Homemade Japanese milk bread loaf recipe (Shokupan)

 

Ever since visiting Japan in 2016, I’ve been wanting to replicate the soft white bread loaf omnipresent across the country. It’s the fluffiest and most delicate bread I have ever eaten. It’s not like brioche, it doesn’t have the same richness. Japanese milk bread is white bread indulgence of the most feathery kind.

Japanese milk bread shokupan
Japanese milk bread: shokupan

“Japan is generally regarded as being a rice-based food culture. However, bread — or pan in Japanese, derived from the Portuguese word pão — is eaten almost as widely. […] The most ubiquitous type of bread in Japan is the white and pillowy square-shaped bread called shokupan, which simply means “eating bread.” Made of white flour, yeast, milk or milk powder, butter, salt and sugar, shokupan is both loved and taken for granted by most. […] The ideal texture for the crumb of a shokupan is mochimochi — soft yet resilient and bouncy, rather like mochi (pounded-rice cakes).”
Source: Japan’s secret love of a breakfast loaf

Japanese Milk Bread in Tokyo
Japanese Milk Bread in Tokyo
The City Bakery Tokyo
The City Bakery Tokyo
Lotus Baguette Tokyo
Lotus Baguette Tokyo
Mini plastic bread in Japan
Mini plastic bread in Japan – wonderful!

I’ve taken the last few weeks to research the method behind the Japanese milk bread loaf. Much like Felicity Cloake and her ‘How to cook the perfect…’ quest, I’ve been trying different recipes in my search for the perfect homemade Japanese milk bread recipe.

An additional reason for looking into Japanese milk bread just now is that I wanted to learn how to bake this lofty white loaf for my little baby daughter, to make eggy bread and baby pizza slices.

History of Japanese milk bread

Milk bread was developed in Japan in the 20th century, using Tangzhong, a warm flour-and-water paste traditionally used in China to make buns with a soft, springy texture and tiny air bubbles. According to this article in the Japan Times, people started to take bread seriously as a meal staple rather than a snack after the violent Rice Riots of 1918.

The Chopstick Chronicles mention that the Yudane method  subsequently originated in Japan and became a widespread and popular way to bake bread after Yvonne Chen introduced Tangzhong roux as a secret ingredient in her book called “Bread Doctor”.

Japanese Milk Bread Recipe

I looked into both the Tangzhong and Yudane methods of baking,  and want to briefly outline the difference between these methods (thank you to Lynn Lim for this informative Facebook thread). For my Shokupan recipe – after many experiments using both methods –  I’ve settled on a combination of this version of Shokupan and the Yudane process.

Yudane Method

  • This method uses boiling water to scald the flour.
  • Ratio 1 part flour to 1 part water.
  • Use after at least 4 hours in the fridge.
  • Use 20% of the flour to make Yudane.

Tangzhong Method

  • For this method, cold water and flour are combined and then heated to 65 degrees Celsius.
  • Ratio 1 part flour to 5 parts water.
  • Can be used once cooled.
  • Use 7% of the flour to make Tangzhong.

What does authentic Japanese milk bread taste like?

The texture is soft and airy, wonderfully tender. Having tasted milk bread while in Japan, it shouldn’t taste like a super enriched dough (e.g. like brioche). Instead, it should taste like a pure wheat and milk based bread and this is why I have not included eggs in my ingredient list and why I only use a minimal amount of butter in my recipe. It is however important to use whole milk (instead of low fat milk).

“The Yudane breads were very soft just after baking, and the staling (temporal changes in hardness) and starch retrogradation of the breads were somewhat reduced compared to the control. Further, the breads showed generally larger cohesiveness, i.e., the index of bread elasticity. Kinetic analysis indicated reduced bread staling and starch retrogradation rates compared to control. The data showed that the slow staling and unique texture of the Yudane breads were mainly due to the high moisture content, saccharide contents, and flour amylases-modification of swollen and gelatinized starch in the breads, which was related to the higher water absorption and starch swelling and gelatinization levels of the added Yudane dough.”
Source: The Staling and Texture of Bread Made Using the Yudane Dough Method

How to eat Japanese milk bread?

