Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Swirls and Twirls

Yes, I am back to bread making...only after a few days break! I made a plain loaf on Sunday and a batch of chocolate sweet buns this morning. I am really mad over bread making lately...thanks to my bread machine...I have been thinking nothing but making bread, bread, bread!

I used to wonder how bakers made those slits in between the buns. Thanks to a Chinese Cookbook "Bread Magic" which I bought many months ago, I am able to make this roll myself! There are many useful step-by-step photos in this cookbook, great for understanding how different bun shapes are formed. I used the bread machine to knead the sweet bun dough and made the chocolate paste from the Chocolate Swirl Bread recipe. This time round, I made sure the chocolate paste was really thick before removing it from the heat. As a result, the chocolate paste didn't ooze out when I tried to roll the dough.

This roll was made by filling a dough with chocolate paste, shape it into a ball, then flatten & roll into a long rectangular shape. Make several slits length-wise on the dough and roll up. I was rather happy with the effect...not too bad considering it was my first attempt :D

I like how a danish bread looks when it is plaited into a big loaf. Since I have yet to venture into danish breads, I tried my hand in plaiting a small bun instead. After filling a piece of dough with the chocolate, I rolled it into a rectangular shape and cut into 3 strips. After plaiting the 3 strips, tuck in the two ends underneath. Now, I could imagine how my "future" danish loaf would look like.

I made these mini-buns by following this method. The effect is quite nice and I think it will look good on a big loaf.

I borrowed this half eaten bun from my little one to get a photo of the inside;D

We have promised the boys we will catch the Spiderman 3 movie once the school exams is over...and here's my prelude to the movie...spidy buns!

(makes around ten 50g portions)

chocolate paste
20g cake flour
50g sugar
1 egg white (reserve egg yolk to be used as egg wash)
80ml milk (warmed)
18g cocoa powder
10g butter

bread dough
150g bread flour
150g cake flour
5g active dry yeast
3g salt
125ml milk
1 egg
60g caster sugar
50g butter


chocolate paste
  1. Mix sugar and cake flour into the egg white until smooth.
  2. Place milk in a saucepan and heat till just simmering.
  3. Add coca powder into the milk and sitr till cocoa powder is incorporated into milk.
  4. Add egg white mixture into the cocoa mixture and stir over low fire till mixture thickens.
  5. Add in butter and stir till incorporated.
  6. Leave chocolate paste to cool. Keep refrigerated before use.

bread dough
  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in milk and egg. Mix into a dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the gluten is fully developed and the dough is elastic, smooth and non-sticky. It will take about 25 mins to knead the dough by hand. Initially the dough will stick on to the work surface. This step can be done by bread machine by selecting the Dough function and stop the machine after the kneading cycle is completed (20 mins).
  2. Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel or cling wrap to seal in the moisture. Allow the dough to proof until double in bulk.
  3. Take out the dough and punch out the gas produced. Divide the dough into 50g portions. Shape into rounds and let rest for about 10 mins.
  4. Flatten rounds and add fillings as desired. Shape as desired. Arrange dough in a greased or lined pan. Let rest for about another 30 mins. Brush the top with egg wash (mixture of egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water). Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degC.


Jacelyn said...

They look amazing, SH. And I love the spiderman!! Lolz...I just caught the movie today and it was a good one, bout 2 hrs.

Guess what? I'm hook on bread making too. I'm gonna try this tmr morning! Hee... I just love seeing your bakes.

eliza said...

I saw the pictures in your flickr...I must say, you're quite a baker! my family loves chocolate filling in bread so maybe next time I have to make these too :) sadly I don't have a bread machine anymore, I just use my stand mixer.

Patricia Scarpin said...

These are beautiful! And the Spider Man ones are perfect!

Petra said...

Very beautiful breads and cakes :-)

Anne said...

These are really nice. My son was urging me to make the spider man for him :) Impressive!

Happy Homebaker said...

Jace, I saw your recent flickr photos, your buns sure look yummy!

Eliza, nah, I just started baking not too long...I merely follow the steps and ideas from cookbooks.

