tangzhong milk rolls

This weekend, I took a stab at baking something a little different – sweet & fluffy tangzhong milk rolls!

If you are nervous about and/or new to baking, this is a good recipe to start off with as its very forgiving. By forgiving, I mean that it measurement’s don’t have to be exact to the milligram, and it can be adapted to be further along the sweet/savoury spectrum without having to change the method/rest of the ingredients.

I adapted the King Arthur Flour – Japanese Milk Bread recipe, and watched tons of youtube tutorials. Below I have detailed the exact method I used, which created buns of the perfect sweetness and fluffiness for me.

This method of bread baking is different to many others, due to the creation of a roux (tangzhong) which is a creative way to add moisture to your dough, without which you wouldn’t achieve the desired fluffiness.

No mixer? No problem! I made this entire loaf by hand, and it wasn’t too taxing on my rather weak arm muscles.

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Equipment & Ingredients

Disclaimer – these were the items I opted to use, and they worked for me. If you already own suitable alternatives, then save your coins and use them instead! Majority of these items can also be used in many other ways, not just bread baking.

Equipment

Digital Scales

Pyrex glass bowl

Saucepan

Dutch Oven

Ingredients

For the Tangzhong 

  • Water – 43g
  • Whole milk – 43g
  • Allinson’s Bread Flour – 14g

For the Dough

  • Allinson’s Bread Flour – 298g
  • Nido dry milk – 18g
  • Caster Sugar – 50g
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Allinson’s instant yeast – 1 tbsp
  • Whole milk – 113g
  • 1 large egg
  • Melted, unsalted butter – 57g

 

Recipe (adapted from the King Arthur Flour Japanese milk rolls recipe linked above):

First of all, you need to start by making the Tangzhong.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
  2. 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.
  3. Once this is done, add the rest of the whole milk and the egg to the tangzhong. This helps cool the mixture down, and you can begin prepping the dough immediately.

For the Dough:

  1. Add the flour, yeast, dry milk, sugar and salt to a large bowl/mixer and combine with the tangzhong till there are no dry parts left.
  2. Leave for 20 minutes to rest.
  3. After 20 miutes, add the butter to the dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It took me 10 – 15 minutes to get it to this consistency. This time will vary based on your strength, and how warm the room is where you are working.

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

5. Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.

6. Place the rolls into a lightly greased dutch oven (or cake pan). Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

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rested, and ready for the oven!

7. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water), and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

8. Remove the rolls from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

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the saturday white bread

My first ever loaf, ‘the saturday white bread’ was created using Ken Forkish’s recipe from ‘Flour, water, salt, yeast’.

Before diving into bread making, I did a ton of research, to make sure my kitchen was equipped. Seeing words like ‘levain’, and ‘starter’ (which I now know are staples for making anything sourdough) were completely new to me, as well as understanding what exactly the nuances are with cast iron cookware. For the newbie, I’ve found that this loaf is a perfect start(er – ha!). I’ve since made a loaf a week to the delight of my family and friends who have been keen & honest tasters (thank you <3).

I started this journey into bread baking not knowing what to expect, or whether I’d even be any good, but I’m so glad I did. To be honest, I think I’ve gone down a bit of a bread baking rabbit hole however this is exactly the escapism I need from my day to day. I find baking bread therapeutic and rewarding, especially getting feedback from my trusty tasters. Bread baking has even got me back into photo and written blogging (yay! shameless plug to check out my instagram if you haven’t done already).

I’ll be sharing the exact equipment I used for this recipe, as I’m based in the UK, I couldn’t get the exact tools Ken uses in his book, but I’ve managed to get great results.

I’ll also share an overview of the recipe, however if you’d like more detail I’d recommend buying his book. Not only is it incredibly detailed, it will look great with the rest of your cookbooks! I’d also recommend checking out Ken’s Youtube channel, where he demonstrates some of the techniques he describes. If you’re here for the crumb shot (naughty!) there’s a treat for you at the end.

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Equipment & Ingredients

Disclaimer – these were the items I opted to use, and they worked for me. If you already own suitable alternatives, then save your coins and use them instead! Majority of these items can also be used in many other ways, not just bread baking.

Equipment

Rubbermaid Food Container – 11.4 L – this is where you mix, fold and leave your dough to rise. One of my favourite things about Ken’s method is that majority of the work takes place in the one container, minimising mess! Please note, it doesn’t come with it’s lid, so you’ll have to order it separately.

Digital Precision Thermometer – I opted for the Heston Blumenthal digital thermometer, however any thermometer that is precise to the degree will be perfect. You’ll use this to check the temperature of your water, dough and also bread.

Digital scales – these will ensure your bakers percentages are on point (literally), especially for unforgiving recipes where you need to be precise with your measurements.

