Saturday, March 18, 2017

Polly's Matcha MANJU Adventure with Butternut Squash Filling

Do you ever get inspired by TV drama involving food?   While I was watching this Japanese drama about a young lady who end up working as an apprentice in a Japanese pastry shop in ASAKUSA, Japan - MANGETSUDO (fictitious), I got fascinated by the tiny cute and beautiful life like pastries in the shape of flower, fruits, etc,... filled with sweet fillings.  It is amazing that even for an event, this shop's top pastry chef and assistant would make all MANJU by hand every single day - hundreds of them... well, it's a TV drama,  But you never know... they may be able to do so.  It is hard to believe such a shop would exist today, but that will be a prize find.   It is mostly made by machine today, I am guessing, but regardless, I thought I would like to try making one.  I don't normally eat MANJU because the filling is too sweet to my taste.  But if I make it myself, I thought I could control the sweetness and what to use. 
There is no recipe for this... I just made it up.  
Or follow this one:

Some pastry flours - I believe was one cup, a tablespoon of natural Matcha (green tea powder - not for the smoothie type fake green powder with food color), a bit of salt, a bit of sugar, a 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder, and just enough water to mix and form into a tender dough.
Filling:  Roasted butternut squash.  Strained and cooked with sugar (as much as I liked) until thick paste is formed.
Hold a small wad of the dough about a tablespoon size between palms and round it into a ball, then, squash, then, fingers with thumbs inward, start to stretch the dough in a circular motion. Form into a thin disc and enclose the filling.  In this testing the dough was not rolled out thin enough.  During my testing, about 4 mm or 3 mm is ideal.  I also made the size even smaller for a bite size.
Place the formed Mnaju on pre-cut organic parchment paper squares.
Steam for 10 min.
I used strained butternut squash, sweetened with sugar.  Cooked to evaporate moisture until thick consistency.
I can see that the dough needs to be more thin... may be 3mm would be better.
But the flavor or butternut squash is wonderful.   I now found another replacement to the normal overly sweetened red bean paste that is sold at the grocery stores.   Sure, you could make them fresh yourself, but red beans are something I don't really like to work with.  I watched it on TV that after they boil them, they smash them and strain them, then add sugar and knead them over the heat until moisture is reduced so the red bean paste are in perfect density.   But I like the butternut squash replacement.  It's my new finding.
This one is with Blueberries.   I added a couple of blueberries with butternut squash.
Yum!  the tangy taste of blueberries made the butternut squash even better.

Polly's Prickly Pear Adventure back in 2016

I am not sure if I posted this in 2016 summer, but nevertheless, it was one of a tasty adventure I had.  Come to think of it, I think I probably did post it, but since I already got the page all nice, I am going to post it anyways. 
This is mighty Prickly Pears in my mom's home garden.  It can become one of your favorite fruits when you learn to handle it and prepare them into refreshing fruits eaten fresh or cooked, or made into jam.
To harvest prickly pear, wear a pear of dedicate thick gloves, eye goggles, and a sharp knife or scissors.  You can torch it to remove the sharp fine needles by burning them off with a torch or by water method in a larger strainer.   Torching it would be faster, but I used the water method.  Use a pair of tong to hold onto prickly pear and cut off the pear off the paddle.  Place them carefully into a dedicated throwable bag.
Transfer them with a pair of tong into a large strainer a few at a time.
Run the sink water.   Shake and roll pears in the strainers back and forth until all needs have been removed.  I saw on the YouTube - a boiling method by experienced handlers.

 Use a fork to hold it up, slice the skin off with a sharp knife.
 It smells so wonderful and refreshing.
 Beautiful colors.
 And I ate them!!  a lot of seeds, but my gosh! the first time I have ever tasted home grown fresh Prickly Pear.  It tastes wonderful!
 The rest, I made into Prickly Pear Jelly.  Find a favorite recipe.  And just do it.
 I kind of followed the recipe on the Pectin instruction sheet, but... whatever, I just mixed them up and cooked them and strained them.
Sterilization of Mason jars and lids.
 Time to seal.
One for my family, and two for me!


HOKKAIDO MILK LOAF - Polly’s with Matcha   3/15/2017
Basic recipe by Yvonne C. “65’CTang Zong Bread” book I purchased.

2 LOAF PANs - Size 12?? -
   I used one Pullman loaf pan with Cover 9 x 4 x 4 inch or 28.8 x 10.1 x 10.1 cm.
  And a full size disposable aluminum loaf pan with Cover 11.5 x 5.5 x 3.5 inch.

Group A:
540 g - Bread Flour or Natural White - Wheat Montana Unbleached Non GMO All Purpose Flour
68 g  - Organic cane sugar
6 g ( orig: 8 g- Kosher Salt
11 g  Dry Yeast

Group B: 
86 g whole eggs (about 2 small eggs)
59 g Butter - room temp
54 g  Milk
9 g natural Milk flavoring?? I  did not use... I suppose the commercial baker use this to enhance the aroma??  (Yak!)

To make 65'C Roux or Tang Zong:
184 g Tang Zong (Roux) -
     Polly's modified measurement:  200 g water + 40 g Flour with Matcha.
        Premix 150 g flour with 12 g Natural Matcha - Not for the smoothie type with food color - use the real stuff, then measure out 40 g flour with Matcha.

