Sunday, 7 April 2019

Mia Bakes: Nutella / Lemon Curd Stuffed Milk Bread

As you know, I used to own a Mayer Breadmaker. Yes, USED to. It has served me decently well for almost 2 years and then decided it's time to go halfway kneading the dough for my 1st try at a chocolate babka  a while back and I've stopped baking my own bread ever since.... 
And then one fine day, I decided just to test my own endurance and see if I can manage hand-kneading my bread dough from scratch, so here it is!


The recipe is simple, just very basic milk bread with about 1 tbsp filling of your choice. I decided to make a variety of fillings with nutella, lemon curd and raisins!

So to get 8 small buns, you'll need:
250g all purpose flour + 1.5 tsp vital wheat gluten
(or 250g bread flour)
30g castor sugar
160 - 170ml milk 
1 tsp (~3g) instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
20g soften unsalted butter
 fillings of your choice

In a large bowl, add in your flour, sugar, salt and yeast, making sure that the yeast and salt are not in direct contact with each other. Then, add in 160ml of milk and stir with a pair of chopsticks or wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients starts to come together to form crumbly dough bits before going in with your hands to start kneading the dough in the bowl. At this point, you may either add more milk or flour depending on the hydration level of your flour and continue kneading until the dough pulls away from the bowl, coming together into a ball and your hands are relatively clean of sticky dough bits. 
Then, take your dough ball out and flatten it onto a clean work surface. Add in the soften butter and first fold the dough over the butter for a few times before started to knead it with your hands again. This time, be prepared to really work the dough out and knead for at least 30 minutes in order to reach the windowpane stage. I kneaded my dough for 45 minutes. 
And if you have no idea what windowpane stage means, it means you have to pull off a small piece of the dough and stretch it out with your hands. It should be able to be stretched till extremely thin, losing its opacity, and should you puncture a hold in the dough, the edges of the hole should be smooth, free of jagged edges. 

Fold the edges of the dough ball down its centre to form the dough into a round ball with smooth outer surface and leave it in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with some cling wrap. Leave the dough overnight in the fridge for 1st proofing, for at least 6 to 8 hours. 

The next morning, take your dough out of the fridge and leave it standing on the counter for at least 30 to 45 minutes for it to rise back up to room temperature. Check if the 1st proofing is done by poking a finger right down the middle of the dough ball, the hole should stay as it is (with slight rebounding at most) and the dough ball shouldn't collapse. 
Then, turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a few kneads to knock out all the air bubbles within. Using a bench scraper or just twisting with your bare hands, divide the dough ball into 8 equal pieces, rolling each piece into a small ball shape and setting them aside, covered with a layer of cling wrap to prevent drying. 

Then, take out a piece of the dough ball and roll it out slightly with a small rolling pin. You should roll it in a way such that it's thinner at the outer rim and slightly thicker in the centre. Then, add a dollop (about 1 tbsp or slightly less) of nutella, lemon curd or any type of filling you fancy (I will not suggest watery jam though, they will cause the buns to burst open) onto the centre and wrap it up into a ball by first folding the outer edges in and pinching the seam close. Flip the bun over, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and move on to the rest of the dough balls. 

If your oven has a proofing function, set the stuffed buns to rise in your oven at about 38 to 40 degree celsius for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns has expanded to 1.5x the original size. You can check for completion of the 2nd proofing by coating the tip of your finger with some flour and tapping it lightly on the bun. The depression should just bounce back very slightly, and still remains visible. 
If your oven do not have a proofing function, you can either leave the buns to proof at room temperature for about 1 hour, or create your own "proofing function" in your oven by placing your buns on the top rack and a dish of hot water on the lower rack. 

When the buns are proofed, take them out from the oven and set your oven temperature to 175 degree Celsius. Once pre-heated, let your buns bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness of the buns by tapping on the bun surface, if it sounds hollow, it's done baking. 

These buns are crusty on the outside, but super soft and fluffy on the inside! 

The only problem is that they are best eaten on day 1, for the lose the freshness very quickly. 
Or perhaps, I just need a better method of keeping them. 

And if you're also filling your bread with lemon curd, please double, triple check that your seams are well pinched. Lemon curd is quite "jam-ish" and they do explode out from the buns much easier compared to nutella. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

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