Hi Petra, thanks for dropping by :)

Patricia, Anne, thanks for your kind comments! It certainly helped that I have made spiderman paper masks for my kids before.

Elyn said...

U made it! I love every piece of the chocolate swirls and twirls especially the 2nd one, it look so complicated! How long did u hv to cook the chocolate paste?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Elyn, I think I got the chocolate paste right this time...but I am not sure whether this will also work when it comes to the full loaf?? Sorry, I didn't time it when I was cooking the paste...I started preparing it just after I turned on the bread maker...but I think I took around 10 mins to get it done...my hand was aching all over, as the paste got thicker. I think I also took longer as I kept removing the pot from the heat...was afraid that the paste would 'chao tar' ;b
I'm gonna try the hokkaido bread dough with the chocolate paste...hope it will be successful...will share with you on the tips if I bake it this weekend :D

novice baker said...

the spidey bun!! i remember buying them from Breadtalk some years ago. There's cream cheese filling in the bun but they discontinued the bun already. Nice blog!

^cherie said...

Sorry for my blunder yesterday. Paiseh!

Beautiful buns u got there.. awesome!

May i know what brand is the bread machine that u are using? Also, what's the name of the author of the book mentioned? I love breads and buns. Unfortunately, i cannot bake and shape as well as you :(

Thanks in advance!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Novice Baker, yes I bought those spiderman buns from breadtalk too :) I'll also want to try make anpan man one of these days! I can't resist "cartoon cartoon" stuff ;P

Hi Cherie, nah, no worries :)
I can't bake very well...just started baking only a few months ago...there's still lots of room for improvement!
I got my bread machine from carrefour, it's the housebrand, Bluesky, @S$69.90. The author of the cookbook is Alan Ooi...I got it at Popular...it comes in English & Chinese. Hope this helps :)

Baking Soda said...

Yeah that's what bread baking does to you, and I speak from experience! I simply love the intricate patterns you made. Looks absolutely great. Don't mind if I try this? (After I've finished painting the twins room...sigh!)

^cherie said...

Ahh.. Bluesky. Been reading lots about it! Reasonable price and bake beautiful breads.. :)

Thank you so much for the info. Btw, i tried using your recipe for sweet buns today and it somehow, didn't look as soft as yours :(

After baking them, the crust is slightly hard, not soft at all. Is it supposed to be like that?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Baking Soda, do try it! and remember to tell us your story about it :):)

Hi Cherie, no the crust should be soft, not hard...I am not sure what happened to yours? but don't give up okay, "jia you"!

Brilynn said...

Those are beautiful, well done!

Helen said...

Those look awesome. I love the Spider Man!

Anonymous said...

Hi HHB, ur bread n buns look really beautiful, like store bought ones! Could u advise which oven n model number ur using? Thks!


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sarah, my oven it's quite small, it's Tefal (model:V5750)just about 20L.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt matter abt oven size, wht matters is the baked products. Ur bakes sure look terrific!:)


Rei_Rei said...

ooh you have a small oven too? I don't know how many Liters it is, but mine's a Mitsubishi RO-M4B

So far, all I make is bread rolls as I'm not brave enough to guess the baking time for a whole loaf. Could you give me any tips?? I would really really appreciate it! m(-_-)m

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Rei Rei, thanks for popping over my blog ^p^
Your oven has got many more functions than mine! If I am not mistaken, from the Jap site, you can actually use it to proof bread dough at 40degC? How cool!
I usually bake a whole loaf(about 1 lb loaf sizs, using around 300g-450g of flour) at 180deg C for 30mins.
Since you know Japanese you can refer to this site,for very detailed instructions on bread-making. Hope this helps :)

Zoe said...


