Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Having recently revived my sourdough starter, my collection of sourdough discard has started up again. Since it’s the spooky season (a.k.a October), it only felt appropriate to make a vegan pumpkin bread version of my sourdough banana bread!! Using homemade pumpkin puree I had planned on doing this a few weeks ago but found I there was NO CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE in stock anywhere near me & ordering it online would’ve cost £3 a tin! Who’s buying up all the canned pumpkin!? Anywho, I’m no stranger to making my own purees so I went ahead and bought a cooking pumpkin, cut it in half & roasted for an hour then scooped the flesh out & blended it up to make some puree. However I found that this homemade puree was much more watery than the canned puree so the loaf turned out gummy and crumbly. An intense few weeks of shoots got in the way but this week I got round to retesting it with homemade pumpkin puree which I strained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl for 3 hours. I also gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth after this time and gently squeezed until no more […]

The post Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

sourdough pumpkin bread sliced with a cup of tea

Having recently revived my sourdough starter, my collection of sourdough discard has started up again. Since it’s the spooky season (a.k.a October), it only felt appropriate to make a vegan pumpkin bread version of my sourdough banana bread!!

a loaf of vegan sourdough pumpkin bread with tea being poured and winter squash

Using homemade pumpkin puree

I had planned on doing this a few weeks ago but found I there was NO CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE in stock anywhere near me & ordering it online would’ve cost £3 a tin! Who’s buying up all the canned pumpkin!? Anywho, I’m no stranger to making my own purees so I went ahead and bought a cooking pumpkin, cut it in half & roasted for an hour then scooped the flesh out & blended it up to make some puree. However I found that this homemade puree was much more watery than the canned puree so the loaf turned out gummy and crumbly.

An intense few weeks of shoots got in the way but this week I got round to retesting it with homemade pumpkin puree which I strained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl for 3 hours. I also gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth after this time and gently squeezed until no more water was coming out. This resulted in a texture which was much more like the canned pumpkin puree I buy. I tried it in a loaf and it worked a treat!!

a sliced sourdough pumpkin loaf on a plate with a cup of tea

Luckily, I’d had a conversation with someone on my IG DMs about converting my banana bread into a a pumpkin bread (shout out to Kelsey!!). She actually tested the recipe too – telling me her changes of increasing the sugar slightly & lowering the pumpkin slightly – and declared it a success 🙂 I’ve made it both with 150g sugar and 200g sugar and they both work out so it’s up to you and your preferred level of sweetness.

As well as these changes, I made a custom pumpkin spice blend for the cake with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger for that Autumnal flavour. As I had some oranges to hand, I grated in some zest too as I always find it helps to round out the spices in things like carrot cakes & pumpkin breads. This is such a delicious, soft loaf and is VERY moreish. Perfect for a cuppa as an afternoon snack!

Other sourdough discard recipes

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Yield: 1 loaf (serves 12)

A warmly spiced vegan pumpkin bread which uses sourdough discard!

Ingredients

  • 200g (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) pumpkin puree* (SEE NOTES if using homemade)
  • 150g (3/4 cup) to 200g (1 cup) light brown sugar*
  • 90g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • 150g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard (100% hydration)
  • 120g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Topping (optional):

  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds/pepitas

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F). Grease a 2lb loaf tin with some oil and line with a sling of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, spices, orange zest and salt until smooth. Stir in the sourdough starter. Lastly, add the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Fold together until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into your lined loaf tin. Sprinkle with the topping of light brown sugar and pumpkin seeds, if using.
  4. Bake for 55-70 minutes - a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean. If the loaf looks like it's browning too much but is not cooked through yet, tent the top with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.
  5. Allow to cool before removing from the tin, slicing & serving.

Notes

Adapted from my Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)

Amount of sugar: use 150g for a slightly less sweet loaf or 200g if you prefer things sweeter

If using homemade pumpkin puree: it is essential that your pumpkin puree is drained before weighing & using in this recipe. To do this, line a sieve (mesh strainer) set over a bowl with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Fill with your homemade pumpkin puree and leave to drain for 2-3 hours. After this time, gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and twist together at the top. Gently squeeze the bundle of puree to remove any last bit of water - don't squeeze too hard or the puree may start to seep through the cheesecloth! The texture should be very thick just like canned pumpkin puree. You can now measure it out and use it in the recipe.

To make homemade pumpkin puree: cut your pumpkin in half. Place cut side down on a baking tray and roast at 180C fan (350F) for 1-2 hours until completely soft. Remove from the oven, flip over and scoop out the seeds then discard them. Scoop the flesh into a blender/food processor/bowl with sitck blender, discard the skin. Blitz the flesh until smooth then drain as instructed above.

What is 100% hydration sourdough starter? This means that when feeding your starter, you're using an equal weight of flour & water (e.g. feeding it with 50g flour & 50g water each time).

Non-Vegan option: use 100g butter, melted, in place of the oil.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Sourdough Focaccia (no-knead)

As an obsession with sourdough bread has occurred, my attention has turned to alternative uses for my starter, other than boules. It turns out that sourdough focaccia is my new favourite go-to bread to make! It’s got a very similar dough method to my standard boule but it’s ready the same day the dough is made and it’s a lot easier to shape/bake (no banneton, no shaping, no dutch oven needed!). All you need is a bowl, a baking tray and a HOT oven! I am also notoriously bad at slicing bread boules (TOO crusty and also very prone to becoming slanted when I cut them!) so focaccia is my bestie now – it’s very easy to slice into chubby, bubbly hunks. You can split a square of it in half and toast (and eat as you would sliced bread) or just serve in all its glory as a chunk on the side of your dinner! It goes very well with all types of anti-pasti type toppings (chopped tomatoes with balsamic, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, pesto, hummus etc) so makes for a very simple and satisfying dinner. To Fold or Not to Fold? I’ve tested the recipe quite a few […]

