Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tangzhong Rye Bread #BreadBakers

This rounded loaf with rye and wholemeal wheat flour is perfect for toasting, smearing with butter and dipping in hot soup. It also makes the best toast soldiers to accompany a soft-boiled egg or to spread with jam.

Living = Learning
To paraphrase Samuel Johnson’s ode to London, “When a man is tired of food, he is tired of life.” I never cease to be amazed that the more I know about food, the more I realize there is to learn. New techniques, new methods, new ingredients, even new combinations of old ingredients are a constant source of excitement for me, from learning how to debone a chicken while keeping it whole (Thanks, Dai!) to attempting a bread challenge from the Great British Bake Off to buying unfamiliar produce at the farmers’ market and using the Google to find out what it’s called, to exploring the recipes of my host country, this food thing is so much more than a hobby. It’s an intellectual and cross-cultural exercise that just happens to keep the family fed as well.

Fortune favors the brave
Sometimes I learn a thing but it takes me a while to put it to use. I give you the tangzhong or water roux method of bread dough making, for instance. Although it’s been used in Japan, whence it comes, for ages, I first heard about it when my friend, fellow Bread Baker and pastry chef Jenni Field wrote a great explanatory post on her wonderful blog, Pastry Chef Online last August, but it took this month’s rye bread challenge from Anshie of Spice Roots to get me going on it. 

Rye is notorious for its low gluten content so I decided that perhaps starting with a wholemeal wheat bread flour tangzhong for extra body would be helpful. Of course, since I am almost foolhardy in my disregard of normal baking rules, even in the face of no experience, I decided that I would make my tangzhong with beer and water instead of just water, as is typically done. A rye beer, natch. 

It was a pain to knead since rye dough, even with wholemeal flour added, is so sticky but overall, I was very pleased with how it turned out. I baked it on the same day as I made this lovely chickpea veggie soup for dinner and it was the perfect accompaniment.

If you’ve been meaning to challenge yourself to bake with rye flour, make sure to scroll down after the recipe to see the list of links to all the rye creations we have for you this month. Many thanks to our host, Anshie of Spice Roots, for this “out of my comfort zone” challenge!

Oh, and one last thing, let me share my earworm with you. The whole while I was making this bread, I kept singing in my head:

Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody Tang Zhong tonight
Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody Tang Zhong tonight

No need to thank me. You are welcome!


For the tangzhong
1/3 cup or 45g wholemeal bread flour
1/2 cup or 120ml Battersea Rye Beer (or other beer of your choice or replace with more water)
1/2 cup or 120ml water

For Dough
Scant 2/3 cup or 140ml milk
2 tablespoons Battersea Rye Beer
250g wholemeal bread flour
1 1/4 cups or 125g rye flour (plus possibly more for kneading)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 oz or 7g Rapid Rise yeast (I used one packet of Fleischmann’s.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup + 1/8 cup or 100g tangzhong (which coincidentally is 100ml, if that helps you measure by volume)
1/4 cup or 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Olive oil (for greasing the proofing vessel)

First make your tangzhong by mixing the flour with the water and beer in a small pot. Whisk till all the lumps are gone.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking or burning. As the mixture heats, it gets very thick. Keep stirring and cooking until the spoon or whisk handle leaves furrows in the tangzhong. If you are a thermometer-using type (and I strongly encourage you to become one, if you aren’t already) you want the tangzhong to reach 150°F or 65°C.

Remove from the heat and transfer your tangzhong into another vessel to allow it to cool. I measured out the amount for my bread at this point and put the tangzhong in two bowls. The tangzhong is enough for a little more than two loaves though, so you can leave it all in one bowl if you are doubling this recipe. I just figured it would cool faster if it were separated.

Once the tangzhong has cooled to room temperature, you can proceed with the bread dough. (If you refrigerate it, let it return to room temperature before continuing.)

Slightly warm your milk and beer together in a small pot or in a measuring cup in the microwave.

Whisk your flours, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Add in the warm milk/beer and the tangzhong.

Mix with the bread hook until all the ingredients come together and form a dough.

Add the butter and knead until the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.

I found mine too sticky to knead effectively so after about 10 minutes, I took it out of the mixer and kneaded by hand for at least another 10 minutes, sprinkling on just the tiniest bit more rye flour as needed.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and cover with plastic wrap or the lid. Leave in a warm place until doubled. Mine took about one hour.


Punch the dough down and form it into a round loaf. Place it on parchment on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with a little more rye flour.

Put it inside a clean, new garbage bag and leave to rise until doubled again. This took about another hour so set your timer for 45 minutes and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C when it goes off.

When the rising time is finished, bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.

Ready to bake!


Need a rye bread or cracker recipe? This is your Bread Bakers month!


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas Stocking Candy Muffins #MuffinMonday

These muffins are the perfect use for the Christmas stocking candy you’ve got hanging around and subverting your vows to make better food choices in the New Year. Now you can eat candy with impunity and call it breakfast. Let’s just pretend you don’t already. :)

When I was growing up, Santa came and filled our stockings on New Year’s Eve. I have no idea how my parents got us to believe that Santa came by twice, but that was the way it was. I was a trusting child. What a stocking on New Year’s Eve meant was children with candy and little toys to keep them quiet on New Year’s Day, I’m guessing, when the grownups were no doubt wanting to sleep in and sleep off the late night bubbly. In my husband’s family, Father Christmas left your stocking on the foot of your bed as you slept on Christmas Eve. Children were supposed to wake up on Christmas Day and explore the stockings before coming in to disturb their parents. Same objective, different days. For our girls, we went with option 2.

