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Chinese Raisin Bread Recipe: A Delicious Twist on Classic Bread

Are you looking for a delicious bread recipe that's perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack? Look no further than Chinese raisin bread! This soft and fluffy bread is studded with sweet raisins and is perfect for toasting or enjoying on its own. Plus, with the tangzhong method, it's easier than ever to achieve a perfect texture and flavour.

A table with ingredients: flour, raisins, sugar, yeast. A mixing bowl and a rolling pin. A warm oven in the background

To make this Chinese raisin bread recipe, you'll need a few key ingredients, including bread flour, raisins, and instant yeast. The tangzhong method involves creating a roux with flour and water, which is then added to the bread dough to create a soft and fluffy texture. It's a simple technique that yields impressive results, and it's a staple in many Chinese bread recipes.

Whether you're an experienced bread baker or a novice in the kitchen, this Chinese raisin bread recipe is sure to impress. With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying loaf of bread that's perfect for any occasion. So why not give it a try today?

Key Takeaways

  • The tangzhong method is a key component of Chinese raisin bread, and it helps create a soft and fluffy texture.
  • Gathering high-quality ingredients, like bread flour and raisins, is essential to achieving the best results.
  • With a little practice, you can customize this recipe to your liking and even experiment with different variations and related recipes.

Understanding the Tangzhong Method

A mixing bowl filled with flour, milk, and yeast. A wooden spoon stirs the ingredients into a thick paste. Raisins are sprinkled in, adding bursts of color to the dough

If you're new to baking bread, you might not have heard of the tangzhong method. This technique is used in many Chinese bread recipes, including raisin bread, to create a soft and fluffy texture. Here's what you need to know to get started.

The Role of Tangzhong in Bread Making

Tangzhong is a mixture of flour and water or milk that is cooked into a paste. This paste is then added to the bread dough to improve its texture and rise. The cooked flour in the tangzhong gelatinizes, which means it can hold more moisture and make the bread softer and fluffier. The tangzhong also helps the bread stay fresh for longer.

Preparing Tangzhong

To make tangzhong, you'll need to mix flour and water or milk in a 1:5 ratio. For example, if you use 50g of flour, you'll need 250g of water or milk. Whisk the mixture together in a saucepan, then heat it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture until it thickens and you can see lines forming in the mixture when you stir it. This usually takes around 5-10 minutes.

Once the tangzhong is cooked, let it cool to room temperature before adding it to your bread dough. You can store any leftover tangzhong in the fridge for up to 3 days.

By using the tangzhong method in your raisin bread recipe, you can create a soft and fluffy loaf that's perfect for breakfast or snacking. Give it a try and see how it transforms your bread-making game!

Gathering Your Ingredients

A wooden cutting board with flour, yeast, sugar, and raisins. A mixing bowl with eggs, milk, and butter. A recipe book open to "Chinese Raisin Bread."

Before you start making Chinese raisin bread, it is essential to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here are some of the ingredients that you need to make this bread:

Choosing the Right Flour

The most important ingredient in any bread recipe is flour. For Chinese raisin bread, you need to use bread flour, which has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. The protein in bread flour helps to create a stronger gluten network, which is essential for the bread's structure. You can use either white or whole wheat bread flour, depending on your preference.

Types of Yeast and Their Uses

Yeast is another crucial ingredient in bread making. There are two types of yeast: active dry yeast and instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before adding it to the dough, while instant yeast can be added directly to the flour. Instant yeast is more potent than active dry yeast and can help the bread rise faster.

The Importance of Quality Raisins

Raisins are what give Chinese raisin bread its distinct flavour. It is essential to use high-quality raisins for the best results. Look for raisins that are plump, moist, and free from any signs of spoilage. You can use either dark or golden raisins, depending on your preference.

Other ingredients that you need for Chinese raisin bread include salt, sugar, milk, eggs, milk powder, raisins and walnuts, unsalted butter, and water. Make sure to use fresh and high-quality ingredients to get the best results.

The Bread Making Process

A pair of hands kneading dough, a bowl of raisins, flour scattered on a wooden surface, and a rolling pin

Making Chinese raisin bread requires a few steps, but the result is worth it. Here's a breakdown of the process:

Mixing and Kneading the Dough

To make the dough, you'll need to mix flour, sugar, salt, egg, milk, and yeast. Kneading the dough is important to develop the gluten, which gives the bread its structure. You can knead by hand or use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

First and Second Rise Explained

Once the dough is kneaded, it needs to rise. The first rise is when the dough ball doubles in size. This usually takes about an hour, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. After the first rise, punch down the dough and shape it into a loaf. Place the dough into a greased loaf tin and let it rise again. This second rise is shorter and takes around 30 minutes.