It tastes great with most things, but I like to have it simply with salted butter.

I had it with panko*-breadcrumbed chicken (and mustard) while in Japan which was delicious, the two bread slices acting as wonderful pillows around the meat.
*Panko breadcrumbs are made from Japanese milk bread 🙂

Japanese milk bread sandwich with Panko breadcrumb chicken
Japanese milk bread sandwich with Panko breadcrumb chicken

“You can enjoy shokupan in many ways, including some uniquely Japanese concoctions such as sandwiches filled with potato salad or fruit and cream. Do try thickly sliced Kinki-region style toast too. Crispy on the surface and mochimochi on the inside, it’s a great example of a food imported from the West that has been firmly adapted to suit Japanese tastes.”
Source: Japan’s secret love of a breakfast loaf

Japanese milk bread recipe

A lot of recipes I tried and tested used sugar (up to 60g) but I have decided against the use of sugar in this recipe, especially since I wanted to mainly develop this for use for the whole family including our little baby.

The Yudane method works so remarkably well to make soft and fluffy bread and makes the bread last longer because the heated gelatinised starch in the flour keeps the moisture inside the bread and it will make the bread soft and last longer. 

Japanese milk bread crumb shokupan
Japanese milk bread crumb

Japanese milk bread ingredients

Having experimented with both the Tangzhong and Yudane methods I feel that the Yudane method produces better results. I have also experimented with adding more butter and an egg, but prefer the egg-less version with less added butter. I’ve also omitted sugar from my recipe as I prefer a non-sweetened version, for taste and for health reasons.

For the Yudane

  • 100g boiling water
  • 100g white bread flour

For the main dough

  • 400g white bread flour
  • 9g salt
  • 7g dry yeast
  • 300g full fat milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf
  • 20g dry milk powder (optional)
  • 35g unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for buttering the pan

How to make Japanese milk bread

  1. In a small bowl, measure out the flour and pour over the boiling water. Mix until well combined. I use a silicone spatula to do that. Cover the bowl and let the the Yudane cool down to room temperature.
  2. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the main dough ingredients and add the cooled Yudane. Knead for about 10 minutes until completely smooth and elastic. Don’t cut the kneading time short!
  4. Cover the bowl and leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour. The dough should rise well during that time.
  5. Butter a bread tin.
  6. Deflate the dough and divide it into two equal parts to make loaf. Shape the two parts and place them into the pan, smooth side up.
  7. Cover with a plastic bag to keep the moisture in and keep at room temperature until fully proofed, about 1.5 hours.
  8. Brush the loaf with milk and bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 93°C.
  9. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Dampfnudeln recipe (with steamed apples) #BreadBakers

 

Dampfnudeln are a regular Friday lunchtime dish in my grandmother’s kitchen. Bread buns are placed on a bed of apples and steamed on the hub for about 30 minutes. They are incredibly light and delicious and I wanted to share the Dampfnudeln recipe here on the occasion of this month’s #BreadBakers theme ‘Steamed Buns’.

Dampfnudeln
Dampfnudeln

The Austrian/German delicacy also featured in the Great British Bake Off 2016 as a technical challenge.

Dampfnudeln in pan
Dampfnudeln in the steamy pan

Dampfnudeln Recipe

My granny’s recipe, based on Dampfnudel variation from the Innviertel in Austria and I think this version of the recipe is also popular in neighbouring Bavaria. The Dampfnudeln are steamed on a bed of lightly spiced apples. This recipe provides 6 portions.

Dampfnudeln steamed buns
Dampfnudeln resting and waiting to be ‘revealed’ 🙂
Dampf Noodles
Check out that airy crumb!
Dampfnudeln with apples
Dampfnudeln with buttery apples

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500g strong white wheat flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 250g milk, tepid
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 50g sugar (I use brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest of half a lemon

For the apple base

  • 850g apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cm slices
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp milk

