One Recipe: Steamed Mantou, Oven-Baked Bread, or Slider Buns

One Recipe: Steamed Mantou or Baked Buns // Mono+Co

The soft and fluffy buns shown at the end of this video recipe looked unbelievable.  Really, how do you make steamed buns that look so golden-brown, like those baked in an oven?  My first attempt produced pale-looking steamed buns.

There is no water in the dough recipe; four eggs and 30ml of oil are the only liquids holding the rest of the dry ingredients together.

The bread dough rose very well, and the steam-cook process produced an excellent Mantou texture.

Soft fluffy crumbs, like those baked with tangzhong (roux) recipes!  But the colour of the crust is so different from the one in the video.  Was it because I did not use a cling-film to cover the dough when steaming?

I tried again, this time by baking the dough in the oven.

The colour is nice for a baked loaf.

When the base looks this good, you know the bread will be yummy as well.

My third attempt was to make slider buns with this recipe.  The specks you see on the buns are oat pulp that I added to the recipe.  I make oat milk at home and often need to recycle the oat pulp residue in baking projects.  If I am not baking, then I simply make oat porridge, which is the fast way to use up the pulp!

Bake them at 170C for 20 minutes, and you get squishy slider buns.

Add your favourite fillings, or enjoy them plain.

I store them in a covered cast iron pot.  The pot makes great bread containers!

So there you go, I have tried this recipe three times, each time making a different type of bread.

My verdict: I will use this recipe for steamed Mantou only, simply because I already have my preferred recipes for baking bread and buns.  But now I am getting curious if my favourite bread recipe can be steamed to become fluffy Mantou!


Steamed Mantou/ Oven-Baked Bread or Slider Buns

adapted from here
300g plain flour

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast

30g sugar

30g cooking oil

*Optional: I added 100g of oat pulp to the dough for my slider version.

In a mixer bowl, combine plain flour, eggs, instant yeast, and sugar. Turn on the mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead these ingredients on the lowest speed (KA 1) till they come into a ball.

Adding oil and keep kneading till the dough reaches window pane stage.  At this stage, the dough will be extremely pliable and baby-bottom soft.

Leave the dough in the mixer bowl for its first proof of 60 minutes.  The dough will rise to double its volume,  punch down to deflate and transfer it to a clean worktop.

Shape the dough to your liking (mantou, loaf, buns etc.) and place in a steam basket, bread tin or baking pan, depending on what you are making with the recipe.

Leave the shaped dough to rest for another 50-60 minutes.

To steam Mantou: Fill a pot with enough cold water for a 50-minute steaming process, as you should not interrupt the process by opening the cover halfway through to top up the water.  Place the buns in the pot and start steaming on high heat, once the water begins to boil, set timer to steam for another 40 minutes.  Mantou is best served warm, no need to cool down.  Store the balance in a sealed container.

To bake bread loaf: Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove bread from bread tin immediately after baking and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.  Store in a sealed container.

To bake slider buns: Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 20 minutes, let it cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

Stay Home Project: Make Ahead Meals

The ongoing Covid-19 situation has brought out the best and the worst in people.  I am fortunate to be working in a sector where I get to see the compassionate and generous side of Singaporeans.  This somewhat calms me amid the cycle of emotions fueled by the pandemic crisis; fear, uncertainty, frustrations, just to name a few.
Like many, my family has started paying more attention to personal hygiene.  We also wipe our mobile phone with 70% alcohol-based disinfectant more frequently than before.  Surface cleaning is now done with disinfectant, no longer just water or vinegar.  There is currently no evidence that natural cleaning products like vinegar or vodka (it only contains 40% alcohol) are effective disinfectants against Covid-19.  Refer to this list provided by NEA instead.  I have collected my #BYOBclean hand sanitiser which contains benzalkonium chloride as an active ingredient.  I will be using it to disinfect high touch areas; the label recommended this usage too.  According to the website, the hand sanitiser will lose its effectiveness after six months as it is filled in a recycled bottle.  Let’s make sure we use up the hand sanitiser/disinfectant by September 2020 to prevent wastage.
As social-distancing measures tightened, we have also found ourselves staying at home longer than before.  Come mealtimes on workdays, takeaways seemed a better idea, with safe-distancing laws now enforced at public areas.  Hence, I decided to step up my make-ahead meals routine to make home-cooking on weekdays a breeze.  This #stayhome project that explores the world of meal-prepping is largely inspired by the Japanese’s johbisai and the Korean’s banchan.

