Cinnapede Bread, Tangzhong Method
Experimental and perhaps too audacious, I had developed my own sweet dough recipe, hoping to shape the dough into a beautiful wreath. However, what was brought to fruition was a bread loaf that both exceeded and failed my expectations. Aptly named for its aroma and figure, I called my creation “cinnapede bread”.
Cinnamon + Millipede + Bread = Cinnapede Bread
Viewed from the outside, the loaf could be perceived as a representation of a curled millipede. However, in the inside, the interior of the loaf had collapsed upon itself, forming a gap between the upper crust and crumb. Only then did it occur to me that this may be the reason that cinnamon buns are baked as divided portions rather than a single rolled log.
Although the cinnapede bread wasn’t too flavourful, lacking in sweetness, tanginess and butteriness, its hollowness had permeated my mind with questions:
Is it possible to bake a large but hollow bread loaf akin to choux pastry (i.e., profiteroles or cream puffs)? If yes, what can I insert into the bread? Food stuffing, like a Thanksgiving turkey? Candy, like a piñata? Toys, like a Kinder Surprise?
Oh, the possibilites were endless…
(This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting.)
The primary objectives for the cinnapede bread were the following:
Inspired by the website Simply Recipes, the following adjustments were made to the original recipe:
Additionally, if available, I’ve included brand names of the food products I used; please see the tables below. Disclaimer: This isn’t an endorsement. I’m simply indicating the names of the branded products used in my baking experiment.
Yield: 1 cinnapede bread (loaf)
Total Prep Time: N/A
Total Bake Time: 60 minutes
|All-purpose flour / Plain flour / Type 55 flour, Unbleached||60 g||Top Budget|
|Whole milk / Full cream milk||300 g||Dutch Mill|
|All-purpose flour / Plain flour / Type 55 flour, Unbleached||940 g||Top Budget|
|Instant yeast||12 g||DSL|
|Cardamom seeds, Ground||4 g||N/A|
|Unsalted butter, Room temp.||150 g||Emborg|
|Duck eggs, Whole, Room Temp.||110 g||N/A|
|100% pure honey||94 g||Galae|
|Whole milk / Full cream milk, Scalded||< 305 g||Dutch Mill|
|Unsalted butter, Room temp.||150 g||Emborg|
|Caster sugar||120 g||SIS|
|Ground cinnamon||10 g||McCormick|
|Blanched almonds, Sliced||N/A||N/A|
|Duck egg, Yolk, Room temp.||N/A||N/A|
|Blanched almonds, Sliced||N/A||N/A|
|All-purpose flour / Plain flour, Unbleached, Enriched||N/A||Gold Medal|
|Extra virgin olive oil||N/A||Campagna|
|Tap water, Room temp.||N/A||N/A|
|Convection microwave oven, Gas stove, Mechanical fan, Trays (Peel), Sheet pan, Parchment paper, Spatulas, Whisk, Strainers, Pot, Bowls, Mixing bowls, Mortar, Mechanical kitchen scale, Paring knife, Chinese chef’s knife, Razor and Skewer (Lame), Spoons, Fork, Pestles, Pastry brush, Cooling rack, Cutting board|
Warning: Do not attempt my “recipe” (i.e., experiment) without considering the following; variations in room temperature, humidity, altitude, food products, kitchen utensils and equipment, techniques and methods, amongst other factors, will influence the outcome of your baked goods.
Before I began, I measured, prepared, and organized my ingredients and kitchen equipment. This includes: 1) extracting the seeds from the cardamom pods; 2) grinding the cardamom seeds with a mortar and pestle; 3) lining the inverted tray (i.e., peel substitute) with parchment paper; 4) sifting the flour with a fine mesh strainer; 5) scalding the milk.
Note: To my utter dismay, I discovered that the type 55 flour was contaminated with weevils. Opposed to food wastage, however, I sifted the flour to remove the majority of the said contaminants. (You’re disgusted, I know, but I spent a hefty sum for that darn French flour.)
Step 1: When was the last time I prepared a tangzhong starter? Several months, if I’m not mistaken. However, confident that my vague memories wouldn’t fail me, I pressed on and assembled the starter materials: whole milk, type 55 flour, heavy-bottom pot, and wooden spatula.
