Last month, I posted a recipe for Carrot Ginger Walnut Sweet Rolls - a wonderful variation on the cinnamon roll. I also wanted to post the technique and recipe for turning this dough into a loaf of bread that can be sliced and toasted, made into french toast, used for sandwiches, or eaten plain. If you go to the Japanese (or Chinese) Bakery, they have all different kinds of variations of Shokupan (a soft and fluffy Japanese sandwich bread, often made as squared loaves) – red bean, sesame seed, raisin, etc. My all time favorite is the plain one – “Japanese Milk Bread” – but it’s nice to have something different every once in awhile.
Carrot sounded like an interesting flavor (since carrots can often be thought of as a food that can cross between sweet and savory) – the question was, how to add the puree to the dough without making it too wet and sticky? I played around with my Japanese Milk Bread recipe and figured out what proportion of pureed vegetable works the best (I also decreased the liquid) – you can use pureed carrot like I did here, or you can use pumpkin puree, pureed cooked (boiled) taro or yam… you can also experiment with other flavors/vegetables… I’m not sure how spinach puree would turn out, but it could be interesting!
I added raisins to my Carrot Shokupan, but you don’t have to if you don’t like raisins. You can leave the bread plain, or substitute with chopped nuts or some other type of small dried fruit (like cherries or cranberries). If you do use dried fruit, plump them up first by soaking in some warm liquid (orange juice works well) – that way, they won’t dry out too much during the baking process.
I say this every time – but I LOVE my Zojirushi Bread Machine so much!!! It has a “basic dough setting” where you just dump the ingredients in, turn it on, and 1 hour 50 minutes later you have a perfectly made dough that is ready to use. It makes the kneading and rising process so incredibly easy – so much so that I use it to make bread dough, yeast leavened pastry dough, even bao or bun dough all the time!
Carrot Raisin Shokupan:
- 3/4 c. cooked carrot puree (4-5 medium carrots)
- 2 1/2 c. bread flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/2 c. tang zhong (recipe below)
- 3 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 T. sugar
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/3 c. bread flour
- 1 c. water
- 3/4 to 1 c. raisins
- 1/2 c. orange juice
- 1 egg yolk + 1 T. water
1. First, prepare the carrot puree. Peel the carrots and chop into rough chunks.
2. Place the carrot pieces in a small sauce pan and cover with water over medium heat. Simmer about 15-20 minutes until fork tender.
3. Drain and cool the carrots. Use a hand blender (or food processor) to puree the cooked carrot. Measure out 3/4 c. carrot puree for the bread dough.
4. Make the tang zhong. For instructions on how to make tang zhong on the stove top, see my recipe for Japanese Milk Bread. This time, I decided to make the tang zhong in the microwave. Fill a 2 c. pyrex measuring cup with the water and flour. Mix with a fork until all the lumps are gone, and your mixture looks like milk.
5. Microwave the mixture for 1 minute, remove, then stir with the fork to break up any lumps. Return to the microwave, cook for 30 seconds, then remove and stir until smooth. Set aside and cool. You will only need 1/2 of the tang zhong to make this bread. You can store the other half of the tang zhong in the refrigerator for a few days.
6. Dump the tang zhong, carrot puree, egg beaten into the milk, sugar, butter, and salt into the bottom of the bread machine pan. Add the flour on top, forming a depression into the top. Place the yeast in that depression. Turn the machine on using the “basic dough” setting. (You can also make the dough by hand – knead all the ingredients together for about 15 minutes, set aside (covered) in a warm place to rise for about an hour, then punch down.)
7. Meanwhile, microwave the orange juice and raisins for about 2 minutes, then let sit for 5 minutes to allow the raisins to plump up.
8. Then, drain the orange juice, and let the raisins continue to drain on a paper towel.
9. Once the dough is done, it will be very fluffy and sticky.
10. Spray a 9″ X 5″ loaf pan with non stick spray. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop.
11. Dust the top of the dough with a heavy coating of flour, and pat or roll out into a large rectangle.
12. Spread the plumped up raisins over the dough rectangle.
13. Starting from one of the short ends of the rectangle, roll the dough toward the other end, cinnamon roll style.
14. Squash the edges of the roll inward until the dough is the same length as the loaf pan. Place the dough roll into the loaf pan, seam side down.
15. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 335 degrees.
16. After the dough has risen, use a sharp serrated knife to cut a vertical line through the top of the loaf.
17. Gently brush the top with egg wash. Then, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
18. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
19. Then, remove from the loaf pan, and cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.