Is active dry yeast same as instant dry yeast? Sorry for my ignorance!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Zoe, no worries, I am as ignorant as you! I only managed to differentiate the the difference between these two types of yeast recently :)
According to my limited knowledge on bread making, I gathered that
active dry yeast will only activate when dissolved in lukewarm liquid. So for recipes that use active dry yeast, the yeast is usually added to the liquid first, before adding to the other ingredients.
Whereas for Instant yeast, it becomes active the moment it comes into contact with the liquid ingredients...it can be mixed directly with the flour and other dry ingredients and is not as sensitive as active dry yeast to temperature changes...and they are more fine compare to active dry yeast. Instant yeast is commonly used for making bread with bread machines. So far I have been using Instant yeast (even for those recipes which require active dry yeast!). Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

i love ur spiderman buns!! For the web, do we use just melted cooking choc or melted choc chips?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Rachel, I melted some baking chocolates for the web...and dissolved some icing sugar with a few tiny drops of water for the eyes. However, due to the hot weather here, the icing for the eyes melted away very fast. I would suggest that you use white choc for the eyes as well. Do note that the bun surface is round, so once you put icing on the eyes, it'll started to drip down if the icing is thin. I believe white chocolate will have a thicker consistency, and will have less problem. hope this helps.
have fun baking =)

Anonymous said...

Thks for ur advise n tips! Ur so nice n helpful!

Rachel :)

Sophie said...

i saw the title for these buns and figured they were both cute and yummy...they are definitely the former, but i want to bake them for myself to see if they're as good as they look :D! you have such yummy pictures!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sophie, do give it a try :D
Let me know whether you like it! You have a very nice blog, I like the clean cut lay-out, great job!

Karen said...

hihi.... u mention about the chinese book "Bread Magic".. may i know where can i buy it?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Karen, you can get the book from Popular.

Sarah said...

Mmm, those look awesome! Thanks for the swirly bun link too, that comes in handy!!

Jez said...

OMG! I accidentally stumbled onto your blog and it's awesome! I love bread and especially these red bean, green tea and chocolate varieties.

I used to leave in Los Angeles but have since moved to Central California. There were lots of nice bakery in LA and I just love the bread there. Since moving here, eating seems to be a dream only. I am going to try some of the recipe you posted. They looked delicious.


KRIS FOTO said...

wow! amazing!

Sunshinemom said...

HHB, loved the Spidey buns. I must now bring over my kids to see your loaves - they may drive me into trying some...for now I am not as creative with my breads!

Anonymous said...


I happened to buy a copy of the book Bread Magic too. Indeed it has many good pic to show how we can shape our bread. I notice tt they have quite diff recipe for their bread but you do not really use their bread recipes. May I know if you have tried them? How diff are they with the ones that you used?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, yes it is a good reference book. I like to flip thru it to get ideas for making buns...both the shaping methods and the kind of fillings to use. However, so far I have only tried the basic sweet bun and the pullman loaf recipes. Somehow, the texture of the breads were not as good as the other recipes. As such, I hardly follow the recipes from this book.

Anonymous said...


thanks, I guess more or so too :) Really want to thank u for answering my numerous ques on bakng and cooking. I'm truely inspired by ur blog, your talents and ur helpfulness.

Quinn said...

HHB, can I make this with black sesame paste instead? I've made the chocolate paste numerous times but it's just a lil' tasteless probably cuz of the brand of cocoa powder I'm using.

Quinn said...

Sorry HHB, one more question. How much filling to use to a 50g of dough? I think the filling matters because I made chocolate wassant from Florence's blog and I did not use 300g of filling as she mentioned (I used all which was about 350g!) and ended up, the end product has got chocolate paste showing up all over. Hmmm, more pics to you later.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I am not sure what is the consistency of your black sesame paste...it has to be quite thick (just like the chocolate paste) and not runny, otherwise, the fillings will ooz all over upon baking.
I'm sorry, I didnt bother to weight the filling ;p
I simply go by estimation. I used up all the chocolate paste and I didn't even measure the overall weight of the chocolate paste.

Maree Antoinette said...