001. Fried shallots and shallot oil
A pantry must-have ever since I discovered Kolo Mee in Kuching.


002. Vegan Kimchi
Totally skipped the minced garlic from this recipe that was adapted from Maagchi’s, and added one whole apple instead.


003. Meat-Free Dumplings
My own recipe, inspired by the vegetarian dumplings, gyoza, xiaolongbao I have eaten!
-large firm tofu, mashed
-handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, soften in water and chopped
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-few stalks of green scallions, chopped
-dumpling wrapper, white, round ones
-Seasoning: sesame oil, light soy sauce, pepper, all to taste*

* Lately, I am beginning to sound like my mom when I share recipes!


004. Taro Pullman Loaf
For assembling a handy sandwich meal.
– 280g plain flour
-120g taro, steamed
-1/2t instant yeast
-1/2t sea salt
-2T raw honey
-1 egg
-70g water, pour slowly and adjust according to the hydration level of your dough
-1T neutral flavour oil
Follow the instructions here, almost same recipe except for the flaxseeds.

Bread baking: a relearning journey

After baking my own bread at home for so many years, I am so used to removing pretty loaves like this and this out from the oven. When I saw my first finished bake from the bread machine, I can’t help feeling disappointed.  A shapeless loaf with a crust that looked too smooth/shiny/thick.  I didn’t know where to start slicing.

Yup.  I finally bought myself a breadmaker.  It’s so difficult to find an opportunity to make bread at home lately.  The bread-making process is not difficult; just plenty of watching and waiting.  15 minutes here, 60 minutes there, another 40 minutes of something, before finally bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Followed by the tedious job of cleaning the kitchen tools and utensils after cooking: measuring bowls and spoons, mixer bowls, dough hook, and kitchen board…

So I revisited my wish for a bread machine, looking forward to fresh, healthy, homemade bread every morning.   The decision process was pretty fast because  I have done my homework so many times in the past.  I chose a model that comes with a ceramic-coated pan, instead of a Teflon version.  The rest is then up to my relearning journey to convert past recipes into breadmaker-friendly versions.  My first two attempts were alright, edible but nothing close to the texture I have perfected with natural bread improver using root vegetables.

As with my past kitchen experiments, I am journalling it here so that I can refer to it and improve as I bake more often.  A third loaf is cooling on the rack as I type.

For my own reference only.  If you have the same breadmaker (it’s a Song-Cho) and a tried and tested recipe for it, share with me!

Experiment No.1 "Pumpkin Loaf"
//Ingredients:
Water 250ml
Butter 24g
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar  3 Tbs
Flour 420g
Pumpkin puree 100g
Milk powder 2 Tbs
Instant yeast 1 tsp

//Menu Selection: 
4.Sweet
Size@1.5lb 
Crust color@light

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Adapted from this recipe from almost a year ago, I have since made 2 changes to this recipe.
– using plain flour sold in bulk from the wet market
– substituting fresh milk with milk powder

With these alterations, I have done away with the need to recycle the plastic bags from bread flour as well as plastic bottles and paper cartons from fresh milk purchase.  Less time spent on rinsing and sorting recyclables, more time for a longer breakfast.


Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

300g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
135g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg **
130g water
25g cold unsalted butter, cubed

** I use egg that weighs 55g with shell

In a mixer bowl, mix well the dry ingredients: plain flour, yeast, sea salt, raw sugar, and milk powder with a hand whisk.  Add cooled mashed taro, egg, and half of the water to the dry ingredients, and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add in the remaining of the water, with the mixer running, until the ingredients come into a ball.  You might need more or less water stated in the recipe, depending on the moisture content of the taro.  Let the dough stand for 15 minutes, covered.

Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again, and knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should have expanded, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.   Let this sit in a draft free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + CoOat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

The dry goods store ran out of plain flour so I went home looking for a wholemeal flour recipe to bake instead.

