I can't remember how I stumbled upon this site, Japan Info, but I am glad I did as I got to learn about a new bread making craze in Japan. Since I am not into facebook or instagram, I am really very slow when it comes to following the latest food trend.
From a post on the 'Japan Info' site, I got to know about chigiri pan, chigiri refers to pull apart while pan refers to bread. Besides transforming the pull apart bread buns into adorable cartoon characters, chigiri pan can also be served as sandwich buns.
Here's my first attempt at making sandwiches with a batch of pull apart bread buns. The buns are made using my usual go-to tang zhong recipe with some slight moderation (simply replacing the milk powder with flour and instead of water I used fresh milk). Although most chigiri breads are made into 16 buns, I baked only nine buns in a 20cm square pan.
I filled the buns with simple sandwich ingredients such as ham, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce.
The sandwich buns are not as pretty as those featured in the website, but I am really amazed at this clever idea. It is a very interesting way of serving sandwiches especially when each of us can 'chope' the fillings we like ('chope' in Singlish means 'to reserve'). They are also perfect to pack for an outing or bring over to a potluck party :)
PS: Pardon the poor quality image of the above photos, they were taken with my mobile phone.
Pull Apart Sandwich Buns
(makes 9 buns)
for the buns:
tang zhong (water-roux):
20g bread flour
210g bread flour
90g cake flour
30g caster sugar
6g instant yeast
1 egg lightly beaten plus enough milk to make 135g
75g tang zhong (water-roux)
45g unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
to make tang zhong:
* Place 20g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 100ml water, mix with a hand whisk till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with the hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 mins, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. The tang zhong is ready. Immediately transfer the hot tang zhong into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.
to make the bread dough:
* Place bread flour, cake flour, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, water and tang zhong (use 75g) in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixer knead the dough on high speed until the ingredients come together to form a dough, takes about 8 to 10 mins. Add in the butter gradually and continue to knead for another 15~20mins until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. (Upon adding the butter, the dough will become very wet/slack again, add some flour if it remains slack after 10 mins of kneading. Depending on the type of flour used, the dough may still stick to the sides of the mixing bowl after 15-20mins of kneading. If this happens, continue to knead for another 5mins or so, stop the machine, oil or dust hands with flour and proceed to remove the dough from the bowl.
* Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.
* Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 9 equal portions (about 65g each). Shape and roll each dough into a smooth round ball. Place doughs seams side down on a 20cm by 20cm square baking tray (lightly greased with oil or butter or line the base and sides with parchment paper). Loosely cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let doughs proof for the second time for about 40mins, or until double in size.
* Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 20 to 22 mins or until golden brown (if necessary, tent the surface with foil if the top browns too quickly closer to the baking time). Remove from oven and transfer to wire track to let cool. Once cool, store immediately in an airtight container.
* To serve, cut a slit on each bun, fill with desired sandwich fillings such as ham, scrambled eggs, lettuce, cucumber and tomato slices.
Recipe source for bread dough: adapted from 65度C汤种面包, 陈郁芬