Archive for the 'Steam Baking' Category


Mochi Whole Wheat Flower Buns w/Cinnamon Cherry Filling (Steam Baked)

[Equipment: convection oven with water tray for steam baking, baking tray with silicone mat. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths.]

Steam baking and mochi flour keep these low-fat brioche buns moist without lots of oil or butter. Because there is so little butter, it is rubbed into the flour for even distribution. For a chewy texture, I use pizza crust yeast, which contains dough relaxing enzymes. Regular rapid-rise yeast should substitute nicely, with a higher rise and lower density texture. The filling is low-fat too, a mixture of mashed potato flakes and brown sugar. To form the flower shape, I divide the dough into 6 portions, shape each one into a rectangular strip, fill and fold and then roll up and bake.

Makes 6 buns
– 200 calories per bun
– Oven Temperature: effective 250°F/121°C (steam baking)

Cherry Cinnamon Filling:

  • 12 cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons butter, softened

Mochi Brioche Dough:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup mochi flour or glutinous rice flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pizza crust yeast or rapid rise yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm milk (130°F/54.4°C)

Dried Cherries Method:

1. Slice cherries in half and discard pits. Place cherries on baking mat, juicy side up.

2. Dehydrate cherries at 150F/C until the top surface is dry but the cherries are still pliable. Set aside.

Cinnamon Filling Method:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed potato flakes, brown sugar and spices until combined.

2. In a small bowl, mix the milk and egg yolk. With a fork, stir in the liquid until all ingredients are moistened. Continue stirring to break up mixture into a sandy, granular texture

3. Mix in softened butter, keeping mixture light and granular. Cover and set aside.

Buns Method:

1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the yeast.

2. Dice butter and add to flour. Rub butter with hands or cut butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture has a lightly sandy consistency.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolk.

4. Drizzle the milk over the flour. With a fork, stir the liquid into the flour until it forms a dough that holds its shape when squeezed.

5. Knead the dough for about 4 minutes until the surface is smooth.

6. Allow to rise in a proofing box or other warm place until double in bulk.

7. Gently deflate the dough and divide into 6 portions.

8. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 7-1/2 x 2 inches.

9. Fill only the top half of the rectangle. Place 4 dried cherry halves at one end. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon filling along the remainder. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of chopped nuts over the filling.

10. Beginning at the end with the cherries, fold the dough up to cover the filling. Then roll it into a standing spiral with the open end facing up. Pinch the end into the bun to seal.

11. Place each bun in a greased muffin cup. Cover and let rise in a proofing box or other warm place for about 30 to 40 minutes or until rolls have blossomed over the cups.

12. Prepare the convection oven for steam baking with an open water tray. Preheat the oven to an effective temperature of 250°F/121°C (my oven dial was set to 300°F/150°C and the effective temperature checked with a thermometer). Place a trivet in the tray to hold the muffin tin above the water line. Steam bake for about 30 minutes or the rolls are lightly golden.

13. Serve hot or warm.


Maple-Sugar Yam and Chicken Pizza (Steam Baked)

The difficulty with pizza is that the cheese topping dries out if dry baked at low temperature for long periods. That’s why I was so excited about steam baking a pizza, because the superheated moisture would keep the cheese moist long enough to melt, while the crust browned. As the above picture shows, the recipe was a success. The cheese had a lovely drippy quality, fresh from the oven.

This recipe was also a test of a new yeast: Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast, a rapid-rise yeast with dough-relaxing enzymes, for a lower-rise, dense but chewy, crust. I liked it very much, for very easy to make dough with just 4 minutes of hand-kneading. Fleischmann warned against using Pizza Crust Yeast in other bread recipes. but I’ve seen excellent results in other kinds of breads. This product should be great with soft pretzels too. Substitute regular rapid-rise yeast, if not available locally.

The maple sugar yams were yam slices, steamed and then marinated in a bit of maple syrup. Likewise, the chicken was steam cooked, shredded and marinated in soy sauce. For both, I would marinate for at least an hour. For tomato sauce, I had a jar of Prego mushroom pasta sauce in the fridge.

Makes 6 servings
– 125 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: effective 250°F/121°C (steam baking)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3+ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon pizza yeast or rapid rise yeast (see text)
  • 1/4 cup sliced cooked broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sliced maple sugar yams (see text)
  • 1/4 cup soy-marinated, cooked chicken pieces (see text)
  • 3/8 cup tomato sauce (see text)
  • 3/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Menudo spices

Dough Method:

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast until evenly distributed.

