Category Archives: Bread and Rolls

Purple Yam Bread 

I love to make bread ! Yes, it takes time and patience, but it’s totally worth it. The smell of fresh bread is just so satisfying ! It makes your home feels……more homey ?! …..Does this even make sense?? I used to make the dough in a mixer, but not anymore. Mixing it with hand is actually easier, and your dough will be more even. I was really pleased with how this bread turned out. It’s sweet, tasty and it’s in my favourite colour… purple ! 

Two years ago, when my daughter was in grade 2, her teacher invited a chef/educator to teach the kids about food and how to make bread from scratch. I was one of the volunteer parents and that class was so fun ! The kids were super cute and hilarious. Some of them, like my daughter, jumped right into the “mess” , others were not too sure, frowning and saying “eew ! ” and “that’s gross !” the whole time. But at the end, when they tasted their own bread, they were all very delighted !  I think teaching kids about food and cooking at a young age is very important. It helps them (and ourselves) develop skills and healthy eating habits which hopefully last a lifetime. I have to admit, I am not doing enough. There were times when I should have cooked, but ended up just ordering take-out or “cooking” some frozen food. Well, as I told my kids, I am always teaching them and learning with them at the same time……So, mommy needs to do some more homework and learn how to cook healthier and more delicious meals! 

Makes 4 mini loaves (dimensions of pan: 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches)

For the yam paste

  • 4 medium purple yam
  • 60 mL milk
  • 30 mL condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Wash and cut yams in halves
  3. Bake on a tray lined with parchment paper for about 45 minutes until fork tender
  4. Cool and peel skin off
  5. In a food processor or blender, blend yam, milk and condensed milk into a paste
  6. Keep in fridge until ready to use

For the bread dough

  • 540 g bread flour
  • 4 g instant yeast
  • 5 g granulated sugar
  • 250 mL milk
  • 60 mL honey
  • 1 egg
  • 30 mL vegetable oil
  • 3 g salt

You will also need 1 egg for brushing top of bread

  1. Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes until frothy
  2. Put flour and salt in a big mixing bowl, gradually mix in 1 egg, yeast mixture, honey and oil with hands until dough starts to form
  3. Transfer to a floured surface, knead until smooth and stretchy
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1-2 hours (You can speed up the process by putting it in a not-heated oven with a small pot of hot water on the lower rack. The moist and warm environment makes the dough rise quicker)
  5. Punch air out, cut dough into 4 equal pieces (about 250g each)
  6. Roll each dough flat, spread a layer of yam paste on top 
  7. Roll doughs up with yam paste inside 
  8. Seal openings by pinching edges together 
  9. Place each dough separately in lightly greased and floured mini loaf pans
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for another hour 
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  12. Score top of doughs with knife or scissors 
  13. Brush top with egg wash
  14. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden

Tools that I used 

Chicago Metallic 59440 Commercial II Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pans, Set of 4

You can get the mini loaf pans through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

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Cinnamon Bites

When I hear the words “comfort food”, I would somehow think of cinnamon buns ! Warm, sweet bread with ooey, gooey cream cheese icing……yum ! To no surprise, I found that they are originated from Sweden. (that’s why they sell them at Ikea?!) In Swedish they are called “kanelbulle”  which literally means “cinnamon buns” and October 4 is “Kanelbullens Dag” ,Cinnamon Roll Day. Wow, Swedish people must love their cinnamon buns !  I wish I can be there to taste the authentic flavour. Well, for now, I will comfort myself with these little cinnamon bites !  (I made them in bite-size pieces cause I often found the rolls too big) 

For the dough

    • 540 g (3 cups) bread flour
    • 1 cup warm whole milk
    • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 4 g instant yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the coating

  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the cream cheese icing

  • 180 g soft cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and let sit for a few minutes until frothy
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, egg, vegetable oil and yeast mixture
  3. Stir with hand and mix until dough starting to form
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface
  5. Knead dough until smooth and stretchy
  6. Wrap with plastic wrap and let rise for about 60 minutes until double in size 
  7. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  8. When dough is ready, punch air out, cut dough into 4 parts
  9. Roll each part into a long log, about 12 inches long
  10. Cut each log into about 12 small pieces
  11. Grease two 8 inch round flat pans or pans of your choice
  12. Mix cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar together
  13. Dip each small piece into melted butter, then coat with cinnamon sugar
  14. Place in pans, about 24 pieces each
  15. Bake for about 20 minutes
  16. Meanwhile, prepare icing by beating cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla together until blended
  17. When bread bites are ready, serve warm with cream cheese frosting

Cinnamon Bites

 

 

Healthy Banana Bread

Besides a mom and a home baker, I am also a pharmacist, so whenever I bake or make desserts, I would have a dilemma in my mind. Shouldn’t I be promoting healthy eating as a health professional? But I really like to make and eat sweets ? To somewhat justify myself, I try to create more recipes that use less sugar and fat, and incorporate healthier ingredients.  It took me a few tries to make this healthy yet very delicious banana bread. It contains no butter and no refined sugar. It is moist but not too dense, which is what my family likes. You can use bread flour if you prefer a denser texture. I also added some ground flax seeds for your extra dose of fibre and omega fatty acids!

