Chinese breakfast "cake" 發麵燒餅
When I was visiting my parents last month, my dad showed me his newest hobbies -- making Chinese pastries! He has a bread maker, which makes the proofing of the yeast-risen dough much more controlled. I've been thinking about trying this myself for a while since I got back. It's not hard to buy this kind of pastries in Chinatown. But it is probably difficult to find a really tasty one that is not laden with weird food additives. Making this at home also gives me much more flexibility in the filling. I ended up making two kinds -- scallions, goose fat, white pepper, and sichuan pepper, and salt; black sesame paste, white sesame paste, sugar, and oil. The proofing of the dough turned out much better than I imagined. Without a bread maker, I was really worried about the temperature control. The conventional wisdom is to put the bowl in the oven with a pan of boiling water underneath. It works out fairly well. The yeast dough will generate heat as it is proofing. The ideal temperature for using active dry yeast in this kind of general yeast-risen dough is 26-28C (78.8F-82.4F) for 2 hours. That is a pretty narrow range. but I think the dough itself and the bowl is at a higher temperature. It just shouldn't lose heat too quickly. I had to refill the water pan several times to keep the oven temperature in this range. I also think I kneaded the dough a bit too much. The finished product is a little bit tougher than I would have liked. Other improvements would need to include -- rolling it to be a bit thicker for thicker layers so that each bite would be more chewy; also if I had made fewer but bigger pieces, there would have been more chewy dough; the filling can be decreased, especially the goose fat -- it got everywhere!
Basic recipe: 7 g active dry yeast, 350g all purpose flour, 182 g water, some sugar
Sprinke yeast into part of the water. After ten minutes make sure it bubbly and floated to the top (sign of active yeast). Add everything to kitchen aid and knead into a smooth dough. Place into the oven for proofing for 2 hours.
dough should be baked at 350F for 20-25 minutes
Dough after proofing for 2 hours -- note the indentation made with a finger stays depressed, a sign of successful proofing