Group C:
49 g Sour Cream (unsalted fermented milk butter - is what it says in the book)
1 egg wash - I used whole egg, but removed some most of the egg white.  Add 1 tsp of milk

To make Roux -TANG ZONG 65'C
In a small pot, add 40 g pre-shifted Match flour.  Add about 1/4 C of 200 g water and whisk.  This method avoid lumps compared to when you pour all the liquid into the dry.  As the mixture smooth out, add some more water, and eventually all.
Cook over a low heat with Thermometer handy.
Stir continuously with a whisk or heatproof spatula.
Take the temp every few seconds.
It will thicken from the edge quickly.   Keep stirring the edge in or it will form lumps!
 As soon as the temperature get close to 65'C, the mixture would thicken... rather quickly, so keep stirring and remove the pot off the stove top immediately.  Keep covered  (with plastic film - hopefully non leaching pta or other yaky chemical) to store to avoid skin to form.  I just let it set aside to cool while I got all the Group A ingredients measured into the mixer.
Weigh out 184 g of Roux
There should be a bit more than 184 g completed roux.

Mixing Dough:
Add all Group A ingredients into a mixer bowl.  Hand Whisk them together first.

Add Group B.  Hand mix with spatula
Add Group C.  Hand mix with spatula.

Why hand mix?  - If you love your mixer, hand mix at the beginning to avoid fine flour particles to settle into your mixer's enclosed motor unit.  Believe me, they will get in there overtime.
With Dough hook, at speed one - Stir mode, mix the ingredients 30 to 45 sec.
(Kneading time with Kitchen Aid Professional 5 Plus model:  30 min. - 10 min interval check.)

Change to speed #2.  Knead for 10 min.  Stop and check.  The dough is quite well formed.  Leaving the bowl’s side with no flour.
Knead for another 10 min., Check.
 Knead another 10  min.  
Because of the Egg and butter in the dough, the dough would not form the 'normal' elasticity. 
But take time to knead until a good elasticity is formed to bake into a nice pulled crumb.
Place in slightly oiled plastic bag for 1st rise.
I used Turkey roasting pan with cover filled with hot water (about 120'F or feel quite warm when your hand is dipped in without burning) to simulate the bread proofing box.
1st Rising:
About 40 min in 28’C, 75% moisture.   A Large Turkey roast pan filled with hot water.  Placed large metal bowl with dough in oiled plastic bag placed in the water with roast pan cover.  After 40 min, the dough doubled in size on time.
Divide dough into 4 - 265 g each  My portion is about 261 g each.
Bench Rest: 15 min. Up to this point, everything went accordingly
 After 15 minutes.
 Form  - no problem forming

Last Rise in baking bread mold:  8 min - in room temp 38’C with moisture 85%.
  The last rise is taking longer tan 8 min for the doughs to fill the bread mold as illustrated in the book’s.  Extending the rise time to 15 min. covered in the Pullman bread pan in one and Buca’s pasta's to go pan with cover in the other.  Both lined with organic parchment paper.  Placed on open turkey roast pan filled with hot water.  Inverted bowls inside at the bottom to hold the bread pans.
I can easily heat up the water when it becomes too cool.  But Do Not leave it on no longer than 30 sec and do not leave kitchen.

At 13 min - the dough in Pullman bread pan has expanded to almost touching each other.
The doughs in aluminum bread mold with cover from Buca pasta delivery are still slow in rise, but it is rising.
*Checked at end of 15 min in bread molds over the hot water in roasting pan.
The dough has not increased in double in size as shown in the book illustration.   The required temp is 38’c with moisture 85% that I do not have.
At this time of rising in the mold, the oven is turn on to 350’F  *Hoping the heat from oven would help in rising in the pan
1.  15 min  not rising much
2.  15 min  rising well and very very close to touching each other.  Applied egg wash.
3.  15 min  or 10 min?  this is difficult.  I heat up the water again in the roasting pan with bread pans over it.   
            Perfect rise at 12 min.  I thought - Doughs are touching each other.   Ready for baking.  But after the baking, I realized that I should have let them rise the full 15 min.

Bake:  Preheat oven to 350’F  - 150'C on top and 180’C on bottom - Bake 35 min.
  I do not have the specialized bread oven.  Just my large gas oven.  So, know your oven's BTU.
Oven is filled with a pan of hot water under the mid bottom rack in a brownie pan.
Baking rack at the mid section for baking when ready.
Since I do not have a commercial oven that would emit heat 150’C on Top and 180’C on bottom.  I have a pan of water with hot water in the oven to simulate Hotness of the environment. Hmm... really?
When ready to bake, I removed the pan of water.
Result of baking in Pullman or covered bread mold for 35 min: 
( I love taking pictures of food.)
 It is so fluffy... and smell wonderful!
the large aluminum mold’s bread showed a bit of under bake at the top and bottom.  Either waited a full 3rd 15 min for the final rise before baking could prevented it or baked for 8 more minutes?
The bread in Pullman mold also showed some ‘not full risen’ sign at the top and bottom.
However, overall, this is a great recipe to keep trying.
 Slice them up and Eat!!
Wow.  Only a small slice and you can feel the full packed taste and satisfaction.
Awesome sandwich bread!!
3/19/17 - Forget the 'bit dense' dough at the top or the bottom.  After I toasted them, oh my goodness! they are light and delicious!