When they were little, I tried to balance the candy out with more little toys but as they’ve gotten older, there seems to be more candy than stuff. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until they leave and I’ve got a great big bowl of Christmas stocking candy leftovers. Why do they not take it with them? Excellent question and one I cannot answer for you. I’ve been giving it away right and left. But there is STILL candy in the bowl, so something had to be done. And that something is muffins.

By all means, keep your favorites out. You will notice that there is not a single Butterfinger in there, for instance, although Butterfingers would be superb chopped up in a muffin. And that is because I have already eaten them all. Those are my favorites and they go first. Chop the rest up and let’s make muffins!

A small selection of leftovers
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 generous cup, roughly chopped, or about 200g random leftover Christmas stocking candy

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and generously grease cups of your 12-cup muffin pan or line them with paper liners.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together milk, oil, vanilla and eggs in another smaller bowl.

Add all the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients.

Gently fold until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Now fold in your chopped candy.

Divide your batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups in your prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in your preheated oven or until the muffins are golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.


Empty stockings but full muffins!

When does Santa come, if at all, to your house? Do you have a favorite candy that you hope for or hoard around Christmas time?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baked Lemon Dessert

Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet baked lemon dessert spooned into a buttered casserole dish and baked until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year.
Food Lust People Love: Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet baked lemon dessert spooned into a buttered casserole dish and baked until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year.

Gin and bear it
Over the weekend, which regular readers might remember is Friday and Saturday here in the United Arab Emirates, we went out sailing offshore Abu Dhabi and then stayed over at a friend’s house on Friday night. 

Our friend is quite a collector of gin so it is not uncommon for the evening cocktail hour to start with a tasting of the new additions to his collection. One gin and tonic is mixed with each new gin and then we pass the glasses around, sipping the cocktails and discussing the attributes of the different gins. 

One in particular caught my fancy. It was made in Wales and contained an unusual ingredient: kelp or seaweed. After enjoying the gin and tonic and to extrapolate on the suggestion that we serve it in an oyster shell, we mixed a small shot of the Dà Mhìle seaweed gin with ice, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt, which really brought out the kelp. 

Which led to a discussion of whether Americans use the word kelp. Or do we just call it seaweed? I honestly could not remember so if anyone wants to weigh in, please leave me a comment. What do you call the green stuff on the seashore?

Pudding is dessert, pudding as dessert
As I straddle UK/US divide both in my home and with friends, I often lose track of whom uses which word for what but as a majority of my readers are US-based, I tend to name dishes in a way that they will understand. 

Way back in October, when I was trolling the internet and my cookbooks for a dessert to fit our budget friendly Sunday Supper theme, I came across a recipe on All Recipes UK. It was called lemon pudding in the British sense, meaning dessert. Because if they were actually making what we Americans call pudding, they’d call it custard and eat it for pudding. If you know what I mean. Anyway, I ended up making profiteroles for that occasion in October but this dish has been on my list of “things to make” every since, no matter what you want to call it.

Captivating Casseroles
Lemons are like eating a healthy dose of sunshine and while we get that almost every day here in Dubai, I know that there are a lot of folks in the northern hemisphere that could use some sunlight and warmth right about now. 

If you are trying to keep warm, may I suggest you turn the oven on to bake a casserole or two? Scroll on down to the Sunday Supper link list to see all the fabulous captivating casseroles we are sharing, along with our talented, over-achiever of a host, Alice from A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen, who is in the middle of an international move but still stepped forward to host. You are a star, Alice!

4 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons or 90ml fresh lemon juice
Zest 1 lemon
1/8 cup or 30g butter, softened, plus extra for buttering casserole
1 cup or 230g sugar
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 350ml milk

Optional for serving: fresh berries and a sprig or three of mint

Butter your casserole dish (about 8x8in or 20x20cm square – or equivalent volume in another shape) and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Separate your eggs and put the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer or in one that is deep enough to use electric beaters. You can certainly whisk egg whites to stiff peaks by hand but it’s hard work!

In another mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter until well combined. If your eggs are too cold, the butter is going to break up into little pieces again rather than whisking in. If you’ve made this mistake, just keep whisking. Eventually it will all soften again and create a homogeneous mixture.

How you know your eggs were still too cold. Ugh.

In yet another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt then mix well.

Add about a third of the dry ingredients at a time to the yolk mixture, along with one third of the milk, whisking well after each addition, until all of the flour/sugar is incorporated.

Beat your egg whites until stiff.

Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/milk mixture.

Pour into your prepared baking dish.

Put your baking dish into another larger baking pan and fill it with hot water (should not be boiling) halfway up the baking dish.

Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40-45 or until set and puffy, but still jiggly when you shake it gently to check.

Remove from the oven and take the baking dish out of the baking pan.

This can be served hot, warm, room temperature or even cold.

Garnish with berries and mint if desired.

Food Lust People Love: Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet baked lemon dessert spooned into a buttered casserole dish and baked until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year.


Food Lust People Love: Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet baked lemon dessert spooned into a buttered casserole dish and baked until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year.
It's kind of soufflé-like except then it's saucy on the bottom, which tastes pretty amazing, actually.

Check out all the lovely casseroles we have for you today!

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles
Appetizing Casserole Sides
Main Event Casseroles
Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles

Pin this Baked Lemon Dessert! 

Food Lust People Love: Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet baked lemon dessert spooned into a buttered casserole dish and baked until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year.