Shaping and Baking Your Loaf

When the dough has risen for the second time, it's time to bake. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Before baking, slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. This helps the bread expand in the oven. Bake for around 45 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let the bread cool before slicing.

The bread making process takes time, but it's worth it for the delicious result. Make sure to knead the dough properly to develop the gluten. Let the dough rise twice, and slash the top before baking. Enjoy your homemade Chinese raisin bread!

Finishing Touches and Serving Suggestions

A loaf of Chinese raisin bread sits on a rustic wooden cutting board, surrounded by scattered raisins and a dusting of flour. A small dish of honey and a knife are nearby, ready for serving

Applying Egg Wash for a Golden Crust

Before baking the Chinese raisin bread, you can apply an egg wash to give it a lovely golden crust. To make the egg wash, beat one egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the surface of the dough. Be careful not to let the egg wash drip onto the wire rack as it can cause the bread to stick.

Cooling on a Wire Rack

When the Chinese raisin bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Cooling the bread on a wire rack helps to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting soggy. Once the bread has cooled completely, you can slice it and serve it with butter or jam.

If you have made braided raisin walnut bread, you can shape it into an oval shape by tucking the ends underneath the loaf. This gives the bread a more traditional look and makes it perfect for serving at breakfast or as sweet buns.

Chinese raisin bread is a delicious and versatile bread that can be enjoyed at any time of day. Whether you are serving it for breakfast or as a snack, it is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

Exploring Variations and Related Recipes

A table filled with ingredients: flour, raisins, yeast. A mixing bowl with dough, a rolling pin, and a loaf pan. A warm kitchen with the aroma of freshly baked bread

From Pineapple Buns to Green Tea Bread

If you're a fan of Asian buns and breads, you may be interested in trying out some other recipes that are similar to Chinese raisin bread. One popular option is pineapple buns, which are a Hong Kong classic. These buns are made with a sweet, buttery topping that resembles the texture of a pineapple, hence the name. Another option is coconut custard buns, which are a Japanese-style bun filled with a sweet coconut custard. If you're a fan of green tea, you might enjoy trying out green tea bread, which is a Japanese-style bread that is flavoured with matcha powder.

Creating Your Own Raisin Bread Variations

If you're feeling creative, you can also experiment with creating your own variations of Chinese raisin bread. One idea is to add other dried fruits, such as cranberries or apricots, to the dough. You could also try adding nuts, such as almonds or pecans, for some extra crunch. Another option is to play around with the spices. Cinnamon is a classic choice, but you could also try adding nutmeg, allspice, or cardamom for some extra flavour.

When it comes to making your own homemade bread, the possibilities are endless. Don't be afraid to experiment and try out new things. Who knows, you might just come up with the next great Chinese raisin bread recipe!

Frequently Asked Questions

A kitchen counter with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese raisin bread, including flour, yeast, raisins, and a mixing bowl

What's the secret to making soft raisin buns?

The secret to making soft raisin buns is to use the Tangzhong method. This method involves cooking a portion of the flour and liquid mixture into a paste, which is then added to the rest of the dough ingredients. This creates a bread that is soft, fluffy, and moist. You can also add a little bit of milk powder to the dough to make it even softer.

How do you incorporate yeast into Chinese raisin bread?

To incorporate yeast into Chinese raisin bread, you need to activate it first by mixing it with warm water and a little bit of sugar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it becomes frothy. Then add it to the rest of the dough ingredients and mix until a smooth dough forms.

Can you recommend an easy method for baking Chinese raisin bread?

One easy method for baking Chinese raisin bread is to use a bread machine. Simply add all the ingredients to the bread machine according to the manufacturer's instructions, select the dough setting, and let it do the work for you. Once the dough is ready, shape it into buns, let them rise, and then bake in the oven.

What's the best way to ensure my raisin bread stays fresh when frozen?

The best way to ensure your raisin bread stays fresh when frozen is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. This will help prevent freezer burn and keep the bread fresh for up to three months.

How many calories are typically in a slice of Chinese raisin bread?

The number of calories in a slice of Chinese raisin bread can vary depending on the recipe and the size of the slice. However, on average, a slice of Chinese raisin bread contains around 150-200 calories.

What makes Tangzhong cinnamon raisin bread different from other recipes?

Tangzhong cinnamon raisin bread is different from other recipes because it uses the Tangzhong method to create a soft and fluffy bread. The addition of cinnamon and raisins gives the bread a delicious flavour and texture. Additionally, the use of milk powder in the dough helps to make it even softer and more tender.