Banneton –  this proving basket is where your dough with have its final rise, before you transfer it to your dutch oven. This is also how the flour rings are created to give your bread a wonderful design. I like this particular brand because it comes with a scorer (to create your own designs in your bread) and a free scraper which you will need to divide your dough.

Dutch oven – any cast iron Dutch oven around 9inches will do. I was gifted a Le Creuset dutch oven which has been fantastic to cook with, especially as it doesn’t need seasoning and aftercare. If you opt for a non-enameled cast iron dutch oven please make sure you are familiar with seasoning cast iron cookware, and you follow its proper care instructions.

Ingredients

  • M&S Plain white bread flour – 1000g
  • Saxa fine sea salt – 21g
  • Allinson’s instant yeast – 4g
  • Love – lots

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Recipe (adapted from ‘Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast):

1. Autolyse: In your container, combine the flour with the 32 – 35 degree celsius water. Mix by hand just until incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Mix: Sprinkle the salt and yeast evenly over the top of the dough. Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to you. (It’s fine to rewet your hand three or four times while you mix.) Reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of it. Gently stretch this section of dough and fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. Repeat three more times with the remaining dough, until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed.

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Using your thumb and forefinger like pincers, squeeze big chunks of dough and then tighten your grip to cut through the dough five or six times across the entire mass of dough, rewetting your hands as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Then fold the dough over itself a few times. Repeat, alternately cutting and folding until all of the ingredients are fully integrated and the dough has some tension in it. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then fold for another 30 seconds or until the dough tightens up. The whole process should take about 5 minutes. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 25 – 26 degrees celsius. Cover the tub and let the dough rise.

3. Fold: This dough needs two folds. Apply the first fold about 10 minutes after mixing: With a moistened hand, reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of it. Gently stretch this section of dough and fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. Repeat three or four times, then invert the dough so seams are face down. You have just completed the first fold. Make the second fold during the next hour (when you see the dough spread out in the tub, it’s ready for the second fold). If need be, it’s OK to fold later; just be sure to leave it alone for the last hour of rising.

When the dough is triple its original volume, about 5 hours after mixing, it’s ready to be divided.

4. Divide: Moderately flour a work surface. Flour your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour around the edges of the tub. Tip the tub slightly and gently work your floured free hand beneath the dough to loosen it from the bottom of the tub. Gently ease the dough out onto the work surface without pulling or tearing it.

With floured hands, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the area in the middle, where you’ll cut the dough, with a bit of flour. Cut the dough into 2 equal-size pieces with a dough knife or plastic dough scraper.

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5. Shape: Dust 2 proofing baskets with flour. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight ball by stretching a quarter of the ball over itself and repeating three more times. Place each ball seam side down in its proofing basket.

6. Proof: Lightly flour the tops of the loaves. Set them side by side and cover with a kitchen towel, or place each basket in a nonperforated plastic bag.

Plan to bake the loaves about 1 1/4 hours after they are shaped, assuming a room temperature of about 21 degrees. If your kitchen is warmer, they will be optimally proofed in about 1 hour. Use the finger-dent test (see note) to determine when they are perfectly proofed and ready to bake, being sure to check the loaves after 1 hour.

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7. Preheat: At least 45 minutes prior to baking, put a rack in the middle of the oven and put 2 Dutch ovens on the rack with their lids on. Preheat the oven to 245 degrees.

If you only have 1 Dutch oven, put the second loaf into the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking the first loaf and bake the loaves sequentially, giving the Dutch oven a 5-minute reheat after removing the first loaf. Alternatively, you can keep the second loaf in the refrigerator overnight, in its proofing basket inside a nonperforated plastic bag, and bake it early the next morning; if you do this, put the second loaf in the refrigerator immediately after shaping.

8. Bake: For the next step, please be careful not to let your hands, fingers or forearms touch the extremely hot Dutch oven.

Invert the proofed loaf onto a lightly floured countertop, keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will be the side that was facing down while it was rising — the seam side. Use oven mitts to remove the preheated Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid. Carefully place the loaf in the hot Dutch oven seam side up. Use mitts to replace the lid, then put the Dutch oven in the oven. Maintain the temperature at 245 degrees.

Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the lid and bake for about 20 more minutes, until at least medium dark brown all around the loaf. Check after 15 minutes of baking uncovered in case your oven runs hot.

Remove the Dutch oven and carefully tilt it to turn the loaf out. Let cool on a rack or set the loaf on its side so air can circulate around it. Let the loaf rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

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a nice crumb shot for you to enjoy if you made it this far

Morning Wood, San Bruno

IMG_9694‘Hawaiian & Japanese inspired breakfast & brunch’

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The quirkily named ‘Morning Wood’ is the latest craze in the El Camino Real, San Bruno area with fantastic reviews, and a long line to get in!