Makes one 9×5 inch loaf

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, meshed (about 1+1/2 cups)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 120 g coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup organic agave syrup
  • 100 g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl
  3. Mix in ground flax seeds
  4. Add other wet ingredients, mix until blended
  5. Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9×5 inch loaf pan
  6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes

Honey Buns

I made these buns last week and my parents absolutely love them ! My mom said they are much better than the ones she bought from a store. Thanks mom !  Actually, bread making is very easy, even if you don’t have a bread machine or a stand mixer. I actually find it easier to knead the dough with hands. It may be messier, but that’s the fun part, isn’t it? And the best part for my kids ? Punching the dough! Well, I like it too….especially when I need to release some stress ! These buns taste best when fresh out of the oven. Or you can keep them in an air-tight container for about 5 days, just toast them before serving.

Makes about 12 rolls

  • 4 g instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour (white or whole wheat or a mix of both)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs (1 slightly beaten for egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Dissolve sugar in warm water, add yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes until frothy
  2. Put flour and salt in a big mixing bowl, gradually mix in 1 egg, yeast mixture, honey and oil with hands until dough starts to form
  3. Transfer to a floured surface, knead until smooth and stretchy
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise for about 60 minutes or double in size (You can speed up the process by putting it in an not-preheated oven with a small pot of hot water on the lower rack. The moist and warm environment makes the dough rise quicker)
  5. Punch air out, cut dough into 12 equal pieces (about 80 g each)
  6. Shape pieces into balls, then place on a slightly greased baking dish
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for another 60 minutes until double in size
  8. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  9. Brush top with egg wash
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden

Easy Chocolate Croissants

If you have kids at home, this would be a great recipe for them to do. It’s easy, tasty and fun to make!

Makes about 16 croissants

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (two 10 inch x 10 inch squares), thawed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • icing sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Lightly beat egg and water together to make egg wash, set aside
  3. On a floured surface, roll out pastry sheets (if you pastry comes in a block, cut and roll into two square sheets, about 1/8 inch in thickness)
  4. Cut each pastry sheet into a big circle about 8 inches in diameter (you can use a plate to help)
  5. Cut into 8 triangular wedges (like a pizza)
  6. Put chocolate chips at bottom of wedges and roll towards the tip 
  7. Seal ends with egg wash
  8. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (seam-side down), brush top with more egg wash 
  9. Bake for about 15-16 minutes until golden
  10. Melt remaining chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave oven
  11. Drizzle croissants with melted chocolate, dust with icing sugar

Milk Bread (Tang Zhong Method)

This Asian method with the water roux or Tang Zhong makes the bread sweeter and softer.

Makes 2 loaves

For the water roux or Tang Zhong   (makes about 250g)

  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water or milk
  1. Stir flour into water or milk
  2. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until thicken, cool and set aside

For the bread

  • 5 cups bread flour   (white or whole wheat or mix of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs (2 for the bread and 1 for egg wash)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 60 g unsalted butter, melted and cool slightly
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 250 g water roux or Tang Zhong from above
  1. Warm 1 cup of milk in microwave for about 40 seconds
  2. Put yeast in warm milk, wait until bubbles start to form on top
  3. Stir together flour,salt and sugar
  4. Using an electric mixer with dough attachment, add eggs, milk with yeast, Tang Zhong and melted butter into flour mixture, blending after each addition
  5. Blend until a dough is formed
  6. Take dough out from mixer, knead with hands on a floured surface until smooth and stretchy
  7. Divide dough in half and put each half in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap
  8. Let rise until double in size, about 60 minutes. You can speed up the process by putting the doughs in the oven (NOT preheated ) with a small pot of hot water on the lower rack. The warm and moist environment makes the doughs rise quicker )
  9. Punch and press air out of doughs
  10. Divide each dough into 4 equal parts. Row each part flat and row them back in rolls
  11. Put 4 rolls each in slightly greased and floured loaf pans, wrap with plastic wrap, let rise until rolls reach top of pans, about 20 to 30 minutes. You can use the same speeding method above
  12. Preheat oven to 350 °F
  13. Brush tops of doughs with egg wash
  14. Bake for about 28 minutes
  15. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then cool completely on rack before slicing
  16. Can be kept in air tight containers for about 5 days

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

This is not really a sweet treat but is equally delicious !

Makes about 12

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Using a pastry blender or a knife, cut in butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs
  4. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork to form a dough
  5. Bring and knead dough together with hands on a slightly floured surface
  6. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces
  7. Roll and pat each piece into round “patty”, about 1 inch in thickness
  8. Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 13 minutes or until slightly golden

They taste best when serve warm with butter.  You can make them into cheesy biscuits by adding 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.