How to make Dampfnudeln

  1. Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Knead dough until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 45 minutest at room temperature.
  4. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces.
  5. Shape the pieces into buns and place onto a pre-floured surface.
  6. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to proof for about an hour. The buns should grow significantly in size during that time.
  7. Prepare the apples while you are waiting.
  8. Once the dough buns are ready, melt the butter in a large (circa 30 cm in diameter) non-stick frying pan (you need a tight fitting lid for it too) on a low heat.
  9. Evenly distribute the apple pieces in the pan and sprinkle the sugar on top, then add the milk.
  10. Carefully place the dough buns on the apple base and cover the pan with the lid. Don’t take the lid off again (or even slightly lift it) until the buns are fully done as they otherwise deflate.
  11. Turn up the heat to medium to bring the liquid in the pan to boil.
  12. After 15 minutes, turn down the heat to the lowest level and steam for another 15 – 20 minutes.
  13. Leave to rest for a few minutes once the heat is off before you take the lid off.
  14. Serve immediately.

If you like this Austrian steamed bread recipe, check out this plum preserve filled steamed bread recipe for Germknödel and here are also my fellow #BreadBakers’ recipes.

BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Irish Potato Farls Bread Recipe

 

Weekends are my time for experimenting with food and this morning I was looking to Northern Ireland for inspiration. Visiting Belfast last year and stopping by at St. George’s Market, there was a huge variety of potato farls on offer and I’ve been a fan ever since. Irish potato farls are simple ‘breads’ made from potatoes, flour, butter and salt. Try my potato farls bread recipe for a simple and comforting treat.

Potato farls bread
Potato farls – a Sunday morning treat

“The word farl literally means ‘fourths’: they are shaped from a circle of dough cut into quarters.” The Guardian

Potato Farls Bread Recipe

A simple recipe, success guaranteed. Have the potato breads with your cooked weekend breakfast or simply with butter.

Potato farl bread
Potato farl bread – I left the skins on the potatoes before mashing them, works perfectly

Potato Farls Ingredients

  • 1 kg floury potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

How To Make Potato Farls

Day 1

  1. The day/evening before you plan to make the potato farls, cook the potatoes and mash them with a potato ricer or regular potato masher.
  2. Add the butter and season to taste.
  3. Leave to cool, cover and place in the fridge overnight.

Day 2

  1. On the day of making the potato farls, add the flour (and thyme if using) to the mashed potatoes until well combined and smooth.
  2. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half.
  3. On a floured work surface (to prevent sticking), flatten the dough into a round shape. You can do this with your hands or with a rolling pin. The round should be approximately 5mm thick.
  4. Cut each circle into quarters.
  5. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot.
  6. Add the potato farls in batches (use a dough scraper if they stick to the surface), and fry for four to five minutes on each side, or until golden-brown on both sides. I don’t use extra butter to do this.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Irish potato farls can turn your breakfast into something extra special but if you are looking for other breakfast options, take a look at these:

 

White bloomer bread recipe

 

If you are new to baking bread, here is a simple recipe for an easy white sandwich bread bloomer, a great recipe for beginners in bread making. This basic white bloomer bread recipe is guaranteed to spark your love for bread baking. Perfect for families with the need for a constant supply of fresh sandwich bread. No need to buy the industrial pre-sliced loaf that comes with added processing aids, emulsifiers or preservatives and is made far too fast with too much yeast. Take note that only four ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast or natural leaven) are required to make bread.

White bloomer bread
White bloomer bread

Why bake at home?

Here are some reasons why you might want to venture into baking your own bread at home.

  • You’d like to eat bread based on the four basic bread baking ingredients, knowing exactly what’s in it and allowing it sufficient time to rise with a small amount of yeast
  • You want to fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread – rather than the bin with plastic wrapping
  • You’d like to bake homemade bread that’s perfect for sandwiches and toast in the morning
  • You want – like my brother in law – to bake the very best vehicle for your PB&J sandwiches
  • Or you simply can’t be bothered to go to the store/supermarket for bread

Equipment

Here is all the equipment you’ll need to make a basic white bread bloomer:

White bloomer
White bloomer
White bloomer bread
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5 from 3 votes

White Bloomer Bread Recipe

The quantities below are for a 1.3kg loaf tin (baking a 1.3kg white bloomer bread), but they are easy to adjust for other bread tin sizes.  Ensure that the total weight of the loaf adds up to the volume of your loaf tin. The dough hydration of the loaf is at 64% (calculated by dividing the water content of 480g into the 750g of flour).

