Imitating Japanese breads/buns

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382
Joined Oct 9, 2008
A Japanese-style bakery has recently opened not too far from where we live (how they're opening a new business now I don't know, but good luck to them), and my family is having waves of nostalgia about this stuff from our years in Kyoto. Unfortunately it's very expensive, so we can't just buy lots of stuff from the place. So I'm working on developing some recipes of my own. Here are some issues on which I'm looking for help and suggestions:

1. DOUGH PERCENTAGE
The basic dough for small buns (anpan, curry-pan, melon-pan, etc.) is about halfway between a pain de mie and a brioche: for 250g flour, 1 egg and 35g butter. Many of the recipes for these things use HUGE quantities of sugar, though: 20% of flour weight in straight sugar is not uncommon! And since we tend to feel that these breads are often too sweet, I'm going to cut that back quite a bit, starting around 15%, and see how it goes. But the use of both eggs and sugar has a tendency to play havoc with water percentages: I've noticed that sweet brioche doughs sometimes have as little as 40% water as compared to roughly 65% for most breads -- and mean 40% water calculated with 74% of egg-mass included, 15.5% of butter-mass, and so forth. Something to do with the lecithin and the sugar, I understand. Anyone have any suggestions for where to ballpark my water percentage if I'm doing 250g flour, 1 egg, 35g butter, and 37.5g (=15%) sugar?

2. PSEUDO-FRIED CRUMB CRUST
One of the most beloved breads, curry-pan, presents a peculiar challenge. Having made the dough and cut it into balls, you flatten them and fold them around a ball of cold Japanese-style curry paste. Rise until doubled, egg wash, sprinkle generously with panko, and deep-fry. Now I don't want to deep-fry the things, mostly because it's a pain; I want to bake them instead. Any suggestions for getting a similar sort of exterior crust? It will never be the same as fried, obviously, but a deep gold with an irregular, "crumb-y" sort of crust would be ideal.

3. FREEZE, THAW-RISE, BAKE
Last, my plan is that once I have the basic dough recipe pat, I'll make it up in a big batch and enlist my kids' help filling and shaping. As soon as they're shaped, but before rising, I'll cover with oiled plastic and freeze solid, then store them in a freezer bag. The idea (obviously) is to take out a few assorted flavors, let them thaw and rise, and then bake. This is how a great many of these things are actually made in the zillions of chain bakeries around Japan: there's one or more central bakeries where they're shaped and then frozen, the frozen batches are shipped overnight to the local places, and first thing in the morning after letting them sit out for X time they bake the things ready for the morning rush. So my question is: does anyone have advice on the freezing and storing process, and above all, advice on how long to let them sit on the counter before I can bake them?

Thanks all in advance.
 
66
10
Joined Dec 29, 2019
A Japanese-style bakery has recently opened not too far from where we live (how they're opening a new business now I don't know, but good luck to them), and my family is having waves of nostalgia about this stuff from our years in Kyoto. Unfortunately it's very expensive, so we can't just buy lots of stuff from the place. So I'm working on developing some recipes of my own. Here are some issues on which I'm looking for help and suggestions:

1. DOUGH PERCENTAGE
The basic dough for small buns (anpan, curry-pan, melon-pan, etc.) is about halfway between a pain de mie and a brioche: for 250g flour, 1 egg and 35g butter. Many of the recipes for these things use HUGE quantities of sugar, though: 20% of flour weight in straight sugar is not uncommon! And since we tend to feel that these breads are often too sweet, I'm going to cut that back quite a bit, starting around 15%, and see how it goes. But the use of both eggs and sugar has a tendency to play havoc with water percentages: I've noticed that sweet brioche doughs sometimes have as little as 40% water as compared to roughly 65% for most breads -- and mean 40% water calculated with 74% of egg-mass included, 15.5% of butter-mass, and so forth. Something to do with the lecithin and the sugar, I understand. Anyone have any suggestions for where to ballpark my water percentage if I'm doing 250g flour, 1 egg, 35g butter, and 37.5g (=15%) sugar?

2. PSEUDO-FRIED CRUMB CRUST
One of the most beloved breads, curry-pan, presents a peculiar challenge. Having made the dough and cut it into balls, you flatten them and fold them around a ball of cold Japanese-style curry paste. Rise until doubled, egg wash, sprinkle generously with panko, and deep-fry. Now I don't want to deep-fry the things, mostly because it's a pain; I want to bake them instead. Any suggestions for getting a similar sort of exterior crust? It will never be the same as fried, obviously, but a deep gold with an irregular, "crumb-y" sort of crust would be ideal.

3. FREEZE, THAW-RISE, BAKE
Last, my plan is that once I have the basic dough recipe pat, I'll make it up in a big batch and enlist my kids' help filling and shaping. As soon as they're shaped, but before rising, I'll cover with oiled plastic and freeze solid, then store them in a freezer bag. The idea (obviously) is to take out a few assorted flavors, let them thaw and rise, and then bake. This is how a great many of these things are actually made in the zillions of chain bakeries around Japan: there's one or more central bakeries where they're shaped and then frozen, the frozen batches are shipped overnight to the local places, and first thing in the morning after letting them sit out for X time they bake the things ready for the morning rush. So my question is: does anyone have advice on the freezing and storing process, and above all, advice on how long to let them sit on the counter before I can bake them?

Thanks all in advance.
I didn't know brioche contains water.
I use half milk half eggs,
there are recipes that use egg only but I find the milk makes it more supple .

No water in milk bread either.
 
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