I used to really love cheesecake, but I could never eat more than a few bites because it was so rich. Japanese cheesecake, on the other hand, is the opposite. It is super light and pillowy soft. The texture is like a souffle and the cream cheese in the cake makes it melt in your mouth.
Not too long ago, I saw a recipe for a Japanese cheesecake on Christine’s Recipes. I had seen japanese cheesecake recipes before but had been afraid to try them. I especially was afraid to bake the cake in a water bath, which is required. Christine explained everything in such detail that I had the confidence to try it out (and the water bath isn’t really that scary).
I worried that the cake would fall flat and collapse in like my castella cake attempts, but luckily it didn’t. The cake did shrink a little, but it’s supposed to. It came out really light and creamy. It wasn’t exactly like the previous japanese cheesecakes I’ve eaten in the past though. The ones I’ve had are more cake-like. This cake was good, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I’ll probably check out a few more japanese cheesecake recipes to try to find one similar to the ones I’ve eaten before, but this recipe is a keeper.
I am pretty happy with my first attempt and will try this again. You can view the recipe here.
I’ve been making a lot of bread lately using the tangzhong method, a natural method of making bread that creates a very soft and fluffy texture. You can read more about it here.
After making my matcha chocolate bread roll, I had some leftover tangzhong mixture so I decided to make some more chocolate bread but make rolls instead of a loaf.
Next time I’m going to add some chocolate chips into these rolls to get a bigger chocolate punch.
The rolls came out super soft. I baked them in the same small 7 x 3 inch loaf pans I used for the matcha chocolate bread. Three inches wide ended up being the perfect size for these rolls. I’m glad I baked them stuck together (which can easily be pulled apart later).
I previously had made matcha rolls with red bean filling. I baked each roll individuall on a baking sheet. It ended up not being very soft, since the oven was cooking all sides of the roll. By placing these rolls together, they stayed much softer.
I was pretty happy with how these came out. They stayed soft for days! I put the leftovers in an airtight container and they tasted just as fresh for the next few days as the day when they were first baked.
I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting.
Recipe: Chocolate Bread rolls
(bread base adapted from this recipe)
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 4tbsp+2tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 120g tangzhong (click here for the tangzhong recipe and directions)
- 2 tsp instant yeast 3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Make sure you have tangzhong already made the night before or a few hours before you are going to make the bread as it needs to cool in the refrigerator before use.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Use the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue mixing on medium to high speed. Mix with the dough hook for about 18-20 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and is elastic. You want the dough to be elastic. So if you were to take a part of it and stretch it out, you can stretch it to a very thin membrane without it breaking. When you poke a hole in the thin membrane, it should form a close to perfect circle. Here is an example from another bread I made that wasn’t this chocolate one:
- Gather the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Deflate and divide the dough into six equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll out each part with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top. Turn the dough over, so that the folds face down and roll and flatten dough with pin. Flip dough again, so folded side faces up. Roll the dough up from top to bottom. Here are pictures of the dough steps I previously made with another loaf that wasn’t a chocolate version:
- Turn down sides of dough roll until they meet at the bottom and pinch them together. Then roll and shape dough until it forms a round ball. Repeat this step of rolling for the rest of your dough. With seals of the dough balls facing down, place the six balls into two 7×3 inch loaf pans lined with parchment paper (three balls in each pan). Then cover with cling wrap or a wet towel. Leave it for the second round of proofing, about 45 to 60 minutes, until double in size.
- Whisk an egg and brush egg wash on surface of buns (this will create the shiny finish). Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 30-35 minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
You always remember your first time…
I remembered the first time the BF tried and fell in love with sushi and sashimi. I was with him when he tried his first piece and I still remember everything about that moment with perfect clarity despite it having taken place so long ago.
Since then, sushi has been his favorite food and he is always wanting to eat sushi. So I sort of created a monster when I introduced him to sushi. Those of you who are long time readers of my blog know that I have not had the same love affair with sushi.
For years, it was something I ate, but I didn’t particularly love. My sushi was also limited to cooked fish only as I did not like the taste of raw fish. Gradually, BF rubbed off on me. I experimented and tried sashimi from time to time, but it still wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed and my range of sashimi that I would eat was pretty limited.
