk in cornstarch and ginger until smooth.

Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture bowl while whisking constantly. Return the combined mixture to the pot and continually whisk on a medium heat until thickened.  Once it reaches desired consistency, add orange zest.  Refrigerate until completely cooled.

Place pastry cream in a large flat container (for quicker cooling time) and cover with plastic wrap making sure that the wrap touches the cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Choux
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment and brush on some water. Preheat oven to 400F.

Add water, butter and salt to a pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted, take off heat and whisk in flour.  Once smooth, return to heat and cook out the water.  Use a wooden spoon to keep moving the mixture until you see a film start to develop on the bottom of the pot.

Remove from heat and add to stand mixer with paddle attachment.  Run at medium for a bit to cool down flour mixture. Once at about 160 F, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated and smooth.

Put choux into pastry bag with piping tip (Ateco #865) and pipe out 2″ mounds onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400F and then lower temperature to 375F but do not open door.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes more until browned all over.  Slice off tops and let cool on baking sheet.

Assembly
Whip cream to stiff peaks in stand mixer then add chilled pastry cream and whisk until combined.  Put in pastry bag with star tip and pipe into bottom half of choux shells.  Cover with lid.

 

Pain au chocolat 1.0

Consider this the beginnings of my pain au chocolat adventure.  I bought 300 chocolate batons over the weekend so I’ve got plenty of runway. I started with combining two recipes. One from King Arthur Flour and one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

INGREDIENTS

Dough
340 g of milk
50 g sugar
539 g flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
57 g unsalted butter, softened

Butter
340 g unsalted butter

Assembly
32 Chocolate batons
1 large egg + 1 yolk for egg wash

DIRECTIONS

Dough
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar, 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt, and butter. Mix until fairly evenly blended.

Add the remaining flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out and knead it until it just starts to smooth out. You don’t want to over-knead it at this point, since it’s going to spend a considerable amount of time rising.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until puffy.

After an hour at room temperature, refrigerate the dough (in its covered bowl) for 8 to 16 hours; overnight is your best bet.

Butter
Just before the dough is ready to come out of the fridge, prepare the butter for rolling into the dough. Cut each of the three sticks in half lengthwise and place all six pieces on a floured piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on the top surface of the butter, cover with another piece of paper or plastic and gently pound it with a rolling pin until it becomes malleable. Then roll the butter out until it’s about 8″ x 8″.

To assemble the rolls: Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 12″ square. Place the butter in the center of the dough at a 45° angle; it’ll look like a diamond inside the square. Fold the four flaps of dough into the center to enclose the butter, pinching them together as best you can.

Roll the dough into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle. Fold one third into the center, then the opposite third over the first, like you were folding a business letter; this is called a letter fold. Turn the dough 90°, roll it into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle again, and do another letter fold.

Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for an hour. Remove the dough from the fridge, and give it two more letter folds: rolling, folding, turning 90°, rolling, and folding. Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours, until you’re ready to use it).

Assembly
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough out into an 8×20-inch rectangle. Use your fingers if you need to. Once again, the dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough in half vertically. Each skinny rectangle will be 4 inches wide. Then cut 3 even slices horizontally, yielding 8 4×5-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise so you have 16 2×5-inch rectangles. Work with one rectangle at a time. Using your fingers or a rolling pin, stretch it to be about 8 inches long. Do this gently as you do not want to flatten the layers. Place a few small pieces of chocolate in a single layer at one end and tightly roll the dough up around the chocolate. Make sure the end is on the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the shaped croissants on 2 lined baking sheets, 8 per sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature (no warmer! I suggest just keeping on the counter) for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour or up to 3 hours. I prefer the shaped croissants to be cold going into the oven. When you poke the dough with your finger, it will slowly bounce back. That means they are ready to be baked.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).