The post Sourdough Focaccia (no-knead) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

a closeup image of baked sourdough focaccia

As an obsession with sourdough bread has occurred, my attention has turned to alternative uses for my starter, other than boules. It turns out that sourdough focaccia is my new favourite go-to bread to make! It’s got a very similar dough method to my standard boule but it’s ready the same day the dough is made and it’s a lot easier to shape/bake (no banneton, no shaping, no dutch oven needed!). All you need is a bowl, a baking tray and a HOT oven!

sourdough focaccia dough in a baking tray on a counter
holding a slice of sourdough focaccia

I am also notoriously bad at slicing bread boules (TOO crusty and also very prone to becoming slanted when I cut them!) so focaccia is my bestie now – it’s very easy to slice into chubby, bubbly hunks. You can split a square of it in half and toast (and eat as you would sliced bread) or just serve in all its glory as a chunk on the side of your dinner! It goes very well with all types of anti-pasti type toppings (chopped tomatoes with balsamic, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, pesto, hummus etc) so makes for a very simple and satisfying dinner.

To Fold or Not to Fold?

I’ve tested the recipe quite a few times now and so have tried various techniques out on the dough. I compared a version where I performed coil folds every 30 mins for 4 hours (the ‘bulk rise’), with a version where I just left the dough to do its thing (no ‘kneading’) for 4 hours. What surprised me was that both versions turned out extremely well! The no-knead version had less of an open crumb (i.e. fewer large air holes) and was more prone to settling into the tray. Whereas the folded version held its rounded shape a bit more (so spread less in the tin) and had larger air holes. So overall, you can do EITHER method and you’ll get delicious results, it just depends on if you have time to do the folds or not (and depends on if you really want that open crumb).

Overnight Fridge-Rest or Same Day Bake?

Once the dough has had its 4 hours of bulk rising and is plopped into the tray, you can let it prove at room temp and bake the same day OR you can leave it in the fridge overnight. Again, this can be a preference due to timing but also comes down to flavour. If you prefer a more sour-tasting bread, chilling the dough overnight really helps those flavours develop. If you don’t care so much for that flavour and want the bread TODAY, no fridge-rest needed.

unbaked sourdough focaccia dough with rosemery

One set of Coil Folds

One ‘set’ of coil folds

Sourdough Focaccia (No-Knead)

Sourdough Focaccia (No-Knead)

Yield: a 9 x 13-inch focaccia
Prep Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400g (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp) lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 500g (4 cups) white bread flour (strong flour)(see notes for substitutes)
  • 100g (1/2 cup) recently fed sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1 tsp (7g) fine table salt
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. Combine 385g of the water (i.e. all but 1 tablespoon of the water) and all of the sugar in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. Add the bread flour and mix to form a lumpy dough. Cover (I like to use a bin bag placed over the bowl and clipped at the side, or a shower cap) and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, spread the starter over the dough in the bowl. Dimple it in and mix the dough as well as you can in the bowl. I find using my hand, shaped like a claw, with a kind of scooping motion towards the edge of the bowl helpful for this. Once mixed, sprinkle the salt and the reserved 15g (1 tbsp) of water over and mix this in in a similar fashion.

For No-knead bulk rise:

  1. Cover and leave at room temperature for another 4 hours until doubled in size and bubbly (this timing will depend on the weather; my room temp. is generally 22-24°C. Better to go by the increase in volume rather than the suggested time).

OR For Folded bulk rise:

  1. Cover and leave for another 30 minutes at room temperature. After 30 minutes wet your hands and perform a set of coil folds on the dough: coil folding (see video above the recipe card for help) is done by gently lifting the dough up with both (wet) hands cupped underneath, then letting the 'North' edge fold under the dough as you place it back into the bowl. Rotate the bowl 180 degrees so the 'South' edge is now facing 'north'. Lift the dough up again in the same way and let the 'south' edge fold under the dough as you place it back down. Rotate the bowl 90-degrees and then repeat the lifting & lowering for the 'west' and 'east' edges of the dough. This is one 'set' of coil folds.
  2. Cover the dough and leave for another 3.5 hours, performing a set of coil folds every 30 minutes, and covering the dough each time while it rests. The first few coil folds you perform you can be a bit more firm with the dough but as you progress to the later coil folds, try to be gentler so as not to disturb the air in the dough too much.
  3. Straight after your final coil fold, move onto the next step.


Shape:

  1. Drizzle half of the olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking tray or roasting dish (I prefer one with high sides but a rimmed baking sheet works). Gently tip the bowl over the tray and coax the dough out as carefully as possible - it should mostly fall out from its own weight. Oil your hands and flip the dough over so that both sides are now covered with a light layer of oil. Use wetted fingertips to very very gently coax the dough into a slight oval shape, trying not to deflate the dough or stretch it too much. It will spread out more as it rises so don't worry about making it reach the edges of the tray.


To Bake the same day:

  1. Leave uncovered in a warm place for 2-5 hours until very puffy - almost doubled in volume - and bubbly. Again this will depend on the temp of your room so will be quicker in warmer months.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220°C fan (430°F) / 240°C non-fan (460°F).
  3. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dough and use your fingertips to press down into the dough all over, making deep dimples for the oil to pool in. Sprinkle with some flakey salt, add any other toppings like rosemary sprigs, and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the baking time to ensure an even bake. It should be golden all over with some more well-browned patches.


OR To Bake tomorrow:

  1. Chill the dough overnight (10-12 hours). An hour before you want to bake it, remove from the fridge and leave at room temp to warm up a bit.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220°C fan (430°F) / 240°C non-fan (460°F).
  3. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dough and use your fingertips to press down into the dough all over, making deep dimples for the oil to pool in. Sprinkle with some flakey salt, add any other toppings like rosemary sprigs, and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the baking time to ensure an even bake. It should be golden all over with some more well-browned patches.