Note: Tangzhong (a.k.a. water roux) is a cooked paste comprised of one part wheat flour and five parts liquid, typically water. The purpose of tangzhong is to elevate the tenderness and fluffiness of breads.
Step 2: Shortly afterwards, I poured the milk then the flour into the pot.
My first mistake: pouring milk onto the flour resulted in clumps of dry flour to stay afloat and intact, despite my efforts to stir the ingredients into a homogeneous mixture.
You exclaim, “So that’s why it’s better to pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients rather than vice versa!”
My second mistake: My wooden spatula was unable to scrape the sides of the pot with ease, whereas a flexible plastic spatula can do as such. Hence, bits and pieces of wet flour remained latched onto the walls of the pot.
So far, so bad.
Step 3: Setting the pot over the stove burner on medium-low heat, I continuously stirred the ingredients until the mixture thickened.
“Wait, that’s not right…”
Briefly reflecting on my previous attempts at preparing tangzhong starters, I soon suspected that my starter was overcooked. Simply put, the starter appeared too thick and pasty.
Step 4: Setting the (failed) starter aside, I gathered the materials for the dough: type 55 flour, instant yeast, salt, freshly ground cardamom, and mixing bowl.
Step 5: Without sifting, I poured the said dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, then whisked them until they were well blended.
Step 6: Next, the cubed butter was retrieved.
Step 7: With my fingers, I hastily rubbed the butter into the dry ingredients.
Note: In the past, I would first combine the flour and yeast, then rub the butter, then incorporate the salt and other dry ingredients into the mixture. Then, I recently asked myself, “why?”
If I recall correctly, the described procedure was infused into my brain by an instructional video featuring Richard Bertinent (refer to this video). Perhaps Mr. Bertinet mixed his ingredients in this manner to minimize direct contact between yeast and salt, as high concentrations of salt is known to kill yeast.
However, the question remains: what difference does it make if all of the dry ingredients are combined at once? Well, let’s find out…
Step 8: In this exact order, I poured the following wet ingredients into the mixing bowl: starter, eggs, honey, and milk. Moreover, I reserved half of the milk I had on hand to control the hydration of the eventual dough.
Step 9: Subsequently, the contents of the mixing bowl were mixed with my fingers and a plastic spatula.
“That’s definitely too dry.”
Step 10: Heavily relying on my intuition, I continued pouring the milk into the mixing bowl and hand-mixing the dough until the above consistency was reached: highly viscous, moist, and sticky.
Thereafter, the dough was rested at room temperature for approx. twenty minutes to develop its gluten network.
Step 11: Once twenty minutes had elapsed, I transferred the dough onto a clean work surface, then lightly kneaded the dough for a brief period (i.e., less than a minute). Subsequent to that, I implemented the French kneading method for a total of five minutes.
Step 12: In alternation, the dough was kneaded for five minutes, then rested for five minutes. This process (devised by yours truly) was repeated three times. Thus, in total, the dough was kneaded (i.e., French kneading method) and rested for fifteen minutes each.
Step 13: Following the dough’s last rest period, I again conducted the windowpane test to determine the strength of the dough. Satisfied, I shaped the dough into a ball, placed the dough into the oiled mixing bowl, covered the mixing bowl with an inverted sheet pan, then allowed the dough to bulk ferment for one hour and fifteen minutes at room temperature.
Step 14: Prior to the end of the dough’s fermentation period, I assembled the materials for the filling: ground cinnamon, caster sugar, soften butter, plastic spatula, and mixing bowl.
Step 15: Later, I dumped the filling ingredients into the mixing bowl, then proceeded to cream the mixture until it was well blended, light, and fluffy.
Step 16: Behold! One hour and fifteen minutes had elapsed, and the dough had transformed into a bulbous mass, expanding nearly double its original size.
Step 17: “Uh-oh!”
Realizing that I had no clean spatulas on hand, I promptly but gently pried the dough onto the flour-dusted work surface with my fingers.
Note: The work surface (i.e., desk top) was dusted with leftover all-purpose, unbleached, enriched flour.
Step 18: Next, I patted the dough to remove excess gas, then initiated the “tri-fold” by folding one-third of the dough over itself, twice. Once packaged into a rough rectangle, as shown above, I pinched the wide seams of the dough by repeatedly hitting along the dough’s edge with the heel of my palm.