Hey, i made these from your recipe... it was awesome! thank you so much, and they taste great....i will make these again... the only problem i had was that my oven has a temper and they got just a tad burnt on the bottom and the other problem is that i have to keep the boys that work in the hotel from pinching them. :P
i also thought that it could be great in one big loaf, the twisted danish ones!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Maree, like you, I have a problematic oven too! I would suggest if you were to bake these again, you can place them at a higher rack position to avoid the bottom from getting burnt...or you can line your baking tray with double layers of parchment paper to prevent the heat from getting to the bottom too quickly. Hope this helps :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Maree, like you, I have a problematic oven too! I would suggest if you were to bake these again, you can place them at a higher rack position to avoid the bottom from getting burnt...or you can line your baking tray with double layers of parchment paper to prevent the heat from getting to the bottom too quickly. Hope this helps :)

sherlyn said...

HAve a bread machine liao so can look into your bread recipes. I went to your link for the method of making that chocolate round swirl bun ... but its in japanese? you know japanese?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sherlyn, No, I don't know Japanese. I simply look at the photos provided ;)

sherlyn said...

stupid me doesnt understand the pictures. Will see if you are available to help when i bake it in future.


roshin said...

awesome i love buns and bread but is amazing the spider man is very bad looking ugly ill say fooled u it rocks to the core....

Emile Zola@life said...

Sorry, just reading your old post and noticed the spiderman word and followed to this post. My youngest son love the Spiderman very much, the spiderman bread is very cute and nice. I will steal this recipe and bake for my son later.
Thanks ya.

Anonymous said...

wish to ask.. for the choco paste.. when u add in the cocoa powder into the milk... is it lumpy?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Elaine, when the cocoa powder is first added into the milk, it may appear to be lumpy, but after stirring, it will be fully dissolved and there won't be any lumps. Hope I have answered your question?

Anonymous said...

hi i tried this receipe today!! but i need to learn hw to shape beta! hahaz! i used red bean paste & hotdogs as fillings thou! =) i think i overbaked abit..the top is a tad too brown! =)

oh a few qns!
--> is the dough ready when using a standing mixer, the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl? cox i did the stretch test, kinda tore too soon, i duno isit cox i took too little. but after that i knead for a while and i realised the bread is ready!
hahaz so i left it to proof! thank god it turned out well! =)

next qns, do we need to cover the dough while resting the bread after the 1st proof??

hehe! thanks! will try this receipe in a few weeks time! =)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I don't think the dough will be ready yet even though it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. You should do the stretch test, you can take a small ball of dough (not too small piece) and stretch it, the dough shouldnt break too easily.
Yes, do cover the dough at all times even while resting, otherwise, a hard crust may form after baking. Hope this helps :)

lynn said...

thanks for the advice =) i will try one more time to ensure it passes the stretch test! oh btw wud u recommend to use tangzhong in this receipe?? and if do, hw much??? thanks!!
(anonymous fm previous post)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Lynn, my knowledge on baking is very limited, I do not know how to adjust this recipe with using tangzhong. I am sorry, I'm of not much help.

lynn said...

hmm~ nvm its OK, maybe i try out and den let u noe! hahaz! =)

Anonymous said...

I've just tried making these buns. But the buns turned up a bit hard, not fluffy and soft. I used bread machine for the kneading and 1st proof. Also, how do you make the chocolate paste thicker so that it will not ooze out from the buns? Can you enlighten me?

KY - novice baker

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi KY, for bread making, there could be several factors affecting the outcome of the finished bread. I am not sure what went wrong for your bread, but you may want to take a look at this site baking911.com to see whether you can find out the possible causes. To make the chocolate paste thicker, stir the mixture over low heat and keep stirring until it becomes very very thick and almost impossible to stir. Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your prompt reply. I will definitely try to make the buns again. I like your lovely rolled and braided buns and wish I could make the same!


lynn said...

i tried making bread again. but i realised, the texture i made this time round was the same as the previous time i made...

i den realised, i did not knead long enuff the previous time n tot i knead longer. (i used the mixer)

but apparently, i duno y after adding the butter, my dough is still nt smooth & elastic and breaks easily, more like ur 2nd pic of ur green tea red bean loaf u made. cant pass the stretch test. as a result the bread is hard again! =(

juz wondering, hw shud the bread dough feel, wet or dry? and hw i Noe if i need to add more water or flour to adjust the consistency??


