So recently I have been seeing quite a number of Japanese bakers coming up with really cute bread bun designs. The bread buns are really so cute that you wonder if they will ever be eaten at all. (Might end up playing with them instead!) Being the practical me, I often question myself when it comes to whether I should spend such time to make these all too cute bread buns. If I ever do it, it'll be considered a luxury! But again, I have been into bento sushi art lately as well, which also consume quite a fair bit of my time....~haiz. Anyway, the Panda Buns I baked are considered easy, plus it is monochrome! Only 2 colours, how hard is that haha! I wanted to use my trusty White Bread Loaf recipe to make this so as to reduce the stress level. But opted to try a new recipe in the end because I'm always keen to new ones! So here is my Cheddar and Cream Panda Buns.
Okay I admit...I got lazy and didn't read up more about the temperature control part. But it was 10pm and I was ~yawn~, you get the idea. :P And hence the suntanned pandas were borned. :P Or should I say oven-tanned pandas. A friend then alerted me that I should have reduce the temperature to a low 150C, even though it did came across my mind before baking. But the thought of undercooked gooey bread is just too overwhelming that I went ahead with the oven tan anyways....Haiz again~. However, other then that golden hue on these bears, I have to say it did turn out quite well! Agree? (Self-nodding.... -_-")
So if you do want to attempt this out, feel free to use my White Loaf recipe and bake at a low 150C for 30-35 Minutes and see how it turns out. But bear in mind I did not use this White bread loaf recipe to attempt this at 150C, so I cannot advice you on anything. :) OOOooooorrrrr....you can hold that thought, come try out this Panda buns using the same Cheddar and Cream recipe like here at 170C. It's straight dough too,....read on!
Ingredients For Cheddar & Cream Bread recipe (makes 8" x 8" square loaf buns)
350 g bread flour
1 large egg (48-50 g)
100 ml fresh milk
3 slices of Kraft cheese (~60 g)
85 ml heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
40 g caster sugar
5 g instant active yeast
25 g unsalted butter room temp
1 tsp charcoal powder (I bought mine from Kitchen capers)
1 tsp egg wash (for the eyes and nose to adhere to the dough)
- In a sauce pot, add in the milk, cheddar cheese and cream cheese in. Heat it at medium low heat, and stir well till mixture melts. Set aside to cool before use.
- In a mixer bowl, add in bread flour, egg, salt, caster sugar and yeast. Pour in the cooled cheese mixture.
- Beat the mixture till the dough comes together. Continue to mix, it will be sticky at first but just continue to mix with time durations of 5 minutes mix, 5 minutes break and repeat. The dough will eventually become less sticky to the touch.
- You can add in the room temperature butter and continue to beat the dough. It will then finally pull away from the sides and become very elastic.
- Remove the dough and grease the bowl. Place the dough back in and let it proof for 1.5hrs or till it doubled up in size. Like seen below:
- Punch out the air and knead the dough a little. Divide out 16 dough portions of 40 g. The remaining dough is set aside for use later.
- Roll the 40 g dough portions round and place them in a 8" by 8" greased square pan.
- Continue till all the dough portions are rolled and placed in the pan.
- Next you add the charcoal powder to the remaining dough that was reserved earlier. It should weigh about 60 g if I remember it correctly. Knead well till the dough is uniformly black.
- Pinch pinch out about 1.5g to 2 g worth of dough and roll it round. Then place 2 of these small round black balls on the top of each dough portion in the pan. These will be the ears of the pandas.
- Repeat till all the ears are made and placed on top of the buns.
- Using your finger tip, carefully rub the place where you will be placing the eyes and nose on the buns.
- Preheat the oven to 175C right before you are going to work on the eyes and nose portion of the Pandas.
- Next, pinch about 1 g of the black dough and press it flat till it is oval shaped. Carefully place the oval on the dough top to make the eyes. Pinch a small bit of the dough to make the nose. Note that all these are rough estimate of the dough, I feel it is too much of a hassle to weigh out such a tiny portion of the dough. So just try your best to make a rough gauge on the eyes and nose bread portions. Repeat till all the eyes and nose is made.
- If the buns has already been fully proofed like showed above, bake it in the oven for 26-28 minutes covered with aluminium foil (yes I covered but till browned :P).
- Once baked, remove from the oven. Also carefully remove the buns out of it's pan so it can cool over the rack completely before eaten.
I am glad the eyes and ears and noses (except one) were still in tact when I removed the buns out from the pan. :) So the egg wash does help to adhere the dough nicely. I shall make sure I use a lower temperature next time at 150 C and see if it really stays white and pale!
The texture? Let's see....
What do you think? Nice right?! I am pretty please with it myself too! Soft and with a slight bite to it, just like the way I enjoyed my breads. Although it might not be as soft as my White loaf bread recipe, this bread still radiates a nice creamy, cheesy aroma. If you like a stronger cheese, please by all means, use that. And do let me know how it turns out for you. ;) Last but not least, hope you have fun baking these pandas, I know I sure did.
I can't wait to try out another fun shape...what do you suggest??
Okay, I gotta go guys, thanks for reading!
Remember, do what you love and stay happy!