Saturday, June 20, 2009

When Kids Make Bread

I'm probably known as the 'Bread Lady', at least for a while, to the Malaysians in D.C., as a result of this particular filled sweet bread. One Ramadan, the Malaysians asked if I could make 'more' for post Taraweeh. In Malaysia, there is a post tarawih indulgence, called more, which is usually a sweet porridge caller Bubur Caca. When the Malaysian Students Department staff paid a visit to Columbus that year, as they usually do each Ramadan, the Malaysian Student Association here had asked if I could make something for the iftar or more. They were to pay me for the cost, as funding was already available for this. I decided to make 200 small individual cream cheese rolls. All praises to Allah, it was a hit. I received suggestions to open a bakery or business. But that was not all. The next year, we went to D.C. for a conference, and stayed over at one of the staff's house. Our visit also included a tour in the Malaysian Embassy. That was when I realized that it wasn't just a hit, it had become history.

"So when are you going to make us more of that bread?" they kept asking me.

Their wives also asked me or told me about my 'bread'. I was flabbergasted. Of course, I smiled it off and made some awkward replies. I have to say that this recipe is quite fool proof, and the proof lies in the rise of the 'Bread Lady'.

Truth be told, I don't remember where I garnered this recipe from, but it is one of the best bread recipes I have tried in my bread-making endeavors. So far, I have filled it with the cream cheese filling, savory sardine cooked in tomato sauce filling, and chocolate cheese filling and orange cheese filling. Cream cheese filling is the favorite though.

One day, the kids decided to make this bread, all by themselves. I was quite hesitant, well, more like lazy to make it, because due to Baby Zayoudee's allergies, and my nursing him, I couldn't eat it anyway. So they got the green light from me and with minimal supervision from me, they labored in the kitchen making this bread.
This bread dough is not the one intended for this recipe, actually. The original bread dough recipe uses sour cream, which produces a much much more softer bread. Since I don't usually use sour cream for anything other than baking, I don't usually have it in my pantry. Nevertheless, this particular bread dough recipe is versatile and in my humble opinion, works very well for this Cream Cheese filled bread.

There is just something about braids that appeal to me. And apparently the kids too. Thus they decided to shape the bread like a Challah. Shaping the bread as individual rolls filled with the filling works too. It's pretty much any shape you want it to be, though with the filling, it can get pretty messy if you're not used to it. The other loaf, I shaped (yes, I finally plunged into the bread making activity too) simply into a rectangle that I spread with the filling. I enclosed it, seaming all sides, and then snipped the edges lengthwise at an angle, just enough to produce the second fat loaf in the photo below.

2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
2/3 sugar divided ; 1 tsp + remaining
1 c warm water (105 -115 F)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c butter/margarine, softened
1/2 shortening
1 c boiling water
2 eggs beaten
6-7 c all purpose flour divided; 3 c + remaining

3/4 c sugar
2 16 oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

1. Dissolve yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 1 c warm water2. Let stand 5 minutes
3. Combine remaining sugar, salt, butter, and shortening
4. Add boiling water, stirring till the butter and shortening melt
5. Cool slightly
6. Add dissolved yeast, eggs, and 3 c flour and mix till smooth
7. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make soft dough
8. Knead until surface of dough is smooth, and when poked with a finger, the indentation bounces back
9. Place in a greased bowl (oil is ok)
10. Cover and let rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size
11. Punch dough down to get rid of air pockets
12. Knead lightly, not too much, or the bread may not be as soft
13. Divide the dough into four portions.
14. As you work with one portion, keep the rest under the shelter of a clean towel.
15. Shape each as you like, filling it with the filling. For the Challah shape roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick and cut into three strips. Make sure each strip is wide enough for you to spread the filling and fold the seams closed. Braid these ropes into a Challah. Finish shaping all the portions and place them on greased baking sheets/pan, leaving enough room between them because they will double in size.
16. Cover and let rise 30-40 minutes or till doubled. Preheat oven to 325 F.
17. Brush the tops with egg wash (one egg yolk with a little milk, beat to combine) and sprinkle with sugar
18. Bake 20-25 min or till golden

One thing is for sure. Whatever shape you make them, when you sink your teeth into the fluffy softness followed by sweet yet tangy creamy filling, you're going to want to savor it for as long as you can.


  1. AAhhhh so youre back to business! lol

    Yes...Nik zad and rab loved this when u made it here ..remmeber? this is a reallly really really good recipe.....u can open a bakery right now since u have ready employees..and 3 of them too!! LOLOLOL

  2. LOLOLOLOLOLOL but employee will only do it when the mood strikes..uh uh not good employees LOL