I ended up baking with this oat and wheat sandwich bread recipe but not before tweaking it with homemade oat flour instead of rolled oats.  Simply run the rolled oats/instant oats/oatmeal in food processor for a while until they become oat flour.  Instant, quick-cooking version or not, all works.  If you want them really fine, sift before using.  If not, simply dump everything like me into the recipe that calls for oat flour, I consider those larger bits as “additional fibre”.  I have been doing this for years, saving money and storage space for yet another pantry item.  Since it is so easy to make, I only make what I need to use up, nothing more.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

Back to the bread.  Another interesting thing I find about this recipe is that I can leave the dough to ferment in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Sounds like a good idea for Sunday breakfast.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I knead the dough until window pane stage although the original recipe didn’t mention.  It’s my ticket to fluffy soft bread.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I proof all my loaves in a 10 inch diameter pot with a glass cover, so I can see how much the dough has risen.  Before baking, I brushed the top with water and sprinkled some rolled oats for decoration.  But…..

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

… the rolled oats topping seemed unnecessary afterall as they fell off while I sliced cooked bread.  I won’t mention this step in the recipe below.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

For some reason (low gluten flour as this article stated?) the bread slice was crumbly, but held together better significantly after popping it inside toaster for 2 minutes.  Come to think of it, I have never baked a bread without plain flour, most of my homebaked wholemeal bread is a 50/50 flour mix.  5-day fermentation is the next thing to try with this bread recipe.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co


Oat and Wholewheat bread loaf

adapted from here

315g wholemeal flour
80g oat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 egg
1 1/4 cup water
25g chilled butter, cubed

In a mixer bowl, place these ingredients: wholemeal flour, oat flour, sea salt, raw sugar, instant yeast, egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin. If the dough is sticky, flour hands and worktop to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the crumbly loaf from further drying out.

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Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

I like how oatmeal porridge in this recipe made the sourdough bread really soft, so I added 135g of it to my bake today.  I probably need to add more if I want it to be as soft and fluffy as the ones I bake with steamed taro or steamed white rice.

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

 


Oatmeal Porridge Pullman Loaf

for oatmeal porridge:
100g boiling hot water
35g instant oatmeal

290g bread flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 large egg **
80g water
25g cold butter, cubed
topping: 2 tablespoons rolled oats

** I use a large egg weighing 70g.

To prepare oat porridge, mix hot water to instant oatmeal and stir until a thick consistency is formed. Leave it aside to cool completely.

In mixer bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar well with a hand whisk.  After the dry ingredients are mixed, add cooled  oatmeal porridge, beaten egg and half of the water.  Start the mixer and knead on its lowest speed (KA 1) .  If the ingredients do not come together into a ball, slowly add more water, once a ball dough starts to form, stop adding water.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough sit for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again and knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead this until the dough reaches window pane stage; when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic.  Remove bowl from mixer and bulk rise this for 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and transfer it to a clean work top.  Shape the loaf and place in greased pullman bread tin, seams side facing downwards.  Let it rise in a draft-free place for 50-60 mins.  Before baking, spray the bread top with a fine mist of water and sprinkle rolled oats on top evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

I save bread packaging from going to landfills by baking my own rustic bread loaves baked with plain flour bought in bulk.  Currently into natural starter and Tartine’s recipes seem to be on everyone’s must-bake list.

There is nothing different about the recipe I used to bake this classic Tartine sourdough except that I have halved it, based on the size of my Dutch Oven and my refrigerator’s capacity.  Why bake the full recipe when it takes me a few mornings to finish one loaf?  What helped a lot is that this dough recipe is a breeze to mix.  Simply mix another batch when the loaf is about to finish.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

An active starter is a critical ingredient here.  I continue to be awed endlessly by my natural starter that produces the most dramatic oven spring in my short sourdough baking history.  Coating the surface of the bread with rice flour before slashing is also a must, to make the “split” more obvious and help it look more ‘pro’ and rustic.  My heart skips a beat every time I uncover the pot after the first 40 minutes in the oven.

