I finally managed to properly rise the bread dough in my kitchen without the bread rising machines they had at my cooking classes. The trick is to use a bowl of water and a microwave! But don’t worry, I’ll get to that later. I didn’t have work on tuesday, so I decided to spend the free time I had watching Charmed, cleaning my entire dorm room (bathroom and common room included) and doing some extreme cooking (I also made handheld pies). Since I did have a lot of time, some yeast and lots of bread flour, I thought why not make bread? I mean bread can be time consuming, but it’s not hard to make. So I pulled out my book of bread recipes and choose this bread.What you see above you is a mocha cream bread. It’s a sweet bread with a slightly bitter coffee cream twist. I find this bread to be pretty easy to make, the hardest part is properly twisting the bread so that it creates a flower-like appearance. I really like this bread because it’s sweet but the coffee cream tones it down, making it the perfect bread to eat as a snack or for breakfast.
So let’s get started!
Ingredients:Bread: -160 g bread flour -1 tsp instant dry yeast -1 tbsp granulated sugar -1 tbsp sweet condensed milk -1/2 an egg (about 25 grams) -70-80 ml warm water -30 g butter -1/3 tsp salt Mocha Cream: -10 g butter -30 g granulated sugar -15 g egg -1 tbsp instant coffee -25 g of almond powder -almond slices (optional)
- In a large bowl place half the bread flour. To one side, place the sugar, the yeast and the condensed milk. Make a small well in the flour and pour the egg inside. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the other half of the flour, the salt and the butter. Pour the warm water over the yeast and mix until well combined. Once it is well blended, add in the contents of the medium sized bowl.
- Once the flour is well incorporated, place the dough on a clean surface and knead. It’s going to be very sticky due to the condensed milk, so I suggest using a pastry scraper like this. You will need to knead the bread until it comes together and, once rolled into a ball, the surface of the dough is smooth and sort of “bounces back” when gently pressed.
- Place the dough in the large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let it rise. To create the perfect temperature for bread rising (which is about 104 degrees), I placed a bowl of steaming hot water in the microwave and placed the dough in the microwave for about 40 minutes to an hour. The hot water will warm the small enclosed space in the microwave and allow the gluten to be developed. Once the dough has doubled in size, proof it by covering your finger in flour and poking the dough. If the hole doesn’t immediately close up, your dough is ready.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into four equal parts. Roll the dough into small balls and let them rest under a damp cheesecloth or towel for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the coffee cream. In a small bowl, combine the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in the egg and mix until well combined. Add in the instant coffee (or espresso powder), but don’t overmix. The coffee will absorb the water and make the cream less of a paste. Add in the sifted almond powder and mix until combined. Set aside.
- Take the dough (one ball at a time) and roll it out. It should be about 20 cm long and 10 cm wide. Spread the coffee cream along the dough, leaving a 5mm border. Fold the dough in half and seal it closed. Using the scraper, cut 2 parallel lines down the center, leaving about 2 cm from the top and the bottom. Here comes the confusing part, hold the two ends of the dough and rotate it 90 degrees so now the slits are horizontal and not vertical. Twist the dough twice and pinch the ends together. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover the bread with plastic wrap and the damp cheesecloth and let them rise again for 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F (if you have a electric oven heat it to 410 F. If you use celsius its about 210 C with electric and 200 C with a gas oven).
- Once the bread has risen for the second time, brush the tops of the dough with egg wash and if you choose, sprinkle the almond slices on top. Place the bread in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes (if you’re using a gas oven it will be about 10 to 12 minutes, if you’re using an electric oven it’s about 12 to 17 minutes).
- Let the bread cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
I made these a few times and while I didn’t use the almond slices this time, but I do prefer to have the almond slices on top. They had a little crunch to contrast the soft, pillowy texture of the bread. Making bread may seem really complicated, but I think it’s just that there’s a lot of steps and you have to set aside some time for the dough to rise. I’m also really sorry if the directions seem too confusing. I was going to take photos, but Pat wasn’t around and I had dough all over my hands. I’m thinking of making this bread again during the weekend, so when I do I’ll make sure to have Pat take photos of me making it so that the steps aren’t too confusing.
Hugs and puppies!