Bake the croissants: Bake until croissants are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. If croissants show signs of darkening too quickly, reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Remove chocolate croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. They will slightly deflate as they cool. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

Baked Alaska

Pistachio Cake, vanilla ice cream, berry jam, lemon semifreddo, and meringue. This is decadent, delicious, and worth the time it takes to make it. I started with the NYT recipe and I added a layer of berry jam and vanilla ice cream.  You need to start this a day ahead of time.

Pistachio Cake
150 g butter
150 g egg whites, room temp
25 g almonds, toasted, cooled and finely ground
80 g whole pistachios, toasted, cooled and finely ground
160 g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
50 g flour
10 grams pistachio paste

Lemon Semifreddo
198 g sugar
133 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
30 ml water
6 large egg yolks
zest of 3 lemons
½ teaspoon vanilla
355 ml heavy cream

Ice Cream
cups heavy cream
cup whole milk
⅔ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
large egg yolks

Jam
1 cup strawberries
1 cup raspberries
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Meringue
396 g sugar
245 g egg whites

DIRECTIONS

Cake
Brown butter and let cool to room temperature.

Heat oven to 350F. Line an 8” round cake pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In stand mixer. Whisk egg whites until tripled in volume/stiff peaks.

On slow, whisk in toasted almonds, pistachios, sugar, salt and flour. Whisk in the pistachio paste until fully incorporated, then the browned butter.

Pour cake into prepared pan and bake until set, 20 to 25 minutes. All the cake to cool completely then remove from pan. Once cake is completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside until you are ready to assemble.

Semifreddo
Line a 5-6 cup metal bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. In a small saucepan combine sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and water.  Let the liquid saturate the sugar before setting on heat. Cook over medium heat until mixture reached 250 degrees (10 minutes). Do not stir or swirl sugar. Cover with a tightfitting lid for a few seconds to create moisture if needed.

Whisk egg yolks in a bowl of an electric mixer at medium until they are thick and pale in color about 5 minutes.

When sugar reaches 250 remove from heat.  With the mixer on low speed carefully pour the sugar into the yolks down the side of the bowl. Whisk until fully incorporated.

Add zest, vanilla and remaining lemon juice and increase the speed to medium. Contine to beat until the mixture is completely cool; transfer to a large bowl.

Wipe out mixing bowl then whisk the heavy cream until it hold stiff peaks.  Gently mix the whipped cream into the lemon-sugar mixture util fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

Jam
Place berries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Mash using a potato masher while bringing to a full boil over high heat. Boil hard for 5 minutes or so.  Take off heat and let cool before putting in the refrigerator.  Once chilled, spoon on a layer on top of the semifreddo and return to the freezer.

Ice Cream
In a small pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice cream machine.  When done, cover the semifreddo and jam layer with the ice cream.  Smooth bottom and freeze until ready to assemble.

Meringue
Bring a full of inch of water to a boil in a wide pot. Using a double boiler combine the sugar and egg whites and whisk until sugar dissolves about 5 minutes. Ru your finger across the bottom and make sure grains are dissolved.

Transfer mixture to stand mixer and whisk on high until the meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks and no longer warm.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with large star tip.

Assembly

Remove semifreddo/jam/ice cream from mold and invert on top of cake creating a dome.

Working from the bottom, pipe the meringue around the entire dome.

Freeze until ready to serve.

Using a kitchen torch, brown until toasted all over.

Orange and Pistachio Sable

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Sables are one of my favorite types of cookies. This is a great flavor combination thanks to Pamela’s Products. 

INGREDIENTS

215 g flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
227 g unsalted butter
95 g powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange
65 g chopped and roasted pistachios

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together flour and salt and put aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla and orange zest and mix well.  At low speed, mix in egg white.  Add dry ingredients in three portions mixing on low speed scraping down sides in between additions. Add nuts and mix into dough.

Scrape out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray. Shape into a log approximately 12″x12″x2″. Refrigerate for approximately 1-2 hours.  Smoothsides and clean up the shape.  Warp again and leave overnight.

In the morning, unwrap and roll in decorative sugar gently pressing it into the dough. Wrap again and chill for another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Slice dough into 1/4″ slices and place on to cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool before moving to wire rack.