Ingredients

  • 750 g strong white wheat flour - get the best strong white wheat flour you can buy preferably organic
  • 480 g water tepid
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 13 g salt

No need to add sugar or butter or milk or oil as suggested in many recipes - keep it simple

    Instructions

    How to make white bloomer bread

    • Combine all ingredients in the large mixing bowl and - with your hands - form a rough dough
    • With your dough scraper, turn out the rough dough onto a clean working surface and knead by hand for at least 10 minutes until the dough has become elastic and smooth. Have a jug of water next to you when kneading and wet your hands every now and then to keep the dough well hydrated.
    • Shape the dough into a ball and place back into the bowl, cover with the lid and leave to rest for about 45 minutes at room temperature. During this time, the dough should grow in volume significantly.
    • Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf which fits into the loaf tin well.
    • Place into the loaf tin and cover with a plastic bag, leaving room for the dough to rise at the top, so you avoid the dough sticking to the plastic.
    • Leave to proof for 1 hour or so until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C for at least 15 minutes.
    • Place the loaf tin (without the plastic bag) in the oven (on a shelf that leaves ample room at the top for the bread's "oven spring").
    • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C and bake for another 35 minutes.
    • Cool the white bloomer bread loaf on a wire rack.

    Buckwheat English Muffins Bread Recipe

     

    I love buckwheat flour pancakes for my weekend breakfast, so I decided to add some buckwheat flour into my English breakfast muffin recipe. It works a treat! The buckwheat flavours come through very subtly and the dominance of strong white wheat flour ensures the muffins get a good rise and come out with a soft, even and well structured crumb. So if you’re looking for English muffin recipe ideas with a twist, these buckwheat English muffins are an easy and tasty way to start.

    Buckwheat English Muffins
    Buckwheat English Muffins

    Buckwheat English Muffins Recipe

    Prepare the dough on the evening before you’d like to serve the muffins for breakfast. You can keep the dough in the fridge overnight. Take the muffin dough out of the fridge an hour before you need it and – one hour later – you can sit down to enjoy your beautifully flavoursome buckwheat flour English muffins.

    English Muffins with Buckwheat Flour
    English Muffins with Buckwheat Flour

    Buckwheat English Muffins Ingredients

    • 350g strong white bread flour
    • 150g buckwheat flour
    • 7g salt
    • 7g dried yeast
    • 275g water
    English Muffins Buckwheat Flour
    English Muffins Buckwheat Flour

    How To Make Buckwheat English Muffins

    Day 1 – evening

    1. Combine all ingredients and form a dough.
    2. Place in a bowl, cover with a lid and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
    3. Punch down the dough in the bowl, cover with the lid again and place in the fridge overnight.

    Day 2 – morning

    1. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to warm up to room temperature for about an hour.
    2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and roll out to about 2 cm thick.
    3. Cut out six muffins with a straight-sided cutter, 9cm in diameter.
    4. Lightly dust part of your work surface with fine semolina.
    5. Place the muffins on the semolina layer, ensure you keep some space between them as they will expand slightly.
    6. Turn the muffins once to ensure both the top and bottom are covered in semolina.
    7. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
    8. Preheat a heavy-based frying pan on the hob at a very low heat. Place the muffins on the hot frying pan plate and cover the pan with a lid, to capture the heat.
    9. Toast the muffins for approximately 5-10 minutes (keep an eye out to prevent burning), then flip over and griddle for another 5-10 minutes on the other side. I use a thermometer to ensure the inside temperature of the dough has reached 94°C which means the muffins are fully baked through.
    10. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

    Msemen maamer recipe – Moroccan stuffed flatbreads

     

    Time to try a new Moroccan recipe! I adore the flavours of Moroccan cooking – harissa and ras el hanout spices, the citrus tang of preserved lemons and wonderfully aromatic sweet and savoury ingredient combinations. When this month’s Bread Bakers theme was announced as ‘peppers’, I decided to make a stuffed Moroccan flatbread recipe I’d been meaning to master for a while: msemen maamer. Thank you to our host Sue from Palatable Pastime!

