Panda Bread

recipe

Panda Bread

Have I ever told you what wonderful people my readers are? I'm sure I have on many occasions. The best thing about having wonderful readers is when they tell me about very cool things to make. Case in point is reader Carol who left me this comment stating simply: "Oh go on … make us Panda Bread!" and linked me to a blog who had indeed made a gorgeous Panda bread based on a Japanese blogger's brilliant idea. My heart skipped a beat with excitement when I saw it and I knew I had to make it. There was only one thing stopping me. It was the 20 boxes of things that I was in the middle of moving.

Panda Bread

Luckily things such as fate intervened and I hadn't yet packed some of the final boxes. The ones that were left outstanding were a packet of green tea and Valrhona cocoa powder that I bought from our Tokyo trip. So I stashed these two packets in my already bulging handbag along with a host of other necessities that I didn't want lost in the boxes like drawings that my Mother in Law did for me, anti Swine Flu hand sanitiser, Crabtree & Evelyn Earl Grey Teabags, a camera battery charger along with my normal ramshackle mix of things.

Panda Bread

When we had finally settled in, I unloaded the Kitchenaid onto the counter at my parent's house which is where we are staying while renovating our kitchen and bathroom. My mother had never used one before and I warned her not to pick it up or move it as it was heavy. "You mean this stays here all the time?" she said somewhat curious and perhaps a little wary of this new benchtop intruder.

Panda Bread

As for my styling, I admit I'm the least clucky person I know except for perhaps my friend Gina. However I couldn't resist buying this Tiffany & Co. child's cup and saucer for an imaginary child. My imaginary child wouldn't break it, be well behaved, eat adventurously, be kind to strangers and nice to animals and love to eat Panda Bread. Although if this imaginary child were to materialise I could only guarantee the last point.

So tell me Dear Readers, what is your imaginary child like?

Panda Bread

Ingredients: Makes approximately 600g/21ozs loaf (206mm x 108mm x100mm high)

  • 270g/9.5ozs all purpose flour

  • 30g/1oz cornflour

  • 30g/1oz sugar

  • Milk + 1 egg yolk = 21 0g/7.4ozs

  • 4.5g/0.18ozs salt

  • 20g/0.7 ozs unsalted butter (I used 20g)

  • 4g/0.14ozs yeast

  • 8g/0.28ozs green tea powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling hot water

  • 8g/0.28ozs cocoa powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

Method:

Step 1 - Heat up milk and yolk to temperature of 38?/100F. (I beat the yolk lightly with milk and send it to the microwave on High for 30 seconds).

Step 2 - Place flours, salt, yeast, sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a Dough Hook and set on low setting to combine. Then add milk and egg mixture and softened butter and knead on low setting for 5-6 minutes until elastic.

Panda Bread

Green Tea Powder

Step 3 - Divide dough (about 560g or just over 1 pound) into 3 parts: 75g/2.64ozs for the chocolate, 210g/7.4ozs plain and the rest of the dough which is less than 280g/9.8ozs for the green tea.

Panda Bread

Green Tea Paste (left) and Chocolate Paste (right)

Step 4 - Add chocolate to the 75g/2.64ozs dough and knead till the colour is even. Add green tea mixture to the 280g/9.8ozs dough and knead till colour is even. If you do these manually, make sure that your hands and bench space where you need are cleaned between kneading to avoid transferring the colours.

Panda Bread

Dough wrapped up before proofing

Step 5 - Prove all 3 pieces of doughs on separate greased plates covered loosely with oiled cling wrap for 30 - 40 minutes.

Step 6 - Punch air out of dough and prove for another 20 - 30 minutes.

Panda Bread

Step 7 - Use 90g/3ozs plain dough for the face and 2 pieces of 27g/1oz chocolate dough for the eyes.

Step 8 - Fill the hollow of the eyes with 30g/1oz plain dough.

Panda Bread

Step 9 - Roll remaining plain dough over the patterned dough.

Panda Bread

Step 10 - Divide the remaining chocolate dough into 2 pieces (17.5g each/0.61ozs) for the ears.

Panda Bread

Step 11 - Use 70g/2.47ozs of the green tea dough to fill up the hollow between the ears.

Panda Bread

Step 12 - Wrap the rest of the green tea dough all around the patterned dough.

Panda Bread

Step 13 - Place dough into a well-greased loaf pan and cover it with a lid and prove for 50 - 60 minutes in an enclosed are. As it's cold here and we're in the middle of Winter, I set the pan in a larger container filled with warm water and refreshed the water with hot water 3-4 times to make sure that it rose.

Panda Bread

Panda Bread

Step 14 - Bake at 200?/400F for 25 – 30 minutes.

Thanks to Do What I like for translating Taro's recipe and Taro for coming up with such a cute idea!

**Buying tips: Green tea powder can be found at Asian grocery stores or Japanese supermarkets (I bought mine in Tokyo). **

Panda Bread