Thursday, February 22, 2018

Soft Hokkaido Milk Bread 北海道牛奶麵包 with NO Tang Zhong NO cream

When Chinese new year baking is over and school has started, it's time for me to bake our daily sandwich breads again.

For those who like baking your own breads, can I ask if you have tried baking Hokkaido Milk Bread?

For those who don't know...

Hokkaido milk bread (北海道牛奶麵包) is popular Asian bread which is well known for its soft-pillowy texture and sweet-milky taste.

Why Hokkaido milk? If you Google the word "Hokkaido Milk Bread", you will see this recipe from Christine's recipes and it is a highly rated recipe because many bakers and bloggers believe that the success of Christine's recipe is due to the addition of Tang Zhong (汤种). If you wish to know something more about Tang Zhong, you can read my previous blog post at here.

Then why this name? Like what I have found about Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes at here, I'm guessing that the Hokkaido milk breads may have nothing to do with Hokkaido!!! And the breads don't even need to be baked with Hokkaido milk!!!

Then, I wonder... Are the additions of Tang Zhong and cream making the so-called Hokkaido milk breads tasting so soft and good?

Plausible! After baking both equally fluffy and soft enriched sandwich breads with and without Tang Zhong at here (with Tang Zhong) and here (without Tang Zhong), I believe that the addition is Tang Zhong is probably NOT necessary.

And it is probably TRUE!!! These so-called Hokkaido milk breads that I have baked again with NO Tang Zhong and cream has shown that the addition of Tang Zhong and cream is really NOT necessary to enhance the softness in breads!!!

Isn't this good to know?

Hokkaido milk sandwich bread
These really soft milky sandwich breads
... are baked by Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe and have NO Tang Zhong and NO cream.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ultra Soft Cranberry Egg White Chiffon Cake - HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

There is always heaps to do prior Chinese New Year celebrations. All the Spring cleaning, shopping, cooking and baking...

Now, Chinese New Year is sort of done and dusted and all the hard work is over...

Have you been baking heaps for Chinese New Year?

Do you have heaps of leftover egg whites in the freezer after baking heaps of yolks-rich goodies like pineapple tarts, cookies and cake lapis?

I know. I'm the same too!

And I do have a few really good egg white recipes to use and they are:
  • Always-Successful-Italian-Meringue French macaron recipe at here, here, here, here, here, here and here
  • Chocolate Meringues Emoji Poo at here
  • Very Moist Egg White Mocha Marbled Butter Cake at here

Next, I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Ultra Soft Cranberries Egg White Chiffon Cake!!! Wanna know more?

ultra soft cranberry egg white chiffon cake
Ultra Soft Cranberry Egg White Chiffon Cake

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pan Fried Gyoza 餃子 / ぎょうざ / Chinese dumplings / Potstickers 锅贴 with Crispy Lattice Skirt Base

We love gyoza!!! Do you?

... especially when those that are cooked with crispy lattice base. YUMMY!!!

Then, the non-Japanese half-Shangdong me wonder ...

Is there any difference between the Japanese gyoza / 餃子 and Chinese potstickers 锅贴?

According to a thorough explanation at here, the answer is YES!

Or perceptually NO! LOL!

The word 餃子 is known as Jiaozi in Mandarin and Gyoza or ぎょうざ in Japanese and the cooking of Jiaozi first started in Northern China including Shangdong where wheat is their staple crop.

The Chinese version of Jiaozi are dumplings that are made with mince meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled wheat flour dough and the dumplings can be either boiled, steamed, pan-fried or even deep fried.

The pan-fried version of Jiaozi is commonly known as potstickers or Guotie in Mandarin because Guo means wok and tie means stick. Why Guotie? This is because potstickers are typically cooked by a fry-steam-fry method. To do so, the base of the dumplings are first fried with a moderate amount of oil. Then, water is added into the pan and covered to steam and cook the dumpling filling. To finish, the cover of the pan is removed so that the water are fully vaporised and the base of the dumplings are fried again until crisp.

How about Gyoza?

The Japanese learned this culinary idea from the Chinese during World War II when they were in Manchuria. After WWII, the Japanese returned home and recreated Gyoza which is Japanese pronunciation of jiaozi.

Does this means that both Japanese gyoza and Chinese potstickers are the same? Based on history, YES but technically, NO!!!

If you observe both gyoza and potstickers very closely, you will see that Japanese gyoza are typically smaller for being one or two bite-sized. And they are usually made from very thin delicate pre-fabricated wrappers with fillings that are more finely chopped and textured.

Whether gyoza or jiaozi or guotie, I must say that I have learned well enough to cook good delicious dumplings these days. Ahem... So good that I have even mastered the art of cooking either gyoza or potstickers with a perfect crispy base.

So good that even my fussy husband said "Wow! Your crispy dumplings really got standard!" and my gyoza-loving mini-food-critic son said "Mum, your crispy dumplings are the BEST!!!"

That's because they didn't know something! The trick to create this crispy base is to add some wheat flour into the water that steam the dumplings! That's all! Now that you know... so please don't tell them. Let them keep saying that I'm best! LOL!

gyoza potstickers crispy base
Gyoza 餃子 / Potstickers 锅贴 with Crispy Lattice Base

Monday, February 12, 2018

Easy Mix-and-Cook Red Velvet Waffles with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Ever since I baked my first red velvet cupcakes using the recipe from the book, The Hummingbird Cookbook by Tarek Malouf at here, my son and I started loving anything that is red velvet instantly!!! It's like there is no turning back for us after we have tasted the true essence of red velvet.

Since then, I have baked many different delicious red velvet foods such as...
Red Velvet Cake Pops at here
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies at here
Like Tim Hortons Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling at here
Red Velvet Crackle Cookies at here

Why red velvet? Isn't it just food with red food colouring? NO NO NO!!!

To me, a true proper red velvet food must have:

1) acidic vinegar and buttermilk to bring out the red anthocyanin in cocoa preferably non-Dutch-processed. If you are using Dutch processed cocoa powder, please add extra vinegar.
2) alkaline baking soda to react with the acidic vinegar and buttermilk in order to create a light, velvety and fluffy texture.
3) red food colouring to make the food traditionally red or red-brown or mahogany.
4) THE CREAM CHEESE frosting! YUM!!!

These days, it's really common to find bakeries and cafes selling red velvet cakes, cookies and even pancakes... but how about red velvet waffles? No worries because my homemade red velvet waffles are actually very easy to make and I will show you how...

easy red velvet waffles cream cheese
Red Velvet Waffles