Fig Marie Bars

My neighbor has an awesome fig tree.  There will be a few batches of these. I used the dough from this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

Filling
450 g figs
150 g sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Dough
140 g unsalted butter
110 g light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
30 g honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 egg yolks
295 g flour

DIRECTIONS

For the Jam: Cut the stems and peel some of the skin away ( you don’t need to remove all of it). Place them in the bowl of a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer the figs to a medium sized heavy pot.  Stir in the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until it is a jam-ice consistency.  It will turn brown and begin to fall off the spoon in bigger clumps.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment add butter, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolks one at a time and continue to beat until smooth. Sprinkle in the flour and mix until is is just combined.  Form in a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Fill piping bag with fig jam. Preheat oven to 350F.

Take out dough and split in half.  On well floured parchment roll out to a 12″ x 12″ square.  Cut into 3″ strips.  Pipe a line of fig jam down the middle of each strip leaving a 1″ border all around.  Refrigerate on baking sheet as you roll out the 2nd sheet on well floured parchment to the same size cut in 3″ strips.  Place one of the 4 strips over the top of the strips with the jam. Press down to seal the sides.

Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes.  Immediately cut each strip into 1″ pieces with a sharp knife.  Transfer then to an covered container.  The cookies with become soft from the steam. Leave for at least 6 hours or overnight to age.

Coffee & Chocolate Breakfast Bread

fullsizeoutput_2f38.jpegChocolate and coffee are best when shared. You just have to make a huge tear & share loaf so you have enough.

INGREDIENTS

Dough
68 g warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
120 g warm whole milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
12 tablespoons butter melted
535 g flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
75g unsalted butter (very soft)
108g brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
pinch of salt

Frosting
2 ounces cream cheese softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream to thin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Warm milk and set aside.  Melt butter and set aside.

Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir until combined and let get foamy for about 4 minutes.

Add the warm milk, salt, eggs and melted butter to the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Gradually mix in the flour, espresso powder, and cocoa powder until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Kneed into a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and add the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl and let sit for an hour or until it has doubled.

For the filling, add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt to a bowl and mix well.

Lightly dust a surface with flour. Punch down the dough and roll it into a rectangle about 10 x 22 inches. Spread the butter evenly over the dough. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the butter and gently push it into the butter. Beginning with the long side roll it into a tight log.

Place the log, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using scissors cut diagonal slices almost to the bottom of the log. Arrange the cut sections so that they lean to alternating sides. Gently push the dough together to help compress the log.  Immediately cover the dough and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the dough out from the fridge and brush with a tablespoon melted butter. Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes.

While the bread is baking, whisk the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Add milk until your reach desired consistency.

 

 

Spiced Japanese Milk Bread

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I always struggle a bit with enriched doughs but they always taste great.  This is one of my better ones. I added some of my own spices to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour

Dough
320g unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
50g cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup scalded whole milk (cooled)
5 whole pieces of star anise
1 large egg
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter

Cinnamon-sugar filling
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1.5 Tbsp. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Tangzhong
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.

Dough

Place milk and star anise in saucepan scald by storing occasionally and letting the milk use start to foam and boil.  Take it off the heat and let cool.  Scrape off skin and strain out star anise then measure out 1/2 cup.

Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms.

Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Cinnamon-sugar filling:

Cream the butter with the sugar, and then add the cinnamon. If easier, you can mix the ingredients with your fingers. You will get a moist, chunky/sandy mixture.

Gently deflate the dough, squishing out all the bubbles you can, and pat it out to a 9×15 rectangle.

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar filling on top of the dough, leaving a one-inch border all around the filling. Pat out the filling so it adheres to the dough. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. water over the filling.

Starting from a short end of the dough, roll up the dough tightly until you get a jellyroll. Pinch the seam closed with your fingers. Place the jellyroll, seam-side down, in a lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy. Brush the loaf with milk or egg wash and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.