Friday, October 17, 2008

Carrot Ham & Cheese Bun

Carrot lends a very nice color to the bun that I made today. Initially I thought of using cilantro with ham for today's bread but since it is autumn, the color orange will suit well. And I was ready to do more to the water roux bread by adding and incorporating ingredients and flavors into the bread itself.

With the same amount of bread dough as in the previous posts, I grated half of a small carrot and added it into the dough itself while it is mixing. The carrot contains liquid and produced a wet and sticky dough. I had to add an extra tbsp of bread flour before taking it out to knead a little and leave in the bowl to rest for more than 1 -1/2 hours.

The idea for this bun is to wrap the diced ham with shredded cheese inside the bread dough itself and to expose the fillings with a slit cut. The dough was first divided into 6 pieces and rolled out into rectangular shape. Ham is piled inside and I grated Monterey Jack cheese over it to hold the contents together when it melts during the baking. The dough is then rolled up with its edges pinched and sealed, with a slit cut in the middle of the rolled up dough. With both hands and pressure on the bottom part of the slit, I gently pushed open the slit to expose the fillings and laid it down on the board and patted and shaped it round by turning anti-clockwise. As you will notice, this is different from the Salmon & scallion bun as the contents are inside the bun itself rather than piled on top of the bun itself. Once I am done with all 6 pieces, I scattered some dried basil on the filling itself and grated some more cheese randomly on the whole surface of the bun. I reserved some of the grated carrot and sprinkled on the filling as garnish. The buns are then allowed to rest and rise for another 1 hour.

Egg wash was applied before the baking and this time, I monitored the baking time carefully as I wanted the buns slightly brown and not too dark, so that the carrot color will still be obvious. This time round, the buns appeared to be more softer than the previous attempts and I figured it must be the cooking of the water roux in the first place. I never used a thermometer although the cookbook emphasizes the strict 65'C and I just estimate by the look of the water roux. This time instead of it being cooked to a paste like consistency, I removed it from the heat when it was still slightly watery, resembling thick creamed soup. My second guess would be the addition of the carrot made the dough slightly more moist and hence during the baking, it did not dried out too much. Overall, the appearance of this bun is pretty inside out. The strands of the grated carrot embedded into the dough is still obvious and the color of the bun itself is slightly yellowish. The presence of carrot gave the bread itself a very subtle sweetness. I just think it is a very healthy bun with carotene goodness.

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