Monday, July 9, 2012

The Many Faces of Shar-Pei Bread

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My cinnamon pull apart bread recipe has been quite a hit amongst my friends and family. Based off the fact that I said that every loaf resembles a wrinkly Shar-Pei dog, most of them are now referring to this recipe as Shar-Pei Bread. So there you have it – pull apart bread is now Shar-Pei bread. I have spoken!

Since my original post, I’ve been tinkering with the cinnamon sugar version to the point where I have created what I feel can be called the “definitive” version of the recipe. Not content to make it the same way every time, however, I decided to test out the versatility of the Shar-Pei bread’s basic template to see if I could create some interesting variations. I’d say the results were a resounding success. So what we’ve got here is a trio of Shar-Pei Breads – cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan, and honey herb. As always I’ve got detailed, step by step instructions for all 3 of them, so pick your favorite and get baking! These are just a few of the possible variations, and I’ll likely do other posts in the future as I experiment further.

Cinnamon Sugar Shar-Pei Bread

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Difficulty: Medium
Active Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Total Prep Time: 3 – 4 hours
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Serves: 10 - 12

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups bread flour 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

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Instructions:

1. Begin by activating your yeast. Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add a pinch of granulated sugar and set aside. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.

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2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup of bread flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Set aside and let mixture stand for a minute or two.

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4. Pour the milk mixture and the activated yeast into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until combined. 

5. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it takes a little while to fully combine with the dough, but don't give up! Add the remaining ½ cup of all purpose flour and ½ cup of bread flour, and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be very sticky.

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6. Grease a large bowl with butter and plop the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

7. While the dough rises, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the filling. To be sure there are no clumps of brown sugar, pour the mixture into a food processor and pulse 3 – 4 times. Set mixture aside.

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8. Pour cinnamon chips into a food processor and blend until the chips are mostly chopped up. Some larger chunks remaining is fine.

9. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

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10. Melt the remaining 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside, too.

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11. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be about 12-inches wide and about 20-inches tall.

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12. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Yes, all of it.

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13. Slice the dough vertically, into 6 - 7 strips.

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14. Sprinkle chopped cinnamon chips on top of the strip you pan to use as your base. Stack each strip on top of one another, sprinkling on more chopped cinnamon chips before moving onto the next layer.

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15. Slice the stack into six equal columns. You should end up with six stacks of 6 - 7 squares.

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16. Place the little piles of goodness into the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

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15. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

16. Place loaf in the oven on the center rack and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

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17. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.


Garlic Parmesan Shar-Pei Bread

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Difficulty: Medium
Active Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Total Prep Time: 3 – 4 hours
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Serves: 10 - 12

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 head of garlic 
  • 2 – 3 green onions 
  • 1 tablespoon season salt 
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

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Instructions:

1. Begin by activating your yeast. Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add a pinch of granulated sugar and set aside. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup of bread flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water. Set aside and let mixture stand for a minute or two.

4. Pour the milk mixture and the activated yeast into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until combined.

5. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it takes a little while to fully combine with the dough, but don't give up! Add the remaining ½ cup of all purpose flour and ½ cup of bread flour, and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be very sticky.

6. Grease a large bowl with butter and plop the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

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7. Peel the garlic and cut each stalk of green onion into quarters. Place in a food processor and blend until well minced.

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8. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

9. Melt the remaining 2 ounces of butter. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside, too.

10. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be about 12-inches wide and about 20-inches tall.

11. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and season salt on top until the dough is completely covered.

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12.  Slice the dough vertically, into 6 - 7 strips.

13. Pick a strip to use as your base, and spread garlic and onion mixture on it. Stack each strip on top of one another, spreading on more of the garlic and onion mixture before moving onto the next layer.

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14. Slice the stack into six equal columns. You should end up with six stacks of 6 - 7 squares.

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15.  Place the individual piles into the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

16. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

17. Place loaf in the oven on the center rack and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

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18. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.


Honey & Herb Shar-Pei Bread

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Difficulty: Medium
Active Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Total Prep Time: 3 – 4 hours
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Serves: 10 - 12

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 ounces salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • About 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • About 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 egg white

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Instructions:

1. Begin by activating your yeast. Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add a pinch of granulated sugar and set aside. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour of all purpose flour, 1 cup of bread flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and honey. Set aside and let mixture stand for a minute or two.

4. Pour the milk and honey mixture, and the activated yeast into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until combined.

5. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it takes a little while to fully combine with the dough, but don't give up! Add the remaining ½ cup of all purpose flour and ½ cup of bread flour, and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be very sticky.

6. Grease a large bowl with butter and plop the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

7. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

8. Melt the remaining 2 ounces of butter. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside, too.

9. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be about 12-inches wide and about 20-inches tall.

10. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.

11. Slice the dough vertically, into 6 - 7 strips.

12. Stack each strip on top of one another.

13. Slice the stack into six equal columns. You should end up with six stacks of 6 - 7 squares.

14. Place the individual piles into the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

15. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

16. Before placing into the oven, brush the top of the loaf with egg white and sprinkle on poppy seeds. Grind a little bit of sea salt over the top as well.

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17. Place loaf in the oven on the center rack and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

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18. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.


And now, a bunch of additional shots. Mmmm, food porn!

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3 comments:

  1. Fantastic!!!!!!! Love the new variations!

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  2. This looks awesome. And although I shouldn't be looking at your site, because I *am* on a diet. I used the calorie counting app I use for dieting to put all the ingredients in, and in case anyone is curious, you could fit this into your diet if you can stop eating after one or two pieces.

    Per loaf, approximate calories for the variations are:

    Cinnamon Sugar:
    4600

    Garlic Parmesan
    2800

    Honey Herb
    2600

    Assuming there are 36 pull apart pieces in each, each slice will be about 128, 78, and 73 calories, respectively, so the cinnamon sugar is pushing it (although it could perhaps be modified. A cup of cinnamon chips is apparently ~1300 calories. so even reducing the chips by half would bring each piece of cinnamon bread into the sub 110 calorie range.)

    Thanks! I love pull apart bread.

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