Then about a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon Sushi Kaito, a tiny sushi joint in Encinitas. I had read amazing things about this place: the fresh fish flown in from all parts of the world, the experienced sushi chefs. I was excited to take BF to the place because I knew it would be something he would love. However,the night ended up being more memorable for me because it was my first time really truly enjoying sashimi. With the help of Sushi Chef Joe, I was able get a better understanding of my sushi palate and I was able to taste some extremely tasty sashimi. You can read my post here.
After our wonderful visit, we always knew we’d be back, but it’s taken a long time to make our way back. Encinitas is a little far of a drive and in the opposite direction of our usual hang outs. It’s also closed on Sundays, which is usually our free day to have a long meal out.
When we finally made our way to Sushi Kaito, everything was just how I remembered it had been the last time we were there. We were seated at the sushi bar, since we had called ahead to make reservations (I highly recommend doing this because it is a tiny place.)
Sushi Kaito has a menu you can order from. If you’ve read the yelp reviews, a lot of people recommend the omakase experience which is basically letting the chef choose your meal.
We opted for more of a hybrid of the two. We didn’t use the menu, but instead relied on recommendations from the chef (most of which were fishes not on the menu). We didn’t completely leave it up to the chef though, since he asked us what we wanted each time before serving us our food.
We were told they had fresh scallop, so that is what we started with.
Chef Joe prepared it two ways: one raw and one stir fried. I haven’t been a big fan of raw scallop in the past. I don’t really like the texture and always feel like the scallop flavor you experience eating a cooked one isn’t as apparent in the raw version. But this raw scallop was very fresh and full of flavor. I really enjoyed this and didn’t mind the texture at all. BF preferred the cooked version.
Next we had toro. BF and I both really enjoy toro. The fatty belly section of tuna is very flavorful and melts in your mouth. When I took a bite of this toro, it made all the other toros I previously ate completely pale in comparison. This toro was amazing.. Bursting with flavor, melting in my mouth. This was my favorite bite of the night. I wish I could eat this kind of quality toro all the time.
All of the sushi served to us was already seasoned with sauce so that we didn’t need the soy sauce and wasabi. The sauce created by the chef was perfect in my opinion, complementing the rice and fish. When you dip sushi in soy sauce, the salty flavor of the soy sauce often takes away from the taste of the fish.
I don’t remember the next fish we had. I just remember it was a little out of my palate range.
Our next sushi was the barracuda.
The fish skin was seared and seasoned. The salty and citrusy skin was very flavorful.
Next we requested clam. On our first visit, we had an amazing clam dish, with three different types of clam flown in from different places. This time it was just served with rice. I didn’t enjoy this clam as much as the previous one I had.
Next we tried the red snapper. The skin here was also seasoned, creating a salty flavor that paired well with the fish.
After this, Chef Joe told us he wanted to prepare a special dish for us. Of course we agreed. He prepared a fish tempura, using small silver fish from Japan. He said that these are only in season now. They chip at the ice and dig a hole to get these fish during the winter.
The tempura was nice and light and the fish were soft. You could eat the entire fish, bones and all. I really enjoyed this.
We were getting pretty full at this point, so Chef Joe suggested that he choose one last fish for each of us. Again, I forgot what it was called.
Around this time, Chef Joe began to remember that we had dined here before. He told us we looked familiar. I figured he might vaguely remember us, but that he couldn’t remember us in detail since it had been a year and a half since we visited. But to my surprise, he really did remember us. He started detailing things about our last meal and where we lived! He apologized for his bad memory for not remembering us right away. I was more blown away by his good memory in remembering our one visit so long ago.
To end the night, he gave us each something sweet. I love uni so he made me uni. BF doesn’t like uni so he got a piece of eel belly. My uni was so nice and creamy. A perfect way to end the meal.
As we were waiting for our bill, Chef Joe produced a fried eel spine. I’ve heard about how good this is from yelp reviews. He explained that they are able to get the eel spine themselves since the eel they get is so fresh and he explained how they retrieve the spine. The spine was very cool to look at. It was deep fried so it was like eating a chip.
We left extremely satisfied. This meal was just as enjoyable as our first meal. I had worried we had over romanticized our first meal, but we hadn’t. We will definitely be back and won’t let another year pass before our next revisit.
130 N El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024