Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Scallion Twist Two Ways

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It's been awhile since I baked bread. My kitchen scale was unfortunately on the fritz (again) so I couldn't try recipes from the five cookbooks that I bought in Taipei. Yes, I bought five cookbooks. One replacement nine-volt battery later, I'm now in business again and itching to get baking. My first recipe to try is scallion twist two ways.
  • 2 cups (or 300 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (or 6 grams) of soybean powder
  • 1 teaspoon (or 3 grams) of baking powder
  • 1 cup (or 150 grams) of water
  • 2 teaspoons (or 6 grams) of dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (or 30 grams) of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (or 20 grams) of canola oil, divided
  • 4 scallions (white and pale green part only), chopped small
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds
Sift together flour, soy bean powder and baking powder. Set aside. Combine water, dry yeast and sugar until the sugar and dry yeast dissolve. Pour liquid into dry ingredients until barely mixed. Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Knead dough until it becomes smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Brush 1 tablespoon of canola oil on top. Sprinkle salt and chopped scallions on top. Roll dough into a long strip and seal the seam. Trim off the ends. Cut the dough into 3/4-inch pieces. Take two pieces and turn them sideways so that the scallion pieces are shown and facing up. Using a pair of chopsticks, pinch the two pieces together in the middle so that the dough forms four petals. Twist two petals at where the chopstick pinches. Let sit for 5 minutes.

For baked scallion twists, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scramble one egg with a dash of water and brush onto the top of the scallion twists. Scatter sesame seeds on top. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the bread is brown.

For steamed scallion twists, omit the egg wash and scatter sesame seeds on top. Steam in a steamer or rice cooker for 10 to 15 minutes.

The scallion twists are soft, pillow-y and just a little chewy, like Chinese steamed buns. Personally, I prefer the steamed version better because I can really taste the creamy sweetness of the bread. The baked version is more fragrant because the sesame seeds become aromatic after toasting. Either way, I will have an excellent breakfast tomorrow.

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