To ensure that the starter is active, I make sure that I feed my starter at regular interval until it can double within 3 hours at room temperature which is 30C here.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

While the original recipe stated 20 minutes with the lid and 20-25 minutes with the lid off, this is for bakers who are experienced or willing to risk a scalding arm with a preheated hot dutch oven pot at 230C.  I bake my dough cold, straight from the chiller and in an unheated pot, but I still manage to get a perfect oven spring and a crust that caramalize to a beautiful brown.  I have to bake the bread longer though: 40 minutes in the oven with the lid on and another 40minutes without the lid.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Made for myself a step by step pictorial guide with 1/2 the ingredients of this recipe.  Hope you will find it useful too.


Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf

Start with an active starter, pour 125g into a mixer bowl, and add 370g water.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Stir around with a wooden spoon until the starter is mixed well with the water.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Add 350g plain flour and 150g wholemeal flour to the diluted starter.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Stir and mix with the wooden spoon.  Let this sit aside for at least 30 minutes, covered.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 30 minutes, sprinkle 10g sea salt on top of the dough and another 25g water, and

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

gently stir to mix the salt and water into the autolysed dough, which will appear smoother at this point.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Mix until all the water has been absorbed by the dough.  Then, with a clean wet hand, do a few round of  “stretch and pull” actions.  Let dough sit for another 30 minutes.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 30 minutes, repeat the “stretch and pull” action, then let it sit for 30 minutes again.  This will be “Turn #1”.  Repeat this for another 3 times.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After “Turn #4”, transfer the dough to a container with cover, or simply cover the mixer bowl (if your fridge has ample space for it) with a pot lid of the right size, and let it bulk ferment inside the fridge overnight.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Next morning, when ready to bake, preheat oven to 250C.  Flour the base of a Dutch Oven with rice flour, to prevent the bread from sticking to the pot when baking.  I do this to save on parchment paper.  Retrieve the dough from fridge and shape the dough gently into a ball, place it inside the pot, seam side downwards.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Sprinkle rice flour on top and make a score on the surface of the dough.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 40 minutes, Remove cover, and bake for another 40 minutes at 220C.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After baking, remove the bread from the Dutch Oven immediately, and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.  Store unfinished bread in an airtight container to prevent crumbs from drying out.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Enjoy!

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Cooked Rice Pullman Loaf

Cooked Rice Pullman Loaf // Mono + CoCooked Rice Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Leftover rice is quite common in my kitchen.  In fact, I will sometimes cook extra for dinner with the intent to turn them into a fast 5-minute fried rice the next day.  Boiling leftover cooked rice with water to make instant porridge is another great idea since the time taken for grains to turn soft is greatly reduced.

This white rice Pullman loaf recipe is a new keeper.  I simply altered a favorite taro bread recipe with leftover cooked rice, out from the oven came a light and fluffy loaf.

I will be baking another loaf later.  This time, I will be cooking the rice for making the bread first, preparing extra for dinner which will be kept warm in a thermal pot until meal time.

Cooked Rice Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co Cooked Rice Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co


Jasmine Rice Pullman Loaf

100g cooked white rice
240g plain flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 egg **
80g water ***
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
28g cold unsalted butter, cubed

** I used egg weighing 57g with shells
*** You may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe, depending on the flour type and hydration level of the cooked rice.

Blitz cooked rice with as little water as possible with a hand blender, just enough to make a smooth paste.  Add this paste to plain flour, instant yeast, raw sugar, beaten egg, and half of the water into a mixer bowl.  Start the mixer to knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the remaining water with the mixer running, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough.  Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough.  The dough is quite sticky, flour hands and worktop with flour to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.  When the bread has risen to the rim of the baking tin, brush some milk on the surface.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Sweet Milk Bread Loaf

Sweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

This is baked with the same straight dough recipe that I use for making sugar topped pull apart buns.  Instead of baking in a rectangular cake pan, I divided the dough into 6 portions and arranged them in a bread tin to be proofed into a loaf.

Sweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + CoSweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + Co  Sweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

The dough rose beautifully to reach the brim in less 60 minutes.  Simply adjust the baking time 5-8 minutes longer at the same oven temperature.

Sweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + CoSweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + Co  Sweet Milk Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

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