We were a party of 5, and when the first person arrived at 8.45, there were already 25 people in line. This was a Saturday so I suggest arriving early if you want to be seated in good time. Be sure to add your name to the waiting list inside before joining the queue. At 10.15 we were finally called in to be seated.

Service was great, shortly after we sat down a waitress came to take our drinks order while we pondered the menu. Once the drinks came we were ready to order & went for 1 *okonormiyaki, 3 oh so loco moco’s with a meatloaf patty, 1 oh so loco moco with mochiko chix (chicken) & 1 portion of their strawberry milk french toast.

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*the okornomiyaki was tagged as having limited availability so be quick!

The okornomiyaki looked incredible, and the pictures don’t do the size of the dish any justice. the portion was very generous and can easily be shared between two. This wasn’t my dish but I did have a taste and unfortunately it wasn’t what I expected. Its listed as ‘corned beef korokke/wasabi green tea leaf slaw/pickled ginger/katsuobushi/house sauce/sous vide eggs’ however we could hardly taste the corned beef, and all the sauce, oil and dressings meant it was super rich. A bit too heavy for one person so early in the day.

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steamed rice/meatloaf patty/gravy/two eggs

The meatloaf patty oh so loco moco was a the chosen meal for 3 of our party, however all 3 were left disappointed. The rice, eggs & gravy were delicious however all 3 commented that the meat was a little sour, and almost tasted like it was going off! We did ask a waitress whether it was meant to have a ‘sour’ taste and apparently this is intentional due to rhe addition of worchester sauce to the patty seasoning. Even still, it left a bad taste in our mouths and unfortunately wasnt enjoyable which was a shame since the rest of the dish tasted so good!

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steamed rice/mochiko chix/gravy/two eggs

The oh so loco moco with chicken was my dish, and undoubtedly the best dish we ordered. The rice was perfectly cooked,  the gravy was tasty and the chicken complemented the meal in the best way, with the crunchy fried texture a welcome addition to the rice gravy & ‘sunny side up’ eggs. I really enjoyed this dish, and just like the rest of the meals we had, the portion size was very very generous.

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marscapone/azuki bean/arare

The strawberry milk french toast looked absolutely incredible. It came later than the rest of the food & is indicated on the menu [please allow at least 15-20min]. Since this was just an addition to our main meals we were happy to wait.

Unfortunately,  the presentation is the only thing we enjoyed about this dish. The toast was very, very soggy and didn’t really taste of anything, it was very bland. The crust of the toast which was a bit more crunchy was slightly better, but the rest of the meal was left untouched. For a dish that took much longer to come out than the rest of the dishes it was very disappointing.

 

There aren’t many Japanese/Hawaiian fusion brunch spots and it’s clear that a lot of thought and care went into crafting their menu. However, based on this visit, the food just wasn’t worth the hype (or the wait!). If you really do want to try Morning Wood, i’d suggest waiting for the hype to die down, because so will the queues, or going on a weekday where I understand the queue is much shorter.

As a collective, we gave our experience of Morning Wood a 3/5.

The Restaurant at Sanderson London

IMG_4769‘The Restaurant at Sanderson blends visionary design with an exceptional menu and artisanal cocktails curated by our talented team of mixologists.’

 

Located within Sanderson Hotel in Berners street, The Restaurant at Sanderson is the perfect spot for amazing food, great ambience & fantastic service.

I’d absolutely recommend sitting outside if weather permits, its gorgeous & if the weather is on the cooler side, they have heaters and blankets for you to keep warm.

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For starters I had the beef tartare with toasted sourdough. The quality of the beef was incredible & melted in my mouth! Sometimes beef/steak tartare can be a bit too spicy but this was seasoned to perfection. This was the first time I have been served a raw egg yolk with my beef tartare & in all honesty it threw me off as it wasn’t on the menu description! I scraped it to the side, yet still enjoyed the starter regardless. If raw egg isn’t your thing, you can always ask for it without.

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For my main course I opted for the crispy pork belly. It was served with onions & vegetables & i had sweet potato fries on the side. Pork isn’t my ‘go-to’ meat but in the spirit of trying something new I went for it, and it was good! It was cooked perfectly and came at the right temperature. The accompanying vegetables were crunchy & complemented the pork very well. Its hard to get  sweet potato fries wrong (although some places do) and these were just right.

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For dessert I chose the white chocolate matcha tea which is unlike anything I had eaten before. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but to be honest, this dessert missed the mark for me. I much preferred my other half’s dessert, the bitter chocolate mousse (below).

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I would absolutely recommend taking a trip to The Restaurant at Sanderson London, especially if you have an occasion to celebrate since it is on the pricier side. The quality of the food is fantastic and the service is even better.