    Msemen flatbreads are folded, square-shaped dough parcels which can be either pan-fried or baked. Maamer means stuffed and I have chosen a vegetarian red pepper and onion filling.

    Msemen maamer Moroccan flatbreads
    Msemen maamer Moroccan flatbreads

    Msemen maamer recipe

    The basic structure of this recipe comes from Moroccan food expert Christine Benlafquih although I used different spices for the filling and also prepared more filling than in the original recipe.

    Making msemen maamer is a four stage process

    1. Prepare the filling
    2. Make the dough
    3. Shape the dough parcels by stretching, filling and folding the dough
    4. Fry the msemen maamer

    A few tips upfront

    • The dough isn’t stretched by rolling it with a rolling pin. Instead, you shape the dough with your hands.
    • No flour is used on the worktop or dough surface. Lightly oil the dough and dip your fingers into a bowl of oil frequently to avoid it sticking to the work surface or your hands.
    Msemen maamer stuffed flatbread
    Msemen maamer- stuffed with a spiced red pepper and onion filling

    Msemen maamer ingredients

    For the filling

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 red peppers, finely chopped
    • 2 onions, finely chopped
    • 1 handful fresh parsley
    • 2 tsp ras el hanout
    • 1 tsp paprika powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper

    For the msemen dough

    • 440g plain white wheat flour
    • 90g semolina
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp dried yeast
    • 330g water

    For folding and frying

    • 200g vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)

    How to make msemen maamer

    Prepare the filling

    1. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan.
    2. Sauté the red peppers and onions until tender.
    3. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, ras el hanout, paprika, cumin seeds, salt and black pepper.

    Make the dough

    1. Combine the flour, semolina, salt, yeast and water in a bowl.
    2. Knead for about 10 minutes to form a soft and pliable dough.

    Get ready to make the msemen dough parcels

    1. Prepare a little bowl with the vegetable oil you will need for folding and frying.
    2. Oil your work surface or a baking sheet and also oil your hands and the outside of the dough.
    3. Divide the dough into 8 -10 evenly sized balls and set aside. Brush a little oil on each dough ball to ensure they don’t dry out and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
    4. While you wait divide the red pepper and onion filling into the same number of portions as you have balls of dough.

    Shape, fold and fry

    1. On a well-oiled surface and with well-oiled hands, pat the first dough ball into a flat circle. Then sweep and stretch the dough circle further to achieve a paper-thin circular shape.
    2. Distribute 2/3 of one portion of filling across the surface of the dough.
    3. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter.
    4. Distribute the remaining 1/3 of the filling on top of the folded dough.
    5. Fold the two open ends of the dough letter into the center to make a square.
    6. Set aside and repeat with the other dough balls and filling portions.
    7. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You can use several pans simultaneously to help speed up the process.
    8. Each msemen maamer now needs to be flattend with oiled hands until nearly double in size. Start with the dough parcel you folded first and in the order you prepared them in. Be careful to ensure that the stuffing doesn’t break through the dough surface.
    9. Fry the msemen maamer, turning several times, until golden brown.
    10. Transfer the fried msemen to a wire rack.
    11. Serve while still warm – best eaten on the same day.

    Here’s what the other #BreadBakers prepared
    BreadBakers

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

    Easy sourdough bread recipe

     

    I’ve recently realised that most of my sourdough recipes are not entirely suitable for those starting out in sourdough baking. Many of my recipes involve more than ten ingredients and certain enhancing dough elements (such as seed soakers) which may discourage budding sourdough bakers. This is why I’m posting an easy sourdough bread recipe based on only three ingredients (flour, water and salt), perfect for those setting out on their slow fermentation journey.

    Easy basic sourdough loaf
    Basic sourdough loaf with a beautiful pattern from the rattan proving basket

    The easy sourdough bread recipe below will produce a loaf at 67% hydration which means that the amount of liquid (water in this instance) is 67% when calculated based on the amount of flour.

    Dough hydration calculation

    • 15g flour in the sourdough starter + 50g wholemeal flour + 400g strong white flour + 50g dark rye flour = 515g flour in total
    • 15g water in the sourdough starter + 50g water to refresh the starter + 280g water in the final dough = 345g water in total
    • 345g water / 515g flour = 67% dough hydration

    For best results in terms of final bread aesthetics, I recommend using a Dutch oven or baking dome.

