August 25, 2012

Japan #2 - Rice Cooker Bread

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?" ~ Julia Child

This is it!!! Finally, I made my dream bread. Seems to be burnt outside, but lo and behold, once you have tasted it, you'll find yourself bouncing in cumulonimbus clouds. Fluffy! Fluffy! Fluffy! The crispiness of the crust brought thunder in my ears and the softness of the bread took me to a new dimension... Oh yes, that's my reaction! If you don't believe me, better try my recipe! Keep on reading... you'll know later why I have an exaggerated reaction.

Looks can be deceiving huh, seems like an ordinary bread but there's something special about this bread... this was cooked on our humble rice cooker! Yes, you read it right! R-i-c-e  C-o-o-k-e-r...

This bread was inspired by Yakitate Japan (YJ), it is an anime series about a boy (Azuma) and his quest to create Japan (pan or bread). What I love about this anime are the exaggerated reactions made by the characters after tasting the bread and the fun bread facts and trivias after each episodes.

I did make some changes and adjustments from the original recipe, I added chocolate filling and used powdered milk instead of the usual fresh milk. If you want to make the original rice cooker bread of Azuma, you may check this on YouTube.

Here is my version of Rice Cooker Bread:

1 1/2 cup bread flour
2 tbsp margarine (didn't have butter so I used margarine with buttermilk!)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm water (40 to 45 C)
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup powdered milk (no fresh milk so I used powdered milk)
1 tsp yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup left over chocolate ganache(1)

(1) The ratio for chocolate ganache is two parts chocolate to one part cream. Put it in the refrigerator overnight to become thick and spreadable.

1. Dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Gently stir and leave it for 10-15 mins. You will notice that bubbles are forming, it means that your yeast is active.

2. In a bowl, combine bread flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and yeast (dissolved in water). Add the another 1/4 cup of water if the ingredients don't come together. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.

3. Form into a ball shape and add the margarine. Knead well, add more flour if needed. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. Form into ball shape and put into a bowl OR your rice cooker, cover it and leave the dough for 1 hour. This is the first fermentation process of the bread.

4. After an hour, you'll see that the dough doubles its size. 

5. To get rid of the extra gas, lift and drop the dough to a height of 50cm (don't ask me why it is 50cm, I just follow the original recipe :)). Do this a few times until the dough returns to its original size.

6. Knead it again (about 5 mins). Press the dough down (no need to use rolling pin, just use your palm), then put over the creamy chocolate ganache in the center of the dough. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo.

7. To seal the chocolate filling, (I'm not sure if I'm doing the correct way, but thanks God, I sealed it successfully) just fold the dough over the chocolate filling while stretching the dough upward as you fold it. This is to make sure that the filling is in the center of the dough. Lastly, pinch the bottom of the dough to seal securely. 

8. Put the dough in your rice cooker. Oh, before I forgot, grease the rice cooker with a little oil or butter and if you're NOT using a non-stick rice cooker, just like me, better to line the bottom of the rice cooker with parchment or baking paper. Cover and leave it for another hour... And because I can't wait any longer, I only let it rise for half an hour.

9. Turn on the rice cooker and cook the dough for an hour using the "cook" setting.  UPDATE: I put a fork on my rice cooker button to keep it on this setting. Every once in a while I remove the fork and let the rice cooker go to warm mode (about 5 minutes) and then return it to "cook" setting. The reason why I'm doing this is to let the rice cooker cool down a little bit to prevent any fire hazard. Remember, I'm using an ordinary rice cooker, not the modern type.

10. After an hour, flip the bread. This is the exciting part, I couldn't flip it! The bread stuck at the bottom of the pan. Forgot to grease and line a parchment paper! Aigoo! This is the result...

Note: If you're wondering what is the spoon doing on top of my bread, you better watch the Baker King (Korean drama). This is the trick that Kim Tak Goo used to make the bread so soft, he puts a bowl of water in the oven along with the bread! Nah, you don't have to do this, just omit this step, I just want to try if it will really make the bread soft. I don't have a small bowl so I used spoon instead. 

11. Cook for 30-45mins. Please note that temperatures differ with each rice cooker (this was the reason why my bread was burnt, I cooked it for an hour). So you have to learn what's the best cooking time for you. You may write down the cooking time and steps so you'll remember it when you make it again. 

I tried to eat the left-over bread, but it is not soft and fluffy anymore, so in case you have some left-over, heat it in the rice cooker for a few mins - both sides (warm setting). But I recommend you to eat it after baking, just let the bread cool a little before serving. This bread is very versatile, you may use other fillings like jam or pastry cream. This is also best paired with butter or cheese and a cup of coffee or tea.

Always keep in mind that the rice cooker is not designed for baking so do not leave it unattended.

Update: Most of my friends asked me if the "water in the spoon" really made the bread extra soft (see photo of step#10). Well... my answer is: I'm not really sure... LOL! Well, this bread is soft and fluffy when freshly baked but if you'll eat it the next day, it's not soft and fluffy anymore. Next time, I will try the water steam method when baking in an oven.

If you have any questions, suggestions or tips, please feel free to leave a comment.

Happy day always!



Anonymous said...

can this be done using ordinary rice cooker?

~~Rhea~~ said...

Hi, I'm also using ordinary rice cooker. Make sure to grease it and line a parchment paper (see step #9). Good luck on bread making. :)

~~Rhea~~ said...

sorry, it should be step #7.. thanks :)

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