NO I am not giving up blogging! In fact I am have been craving to write on here for quite some time. You see over the past few weeks I been physically (and mentally) drained…
A cake order, macaron orders, limited spare time and the hours of the new job were really too much. While my young stubborn spirit think my ability can match a super hero; going from zero to 100 was really just too much. Non functioning baker equals no brain power, times mental self-doubt, square lack of food. The maths equations to my down fall.
In other words, I have failed! I am surprising comfortable with saying that given I spent most of this month cry and cursing everyday which was intensified this past week.
Service life was not for me while I did gain lot of insight into the dynamic of a restaurant and the wide variety of tricks and tips for getting quicker; at the end the day I was too drained to be happy. I could not even face a recipe for sable anymore after work and I was working into the wee hours trying to get the other stuff done. I have not baked more brioche, made more custard, filled and presented unless trays of elcairs and desserts for what? They look as pretty as a picture but they lack the sparkle of passion and happiness that should come with all desserts. Even my outside baking started to crumble, so many fail recipe test…
So honestly I have not really cooked or baked anything for personal happiness in the last month. Terrible now that I think about it. Baking was an escape from my panic and anxiety riddled brain. However when your anxiety is about baking, the whole process takes on another meaning.
This is not the end, I maybe just got to find my place in baking career. Just like life, nobody knows what their purpose is but when you find it you know. It will be hard but this baker has learned that burnt finger tips, scarred and bleeding arms and bruise knees are the ways you know you are the job is really growing on you.
So after My very long and post job rant,I baked not so long ago ( Sunday afternoon to be exact) was the comfort food I need for time of stress control. Some may turn to chocolate, other ice cream however mine will always be bread. It must a natural thing for pastry centred people to find comfort in savoury foods, maybe we think over culinary fence the other side will be greener. Yeast is pure joy to work with and the process is just as enjoyable as the end result. You can watch it come to life was the yeast grows the dough ball that was so much work placed into it. The watching and waiting game as it bakes in the oven to the golden brown and the final tap of the crust to check if it is ready. Ahh that is the best moment!
This scallion ( or spring onion) and shrimp pancake potato loaf is the hybrid of two of my favourite bread recipes. The Chinese spring onion pancake and the potato bun recipe. I simply made a tried and test recipe for a potato roll in to a loaf while the inside is ribboned with an over load of spring onions, scallion oil and dried shrimps. You will need to prepare the oil and prawns first before even getting on to the bread. The long they soak the more flavoursome they will be in the bread folds. I recommend using very pungent spring onions for this recipe as it delivers the best flavour hand down! No kissing on the couch after a slice of this bread.
Puffy and light bread crumb is due to the mashed potato which changes the moister content slightly but adds bulk. Also the richness of butter, milk and cream in your mash, softens the crumb of the bread. Look mashed potatoes are only good the day they are made, so put those left over to good use!
So If you find the dough a bit hard to work with, lightly oil your hands and work as quickly as possible the mould and shape the bread before placing into the loaf tin. I spread mine with a combination of roasted sesame seasoning and some butter whipped with Japanese mayo. The recipes for these are included below as optional but I think you should really give these two things ago. Umami packed and deliciously savoury for pure bread comfort that is not doughnut!
Scallion and Shrimp Pancake Potato loaf with Whipped Kewpie butter
Any loaf 2 pound bread
FOR BREAD LOAF
5 spring onions, cut into very thin slices.
100ml oil, any low flavour oil will do
10ml sesame oil
20 or so shrimps, soaked in hot water
290ml potato water (save from the boiling the potatoes)
200g left over mash potatoes ( cooked and mashed with lot cream, milk and butter)
570g bread flour
9g sea salt
80g butter soften
egg wash; 1 egg mixed with milk
Optional: Roasted Crack pepper and roasted sesames*
Whipped kewpie butter*
*Recipe and ingredients list below
In a small food processor combine 2/3 of the spring onions, sesame oil and normal oil. Whiz on high until thoroughly blended. Strain into a small bowl and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour before using. After soaking your shrimps in hot water.
IN a large bowl combine your potato water, mash potato, yeast and sugar. Whisk to combine. After add flour, sea salt and knead to combine a scraggy dough ball.
Once a firm ball is achieved after 5 mintues of hand kneading, add small amounts ( 10g) at a time into the dough. Knead each butter amount in before adding the next. Once all the butter is added continue to knead for 6-10 mintues. the dough ball is ready when it is shiny, firm and tacky. Shape in a ball and place in oil bowl. Cover with damp cloth and allow to rise in warm place for 1.5 hours.
Make your whipped Kewpie butter here. Using a 200g pat of soften salted butter, whip it on high in a stand mixer. This should be very light after 5 mintues. Scrape down the sides and fold in the 100g of kewpie mayo. Place it in a long rectangle on a sheet of cling film and roll up to seal it in a sausage shape. Place in the fridge to set.
After proofing and the dough ball is doubled in size, punch down the ball and leave to rest on the counter for 5 mintues. On a oiled counter roll out dough to a large rectangle) 30 by 22 cm. Take out your scallion oil and drain your shrimps. Brush on a generous layer of oil on the rectangle. Randomly scatter on scallion and shrimps. Roll the rectangle away from you starting at the widest edge. A long log should be formed. After cut this long length ways to get two pieces. Twist these two piece together and place into the loaf tin. Cover with cling and place in a warm area for 45 minutes. At this time pre heat oven to 200 and grease the tin with butter.
Once doubled in size, remove cling film and brush over egg wash. Bake in oven for 30-35 mintues. Cover with foil if browning too much.
Cool before serving sliced with kewpie butter and sesame seasoning.