2. Mix in 1/3 cup warm water and 1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil to form a moist pebbly dough (add more water, by the teaspoon, if necessary).

3. Knead dough for 4 minutes until smooth.

4. If using fast rise yeast, cover and allow to rise until double in volume, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Pizza Method:

1. Flatten dough into an 8-inch disk and set inside a greased 8-inch cake pan.

2. Spread the tomato sauce over the top of the dough.

3. Arrange yams, broccoli and chicken on the pizza.

4. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil over the cheese and toppings.

5. Prepare oven for steam baking. Fill the water tray with boiling water, enough for at least 40 minutes of baking (about 1/4″ deep in my tray). Do not cover the tray. Heat oven to 300°F/149°C (effective temperature of 250°F/121°C with the water tray uncovered, checked with a thermometer). Put the pan on a trivet, so that it doesn’t touch water.

6. Bake for 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and sounds hollow when tapped, and the cheese has melted.


Citrus-Lychee Pavlova with Mango Sauce (Wet-Dry Baked)

[ Equipment: Steam oven or convection oven water tray for wet-dry steam baking, baking sheet with silicone baking mat. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

This is my second Pavlova cake. In addition to a different combination of fruits and sauces, it comes with a slightly different recipe for the meringue. The first one (a ginger-blueberry-banana pavlova) was baked in a dry oven. The batter spread out during baking and did not have quite the classic marshmallow texture. The wet-dry steam technique addresses both problems. A wet-dry steam oven steams for a fraction of the baking time only; then it switches to dry heat. The wet phase transfers heat quickly to the food to raise its temperature and set the batter or dough. The dry heat phase crisps the food.

I had reservations about the texture of meringue in the last pavlova. In testing the wet-dry technique, I mixed up a pavlova batter with a higher cornstarch-to-egg-white ratio (identical to other standard recipes), cornstarch being the ingredient that transforms the meringue into a marshmallow-like consistency. The result was excellent on the very first try. The all-sugar batter only spread a little before setting. It had a lovely crackly top crust that began to sink within seconds of being taken out of the oven.

However, the cake shown in these pictures contains the sugar-sucralose blend. For the crispest crust, I recommend making the meringue with sugar only. The sucralose-sugar blend cake has a softer crust and fewer calories, but also more height and does not sink very much. Do not omit the lemon juice; it really perks up the flavor of the lychees, and canned lychees benefit most from the soaking. An assortment of juices could substitute for the mango nectar. A thinner juice may need more cornstarch to thicken.

Makes 6 servings
– 120 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: Wet-Dry Steam-Baked effective 250°F/121°C

  • 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar + 8 packets sucralose – see text)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 10oz can of mango nectar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 7 or 8 fresh or canned whole lychees, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 oz. of prepared whipped topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Mango Sauce Method:

1. In a small dish, mix the cornstarch and cold water.

2. In a small saucepot, heat the mango nectar until it simmers, stirring constantly. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

Meringue Cake Method:

1. Drain lychees. In a small bowl, mix lychees and lemon juice. Cover and let macerate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, lemon juice and salt until frothy.

3. Sprinkle in the sugar in 2 portions and beat to the stiff peak stage. Beat in the orange extract. Sift the cornstarch over the batter and fold in.

4. Spoon batter onto a silicone baking mat sitting on a baking sheet. Shape into a 6 x 4 inch block.

5. Prepare oven for wet-dry steam baking. For a convection oven, fill the water tray with about 1/8 inch water (or the equivalent amount to steam bake for about 30 minutes). Set a trivet in the center to hold the baking sheet above the water line. Preheat the oven to 300F/148C to get an effective 250F/121C steaming temperature (check with a thermometer).

6. Place baking sheet on trivet and bake meringue for 30 minutes.

7. Siphon off any remaining water in the water tray (or allow to steam off if nearly evaporated). Turn dial down to 250°F/121°C for dry baking. Continue baking for another 40 to 60 minutes. Surface of crust should be dry and golden brown.

Note: If using the sugar-sucralose blend, the crust may not crisp.

7. Let cool and transfer to a serving plate.

8. In a medium bowl, combine the whipped topping and lemon extract.

9. Spread the lemon whipped topping over the top of the meringue cake. Drain and cut the lychee fruits in half. Place the lychees into the whipped topping.

