I used to think that I wasn’t a really lovey-dovey kind of person, but this entire month, I’ve been baking/making things related to love or hearts. Maybe it’s partly because Aspiring Bakers’ theme for February has been at the back of my head, so I was racking my brains as to what I could make that was heart-shaped. But I do think it’s more of the former than the latter, mainly because my valentine is more than 7000km away, and he can’t try my food like how he did when he was around, so these posts are a virtual feast (I hope) for him. 
Anyway, after my wholemeal tangzhong rolls, I embarked on yet another bread recipe because I was in search of the world’s softest bun! One blog linked to the other, and I landed on Zurin’s blog. She says that it is the world’s softest buns and boy, her pictures do look like it! But I have to admit that I was a teeny weeny disappointed because my buns weren’t as soft and fluffy as I anticipated them to be. Yes, they were soft (and remained soft even 3 days after!) but they were not as soft as those you can get from bakeries. My mom tells me that there is no way I can get bakery-quality buns, because those breads have bread improvers and softeners in them, but so many other blogs have claimed that they managed to get bakery-quality breads with their recipes. So I’m wondering if we are comparing the breads with different bakery standards? Or is it because of the way I knead the bun, or my oven or the lack of egg wash on the buns? There are so many variables involved, but I think I can cancel out the oven bit because I have bought an oven thermometer and have been ensuring that the temperature is super duper accurate – unless those other bakers have inaccurate temperature ovens lol. But as for the kneading bit, I’m definitely going to try kneading with my Bombino (long story, but it’s the name of my KA mixer) and see if there is any visible difference. Rest assured, I will definitely attempt this recipe again because I do see its potential for bakery-quality soft rolls and will come back with a post-mortem, to dissect where I think I went wrong/right. I’m probably gonna combine this yogurt recipe together with the water-roux/ tangzhong method to see where it takes me =]
Instead of making normal round shaped rolls this time, I experimented with all sorts of mini rolls – I made braided nutella buns, bite-sized buns with sausages, buns with nutella inside, and normal plain heart-shaped buns. The other buns are not aesthetically pleasing at all, so you only get a glimpse of the normal and filled round buns as well as the sausage bun (see it sticking out on the right below). The heart-shaped buns weren’t that successful however, because they kind of lost their shape after the second proofing and I didn’t really dare to shape them after that, for fear that the bread would be dense from my shaping. I have newfound admiration for those bloggers who managed to get such lovely heart shaped buns! 
Buns just don’t look as nice without an egg wash, don’t they?
Yogurt Rolls (hand kneaded)

Ingredients 
220 g    bread flour 
30 g      wholemeal flour (you can use all 250g of bread flour if you like) 
15 g      castor sugar 
3 g        salt 
3 g        yeast 
120 g    yogurt 
40 g      milk 
25 g      egg 
30 g      butter 
Method: 
  1. Sieve the flours, salt, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, add your milk, yogurt and butter and allow it to warm over a medium heat. Once the mixture turns lukewarm (about 45deg), take it off the fire and allow it to cool slightly to about 40deg. You don’t need a thermometer for this – as long as your bare finger is able to stand the warmth, it should be about right.
  3. Crack the egg into a separate bowl and pour some of the liquid mixture to temper the egg. This is to ensure that the egg will not curdle when you add it into the warm liquid mixture.
  4. Mix the egg mixture into the rest of the liquid mixture until fully incorporated. 
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in, stirring with the wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated and you start getting a shaggy mass of dough. 
  6. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. 
  7. Once it passes the window pane test, round up the dough and rest it inside a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rest until it doubles in size (approximately 45 minutes in our hot weather). 
  8. Punch down the dough and knead it for a few minutes before dividing your dough into your desired number. This recipe ideally makes 6 rolls, but I divided mine into small bite size buns and rolls weighing about 40g each. 
  9. Once shaped, place the buns into a greased pan, leaving about an inch gap in between each roll and allow them to rest and proof for another 45 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. 
  10. Preheat the oven to 170degrees, and if you wish, apply an egg wash onto your rolls once they have doubled in size. 
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before consuming your buns =)
In pictures: 
This is the size of the dough after it has proofed for about 45 minutes. To test if the proofing is sufficient, simply poke a hole in the dough (see the hole on the right?) and see if the hole remains there. If it does, proofing is done and you can proceed to the next step! If not, cover the bowl and wait for another 10 minutes before trying the ‘poke’ test again.
My attempt at making heart-shaped buns. They still resemble heart shapes here, but wait till you see the next photo :/
No longer so lovey-dovey huh? :(
My only consolation – one bun which resembled a heart – ps it has a nutella surprise inside! :)
This will be my last show of support to Ellena for Aspiring Bakers #4: Love is in the Air (Feb 2011), because I’ll be doing tarts next and there ain’t gonna be no hearts there, just lotsa ‘buttah’ =)

4 comments

  1. Wowow!! These bread look soft and fluffy :)

  2. it look so lovely. the texture sure look soft and fluffy (:

  3. When I was manually kneading last time, there was no way I could make breads as soft as bakeries. But when I’m kneading with a machine now.. surprisingly yes, without additives, but, those ultra soft recipes are usually very tacky, not manual kneading friendly. So, don’t give up hope. Ultra soft breads without additives do exist, but together with a mixer. BTW, they are not Tangzhong or whatever zhong methods, I made them with direct method.

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