Tip: Allow to cool before removing from the tray, slicing and eating. If you find the dough is stuck to your tray, use a metal spatula or offset cake spatula to coax it away from the tray (It should be quite a flexible loaf so don't worry if it bends a bit as you do this).

Notes

Substituting flours: you can use up to 250g of wholemeal bread flour in place of white bread flour in this recipe, if you'd like. You can also use plain white flour (all purpose flour) in the loaf, it just won't be as chewy & open-crumbed.

Recently fed starter = your starter should be bubbly and pass the float test.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Focaccia (no-knead) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

8 Top Recipe Ideas to use Sourdough Discard

From inventive desserts like sourdough brownies and (vegan) banana bread, through to classic (and delicious) recipes like sourdough bagels and waffles, there are discard recipes for all sorts of occasions. Sourdough Banana Bread (Vegan) This recipe uses up 150g (3/4 cup) of discard, is super moist and is vegan (eggless!) too. You can even use buckwheat flour or rye flour in the recipe so it’s flexible to suit your pantry. It can even be baked as banana muffins. Sourdough Brownies A classic dessert of brownies, revamped with the addition of 120g (just over 1/2 cup) of sourdough starter so they need no additional flour at all. These babies are fudgy yet light with that crisp meringue-like topping. They’ll soon become a favourite! Sourdough Crumpets (Vegan) A simple way to use up that discard, only needing discard, flour, baking soda and some sugar (so the recipe is easy to scale up/down using what you have on hand) – these are a classic British breakfast food/snack. They’re cooked on the stove top in a pan using metal rings – if you don’t have Chef’s rings for making them, metal cookie cutters or even a rinsed out tuna can will work. How to […]

The post 8 Top Recipe Ideas to use Sourdough Discard appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

From inventive desserts like sourdough brownies and (vegan) banana bread, through to classic (and delicious) recipes like sourdough bagels and waffles, there are discard recipes for all sorts of occasions.

Sourdough Banana Bread (Vegan)

This recipe uses up 150g (3/4 cup) of discard, is super moist and is vegan (eggless!) too. You can even use buckwheat flour or rye flour in the recipe so it’s flexible to suit your pantry. It can even be baked as banana muffins.

Sourdough Brownies

Sourdough Brownies

A classic dessert of brownies, revamped with the addition of 120g (just over 1/2 cup) of sourdough starter so they need no additional flour at all. These babies are fudgy yet light with that crisp meringue-like topping. They’ll soon become a favourite!

Sourdough Crumpets - how to make sourdough crumpets by Izy Hossack

Sourdough Crumpets (Vegan)

A simple way to use up that discard, only needing discard, flour, baking soda and some sugar (so the recipe is easy to scale up/down using what you have on hand) – these are a classic British breakfast food/snack. They’re cooked on the stove top in a pan using metal rings – if you don’t have Chef’s rings for making them, metal cookie cutters or even a rinsed out tuna can will work.

How to make Wholemeal Sourdough Bread (Step-by-Step GIF guide) (Vegan)

The most obvious of them all, bake a lovely sourdough loaf! I’ve broken down my simple method of making a wholemeal sourdough loaf here, with step by step GIFs and images to make it as simple as possible. You’ll be on your way to a tall, beautiful loaf in no time!

Crispy Sourdough Waffles

An overnight fermented batter which produces light and crispy waffles, full of that sourdough flavour! An excellent addition to your at-home brunch spread.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns (Vegan)

An absolute *must* when it comes to Easter baking! These buns are enriched with a tangzhong paste to make them fluffy without needing eggs. They’re full of mixed spice and studded with mixed dried fruit for that authentic flavour.

Sourdough Wholemeal Bagels (Vegan)

Chewy, tangy and moreish! These sourdough bagels are such a great thing to make with your discard. They’re not too hard to make and freeze very well (halve them before freezing for easy toasting).

A cinnamon swirled sourdough loaf with a mug of tea on a chopping board

Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

An updated version of the classic cinnamon-raisin swirl bread. This sourdough version is super light, fluffy with a bit of tang, studded with dates instead of raisins for a more caramel-like flavour. The recipe incorporates dry yeast as well to speed things up but you can go full on sourdough if you have more time on your hands.

The post 8 Top Recipe Ideas to use Sourdough Discard appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

It doesn’t properly feel like Spring until the scent of a toasting hot cross bun is wafting through the kitchen. These sourdough hot cross buns are my spin this year, previously having done bagel, loaf and Chelsea versions of the delicious HCB. Although sourdough can be something that sounds incredibly intimidating to use (and can be very hard to master!) this dough is handled pretty much just like a standard bun dough. It’s not super wet so it isn’t a nightmare to shape. And you just give it a good knead at the start – no hours of intermittent folding involved either. The main thing is that the sourdough nature of this recipe means that it requires a much longer rise (8-12 hours) as the yeast isn’t as powerful as commercial stuff. That’s okay though, just let it rise overnight and you can bake the buns off the next day! Perfect for a weekend baking project for Easter. Have you made this recipe?I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns on a table with butter and jam by Izy Hossack

It doesn’t properly feel like Spring until the scent of a toasting hot cross bun is wafting through the kitchen. These sourdough hot cross buns are my spin this year, previously having done bagel, loaf and Chelsea versions of the delicious HCB.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns on a baking tray by Izy Hossack

Although sourdough can be something that sounds incredibly intimidating to use (and can be very hard to master!) this dough is handled pretty much just like a standard bun dough. It’s not super wet so it isn’t a nightmare to shape. And you just give it a good knead at the start – no hours of intermittent folding involved either.

