Archive for September, 2010

red bean buns, autolysed!

i last made red bean buns in philadelphia and since i found this at the chinese grocery store in raleigh yesterday, i decided to give it another go using new techniques that i’ve learned recently.

recipe (makes 7-10 buns):
2 cups flour
2.5 teaspoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
0.5 cup warmed water
0.5 cup whole milk, warmed
2 eggs, beaten
1 pack of yeast

new technique: AUTOLYSE! combine flour and warmed water and let sit for 20 minutes. according to wikipedia, “This rest period allows for better absorption of water and helps the gluten and starches to align. Breads made with autolysed dough are easier to form into shapes and have more volume and improved structure.”

after autolysing, add the other ingredients except the butter and start to knead. the fat in the butter can prevent good gluten formation so add that in last after kneading for 3-5 minutes. it is going to be hard to get the butter to incorporate, but with enough work, the starch gluten matrix should absorb the fats happily. expect to get your hands pretty messy though.

after the dough starts to feel nice and smooth, put it in a bowl and cover with a moist cloth in a warm place (ideally 75-85F) for the first rise.

during the first rise, i toasted sesame seeds:

there we go:

after the dough doubles in size, deflate the dough and divide the dough into little balls. flatten the balls into small pancake shapes and add the red bean paste to the center. form the buns as such:

5 knife slit method! allows for quicker air expansion during baking and prevents any gas bubbles from bursting the dough:

finish for the rest of the buns and let sit covered (somehow) for 30 minutes or so. the 2nd rise goes faster because the yeast have doubled in population by now. i like to cover the buns with a cup because plastic wrap always sticks to the buns and ruins the surface when i remove it.

after the buns double in size, wash with the egg glaze, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

and then enjoy with friends!

September 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm 1 comment

a man, a plan, how banal

how much do you plan?

personally, i hate planning. attempting to anticipate the events of the future seems a bit futile to me, even bordering on hubris, and we all know what happened to icarus. ive heard it said that there’s no use in building the biggest boat when you can’t raise the tide, and that’s so true, it hurts.

but how about my decision making? don’t all my decisions point in a certain direction that i want to take my life in? for example, the choices i make at work affect my positive or negative standing at work, which determine which city i live in. and that has somehow led me to durham, north carolina, of all places.

i’ve learned that the harder you try to grip the control joystick of life, the more you realize that nearly everything is out of your control. when you learn this, you will look down and realize that what you thought was the control joystick of life is actually a slimy, wet trout. and the harder you grip it, the more it will squirm out of your hands.

so man the rudders, but have faith in the current.

September 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment


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