Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How To Make Panda Bread

How To Make Panda Bread How to bake a bread loaf with a cute little panda hiding inside!

Thanks to you tuber paperbridgeblablahs who mentioned in a comment that she made panda bread, I googled it and fell in love immediately. :)
It is a little weird eating green bread but you can only taste bread, and a very nice bread at that!

Found the bread recipe I used and instructions here:
(this site has bread machine instructions)

Here is a website with more photo instructions, step by step. The text is in Japanese but the photos are excellent:

This video is not in English but shows the method quite well but from a "bottom up" perspective. He assembles it "backwards" from the other methods, I may try it this way the next time.
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3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
3/4 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter, not enough salt to make a difference)
1 tbsp green tea powder mixed with 2 tsp hot water (I used green paste food colouring instead of the green tea powder)
3 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with 1 1/2 tsp hot water (I used black food colouring instead of the cocoa powder)
2 1/4 tsp instant active dry yeast (1 envelope)

Mix milk and egg yolk together in a large bowl and place in microwave for 40 seconds until mixture feels very warm to the touch.
Add butter and blend
Add sugar, salt and yeast and mix together.
Blend in one cup of flour with a spoon or whisk.
Blend in second cup of flour with spoon, dough will pull away from sides, add a bit more flour until dough starts to come together. Knead into dough ball in bowl and then invert onto countertop and knead for at least 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic (adding a little bit of flour to countertop if sticking) You may not need the entire three cups of flour.
Divide dough as follows:

First division: Divide white dough into three pieces two large and one small (small one about a third the size of the one of the other two large ones)
Place one plain dough ball in a greased bowl, turning dough to coat and cover.

Knead in green food colouring into other large plain dough ball, this may take a while, be patient. (don't worry about over kneading bread dough, that isn't possible). Place in greased ball, turn to coat and cover.

Knead black food colour into small dough ball. Place in greased ball, turn to coat and cover.

Place all three covered bowls in a warm place to rise. I used my oven with just the oven light on inside. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
The rising time will depend on the temperature.
If it won't rise or takes hours, could be your yeast was not good. Make sure it is not passed the expiry date on the package.

After the dough has risen divide the dough:

Black dough : Cut into four equal pieces
Green dough: Cut into two pieces, one piece twice as small as the large one.
White dough: Cut into three pieces, two large, one small (one half the size of one of larger ones)

Assemble the panda loaf as per video and website directions.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush bread dough with water to help the pieces stick together.
Make sure that the black pieces are long enough to stretch the entire length of the white dough so that your end pieces will be prettier.
When wrapping in green dough, stretch to cover entire loaf and make sure seams are secure and well sealed, use a bit of water to help.

I was hoping to get the "kidney bean" shape of the panda eye patches. I will try to get this the next time I make this. I think that next time I will divide off a bit more dough for the black to make the eye parts larger.
I bet that making panda cookies like these would be just as easy!
It really is like revealing something magical when you cut into this loaf :)

Here is my panda cookie video:


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