    Sourdough bread
    Sourdough bread

    Easy sourdough recipe

    Ingredients

    Sourdough

    Main dough

    • 400g strong white bread flour
    • 50g rye flour
    • 280g water
    • 11g salt

    Dusting

    • Some extra flour (I use rice flour)

    How to make sourdough bread

    1. Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
    2. On the second day, combine all main dough ingredients with 100g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest should be set aside for your next bake) in a large bowl.
    3. Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have formed an elastic and smooth dough. The dough will be slightly sticky, so work with your dough scraper to make things easier.
    4. Shape into a ball and place back into the bowl.
    5. Cover and leave to rest for about an hour at room temperature.
    6. Deflate the dough and give it another quick knead on your work surface.
    7. Shape into a boule, cover with flour and place into lightly floured proving basket.
    8. Cover with a polythene bag to protect the moisture and prove at room temperature. For me, in my Edinburgh kitchen, this process takes a good 6 or 7 hours. However, if your kitchen is warmer, the process may be much shorter, perhaps only 2 hours or so.
    9. Preheat the oven to 220°C and preheat your baking dome or Dutch oven at the same time.
    10. Turn out the loaf onto the baking dome or Dutch oven (or otherwise a baking stone or baking tray lined with baking paper).
    11. Score the top with a pattern of your choice. Use a scoring knife for best results.
    12. Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes and at 200°C for a further 40 minutes.
    13. Take off the lid of your baking dome or Dutch oven for the last 5 minutes if using to firm up the crust.
    14. Cool on a wire rack.
    15. Enjoy an amazing loaf of sourdough bread 🙂

    Osterpinze Recipe – Austrian Easter Bread

     

    Osterpinze is a delicious Easter bread, made with an enriched yeast dough (milk, eggs, egg yolks and butter) and flavoured with anise wine and lemon zest.

    It’s traditionally baked for Easter in the South of Austria (Styria), although its origins can be traced back to the region of Friuli in Northeast Italy. The traditional way the dough is cut into three sections gives the Pinze its unique appearance.

    Osterpinze anise flavour
    Osterpinze – a traditional Austrian Easter bread

    Osterpinze Recipe

    Baked especially for Easter, it can be eaten at breakfast, afternoon coffee or for Easter-Jause served with ham, freshly grated horseradish, hard-boiled eggs and radishes. The dough is just lightly sweetened, so it goes well with many dishes. The anise wine flavour is subtle and I recommend it even to those of you who are – like me – not a big fan of licorice.

    A mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack of a slice of bread topped with cheese or ham is referred to as a Jause, and a more substantial version akin to a British “Ploughman’s Lunch” is called a Brettljause after the wooden board on which it is traditionally served. Source: Wikipedia

    Ingredients for Osterpinzen

    Day 1

    Sourdough

    • 15g sourdough
    • 85g strong white wheat flour
    • 60g water

    Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mix well, cover and keep at room temperature for the next day (about 16 hours).

    Milk Roux

    • 100g whole milk
    • 30g strong white wheat flour

    In a small saucepan, whisk the milk and flour until lump free, heating it up while whisking. Cover with cling film and let it cool down to room temperature before placing it in the fridge for the next day.

    Sponge

    • 40g strong white wheat flour
    • 5g dried yeast
    • 30g whole milk

    Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and keep at room temperature.

    Anise wine

    • 1 tbsp (5g) anise, roughly cracked with pestle and mortar
    • 125g white wine (e.g. Riesling or Pinot Blanc – use a wine with little acidity)

    In a small bowl, combine the wine with the anise, cover and keep at room temperature. This will extract the anise flavour.