A toasted Sourdough Hot Cross Bun with butter and jam by Izy Hossack

The main thing is that the sourdough nature of this recipe means that it requires a much longer rise (8-12 hours) as the yeast isn’t as powerful as commercial stuff. That’s okay though, just let it rise overnight and you can bake the buns off the next day! Perfect for a weekend baking project for Easter.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 12 buns
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Paste:

  • 50g (1/4 cup) water
  • 2 tbsp plain flour

Dough:

  • 170g (2/3 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • 60g (1/4 cup) vegetable oil, plus extra for the bowl
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice (see notes)
  • 90g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 200g (1 2/3 cup) wholewheat bread flour
  • 250g (2 cups) white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150g mixed dried fruit (see notes)

Cross:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 15g vegetable oil
  • 65g water

Egg wash (see notes for vegan version):

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Glaze (optional):

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

Make the paste:

  1. In a small pot combine the 50g water and 2 tbsp flour. Stir together then set over a medium heat on the stove. Cook, stirring constantly, until you get a thick paste. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Make the dough:

  1. Place the cooled paste into a large bowl. Add the water, oil, sugar, mixed spice and sourdough. Stir together briefly to combine, mashing the paste up slightly as you do this.
  2. Add the flours and salt to the dough. Stir together until you get a shaggy dough.
  3. Tip out onto a clean work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, dusting with extra white bread flour as needed to prevent it sticking, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Pat out into a circle then sprinkle over the mixed dried fruit. Roll the dough up into a log, like a Swiss roll, then coil up into a ball.
  5. Drizzle a bit of extra vegetable oil into the bowl you were using earlier. Add the dough to the bowl and turn it to coat with the vegetable oil.
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel (or a shower cap). Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume (I usually leave it overnight).
  7. If you find the dough hasn't doubled in volume in that time, place somewhere warm (e.g. an oven switched onto the lowest heat for 2 minutes then turned off) for an hour or two to help things along.

Shape:

  1. Tip the risen dough out onto a clean work surface. Pat out into a circle.
  2. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls - don't worry if some of the dried fruit comes out when you do this. You can try to poke some of it back into the ball.
  3. Place the balls of dough onto a lined baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Leave somewhere warm for 2-3 hours until the balls are almost doubled in volume.

Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan / 350°F).
  2. Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg using a pastry brush.
  3. Mix the 'cross' ingredients in a small bowl to get a smooth paste. Place into a piping bag (or sandwich bag with the corner snipped off) and cut off the very tip. Pipe the mixture over the buns in cross shapes.
  4. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until the buns are dark golden.

Glaze:

  1. Heat the maple syrup in a small pot until reduced by about half. Whilst this is still hot, brush it over the warm buns and leave to cool.

Notes

  • Mixed spice is a standard ingredient to buy in the UK. You can DIY it by mixing: of 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground clove, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • Mixed dried fruit a standard ingredient you can buy in the UK. It is made up of mostly sultanas, raisins and currants with a bit of candied orange/lemon peel mixed in.
  • For a vegan glaze: mix 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) with 60ml water until thin and smooth. Brush this on the buns instead of an egg glaze.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

As a kid I was obsessed with cinnamon swirl bread. It’s like a less intense version of a cinnamon bun and makes THE BEST french toast ever. What’s not to like? This is a slightly modernised variation made with sourdough and dates instead of raisins. I made a double swirl by rolling the dough up into a log, cutting that in half and twisting the two halves together. It’s almost like making a babka but a lot less messy!

The post Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

A cinnamon swirled sourdough loaf with a mug of tea on a chopping board

As a kid I was obsessed with cinnamon swirl bread. It’s like a less intense version of a cinnamon bun and makes THE BEST french toast ever. What’s not to like?

a close up of a slice of cinnamon swirled sourdough with butter

This is a slightly modernised variation made with sourdough and dates instead of raisins. I made a double swirl by rolling the dough up into a log, cutting that in half and twisting the two halves together. It’s almost like making a babka but a lot less messy!

Overhead image of sliced cinnamon swirl sourdough bread

Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread

Yield: 1 loaf (in a '2lb loaf tin')
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 130g (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) fed sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 220g (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water
  • 1 medium UK (large US) egg
  • 55g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 55g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 430g (3 1/2 cups) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 teaspoon easy-bake (instant) dried yeast (optional, see notes)

For the swirl:

  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 110g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 150g (a scant cup) pitted dates
  • pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

To make the dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the sourdough starter, lukewarm water, egg, cooled melted butter and sugar. Turn the mixer onto a low speed and stir until roughly mixed together.
  2. Add the flour, salt and (if using) the easy-bake yeast (see notes below for if you are using it). Turn the mixer onto a medium-low speed until the dry ingredients have been mostly mixed in then increase the speed to high. Let it knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth, elastic and is pulling way from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Pour a little bit of vegetable oil over the dough and turn it to coat the dough and bowl with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for around 4 hours - during this rising time you need to turn the dough. This is done by grabbing the 'north' side of the dough, pulling it up and folding it down towards the opposite side of the dough. Then repeating this in the same manner with the 'east', 'south' and 'west' sides of the dough. This is one set of turns. You need to do 4 sets of turns throughout the rising time, so once per hour is about right.
  5. Once you've completed your last turn of the dough, let it rest somewhere warm again so it becomes puffy - about 30-45 minutes.

