Saturday, March 8, 2014

Taro Paste Filled Coconut Milk Bread

I have been looking for a Taro filled bread recipe for the longest time but I was never able to find the right one. Taro paste is also known as Or Nee which is a Teo Chew dessert. My aunt told me that she used to make it all the time for my uncle. Of course, they are now trying to cut down on sugar but who isn't? When I first thought of making taro filled bread, I actually wanted to go to the store and just buy the filling. As always though, my aunt told me that it was "easy to make." Anything that has to do with cooking is always "easy" for her. I guess it's simply easy for my aunt because she has been cooking every day for the past 20 years so I don't blame her for thinking that. I still have about 15 more years until it's my 20 years then it will be "easy." Maybe cooking isn't so difficult but it is more time consuming than anything. When I make this bread, it takes me about 4-6 hours (including wait time). The taro paste takes the longest out of this entire recipe I would say because you have to STIR!!! My arms hurt so badly while I was stirring the taro so I would take a couple seconds of break time. I had to immediately get back to the taro paste after those few seconds since I didn't want the paste to burn.

Sorry for getting a little off track. Lets get back to the bread. The first time I ever made bread was maybe a year or so ago. I failed completely when I made the taro bread and for some reason it seemed 10x more difficult. My journey for this bread wasn't too difficult since I already knew how to make taro paste! There's a lot of taro paste recipes out there and bread recipes as well. I haven't found one that I liked though so I decided to take this coconut milk bread I made recently and add taro paste into it as a filling. I was honestly really scared that I would fail again but thankful the bread turned out perfect in my opinion. I made about 6 loaves of coconut milk bread filled with coconut flakes before I decided to make the taro filled bread. 

I must say that I am completely happy with my taro filled bread. The bread recipe I adapted from 350 Degree Oven is absolutely amazing. She has the most detailed instructions. Not once did I feel confused on what to do and to top it off the bread was extremely soft and fluffy.

My boyfriend tried the first piece of bread that I made. I don't know if he was being serious or just tricking me into trying the coconut bread. He thought that the bread was undercooked but I guess he realized it was just really soft. He's silly like that. Haha. The coconut filling did not quite satisfy me though. Maybe I didn't put enough filling or I don't like coconut as much as I think I do. 

So lets get to baking! I am so excited to share with everyone! :)

First we need to make the Tang Zhong, then the dough. While we wait for the bread to rise, we will make the taro paste filling.

(These are the brands I used for my ingredients - I really like the Trader Joe's brand coconut milk. There are no preservatives compared to the ones at the Asian Market.)

Tang Zhong
Recipe adapted from 350 Degree Oven.

1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

Place bread flour and water into a sauce pan with heat on high medium/medium. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together over heat until there are thick swirl lines. Remove from heat and cool down.

This recipe makes 1 cup of Tang Zhong.

Coconut Milk Bread
Recipe adapted from 350 Degree Oven.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 egg
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup tang zhong
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp dry active yeast

Combine all the wet ingredients then place the bread flour on top. Create a well in the middle of the bread flour and place your dry active yeast into the well.

Using a KitchenAid mixer (hook attachment), knead the dough for 15-20 minutes (You can also use a bread maker or knead the dough by hand).

Fill hot water into a big mixing bowl and place the mixing bowl with the dough inside the water bath. I find that the warm water helps the dough rise better.

Let the dough rise for 45 minutes, punch down, and let it rise for another 45 minutes. While waiting for the bread to rise, make the taro paste.

Taro Paste Filling - Or Nee
Recipe adapted from TheWanderingEater.

~2lbs Taro Root
2/3 cup sugar
4 tbsp coconut oil

Peel off the skin on the taro then slice the taro into thin pieces (or cube them). Steam the taro for about 10 minutes or until tender. While the taro is steaming, place the sugar and coconut oil into a food processor. Place the steamed taro into the food processor and blend until smooth. Take the taro mixture and place it into a sauce pan to evaporate excess water from the mixture on low heat; remember to constantly stir the mixture. Remove from heat and place taro paste into another bowl to cool.

Forming the dough, making egg wash, and baking the bread
After the dough is done rising and the taro paste is cool, it is time to roll out the dough and put the bread together! This is the fun part!!!

1. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. I roll the dough into a ball to ensure that they are all even.

2. Roll the dough into an oval shape.

3. Place taro paste on top.

4. Fold the dough into thirds to cover the taro paste.
(Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the picture. Please refer to the blog, 350degreeoven)

5. Roll out the folded dough into a rectangle then roll it up into a cylinder. Repeat steps.

6. Grease the bread pan then place the rolls into the bread pan (place the seams facing down). I did placed four rolls for every bread pan. Loosely cover the pans with saran wrap then let the dough rise for another hour.

7. While waiting for the dough to rise, make the egg wash.

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

Mix the ingredients together then place in the fridge.

8. Preheat the oven at 335 degree F about 10 minutes before the dough is finished rising.

9. Brush the egg wash on top of the dough and bake for 30 minutes. After the bread is done, remove and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
 10. Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Special thanks to Mika from 350 Degree Oven for the AMAZING coconut milk bread recipe. :) Please check out her blog for more awesome recipes. 

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