21st Dec 2014
This blog is dedicated to Anita lam who has caught the baking bug big time since joining FB Food Porn Group.
After I mastered the Man Tao I really wanted to make Hong Kong sausage rolls and cocktail buns. My first attempt at Hokkaido bread was a disaster, as my foodmixer dough hooks were inadequate and the dough was so sticky I could not manage it by hand. To satisfy my craving for cocktail buns I created a cheats version. I bought brioche finger rolls from Asda as I found these were soft and similar in taste to the cocktail bun and I made the filling then simply filled my brioche with the with it. It tasted spot on and satisfied my craving a for a bit. In the meantime I decided that I needed a machine of some sort to make Hokkaido as it was too sticky to knead. whilst browsing for an alternative I found the no knead Korean bread roll. This was brilliant and easy but I was determined to master the Hokkaido by hand. After sometime I found the correct way to knead sticky dough. Using this throw, pull and fold method I was able to successfully make Hokkaido bread and it took only 10mins of “kneading” which I found quite therapeutic (please see Hokkaido bread for the more information https://www.britishbornchinesefood.co.uk/asian-recipes/hokkaido-bread-wai-han-smith/)
I started researching the Kitchenaid and Kenwood Classic and I was convinced that I wanted Santa to bring me a Boysenberry coloured Kitchenaid. At £400 I really wanted to understand what it was capable of and after a few nights research I came to the conclusion that the Kenwood was better value for money. The main difference is that the Kenwood has a liquidiser/blender and of course the price ! Both appliances has an array of attachments but ultimately if I were to purchase a “kitchen helper” at £400 I would want it to replace the majority of my current appliances which include; 1)blender 2) food processor 3)mandolin 4)juicer 5) electric whisk. After some thought I decided that I had no need for a kitchen helper at this stage as I am unconvinced it would actually save me any cupboard space as all the attachments would utilise the same amount of space.
What I require right now is an appliance which could save me time kneading and proofing bread, unfortunately the Kitchenaid kneads but does not proof the dough. My neighbour lent me her Panasonic breadmaker and I immediately started experimenting with it and made a couple of batches of Man Tao and Hokkaido. I loved the fact that I could put all my ingredients in the machine, press the button and 2 1/2hours later my dough was kneaded and first proof complete. All that remained was for me to shape and the dough, let it rest for the second proof then bake or steam.
The Panasonic I borrowed had a 20min resting time before it began kneading, I found this function to be unnecessary. I have since discovered that this function was designed to bring the ingredients to the required temperature as many users of bread machines failed to achieve a brilliant loaf. So I finally my mind was made up, I required a bread maker and not the Boysenberry Kitchenaid which would look so good on my countertop. I now know that I wanted at least a 2lb loaf tin, no resting period before kneading, excellent reviews for kneading, a viewing window, preferably rectangular shape and with a price range of upto £80 max. The Panasonic is very popular but surprisingly Which consumer rated the Panasonic very poorly for dough kneading. I had spent about a week or so researching the right bread machine and then I answered the door and took delivery of one ! It turns out that my husband had spent the last 3 months researching the right machine for me. He did a marvellous job and I love it ! So now I am a happy owner of a Kenwood BM450, it has no resting period, a 2lb load capacity, has excellent ratings for kneading, it has a viewing window with a light and it is rectangular !
Now there is stopping me, I will be making Hokkaido and a fresh loaf everyday ! I was not too bothered about making my everyday loaf but the bread machine makes it so easy and most importantly the bread is fresh, soft, crusty and there are no preservatives and alot less salt.
So in conclusion, if you wish to save time and hate kneading I would recommend a bread machine. I personally enjoy kneading and will occasionally still hand knead some Man Tao but for now time is of the essence.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and am very excited to see your Christmas feasts. All the best Wai Han