Shape and fill the dough:

  1. Lightly grease a a 2lb (21.5 x 11 cm / 8.5 x 4.3-inch) loaf tin. Set aside.
  2. Tip the risen dough out onto a clean work surface, lightly dusted with flour. Pat it down to remove the air and dust with some more flour on top. Roll the dough out into a 30 x 45 cm (12 x 18- inch) rectangle.
  3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and add a pinch of salt. Beat together with a fork and set aside.
  4. Combine the sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Roughly chop the pitted dates and set aside.
  5. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire surface of the dough with the beaten egg (you won't use all of it - chill the remainder for brushing the loaf later). Sprinkle all over with the cinnamon sugar and then scatter over the chopped dates.
  6. Starting at a short edge, roll the dough up into a tight log. Cut the log in half so you now have two shorter logs. Line them both up and then twist them together. Trim the ends off of the twist to neaten and so that it will fit into your loaf tin.
  7. Place the dough twist into your loaf tin and cover (I use a small bin bag which I trap air into so that it's puffed up like a balloon and then seal the loaf pan inside so the bag doesn't touch the dough). Leave somewhere warm to rise until almost doubled in volume, with the top of the dough poking up about 4cm (1.5 inches) from the tin - about 90 minutes.


Bake the dough:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C fan (350°F / 200°C).
  2. Uncover the dough. Brush the surface with the beaten egg you were using before. Sprinkle with pearl sugar if you'd like and then bake for 45-55 minutes until well-browned with an internal temperature of around 94°C (200°F).
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes before running a dull knife around the edge of the loaf and tipping out onto a wire rack - leave to cool completely before slicing.


Notes

Adapted from Sourdough Cinnamon Buns via King Arthur Flour

- If you want to make the dough rise faster (and have less of a sour tang) add the easy-bake (instant) yeast to the dough when instructed. I found it reduced the initial proofing time to around 2 1/2 hours and the second proof to around 45 minutes .

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Cinnamon & Date Swirl Bread appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Swirly, flaky and perfumed with cardamom. These apple chelsea buns are so bloody good. The slices of sticky apple through the layers are so delicious and help keep the buns moist too! As with my hot cross Chelsea buns, the dough is laminated with a single ‘business letter’ fold before filling and rolling. This helps get even more thin, flakey layers into each bun for maximum peeling-of-layers-as-you-eat satisfaction (my favourite part of eating any swirly bun) . These guys can be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk and vegan butter. After a couple of days they do start to get stale so need a few minutes in a warm oven to become soft again!

The post Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Two trays of swirly Apple Chelsea buns with pearl sugar. One bun on a plate with a mug of tea.

Swirly, flaky and perfumed with cardamom. These apple chelsea buns are so bloody good. The slices of sticky apple through the layers are so delicious and help keep the buns moist too!

Two trays of swirly Apple Chelsea buns with pearl sugar

As with my hot cross Chelsea buns, the dough is laminated with a single ‘business letter’ fold before filling and rolling. This helps get even more thin, flakey layers into each bun for maximum peeling-of-layers-as-you-eat satisfaction (my favourite part of eating any swirly bun) . These guys can be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk and vegan butter. After a couple of days they do start to get stale so need a few minutes in a warm oven to become soft again!

Apple Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Apple Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Yield: 12 buns

A slightly laminated dough swirled with dark brown sugar, cardamom and apples to make these sticky soft apple chelsea buns. A delicious tea time treat!

Ingredients

Paste:

  • 2 tablespoons plain white flour or strong white flour
  • 90g (1/3 cup) water

Dough:

  • 200ml milk (you can use a dairy-free milk here)
  • 50ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons easy-bake yeast ('instant' yeast)
  • 450g (3 3/4 cups) strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Filling:

  • 100g unsalted butter (or vegan butter)
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 6-10 pods green cardamom, depending on how much you like it!
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

Make the paste:

  1. Combine the paste ingredients in a small pot. Stir together until mostly smooth. Place over a medium heat on the stove and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened into a loose paste texture. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool.

Make the dough:

  1. Place the cooled paste into the bowl of a stand mixer (SEE NOTES if you don't have a stand mixer for hand-kneading method) with the hook attachment fitted. Add the milk to the bowl and mash up the paste a bit so it breaks up. Add the oil, sugar, yeast, flour and salt to the bowl.
  2. Mix on medium speed in the mixer for 6-10 minutes until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, looks smooth, and is slightly sticky.
  3. Pour a bit of extra oil over a dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours until doubled in volume.

Make the filling:

  1. Place half of the butter into a medium saucepan. Place on the stove and melt over a medium-low heat. Once melted, pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the same pan. Add your peeled/cored/ sliced apples and return to a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple slices are softened but still holding together. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a pestle and mortar, bash the cardamom pods to open them up. Remove the papery casing and discard, leaving the little black seeds in the mortar. Grind the seeds into a powder then mix with the cinnamon and dark brown sugar in a small bowl.

Roll and fill the buns:

  1. Lightly flour a work surface and tip the risen dough out onto it. Lightly flour the dough and roll it out into a 15 x 26 inch (35 x 65cm) rectangle. Spread the melted butter you set aside earlier over the surface of the dough. Evenly sprinkle on half of the spiced sugar and press it into the dough gently. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. (see above for a video to explain).
  2. Roll this out again into a 15 x 26 inch (35 x 65cm) rectangle. Spread the remaining spiced sugar over the surface then evenly distribute the cooked apples and any butter from the pan over this. Starting at the short edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly into a log.
  3. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Place onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for 30-45 minutes until almost doubled in volume. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if using.

