Sunday 8 June 2014

Mini Wu Pao-Chun Champion Toasts: "Watermelon" & "Rose" Bread

I baked this for my parents-in-law who can't take sweet or overly buttery stuff. My Mil loves raisin buns and my Fil loves good bread....and I couldn't resist having fun ;). Presenting my mini Wu Pao-Chun champion toasts with watermelon or rose in each slice! All made without artificial food coloring!

The purplish pink color is made by adding lemon juice to purple sweet potato puree. You can also use beetroot juice to color the dough pink naturally but I didn't have it. The green color is made from Matcha powder. The "watermelon seeds" are chopped jumbo raisins. These slices are actually really tiny!

A slice is easily dwarfed by my palm!

I used the same recipe as my previous Wu Pao-Chun bake but I increased the amount of sugar to 18g and the bread is tastier this time. Needless to say, this famous bread recipe yields soft bread that stays soft after a couple of days. Quite a feat for a straight dough recipe that does not rely on the use of loads of butter or oil.

You can easily find the assembly instructions for watermelon loaf from the internet but not for a rose loaf, so I will provide detailed assembly instructions for the latter.

Recipe for Wu Pao-Chun mini loaves (yields 3 watermelon and 3 rose loaves)
300g bread flour + extra as necessary
18g caster sugar
3g salt
3g instant yeast
200g fresh milk
15g butter

32g purple sweet potato puree (Steam potatoes with skin on until soft. Mash with a fork. Pass through sieve to remove lumps.)
4g lemon juice

30g chopped or whole black raisins

1 tsp Matcha powder
1.5 tsp water

1. Prepare pink sweet potato puree by mixing the lemon juice with the potato puree.

I love this kitchen chemistry experiment!

Prepare the Matcha paste by mixing the powder with the water. Set aside. Line 6 mini loaf pans with baking sheet. **(you may adapt the recipe to make one single standard sized loaf)

2. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add yeast and mix well. Pour milk in and use a wooden spoon to mix until a rough dough forms.

3. Pour the dough onto a non-stick mat  and knead until smooth. Gradually knead in butter and continue kneading until smooth and elastic and the dough passes the windowpane test. About 20-25 minutes.

4. Place dough in a lightly greased large bowl and proof for about 50 minutes- 1 hour, nearly double in size.

5. Punch down the down and knead a few times to expel trapped air. Add sweet potato puree to 150g of dough. Add flour if necessary when the dough becomes too sticky to handle. Add Matcha paste to 120g of dough. Add raisins to 110-115g of pink/purple dough.

6. Work quickly from this point onwards, covering the dough that is resting loosely with cling wrap.

7. Portion the following for each watermelon loaf:
a) 45-49g raisin sweet potato dough
b) 25g plain dough
c) 32g Matcha dough
Roll a) into a log with length about 2cm shorter than the length of the mini loaf pan. Roll b) into a rectangle with width the length of a). Wrap a) with b). Roll c) into a rectangle with width the length of a). Wrap the combined log with c). Pinch the seams and place the log seam side down in the loaf pan. Cover all loaf pans loosely with cling wrap and proof for 50 minutes.

8. Make the rose loaf. Portion the dough accordingly for each rose loaf:
Center swirl: 9g plain dough + 9g pink dough
Surrounding petals: 6g x 3 plain dough + 5g x 3 pink dough
External leaves: 5g x 2 green dough + 32g plain dough (or whatever amount that is left)

Assemble the loaf according to the picture below:

Please excuse the poor photo quality as I was trying to work quickly. Read the images from left to right, top to bottom.
i) Assemble the swirl by rolling flat the 9g balls of pink and plain dough and placing pink on top of plain (first picture). Roll it up like a swiss roll (second picture)
ii) Roll all 6 pieces of dough for petals flat and place pink on top of plain dough (third picture). Stack the pieces with each one overlapping half of the bottom piece (fourth picture). Roll the assembly flat, but not too flat or else the petals won't turn out nicely (fifth picture). Wrap (i) with this assembly to form the petals surrounding the center swirl of a rose (sixth picture).
iii) Roll the plain dough for the external leaves into a rectangle. Roll the 2 pieces of green dough into flattened logs and place them at the ends of the plain rectangle. Place the rose assembly from (ii) in the middle and roll it up (seventh picture). Pinch the seams and place the loaf seam side down in the loaf pan (eighth picture).