Step 19: With a pestle (i.e., rolling pin substitute), I flattened and stretched the dough into a large rectangle measuring approx. 57 cm by 29 cm (22.4 x 11.4 in).
Thereafter, I evenly spread the filling over the dough (using a plastic spatula), leaving a small margin along the edges, then sprinkled sliced almonds over the filling.
Step 20: After applying tap water onto the blank margins of the dough, I rolled the dough into a log or cigar, depending on your perspective.
“Darnnit! Why does this happen every time?!”
Note: Attributed to my inattentiveness, the dough was not evenly compressed, as evidenced by the lumpy mid section of the rolled dough.
Step 21: I transferred the dough onto the parchement-lined inverted tray (i.e., peel substitute), shaped the log into a doughnut, pinched the ends of the dough, then–like a vicious murderer–slashed the convex sides of the dough with a homemade lame (i.e., razor on a stick).
Following that, the dough was proofed (i.e., fermented) for a total of forty-five minutes, while the convection microwave oven was preheated to 220°C / 428°F for fifty-five minutes. (The purpose of the prolonged heating was to raise the temperature of the oven’s ceramic tray, which served as a baking stone.)
Further, I prepared the egg wash (i.e., beaten egg yolk), then applied a thin coating of the egg wash to the surface of the dough with a pastry brush.
Note: I had intended to cut the dough into a wreath as depicted in this website, but it later dawned on me that the resulting size of the dough could not be accomodated by my compact oven. Thus, the dough had to be shaped in a way that wouldn’t drastically increase its surface area.
Step 22: Once forty-five minutes had passed, I applied a second coating of egg wash to the surface of the dough, then sprinkled almonds slices atop.
Note: Judging from the photo above, it’s quite apparent that the ends of the dough weren’t pinched very well. *Shakes head.*
Step 23: Adjusting the oven temperature to 170°C / 338°F, I suited my arm with a long-sleeved oven mitt, tugged and pulled the parchment paper (where the dough sat upon) onto the hot ceramic tray, then baked the dough for a total of one hour.
Note: At fifty minutes of baking, I conducted the “toothpick test” by inserting and withdrawing a skewer from the centre of the loaf. Moist crumbs had attached to the skewer, so the loaf was baked for an additional ten minutes.
Step 24: Hey, you know what? I’m thankful that the ends of the dough weren’t pinched well. The irregular ends added to the effect of the loaf resembling a curled millipede. Yeah, I know it’s not the most appetizing imagry, but it’s intriguing to say at least.
Nonetheless, the cinnapede bread was cooled on a rack for over two hours, assisted by a blowing fan.
Step 25: I present to you a mountain of dirty dishes and kitchen utensils…
After an hour of being baked, the crust of the cinnapede bread was firm, rather crispy, and flavourful. In comparison, the crumb of the loaf was somewhat moist, lending to a gummy mouthfeel but not strongly so. Further, the loaf emanated a modestly intense aroma of butter and cinnamon. However, when in near proximity of the nose, a faint yeasty smell was detected. Contrary to expectation, the loaf, paricularly the crumb, tasted fairly sweet and mildly buttery.
After a day of being baked, the crust of the cinnapede bread had softened and the crumb had staled, thereby decreasing the sensation of gumminess. Moreover, both the aroma and taste of the loaf had reduced in intensity. Despite this, the overall taste of the cinnapede bread was smoother and more pleasant to the palate.
Note: The cinnapede bread was stored at room temperature.
I admit, my recipe wasn’t developed with great care, but rather with haste and negligence. (“Hey, that’s no surprise…”) So, this may explain why I had not factored in the size of the dough when shaped into a wreath. No matter, though. If I were too careful, my cinnapede bread wouldn’t exist and it would be a darn shame if it didn’t.
You may wonder, “why did you prepare your recipe in a rush?” Well, my mind was preoccupied. I was scheduled to move into my new apartment the following day after baking, but I had not yet packed up my belongings. Evidentally, baking was my first priority, haha!
Having said that, I’m now living slightly comfortably in my new home. However, to my utter misfortune, I had to abandon my baking equipment. To summarize, the baking equipment did not belong to me.
A forewarning: Next week my blog will not feature my usual post about baking blunders. Instead, I may post an article about the bakeries in my town of residence–Siem Reap, Cambodia. With all sincerity, I hope you look forward to it!
As always, farewell and happy baking! :)