Bake the buns:

  1. While the buns rise, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan / 350°F).
  2. Remove the tea towels covering the buns and bake them for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

NO STAND MIXER - kneading by hand:

  1. Place the cooled paste into a large bowl. Add the milk to the bowl and mash up the paste a bit so it breaks up. Add the oil, sugar, flour, yeast and salt to the bowl. Stir together with your fingertips to form a shaggy dough. Knead it a bit in the bowl to help bring in some dry bits then tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface.
  2. Knead by hand for ~10 minutes, dusting lightly with flour as needed to stop it sticking to your hands and surface (but try to add as little flour as possible). The dough should be smooth, stretchy and only slightly sticky. Pour a little oil into the bowl and turn to coat.
  3. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours until doubled in volume.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns (vegan)

After having Korean fried chicken in a restaurant a while ago, *that* spicy gochujang sauce stuck in my mind. It’s like a grown up version of the sauce on sweet & sour chicken. I made it at home, using it to coat crispy tofu (coated in cornstarch and pan fried) to stuff into pillowy soft bao buns. I actually made these a while ago but never got round to posting the recipe! Now that I’ve been going a bit bao crazy I thought I would get this one up on the blog at the same time so there are some filling options for people to look at. We used this sauce last night for coating katsu seitan and it was epic – we had it with pickled radish/red onion and carrot ribbons which was a great combo. I think the sauce would work well on katsu sweet potato for an easy option. These are a bit ‘involved’ since you do need to do the whole tofu pressing, coating & frying situation. I also roasted some butternut squash to go in the buns but you can leave it out if you want (or use something seasonal like roasted carrots instead). However, […]

The post Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns (vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Assembling Bao buns filled with crispy gochujang tofu, lettuce and butternut squash

After having Korean fried chicken in a restaurant a while ago, *that* spicy gochujang sauce stuck in my mind. It’s like a grown up version of the sauce on sweet & sour chicken. I made it at home, using it to coat crispy tofu (coated in cornstarch and pan fried) to stuff into pillowy soft bao buns.

I actually made these a while ago but never got round to posting the recipe! Now that I’ve been going a bit bao crazy I thought I would get this one up on the blog at the same time so there are some filling options for people to look at. We used this sauce last night for coating katsu seitan and it was epic – we had it with pickled radish/red onion and carrot ribbons which was a great combo. I think the sauce would work well on katsu sweet potato for an easy option.

Bao buns filled with crispy gochujang tofu and lettuce with a bamboo steamer

These are a bit ‘involved’ since you do need to do the whole tofu pressing, coating & frying situation. I also roasted some butternut squash to go in the buns but you can leave it out if you want (or use something seasonal like roasted carrots instead). However, once you’ve done the prep it’s easy to keep the components warm or reheat them, making the whole thing perfect for when you have a few friends round.

You can get frozen bao from Chinese supermarkets or, if you want to make them yourself, see my post for an in-depth recipe with some helpful shaping GIFs.

Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns

Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns

Yield: 12 buns (serves 3-4)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Squash:

  • 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Tofu:

  • 340g (12 ounces) extra firm tofu
  • 50g (1/2 cup) corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

To serve:

Instructions

For the squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Cut the butternut squash into pieces about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Toss with the vegetable oil on a baking tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through roasting, until starting to turn brown around the edges.

For the sauce:

  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Add a bit of water if needed to thin it out so it's drizzleable.

For the tofu:

  1. Press the tofu: drain the tofu, wrap in 2 layers of kitchen towel and place on a cutting board. Top with another cutting board and place something heavy (like a few cookbooks) on top. Let sit for 30 minutes to drain.
  2. Unwrap the tofu. Cut into 12 planks.
  3. Place the corn flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Toss the tofu in it to coat well, shaking off excess.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the coated tofu in a single layer and fry on both sides until crisp.
  5. Remove to a dish lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat the frying with the remaining tofu, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
  6. Once you've fried all of it, toss the tofu into the bowl of sauce and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  7. Keep warm in an oven at 100°C (215°F) until serving.

Warm the bao:

  1. Place the bao into a steamer and cover with the lid. Fill a wide saucepan with a ~1 inch depth of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to low then place the steamer into the pan.
  2. Steam for 5-6 minutes if they were frozen, or 2-3 minutes if they're fresh.

Assemble:

  1. Take the warm bao and fill with a leaf of gem lettuce, some of the warm crispy tofu and a piece of butternut squash.
  2. Eat warm!

Notes

  • Gochujang is a spicy, Korean fermented chilli paste. It can be found in many Korean or Chinese grocers and even in larger supermarkets in the 'world food' aisle.

Bao buns filled with crispy gochujang tofu and lettuce with a bamboo steamer" data-pin-description="Crispy tofu with a sweet & spicy gochujang sauce in soft, fluffy bao buns. Great for a plant-based dinner!

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns (vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (vegan)

Although sometimes I like a bao filling which takes a bit more time to prep, these asparagus bao are super fast to make. I keep frozen unfilled bao on hand which only take 5 minutes to heat up so this is a good one for weeknights if you do the same. Since asparagus is in season at the moment I’ve been going absolutely crazy for it. It’s probably one of my favourite vegetables – so delicious and SO quick to cook. I made these for lunch a couple of weeks ago for a friend who came to visit and we sat on the sunny balcony eating them. They were so quick to make (plus I had so many buns) that I ended up having them again for dinner too that week! I think the grilled vegetable vibe is definitely going to be big for me this year, especially when I can chuck them into a bao and have dinner all done and dusted. You can get frozen bao from Chinese supermarkets or, if you want to make them yourself, see my post for an in-depth recipe with some helpful shaping GIFs. Have you made this recipe?I’d love to see how […]

The post Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

two bao buns filled with grilled asparagus, sesame seeds, miso glaze and carrot ribbons on a wooden board.

Although sometimes I like a bao filling which takes a bit more time to prep, these asparagus bao are super fast to make. I keep frozen unfilled bao on hand which only take 5 minutes to heat up so this is a good one for weeknights if you do the same.

Since asparagus is in season at the moment I’ve been going absolutely crazy for it. It’s probably one of my favourite vegetables – so delicious and SO quick to cook. I made these for lunch a couple of weeks ago for a friend who came to visit and we sat on the sunny balcony eating them.

bao buns overhead filled with grilled asparagus and carrot ribbons

They were so quick to make (plus I had so many buns) that I ended up having them again for dinner too that week! I think the grilled vegetable vibe is definitely going to be big for me this year, especially when I can chuck them into a bao and have dinner all done and dusted.