Proof covered loosely with cling wrap for 50 minutes.

9. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Milk wash the loaves and bake for 15-17 minutes. I introduced steam by placing a loaf pan filled with hot water in the oven. Cool completely on cooling rack before slicing.

It's a rainy day in Singapore when I baked this. Temperature was about 28 degrees Celsius in the kitchen so do adjust your proofing times and flour/milk used according to your room temperature and humidity.

Freshly baked mini loaf! Smells good!

My in laws loved the loaves and happily ate the plain one on its own! Mil said the bread is very 松软 (soft and fluffy) and that she doesn't usually eat plain bread but this she could eat it plain :). So glad that the bread tasted good even on the second and third day!

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (June 2014 Event: Butter) organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Jozelyn Ng (Spice Up My Kitchen)

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. OMG, Phay Shing! What a lovely "rose" really inspired me! The bread looks so good, may I have a slice please?
    Once again, thanks for linking up with LTU!

  2. Hi Phay Shing

    Oh, beautiful mini breads.

    I think mini rose bun can be more prominent when you cut the loaf into half and place the petal part on top (check out Wendy Lim blog at Table for 2 or more - steamed purple sweet potato mantous to get some ideas).

    Phay Shing, recently I overstocked some good quality Pillsbury all purpose flour. I do not know what to do with it. But after googled, I bought a pack of vital wheat gluten from Phoon Huat to turn all purpose flour into bread flour and used Wu Pao Chun recipe. The results were good, extremely soft texture.

    But I think, in my next try, I will double up Wu Pao Chun recipes and use 450g bread flour, 110 all purpose flour together with 40g vital wheat gluten, the result may be even better.

    I like using vital wheat gluten because the product is very very healthy esp. for elderly. It's totally fat free and protein content is higher. In fact most bread in commercial outlets used vital wheat for the extra elasticity and chew and most of all, bread stays fresh for many more days.

    Try and google for vital wheat gluten and read up the benefits.

    Priscilla Poh

  3. Hi Jozelyn! Would be glad to pass you a slice :).

    Hi Priscilla! Thanks for tips again! Will check out vital wheat gluten on my next Phoon Huat trip :). As for the rose shape, yes I am aware of the shaping technique for mantou. In fact I have done it before:

    Shaping rose for a loaf of bread is much trickier if you do a search online because of the way bread proofs, it's hard to predict how final shape will turn out.

    It's my first attempt on actual loaf so the technique is not perfect. I should not have flattened the petals so much before rolling into a log and the shape will be more prominent. I only did practice rolls with my kids' playdoh.

    Still having fun baking :)

  4. Phay Shing, read the following:

    Many professional bakers and “in-the-know” home bakers use Vital Wheat Gluten in breads for the following benefits:

    *improves bread texture and shape
    *helps bread to rise higher
    *enhances the flavor of the bread
    *improves color of the bread, especially crust color
    *increases the shelf life
    *allows for thin slicing without breakage
    *adds nutritional value (high in protein), fat free and carbohydrate free.

    The amount of Vital Wheat Gluten to add to your recipe will depend on the amount of flour used. My recipes that call for 6-8 cups of flour will also add 2-3 Tablespoons of Vital Wheat Gluten. You can easily experiment with your own recipes to see what works best.

    Priscilla Poh

  5. Thanks Priscilla for the info! Sounds really good! Will try when I can get my hands on some of that stuff.

  6. Can I check lets say I want to use a breadmaker to do should I insert the sweet potato?