10. Drizzle mango sauce over the lychees and whipped topping. Sprinkle top of pavlova with craisins.


Cactus Hominy Polenta Cake

[ Equipment: steam oven, steamer or low-temperature-capable convection oven, an 6-inch (2-cup) round cake pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths. ]

This steamed cake is a savory companion to the Maple Polenta Cake with Chamomile Hominy. The batter mixes cornmeal and rice flour for a softer polenta than from cornmeal alone. The tomato bullion contains chicken bullion with dried tomato essence, and regular chicken bullion with a spoon or two of tomato sauce should substitute fine. My local market sold jars of prickly pear cactus nopalitos, cooked and cut into strips. They have a light vinegary flavor and a mucilaginous texture, a great match for the soft polenta. If cactus isn’t available, substitute chopped string beans.

Makes 4 servings
– 105 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: effective 250°F/121°C steam baked

  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato bullion powder
  • 3 tablespoons plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup prepared (canned) hominy
  • 1/3 cup chopped cactus nopalitos (cooked cactus strips)

1. In a small bowl, whisk cornmeal and rice flour until evenly combined.

2. In a saucepan, heat water, bullion and tomato sauce until simmering.

3. Whisk in cornmeal-flour and continue whisking until mixture has thickened and coming away from sides of saucepan.

4. Mix in hominy.

5. Mix in chopped cactus.

6. Pour into greased 6-inch pan or 2-cup baking dish. The polenta cake can be steamed or steam baked. For steam baking, leave the water tray uncovered and place a trivet or stand to hold the dish above the water line. Steam bake at 250°F/121°C for 70 minutes.

7. Cool. Slice and serve.


Lemon-Chamomile Angel Food Loaf Cake (Wet-Dry Steam Baked)

[ Equipment: Steam oven or convection oven with water tray for wet-dry steam baking, 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

This angel food cake has a firmer texture than a standard angel food cake and is shaped in a loaf pan. It’s my first recipe baked with a wet-dry steam method. Steam quickly heats the batter, and then dry heat finishes the cake and crisps the surface. The chamomile and lemon flavoring reminds me of a soothing herbal tea.

I didn’t have a chamomile extract, so I made my own chamomile oil infusion, heating it on top of a ceramic incense burner. There were no instructions for making chamomile oil, so I let it infuse for about a day on low heat, switching out tealight candles (beeswax) as they burned down. I recommend a bland vegetable oil, such as canola oil, to get the best chamomile flavor. Check the temperature of the infusion periodically. It should be no higher than 110-120°F/43-49°C (same as the raw food dehydration guideline) to preserve the flavors and essential compounds in the flowers.

Makes 5 servings
– 162 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: Wet-Dry Steam-Baked effective 250°F/121°C

Angel Food Cake:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or low-calorie sweetener blend, see text)
  • 2 teaspoons chamomile oil (see text, see below)

Chamomile Oil:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers

Chamomile Extract Method:

1. In a small, heatproof dish, mix oil and chamomile flowers. Heat chamomile mixture over a very low flame for about 24 hours. Shown here is a ceramic oil diffuser as the heat source. Check the temperature of the oil periodically. If it’s above the 110-120°F/43-49°C range, place a disk of aluminum foil between the dish and the heater to dissipate excess heat.

2. Cool. Cover and set aside.

Angel Food Cake Method:

1. Line bottom and long sides of 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan with a single strip aluminum foil to make a sling. Do NOT grease pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites, lemon juice, lemon extract, salt until frothy.

3. Sprinkle in sugar and whip to stiff peak stage.

4. Sift flour over batter and fold in.

5. In a small dish, mix 3 tablespoons of the egg white batter and the chamomile oil using a fork. Pour the oil mixture back into the egg white batter and fold in.

6. Spoon batter into lined loaf pan and gently smooth the surface flat.

7. Fill water tray for steaming baking with about 1/8-inch water. The water must completely evaporate after about 30 to 40 minutes of baking. Preheat oven to effective to 300°F/148°C (for an effective temperature of 250°F/121°C with the steam – checked with an oven thermometer).

Place pan on trivet so that it does not touch the water. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. Top crust should be lightly golden but sticky. Check water level. All the water in the tray should have evaporated. If not, drain or siphon off the remainder.

Continue baking for another 20 minutes until the crust is crispy and dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Invert the pan over a heatproof bowl and allow the cake to cool.