You can get frozen bao from Chinese supermarkets or, if you want to make them yourself, see my post for an in-depth recipe with some helpful shaping GIFs.

Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (Vegan)

Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (Vegan)

Yield: 8 buns
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g (9 ounces) asparagus
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon miso or doenjang
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (or 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1 tsp hot sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Mushroom ketchup or vegan Worcester sauce

To serve:

Instructions

Cook the asparagus:

  1. Peel the tough ends of the asparagus and trim off the very base. If you have quite thick asparagus spears, cut them in half down their length. Place in a roasting dish, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  2. Mix the black bean sauce, miso/doenjang, chilli sauce, rice vinegar, tomato ketchup and mushroom ketchup in a small bowl until smooth.
  3. Heat a grill pan on the highest heat on the stove (or you can use a barbecue). Place the asparagus spears into the pan and grill, until blackened on one side. Flip and grill the other side.
  4. Once that side is blackened, brush the asparagus spears with some of the glaze and turn so you can coat the other side too. Grill for 1 minutes then remove from the pan.
  5. Repeat with any remaining asparagus.

Warm the bao:

  1. Place the bao into a steamer. Fill a wide saucepan with a ~1 inch depth of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to low then place the steamer into the pan.
  2. Steam for 5-6 minutes if they were frozen, or 2-3 minutes if they're fresh.

Assemble:

  1. Fill the warm bao with the asparagus, some kimchi and carrot ribbons. Eat immediately.

Notes

  • I love the vegan kimchi made by The Cultured Collective in the UK
  • Black bean sauce is also known as black bean garlic sauce. You can get it from supermarkets in the 'world food' aisle or from Chinese grocers.
  • If you're not veggie/vegan you can use Oyster sauce instead of the black bean sauce and standard Worcestershire sauce instead of the mushroom ketchup.
  • Mushroom ketchup is a common veggie alternative to Worcestershire sauce, found in most large supermarkets.
  • If you don't have a grill pan/BBQ, a cast iron pan will also work. You can also just roast the asparagus on a baking tray in the oven at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes with the oil, then brush with the glaze and roast for 5 minutes more.

Bao buns filled with grilled asparagus, carrot ribbons and cilantro, topped with sesame seeds on a wooden board

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (vegan) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

How to make Bao Buns

Over the past few years there has been an explosion of bao restaurants in London. These soft and fluffy steamed buns are incredibly delicious and usually not too pricey. BUT you can make them at home which can be a fun weekend ‘project’ to do (and you can freeze extras for weeknight dinners!). The idea of steaming bread can seem daunting so I’ve gone in deep here with as much detail as I can muster! I’ve made them quite a few times at home now so, although I’m definitely not an expert, I may have some tips to help you! What is a bao bun? Really, calling these bao buns is incorrect (bao means bun, so it’s like saying ‘bun bun’). They’re usually called gua bao but are also sometimes known as Taiwanese hamburgers. However their popularity in the West has spread with the name bao buns, so here we are! The usual filling is glazed pork belly but you can basically fill them with whatever you want. I think a good formula for vegetarian fillings is: grilled/deep fried vegetables (or tofu/seitan) + something crunchy (lettuce, carrot ribbons, shredded cabbage) + sauce + pickles (kimchi, red onion/radish, kraut). Where can […]

The post How to make Bao Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Steamed gua bao buns in a bamboo steamer

Over the past few years there has been an explosion of bao restaurants in London. These soft and fluffy steamed buns are incredibly delicious and usually not too pricey. BUT you can make them at home which can be a fun weekend ‘project’ to do (and you can freeze extras for weeknight dinners!). The idea of steaming bread can seem daunting so I’ve gone in deep here with as much detail as I can muster! I’ve made them quite a few times at home now so, although I’m definitely not an expert, I may have some tips to help you!

What is a bao bun?

Really, calling these bao buns is incorrect (bao means bun, so it’s like saying ‘bun bun’). They’re usually called gua bao but are also sometimes known as Taiwanese hamburgers. However their popularity in the West has spread with the name bao buns, so here we are! The usual filling is glazed pork belly but you can basically fill them with whatever you want.

I think a good formula for vegetarian fillings is: grilled/deep fried vegetables (or tofu/seitan) + something crunchy (lettuce, carrot ribbons, shredded cabbage) + sauce + pickles (kimchi, red onion/radish, kraut).

Where can I buy bao buns?

I have to say, as much as I love making things from scratch, sometimes I just want a super easy dinner and frozen bao buns are a godsend for that. I buy packs of frozen Bao from the big chest freezers in my local Chinese food shop. They have a variety of names I’ve come across: ‘gua bao’, ‘double slice bun’, ‘Hirata bun’ or ‘Taiwan burger bun’. If you want to make them yourself though, read on!

Bao buns filled with crispy gochujang tofu and lettuce with a bamboo steamer" data-pin-description="Crispy tofu with a sweet & spicy gochujang sauce in soft, fluffy bao buns. Great for a plant-based dinner!

Can I make vegan bao buns?

Yes! This recipe below is vegan (with non-vegan adaptations you can make if you’d like). I just use all water and vegetable oil so it really is an easy recipe to make. Plus they come out just as fluffy and soft as the ones containing milk.

I have a couple of vegan filling options too:
Grilled Asparagus Bao
Gochujang Tofu Bao

A bamboo steamer with bao buns in a pan on the stove

How do you steam bao buns?

I have a 2-layer bamboo steamer I got from a Korean supermarket when I lived in Leeds! You can get them online or usually at larger Korean/Chinese/Japanese food shops. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer you can use a metal one, you just can’t fit as many buns into them as you can with a bamboo one (as they are stackable). If you don’t have a steamer you can hack one by placing a large metal colander into a large pot with a bit of water at the bottom of the pot, then cover with a large pot lid/plate/foil.

