Hamburger or Hot Dog Rolls

IMG_7838
This recipe, originally from here, was very simple and made nice soft rolls. I tried both hamburger and hot dog roll shapes and they also worked great for some chicken sandwiches. I’ve made them with only white AP flour, and also with part whole wheat, and both were delicious. They also freeze well, so definitely give them a try!

Ingredients (makes 10 hamburger rolls or 16 hot dog rolls)
360mL (1-1/2 cups) warm water
3/4 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
4 cups (520g) all-purpose flour (can substitute part whole wheat)

Instructions
Combine water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix well.

Add the remaining 2 cups of flour a little at a time until the dough is firm enough to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth.

Place in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until double in size. Then punch down the dough and shape into rolls.

For hamburger rolls, use about 85g (3oz) of dough and roll into a sphere. Then press down on the baking sheet to flatten them slightly. Allow about 5cm / 2 inches of space in between so they don’t touch when they rise and bake.

For hot dog rolls, use 55g (2 oz) of dough and roll into a log shape. Place on the baking sheet, closer together than the hamburger rolls (about an inch apart). (They may seem small, but don’t forget they’ll rise quite a bit.)

Let the rolls rise again for about an hour.

Bake at 200C / 400F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Swedish Bread

swedish breadI love baking bread in the winter. It makes the whole house seem warmer and cozier, and warm homemade bread is one of my favorite things to eat. This is an old recipe that my Mom and I used to make when I was younger, and I hadn’t made in many years until this Christmas. It’s got egg, milk, and sugar in it, which make the dough rich and sweet, and it tastes like almonds. You can make regular loaves, or braid them like I did in the picture above if you want to be fancy!

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)
½ cup (113g) melted butter or margarine
⅔ cup (133g) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
405 mL (2-1/4 cups) hot milk
2-1/4 tsp dry yeast
¼ cup (60mL) warm water
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
7 cups (910g) white flour (approximately)

Optional: 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup almonds (for topping)

Instructions
Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and hot milk in a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Stir the yeast into the warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.

Add the dissolved yeast, egg, almond extract, and 3 cups (390g) of the flour to the milk mixture and mix vigorously. Add 3 more cups (390g) of flour and mix well.

Turn out onto a slightly floured board, knead for a minute or two, and let rest for 10 minutes. Adding the remaining flour only if the dough is too sticky, resume kneading until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down, knead for a minute or two, and shape into two loaves. Place in two buttered 9×5 inch loaf pans, cover, and let rise until double in bulk again. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

For Braided Bread: After the dough has risen for the first time, punch it down, knead for a minute or two, and divide it into six equal pieces. Stretch and roll each piece with your hands until you have six long rolls of uniform size. Make two braids with them, pinching the three piece of dough firmly together when you start braiding and again when you finish. Tuck each end underneath the loaf. Place on greased cookie sheets, cover, and allow to rise until double in size. Brush with 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water, and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Bake for only 25 to 30 minutes.

Naan

IMG_7796This flatbread is easy to make and goes well with curry or lentils! It does take some time, but only because it has to rise for 2-1/2 hours. The actual working time is not very long.

Ingredients (makes 6-8 naan)
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp yeast
3/4 cup (180mL) milk (you can also substitute all or part of the milk with yogurt)
1/2 tsp sugar
1-2 tbsp butter (optional)

Instructions

Warm up the milk, and add the sugar and yeast. Add the salt, and half of the flour, and mix well. Add the remaining flour, and knead until a smooth dough is formed.

Place dough in a bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise 2 hours.

Divide the dough into 6 to 8 pieces. Let rest for 30 minutes. Heat your oven to its highest temperature. Roll out the dough into circles and bake for 2-4 minutes.

If desired, brush the warm naan with melted butter.

Runza

runzaRunza are made from a slightly sweet, rich bread dough and a filling of beef, onion and cabbage. Although the ingredients are simple, the results are delicious. This recipe does require some time since the bread dough has to rise. However, you can certainly make the filling while the dough is rising. Another reason these are great is because they can be refrigerated or frozen and reheat extremely well.

Ingredients (serves 4)
Dough:
4-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
180mL (3/4 cup) milk
120mL (1/2 cup) water
100g (1/2 cup) shortening
2 eggs

Filling:
450g (1 lb) ground beef or beef/pork mixture
2 onions, chopped
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Instructions

Mix 1-3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the shortening, milk, and water, and microwave or heat on the stove until shortening melts. Let cool slightly and add to the flour. Add eggs and mix well. Add remaining flour (2-3/4 cups) and mix until smooth. Let rise 1 hour.

Meanwhile, saute meat, onions, and cabbage until meat is cooked through. Season with a pinch each of salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste.

Divide dough into 12 equal balls, and roll into squares of about 6 inches (15cm) on a floured surface. Place about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture in the middle of the dough, and fold one corner over to the opposite corner, making a triangle. Use a fork to seal the edges of the dough very well.

Bake at 180C / 350 F for 20 minutes.

Pitas

pitasPita bread is another type that is not commonly found in Japan. They are available at import stores, etc., but are quite expensive. However, they are not hard to make, so give it a try!

Ingredients (makes 8 medium-sized pitas)
3 cups (390g) flour (Japan: use bread flour / 強力粉)
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar/honey
2 tsp yeast
1-1/4 cups (300mL) water
2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

If using active dry yeast, mix the yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water, warmed. Let sit 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.

If using instant yeast, you can just mix all the ingredients well.

Knead for a few minutes until soft and no longer sticky. Let dough rise for 90 minutes in a warm place.

Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and let rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out each ball into a 6-inch (15cm) circle. Bake at 200C / 400F for about 5 minutes. The pitas should puff up, but if they don’t, it’s fine! You can still cut them open with a knife to stuff them.

Ingredients in Japan: Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast

This post is part of a series about the differences in ingredients between Japan and the U.S. When I first arrived in Japan, I had a lot of trouble at times because I wasn’t used to these differences, so hopefully this information is helpful! For the full list of posts in this series, see this page.

Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast have been pretty much the same for me as they were in America, but at first I just had a little trouble finding these common baking chemicals in Japan. I knew that they must be available, but I wasn’t sure where to look or what they would be called.

First, baking powder. This was pretty easy for me to find because in Japanese, they just use the English name: ベーキングパウダー (beikingu paudaa), and in the brand they sell around here, it’s written in English letters as well on the can. (By the way, the can stumped me at first, since I had never used any product in that kind of container before – you have to use a butter knife or the end of another utensil to pop open the lid.) When I checked a dictionary, another word for baking powder was listed, 膨らし粉 (fukurashi-ko), but I have never seen it used in recipes or on the package.

baking powderBaking soda was a little harder. In contrast to baking powder, which was clearly marked with the English and katakana word, I always find it in the store as 重曹 (juusou), though the dictionary has that word along with the English word ベーキングソーダ (beikingu souda), and I’ve seen both terms in recipes.

baking soda Finally, yeast. This is the only brand sold in my local supermarket, though they have different packaging options. I like to buy my yeast in one big package (you can see it labeled on this box as 50g x 1袋), but they also have options of several smaller packages inside the box. Here again, we have the English word ドライイースト (dorai iisuto) for dry yeast. This box is the instant type (not required to activate in warm water before using), so it’s labeled 予備発酵不要 (yobi hakkou fuyou); it’s also marked as 顆粒 (karyuu), or granule-type. And finally, it mentions: ホームベーカリーにも使えます, or “can also be used in bread machines”.

yeastOnce I figured out what these things were and where to find them (usually with the other baking or cake-decorating supplies in the supermarket), I’ve had no trouble using them exactly the same way I did in America.