i’ve never been to hokkaido in northern japan but have always been enamoured of its wild fields of lavender, perfectly manicured national parks (only in japan, my dears), cherry blossoms, hot springs, peppermint farms, bounty of fresh produce, sea creatures and hot bowls of buttery ramen.
in my head, there’s a montage that goes something like this:
me posing as maria from sound of music running through fields of lavender with my troupe of singing peripatetic gluttons (yes, that includes, you G), but instead of singing the do-re-mi lyrics, we’re kinda doing a can-can dance through the local markets, stopping at every stall to say:
hello, hokkaido potatoes
hello, furano mi-ru-ku
hello, batakon ramen, *slurp*
hello, sapporo kanihan, king, queen, snow, hairy, spiny, mine, mine, mine
hello, rich and sweet uni
hello, ebi botan
hello there, land of the konbu and dashi
hello there too, overpriced $150 melons!
and at some point, we collapse onto the lavender fields again, glazing towards the blue skies above, lost in our ravenous reverie. or something like that. then we’d turn our heads left and right, and realise that we were down a member of our troupe. where was G? had we lost him in the market? should we go see if he had gone back for that second bowl of batakon ramen? would we find him at a konbini stuffing obscure flavours of kit-kat down his gullet? deep down, we knew that instead we should check the hospital…G’s head most likely exploded half way through due to a storm of neuron synapses and was now hooked up to an IV doing de-tox from sensory overload
i think the dreamscape may just be my brain’s way of preparing for the upcoming hokkaido fair (sounds so much more grand in kanji) at mitsuwa. here’s the link describing the event: http://www.mitsuwa.com/event/eevent.php?e=42 . and, as my friend K. pointed out on the event website, i can’t wait to “experience the greatly boasted tastes!”
in my case, i really can’t wait, so i thought…why not make a loaf of hokkaido black sesame milk bread while i start the 2 week count down?
Hokkaido Black Sesame Milk Bread
(adapted from Angie’s Recipes – http://schneiderchen.de/237Hokkaido-Milky-Loaf.html)
Bread flour 540g
Cake flour 60g (you can probably use some concoction of AP flour as a substitute)
Active dry yeast 10g
Milk powder 30g
Egg 1 large one
Heavy cream 150g
Toasted black sesame seeds 2-3 tbsp
- Microwave milk for about 1 minute until it is warm to the touch.
- Dissolve yeast into the milk and add 1 tbsp of sugar (you can take it from the 80g that you had measured out). Let stand until foam forms on top. About 15 minutes.
- Mix together remaining ingredients in a large bowl. I use the dough hook on my stand mixer set to a low to medium speed.
- When the yeast mixture (from step 2) is ready, add it in with the other ingredients and mix on medium speed until the dough forms and begins to peel away from the sides of the bowl. Around 3 to 4 minutes. (Compared to pizza dough, this dough is rather moist)
- Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled. About 1-2 hours.
- De-gas the dough. Then, divide it into 4 portions. Form each portion into a ball, then cover with a towel, set aside and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Roll-out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface, roll the flattened pieces of dough into a log, and then tuck the ends under so as to form a ball. It helps to use a pastry brush to dust off any excess flour. Place the 4 pieces of dough next to each other into a 5 x 5 x 12 inch (or whatever size is closest) loaf pan.
- Cover with a towel and let rise until the dough has puffed up to cover 2/3 of the loaf pan. Took me around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Then, brush with egg wash
- Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees
- Enjoy the greatly boasted taste of mi-ru-ku bread, soft & silky!