For bamboo steamers: place the steamer into a wide saucepan or pot that it can fit snugly in. Pour water into the pan, I usually do a ~1-inch depth and top up the water as needed while steaming so it doesn’t run dry. The most important thing is that the water level doesn’t rise above the base of the steamer as you don’t want the water to come into direct contact with whatever is in the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over a medium heat, fill the steamer with your buns (they expand quite a bit when steaming so leave some room around them) then cover with the lid. Place into the pan of water and turn the heat down so the water is simmering. Let the buns steam for 5-6 minutes – do not remove the lid during this time as the trapped steam inside is cooking the buns!

I use a pair of kitchen tongs to remove each layer of the bamboo steamer from the pan so I don’t get burnt by the steam.

Can you freeze bao buns and can you reheat frozen ones?

When I make bao I usually make a large batch so I can freeze most of them for easy dinners later on. To do this, steam all of the bao as instructed. Then line them up on a baking tray – I like to leave the little parchment square on the bottom of each bun so I can use it when I reheat them later. Freeze the buns for 1-2 hours on the tray then tip them into a resealable bag. Label and date them for future reference! You can reheat the bao straight from frozen, just pop a few into your steamer and steam for 5-8 minutes until hot in the middle.

Placing shaped bao buns onto a baking tray
placing shaped bao buns into a bamboo steamer

How do you keep steamed buns warm?

Keep them in the bamboo steamer with lid closed. They should stay warm like this for ~10 minutes. When having them for dinner, I usually actually cook all the bao ahead of time and then re-heat a couple at a time by steaming for 1-2 minutes before eating. That way you always have hot ones to eat.

Why are my bao buns not white?

The addition of baking powder/bicarbonate of soda can cause a yellowing of the dough after steaming. You may notice that if you don’t knead the baking powder into the dough thoroughly, there will be little yellow spots on the buns (this is just an aesthetic issue, they’ll still taste fine). The yellowy tinge can also come from the flour – if your flour is unbleached, as most is in the UK, the buns will not be super white. You can buy bleached white flour from some Chinese supermarkets if you’re really after that snowy white look.

Can I make wholewheat bao?

Yes! Just replace 1/3 of the flour in the recipe below with wholemeal (wholewheat) bread flour. They’ll be a little bit denser/ chewier but still delicious. I wouldn’t recommend doing 50% or 100% wholemeal flour as it’ll make the buns too dense and they won’t be fluffy.

How to make Steamed Bao Buns (Gua Bao)

How to make Steamed Bao Buns (Gua Bao)

Yield: 20
Active Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 420g (3 1/2 cups) plain white flour (all-purpose flour), plus more for kneading
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1/4 oz or 7g) easy bake yeast (instant yeast)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g (1 cup) warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl + brushing
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

Make the dough & first rise:

  1. Place the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir together to combine.
  2. Add the warm water and vegetable oil to the bowl and stir together to form a rough dough. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a work surface and knead together, dusting lightly with extra flour as needed to prevent it sticking to the surface (just try to add as little extra flour as possible). Knead for about 10 minutes - the dough will be slightly sticky and quite soft but should be stretchy and smooth. You can also use a stand mixer with the dough hook fitted to knead it if you'd like.
  3. Pour a little extra vegetable oil into the bowl you were using. Place the dough in and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 1 hour to rise until doubled in volume (I place it in my oven, turned off, with a baking tray full of boiling water on the rack below - it makes the perfect warm, steamy environment for the dough to rise in).
  4. Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto your work surface and pat out into a large rectangle. Sprinkle the baking powder all over the surface of the dough, roll it up, and then knead for 5 more minutes so the baking powder is incorporated.

Shape the buns & second rise:

  1. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Shape each of these into little balls, dusting with more flour as needed to stop them sticking to the work surface.
  2. Cut 20 squares of baking paper, each roughly 3.5 inches (9 cm) wide.
  3. Take each ball of dough and roll it out into an oval about 3.5 by 4.5 inches (9 x 12 cm). Brush the surface of each oval with a light coating of vegetable oil. Fold each oval in half to get a half-moon shape. Place onto the individual squares of baking paper.
  4. Set aside to rise for 20 minutes on your counter so they get a bit puffy.

Steam the buns:

  1. Gently place a few of the risen buns into your bamboo steamer - I can fit 3 buns in each layer of mine so a total of 6 buns. Make sure when you do this you don't squish the buns, so lower them in by grasping the corners of the baking paper square. You also want to leave room for expansion as the buns will rise even more when they are steamed - try to make sure they're not touching each other/ the edges of the steamer or they'll stick.
  2. Put the remaining risen buns on a baking tray in the fridge to stop them overproofing as the first batch steams.
  3. Fill a wide saucepan with ~1 inch (3 cm) of water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat then lower the bamboo steamer in, covering it with its lid. Turn the heat down so the water is simmering and let the buns steam for 6 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly then remove from the steamer so you can steam the next batch, you may need to top up the water to prevent it running dry (you can take the dough straight from the fridge, no need to let it come to room temperature).
  5. Eat the buns warm! If they cool off, you can reheat them once more by steaming again for ~2 minutes.

FREEZING BUNS:

  1. Steam all of the buns as directed above. Allow to cool to room temperature then place on a baking sheet (with the baking paper squares still attached). Freeze on the tray for 1-2 hours until solid. Tip the frozen buns into a resealable bag which is labelled and dated. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  2. To reheat, place frozen buns into a steamer. Steam for 5-8 minutes until piping hot inside.

Notes

  • you can use melted butter or lard in place of the vegetable oil if desired
  • you can replace half of the water with warm milk in the dough for a slightly softer result
  • if you don't have easy bake/instant yeast: first mix the yeast with the warm water in a jug and set aside to bubble up for 5 minutes before pouring into the bowl of flour/salt/sugar/oil.

The post How to make Bao Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.