You can say I am a weekend baker. After working from monday to friday I am always looking forward to my weekend to bake. It somehow relaxes me to touch the warmth of flour and weighing the ingredients with concentration and precision in my own kitchen which I love so much. I found it as my way of releasing stress, but it is a kind of productive and fruitful way of relaxing, you are always rewarded by fresh breads or cakes at the end! My husband loves that I bake breads and cakes, so it is also a kind of marriage therapy as well?? and the more difficult the task seems to be, the more reward I feel I get… The other day I made croissant at home and it was a wrong day, a hot day in July. My cooking friends told me I was crazy to bake croissants in July, but anyway I had a lo of fun, specially this process called “laminating” was so challenging.
Laminating is a bread baking technique which you use to fold bread dough in layers with butter in between. It is not really a quick-and-easy technique to master, but if you are really interested in baking bread I think you should try it.
In Japan we have a fancy bread called Chocolate Marble Bread. It is also made by the laminating technique and you see your effort so visible as the layers come out in different colors. Not only that, as the layers have each taste, you can really appreciate and praise your hard work in your mouth! It is really an unique type of bread.
Japanese Chocolate Marble Bread
this recipe comes from cookpad.com
* Bread part *
Egg 1 (50g)
Milk 120cc (milk + egg = 170g)
Dry yeast 3g
* Chocolate part *
Corn starch 10g
Unsweetened cocoa powder 30g
Unsalted butter 10g
1. First we make bread dough. Put milk in a small sauce pan and warm it up slowly. Put butter in and melt it. Do not boil it but just warm it up so that butter melts in it. Take it off from the heat and cool it down to 37-38C.
2. Mix flour, sugar and dry yeast in a bowl. Add milk+butter and mix well. Add salt and egg and knead for 6 minutes by a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hands. Let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature where the dough is until the dough gets double in size.
3. We make the chocolate sheet. In a microwavable bowl put flour, corn starch, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk and stir well. Put it in a microwave (500W) for 2 minutes. Take it out and stir. Put it back to microwave (500W) for 1 minute. Stir well. Again put it in microwave (500W) for 1 minute. Stir well. Does it look like a sticky ball? Then add butter. Butter will separate the chocolate mix but never mind. Just continue to mix and try to get it like a dough ball.
4. Take the chocolate dough ball out and place it on a plastic wrap. Roll it out to make a flat square 16cm x 16cm. Place it in your fridge. (You can make this chocolate sheet the day before you make the bread dough)
5. When the dough is ready, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
6. Laminating process begins!
Roll the bread dough out to make a flat square of 25cm x 25cm. Brush excess flour off the dough and place the chocolate sheet as you see on this photo.
Fold one flap of dough over the chocolate sheet, I recommend you to start from the left hand side and try to get all the four points to the center of the chocolate sheet.
All the meeting edges should be tightly closed. After you sealed and closed, prick some holes with a tooth pick and press out any air from the holes.
7. Turn 90 degree and roll the dough into a 50cm long rectangular. Fold in three lengthwise, and you repeat this rolling-folding process twice.
8. The final shape is sized about 30cm x 52cm and you can roll it up from one end.
Cut the dough into 4 and place them in a greased loaf pan.
Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 40-60 minutes or until it fills your loaf pan. It will expand more when you bake it in the oven, so adjust the fermentation time.
9. Preheat the oven to 190℃. Right before you put the dough in the oven, spray water once in the oven. Bake the bread at 190℃ for 25-30 minutes.
10. When it is done, it should smell sweet chocolate-butter smell. 🙂 Cool it down before you slice it. Serve with a cup of good coffee or tea? Just enjoy and be rewarded!