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Lynn, this is a tough question. I am no expert in baking, so I am not sure whether I'm able to answer your question correctly.
If I were to use my bread machine to knead the bread, I will let it knead for 30mins. I don't even do the pane test now. The texture of the finished bread will be ok. If I were to knead by hand, the dough will be very wet, just like a thick mass of batter. After adding the butter, it will still be sticky and breaks easily. Only after at least 30mins of kneading by hand, the dough will then become smooth, elastic and no longer sticks to my hand or the work surface. The dough should not tear off easily.
For me, I always follow the recipe exactly. I won't try to adjust the water or flour amount. Unless a recipe specifically states eg, use 150-160ml. I will then go for 150ml and if the mixture doesn't come together to form a dough, I will add some more water. However, if the dough is being mixed using my bread machine, usually the initally few minutes, there will be some flour at the sides/corners of the pan. It may give the wrong impression that there is not enough water. However, after a few more mins of kneading, it will all come together.
I suspect you may have under-knead the dough. I have no experience using an electric mixer to knead, so I can't give any advise on how long it will take. Not sure whether I have clarified your doubt? If not maybe you want to try other recipes whereby an electric mixer is used for the kneading?

lynn said...

Hi HHB, thanks for the reply, usually i follow receipe closely except for reducing sugar amts.

so i also duno where i gone wrong, as i followed the receipe. i managed to find a clip on YT, but i realised after adding the butter to the dough, my dough nv becomes smooth & elastic. here is the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMBBGib2sw8&feature=related.

but aniwae i think i will try again n again.

Oh btw, hw does the dough feel if the 'right' amt of water is used to incorporate to the dough? (thou i follow exactly as the receipe) cox tt time i watched Rachel Allen's BAKE on ch16, but she din exactly sae hw it shud feel.

thanks alot!! =)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Lynn, wben the ingredients is first mixed and being gathered into a dough (by hand), it will feel soft. Once I transfer it to the work surface to knead, it will feel very sticky and wet, like a thick batter as mentioned in my previous reply. After kneading, the dough will feel soft, smooth and elastic...what most cookbooks will describe it as 'baby's bottom'.

lynn said...


thanks for the tip! i dunO if i will use hand to knead cox i dun have a proper worktable! =( hmm but thanks! i will try it again until i succeed!!
btw i plan to use ur muffin receipe to make orange & walnut muffins agaiN!! =) will let u Noe hw it taste! =)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Lynn, I use my dinning table to knead the dough ;)
I made this "Bacon and Cheese Bread" posted under "My Bread Basket(loaf)" yesterday. I used the breadmachine to knead the dough, the dough is quite easy to work with, not sticky after kneading. The bread texture is very soft. You may want to give it a try.

lynn said...

Hi HHB, i like ur dining table cox its glass. mine is teakwood, so eh abit hard to knead on it...cox we oil it once a yr...

ok i will try tt bread receipe some time soon!!!

btw i made the muffins alr!!! it was delicious!!! gona make more variations of muffins wif ur receipe soon too!! =)

My San Francisco Kitchen cooking blog said...

Wow you are very talented, these look like right from a bakery window!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, i noticed that there is aldy a loooonnnggg string of comments n qns fm many folks, so my qn is prolly asked somewhere along the thread aldy...but it's really too long for me to sieve thru.

i wld like to know if it's poss to knead the dough using a stand mixer instead of by hand/bread machine. pls advise...

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, you can use a stand mixer to knead the dough as long as your mixer has the kneading function. However, I do not own a stand mixer so I am not able to comment on the time required to knead the dough.

Anonymous said...

Hi when to add in the butter for the bread dough?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, if you are kneading by hand, you can knead in the butter after the dough has become smooth (may take about 10 to 15mins).
if you are using a bread machine, let the machine knead for about 8 to 10mins by then the dough will become smooth and form a ball. you can then add the butter. hope this helps.