    Anise seeds
    Anise seeds
    Anise wine
    Anise wine: anise seeds soaked in white wine for a day

    Day 2

    Main dough

    • Sourdough
    • Milk roux
    • Sponge
    • Anise wine
    • 390g strong white wheat flour
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 65g sugar (I use icing sugar)
    • 2 eggs
    • 90g butter, softened
    • 6g salt
    • 1 lemon, zest only

     Glaze

    • 1 egg, lightly beaten

    How to make Osterpinzen

    1. Prepare the sourdough, milk roux, sponge and anise wine on day 1.
    2. On day 2, sieve the wine and discard the anise.
    3. Combine all the main dough ingredients (don’t forget to place a little bit of the sourdough back in the fridge for your next sourdough bake).
    4. Knead for 10 minutes.
    5. Place the dough in a bowl.
    6. Cover the bowl well and leave to rest for an hour or two (depending on the temperature in your room, until the volume has increased significantly).
    7. Divide the dough into two/three equal parts and shape into boules (LINK).
    8. Place the boules onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (make sure there is sufficient space between them).
    9. Cover with a cloth and leave to proof at room temperature for an hour or more.
    10. Brush with the egg and leave it soak in slightly.
    11. Then cut the dough three times from the centre to the edge with a pair of scissors.
    12. Bake at 200°C. Reduce the heat after 5 mins to 180°C and bake for a further 35 mins.
    13. Cool on a wire rack.

    I served Osterpinze with honey this morning and with a ham and cheese board this afternoon. In both instances, the slices of Osterpinze were a perfect match.

    Osterpinze
    Osterpinzen – the eggs give it a wonderful colour and sheen

    Date and walnut bread recipe

     

    This is a wonderfully easy and delicious recipe I put together for my friend Victoria. Having tasted an exceptional date and walnut bread on a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, Victoria was looking to replicate this delectable treat at home. It’s always nice to be inspired by food when you’re travelling and even better to recreate it back in your own home.

    This easy date and walnut bread recipe uses white wheat flour and wholemeal rye flour. Chopped dates and walnuts are soaked before being added to the dough. The result is a moist, sweet and nutty loaf of bread. Works great with soft cheeses.

    Date and walnut bread
    Date and walnut bread

    If you are baking this date and walnut bread, make sure you take the time to soak the dried dates and walnuts before adding to the dough in order to prevent them taking moisture from the dough itself during the bake.

    Date Walnut Rye Bread Loaf
    Date & Walnut Rye Bread Loaf
    Date Walnut Rye Bread
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    4.75 from 4 votes

    Date and walnut bread recipe

    Don't be alarmed if the dough is quite soft and sticky, it's meant to be like that. It's due to the high rye flour content. When you add the pre-soaked dates and nuts, it'll get particularly squidgy, but stick with it, it'll all come together in the end.

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

    • 300 g strong white wheat flour
    • 200 wholemeal rye flour
    • 7 g dried yeast
    • 8 g salt
    • 370 g water
    • 50 g shelled walnuts chopped into quarters
    • 125 g dates chopped into thirds

    Instructions

    How to make date and walnut bread

    • Place the chopped dates and walnuts into a medium bowl. Add 175g of the water, mix well, then cover the bowl. The fruit and nuts should be covered by the water. Leave overnight or for at least 4 hours.
    • Once soaked, strain the fruit and nut mix and set aside. Make sure to keep the strained water for the dough. It'll add extra flavour to the bread.
    • Combine the flours, yeast, salt and water (use the strained date and walnut water and add additional water to make up 370g in total) in a bowl. The dough should be quite firm at this stage, although it will be slightly sticky due to the rye content.
    • Turn the dough out to your working surface and knead for 10 minutes. Use a dough cutter or two to handle the dough.
    • Shape the dough into a ball, place it back into the bowl, cover and rest for 30 minutes. The dough will visibly expand during that time.
    • After this 30 minute rest, carefully work the moist date and walnut mix into the dough. This isn't the easiest task but combine it all until the dates and walnuts are evenly distributed. More moisture is being added to the dough here from the soaked fruit and nuts, so it's a very squidgy task.
    • Once incorporated, shape the dough into a ball, place it back into the bowl, cover and rest for 1 hour or more until the dough has grown significantly in size.
    • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.
    • Use your dough cutter to divide the dough into two even parts.
    • With floury hands, shape each part into a neat round loaf. Try to cover the outside of the dough with a thin layer of flour to help with the shaping but try not to fold any additional flour into the dough itself. It'll become much easier to handle once you flour the outside.
    • Place the date and walnut loaves on a baking tray covered with baking paper. I usually try to fit both loaves onto one sheet of baking paper. Leave enough space between the loaves and the baking tray edges to allow for expansion.
    • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and prove for 1 hour or more. The loaves will almost double in size during this final proof.
    • Preheat the oven to 220°C  approximately 1/2 hour before baking.
    • Score the loaves at the top, a simple cross pattern works well.
    • Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 200°C for a further 25 - 30 minutes until the loaf has fully baked through (I use my Thermapen to ensure the loaf is at least 95°C in the centre).
    • Cool on a wire rack.