9. With a small knife, loosen the cake from the short sides of the pan and lift out by pulling out the ends of the foil sling. Carefully peel off the foil.

10. Slice and serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.


Boston Brown Bread w/Bourbon Baked Beans (Steam Baked)

[ Equipment: Steamer or convection oven with water tray, 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

Two years ago, I posted a recipe for a Cranberry Indian Pudding to honor Independence Day. For this year’s holiday, I decided to go with another colonial favorite: Boston Brown Bread. Boston Brown Bread was the first recipe I ever published. It was in a school journal, back in the 7th grade. This recipe has fewer ingredients than that one, but one key ingredient affects taste and texture: Bourbon-flavored baked beans. A portion of the baked beans are pureed into the batter, and another portion is folded into the batter as a separate ingredient.

There are lots of recipes online for Bourbon Baked Beans. I got mine from a can: Bush’s Grillin Beans with bourbon and brown sugar. The Bush’s beans have a mild taste of bourbon and brown sugar. The flavor of liquor may be the reason, and then only homemade can be pungently bourbon. If the beans are too saucy, drain them or they will add too much liquid to the batter.

I steam baked the bread. The water tray was uncovered and the oven temperature dialed to 275°F/135°C, so that the EFFECTIVE temperature (checked with an oven thermomeeter) was slightly under 250°F/121°C. The bread can be baked the old fashioned way too: steamed in a regular steamer too. If baking in a traditional coffee can, it should have a capacity of 3 to 4 cups. Secure the foil covering to the can by wrapping string around it.

Makes 8 servings
– 132 calories per serving (1060 calories per loaf)
– Oven Temperature: effective 250°F/121°C steam baking (see text)

  • 1 cup bourbon baked beans (see text)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk

1. In the small bowl of a food processor, puree 1/2 cup of bourbon-flavored baked beans and molasses. Mix in milk and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt until combined.

3. Add molasses-bean puree and stir until combined.

4. Fold in (do not mash) 1/2 cup bourbon baked beans.

5. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 4 x 4 inch loaf pan.

6. Prepare the oven for steam baking with an uncovered water tray. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and seal by crimping along the edges. Steam bake for 2 hours.

7. Cool in pan and unmold.


Maple Polenta Cake w/Chamomile Hominy (Steam Baked)

[ Equipment: steam oven, steamer or low-temperature-capable convection oven, an 6-inch (2-cup) round cake pan. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths. ]

The flour in this cake is a blend of cornmeal, coconut and mochi (sweet rice) flours. A polenta batter with only the cornmeal makes a rubbery cake. Starch from the rice flour softens the texture for a pleasant mouth feel. Coconut flour adds flavor, richness and restores a bit of the structure. Like all my cakes without a chemical or organic raising agent, I mixed in a solid leavener – chamomile infused hominy, a fine complement to the cornmeal. This is whole kernel hominy from a can, which has been soaked in an alkaline solution and partially cooked. Some brands have cooked the kernels longer than others. I recommend tasting the hominy before adding it to the batter. If the kernels are too crunchy, try steaming or boiling them for a few minutes, because the baking process may not soften them enough.

Makes 4 servings
– 250 calories per serving
– Oven Temperature: effective 250°F/121°C steam baked

  • 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers or 1 chamomile teabag
  • 1-1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup canned hominy kernals (see text)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon mochi (glutinous rice) flour
  • 1-1/2 cup milk (low fat or fat free)
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins

1. Brew chamomile tea by seeping chamomile flowers in hot water for 30 minutes. Filter tea. Reserve 1/4 cup of chamomile tea for later.

2. Rinse 1 cup hominy. Reheat remaining cup of chamomile tea. Soak hominy in chamomile tea for 1 to 2 hours. Drain, reserving hominy and 1/4 cup chamomile tea.

3. In a saucepan, stirring constantly, heat milk, 1/4 cup chamomile tea, syrup, water, sugar, cinnamon and salt to simmering.

4. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and mochi flour. Whisk cornmeal into milk. Continue whisking over medium heat until thickened and batter begins pulling away from side of the pan, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Mix in vanilla. Mix in hominy.

6. Mix in coconut and raisins.

7. Scoop dough into a greased, 2-cup baking dish.

8. If necessary, prepare the oven for steam baking. Steam bake for 50 mins.

9. Cool until warm for serving.

10. Slice and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.