If you don’t want to break the bank, it’s worth taking a visit to their 80ft ‘Long Bar’.  The drinks menu has a ‘Not as Nature Intended’ theme, and they currently have a £15 weekday lunch offer: your choice of sandwich or salad from the Big Bites section on the bar menu and a soft drink, glass of house wine or beer for £15.

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Enjoy!

Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill, SF

IMG_9673‘Located on the corner of Columbus and Grant in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood, Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill is a casual family establishment with a friendly vibe and some of the best Seafood & Grill in the City!’

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With a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor & my love for seafood, I had very high expectations for Betty Lou’s, & they were completely met!

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I visited at the perfect time, Oyster Happy Hour where all West Coast Oysters are $1 each! The cheap price however, did not reflect the quality. These oysters were fresh, tasty and served with cocktail sauce & horseradish.

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The seafood linguine was the dish of the day, packed with goodness! Juicy king prawns, giant scallops, shrimp, squid & clams as well as the option of what sauce you’d like it all cooked in. I opted for the white wince sauce which was outstanding.

IMG_9669Located in the North Beach neighbourhood, Betty Lou’s is a must visit, and well deserving of all the fantastic reviews.

Suya Sundays!

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beef suya

“#SuyaSundays by Suya Spot”

For those of who who aren’t familiar, Suya is meat (sometimes skewered) that is covered in a spicy *peanut mix then grilled/roasted. It’s a very popular street food in West Africa, especially Nigeria.

Beef, chicken, or even goat meat can be used to make Suya, & if you don’t eat meat, I’ve seen some recipes online for veggie Suya too!

To pay homage to this delicious snack, the legends behind Suya Spot UK have started an ad hoc pop up Suya event!

On a Sunday each month, at varying locations they put together a feast celebrating all things Suya, with accompanying sides of gizdodo (plantain & gizard) & rice!

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gizdodo

They have something on the menu for everyone, so be sure to check them out ! If you’re not in the mood for beef, they have Suya spiced chicken wings, as well as lamb chops! For the vegetarians, they have a vegetarian option too.

Be sure to get there early, in order to secure a table & some seats. Good vibes, great food, Suya Sundays is the place to be if you’re looking for a chilled event to start your week.

I can’t finish this review without giving a special mention to the plantain pie. 

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plantain pie (yes, you read that correctly)

Sweet, crunchy topping with soft, fluffy plantain in the middle – who is the genius behind this creation?

This dessert left me & my friends divided, so I’ll let you make up your own mind on this one ;).

 

 

Keep up to date with the next Suya Spot UK pop up event here, & follow them on Twitter @SuyaSpotUK.

 

*recipes vary.

Review; Lush Toothy Tabs !

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‘Nibble one tab to form a toothpaste and then use a wet toothbrush to clean as normal’

This was very much an impulse buy for me. I went into Lush to get a bath bomb (as you do) then saw these on the shelf and couldn’t help but wonder how they worked!

A lovely staff member saw me looking confused and came over to help – she explained that these were essentially solid toothpaste! You give it a nibble and liquid activates it to form a paste and foam in your mouth while brushing. To be honest,  I was still unconvinced until another customer who overheard us chimed in with a glowing recommendation, saying she’s had no issue with sensitivity since using these, and is now completely converted. At this point I was sold!

I’ve been using these for about 2 weeks now, and I can only describe them as .. interesting. 

I chose the Miles of Smiles because I still wanted that minty sensation in my mouth after brushing. Made with essential oils and spices, it’s definitely a fun way to clean your teeth, and I do like the way it foams in your mouth, it’s amazing how much foam you get from the tiny tabs! I don’t have any little ones, but I’m sure that kids who are confident brushing would enjoy this too.

It does take some getting used to, so for the moment I am using them alongside my usual toothpaste. It’s not as minty as I’d hoped, so I don’t think I’ll ever fully convert. That being said, it’s perfect for travelling (where you don’t have a check in bag and liquids are limited) and of course, all ingredients are natural.

There are other flavours too, & they also have mouthwash tabs that work in a similar way, so if you’re looking to add something different to your (twice) daily teeth cleaning routine, it’s definitely worth a try !

Dishoom, Kings Cross

Absolutely delicious breakfast at Dishoom Kings Cross!
We ordered various items from the menu; the Kejriwal, which is eggs on chilli cheese toast, the masala beans & the bacon & egg naan.
The bacon & egg naan was the winner in my eyes.
Freshly baked naan with smoked bacon & a fried egg perfectly complemented with cream cheese, chilli tomato jam & herbs. Wonderful.
The rest of the food was very tasty, and the masala beans were a pleasant surprise, full of flavour!

To drink, I had the freshly made pineapple, lime & black pepper juice – tart, yet refreshing.
Out of 10, this visit to Dishoom gets a solid 9/10. Thanks for having us !