    Manakish Za’atar Recipe: Lebanese Flatbread

     

    Last week, an invitation to a Lebanese food themed dinner party was quickly followed by the kind request to supply suitable Lebanese flatbreads. I was more than happy to oblige by baking a batch of manakish za’atar!

    On the menu was a fantastic spread of delicious Lebanese mezze from homemade labneh and tabbouleh to baba ghanoush followed by a main course of lamb meatballs in a spinach and yoghurt sauce. So, off I went on the search for matching breads. Having never been to Lebanon I had to base my research on recipes from books and other bloggers’ experiences.

    Manakish Za'atar Lebanese Flatbreads
    Manakish Za’atar Lebanese Flatbreads

    I found a great variety of Lebanese flatbreads including:

    • Markouk (very thin large circular flatbread baked on a domed griddle called saj)
    • Tannur bread (cooked in a tandour-like oven)
    • Manakish (chewy flatbread with a variety of toppings)
    • Mishtah (thick golden-brown bread made with burghul, flour and aniseed)

    Manakish (also manakeesh or manaeesh) seemed to be most feasible in the absence of a saj or tandour oven and also the most versatile.

    This is my version of manakish za’atar – an attempt to evoke the flavours of Lebanese cooking in my Northern European kitchen. I was helped by a fellow baker who shared her copy of Barbara Abdeni Massaad’s stunning book Man’oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery for inspiration.

    Manakish Za’atar Recipe (Lebanese Flatbread Recipe)

    Lebanese flatbreads - Manakish with za'atar spice blend
    Lebanese flatbreads – Manakish with za’atar spice blend

    Ingredients

    • For the manakish dough – For my Lebanese flatbread recipe, I work with the same dough ingredients as used in my pita bread recipe.
    • For the Lebanese za’atar paste – In the absence of the essential herbal ingredient za’atar (wild thyme), I used 4 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, 2 tsp dried thyme and 2 tsp dried marjoram, added 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 2 tbsp ground sumac,1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt. Combine in a small bowl and mix well with 6 tbsp olive oil.
    • Sea salt flakes
    Za'atar paste
    Za’atar paste

    “Za’atar is a cornerstone of Levantine cooking. The herb grows wild in the hills around Jerusalem, and has a distinctive, pungent, savoury aroma. Its scientific name, Origanum syriacum, hints at a connection to oregano, marjoram and the like, but, for me, its flavour evokes cumin, lemon, sage and mint.” Yotam Ottolenghi

    Manakish Lebanese Flatbreads with Za'atar
    Freshly Baked Manakish Lebanese Flatbreads with Za’atar

    How to make manakish flatbreads

      1. This makes 8 flatbreads
      2. Follow steps 1 – 9 of my pita bread instructions.
      3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, deflate gently, then divide into eight equal pieces.
      4. Shape each dough piece into a firm ball, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
      5. Preheat the oven to 200°C and place the baking tray at the bottom shelf to heat up.
      6. Flatten each ball, then roll – one by one – into a round or oval shape about 3 mm thick.
      7. Place the dough rounds on baking paper measured on your baking tray. Only four manakish fit onto my baking tray, so I roll out four at a time and while they’re baking I get onto the next four.
      8. Brush the breads with 1-2 tbsp of the za’atar blend, spreading it to within 5mm of the edge.
      9. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
      10. Slide the baking paper with the flatbreads onto the hot baking tray, place back on the lowest shelf in the oven and bake until lightly golden, for about 10 minutes.  
      11. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
      12. Serve while warm.
    Manakish za'atar
    Manakish za’atar