Tag Archives: flour

Senbei (Japanese Rice Crackers)

I recently visited two different Asian grocery stores and came home with a treasure trove of staples for future, mostly Japanese based, goodies.

Mochiko, is a sweet rice flour used for dango, mochi and, this post’s focus, “senbei” or savoury Japanese rice crackers. The same recipe was found on several web sites so I’ll post a link to only one.

Senbei

For additional umami, wrap your cracker in a strip of toasted nori.

Furikake (rice seasoning) was added to the dough before it was kneaded into a compact ball.  To ensure even sized crackers without weighing out each one individually, I cut the ball of cracker dough in half and then cut each half into eight wedges.

To make sure that the final cut was accurate, I formed each of the eight wedges into a ball (~16 gm) and then cut it in half before rolling it into a final hazelnut-sized ball (~8gm). The balls were placed between two sheets of sturdy plastic (a freezer bag cut along the two sides works well) and pressed flat with the lid of a large canning jar. I ended up with 32 thin disks (2 1/2-3″ in diameter) which were baked at 350 deg F for 8 minutes before being flipped over and baked for another 8 minutes until lightly golden.

For a final flourish, the oven was turned off, and the crackers were brushed with a mixture of soy sauce (aged, dark soy sauce or regular) and mirin and returned to the turned off oven for another 3 minutes. After cooling the tray on a rack for 15 minutes, the cool crackers may be stored in an air tight container to maintain crispiness, though you’ll nibble on these simple, but ‘morish’ crackers quickly enough that they won’t go soft.

REVIEW: Delicious and well worth making even if a bit time consuming. One batch of the dough gave me 32 crackers, which weighed about 170 grams.

A Couple of Breads

I’ve mentioned the bi-weekly bread challenges from the Bread Baking¬† FB group before and, in this post, I’m going to share some pictures of the latest challenge, French Baguettes.

The basic recipe which was to be used for the challenge makes four baguettes. I halved it and ended up with a couple of fourteen inch long baguettes which I devoured almost immediately, so I made another half batch and shaped it into four demi-baguettes.

I rewrote the instructions and posted the recipe below.

French Baguettes and Demi-Baguettes

Crumb of the baguettes

MaryAnn’s Baguettes – makes 4 baguettes, each about 14 inches/35-36 cm long.

Poolish/Sponge
2 cups + 2 tbsp water
2 1/2 cups/ 335 gm bread flour
1 tbsp dry yeast

2 1/2 cups/335 gm bread flour
1 tbsp/18 gm Kosher salt or 2 tsp/12 gm table salt
oil, for hands

Combine poolish ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, and allow to stand until bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Stir in the 2nd amount of flour. Mix until smooth. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle on the Kosher salt and, with oiled hands, slide fingers under each side, and stretch and fold over the top a few times, turning the bowl with each fold. Let stand for 15 minutes and stretch and fold a few times. Repeat the folding routine several times over the course of an hour. Allow to double.

Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into baguettes. (Pre-shape and let sit for 15-20 minutes and then shape. Baguettes are pre-shaped into logs/ovals while demi-baguettes are pre-shaped into rounds.)

Allow to rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 450 deg F/232 deg C.

Slash the baguettes and bake for 20-25 minutes.

A future bread challenge is for a rye bread. I’ve never baked with rye before so I picked up some flour from the Bulk Barn and decided to try a small rye loaf recipe shared on the group. I added some cocoa powder, molasses and salt to the dough and rewrote the instructions. The recipe is posted below.

Caraway Rye Bread – makes a terrific corned beef brisket sandwich with Dijon mustard

RT’s Small Caraway Rye Loaf – makes ~700 gm dough, enough for one 9×5 inch loaf, sliced into 16 pieces

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp molasses
1-2 tbsp brown sugar, packed (optional)
90 gm dark rye flour
315 gm strong bread flour
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp caraway seed
45 ml/3 tbsp light oil
13 ml/~1 tbsp white vinegar
280 ml/1 cup warm water
Softened or melted unsalted butter, for brushing

Proof the yeast with molasses and warm water for 10-15 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, caraway seed and all but about 50 gms of the bread flour. Add the salt, cocoa powder and brown sugar, if using. Stir together to mix all dry ingredients.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the proofed yeast, oil and vinegar. Stir well until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a working surface lightly sprinkled with some of the reserved flour. Knead for 10 minutes using up the remaining flour. Cover the dough with the bowl you mixed your dough in. Let rest for 10 minutes then knead for a further 10 minutes and shape into a ball.

Lightly rub a clean bowl with some vegetable oil. Add the ball of dough to the oiled bowl. Turn the dough a few times to lightly coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic food wrap and drape with a towel. Let rise in a warm area until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C/375 deg F.

Lightly punch down the risen dough, shape to fit into a loaf pan and let proof until at least 1 1/2 times larger. (It may not double though mine did in about 40 minutes.) Spray the loaf with water and slash the top, if desired.

Bake the bread for 40 minutes or until knocking on the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound. Brush the top of the loaf with softened or melted butter to give it a glossy appearance.

Let cool overnight before cutting.