Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chef Tess Sweet New Zealand Māori Bread with Spiced Citrus Vanilla Honey-Butter

Hello my Darlings!  In my teen years I spent many hours in the home of my dear friend Mary Fa and her family. I always felt very welcomed by this Polynesian family and developed a deep love for their remarkable culture. They were of Hawaiian descent, though Mary ended up marrying an amazing man from New Zealand and even lived there for a few years.  She's back here in Arizona with her husband and children and every time I make this bread, I think of her tender and warm nature.  I always feel love when I think of her.

Sweet New Zealand Māori Bread is pure, light, and delightful. This is a traditional bread from the island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, though this recipe is adapted to be a little more modern.  When I first read about this Maori bread, I was intrigued. It sounded like heaven on earth--indeed like New Zealand itself.  I've added my own twist of richness to the recipe using some sour cream and milk powders as well as a touch of salt, making it closer to a Hawaiian sweet bread.  It doesn't take very long to make.  Traditionally this bread is baked in a deep pot. I use a #10 can, or a  gallon-sized deep pot (used for the solar oven). The original recipe doesn't call for salt, fat, or anything but the yeast, water, sugar, and flour.

My recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks: Sam Choy's Polynesian Kitchen

Chef Tess Sweet New Zealand Māori Bread

2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees)
 1/2 cup pure honey
4 cups Honeyville organic bread flour or Honeyville California's Best Bread Flour
1/2 cup Honeyville Powdered Sour Cream
1/2 cup Honeyville Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk

1 tsp salt

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast water and sugar. Add flour all four cups at once. Mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Grease a #10 can very well.  I personally prefer using organic coconut oil for this particular loaf. It adds just a hint of coconut flavor. Oh heaven!



Form the dough into a round ball and place in the can.


 Cover lightly. Let rise until doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.. Preheat oven (or solar oven) 350 degrees. After dough has risen sufficiently.


  Cover can with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The aluminum-foil hat will keep the bread from being subject to alien-mind-control rays. Err...Um...Okay...maybe it will just keep it from getting too brown and also help it steam lightly and impart a tender thin crust. Just in case there are alien mind control rays though, make sure you have an extra cap for yourself while baking the bread. Safety first my darlings. 


I put a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven to keep the bottom of the bread from browning too much during baking. 


Open oven, remove foil, and let the oven brown the bread an additional 15 minutes. 


Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool in the can about 5 minutes. 


Carefully turn over the can and and take the bread out of can. The loaf will be shaped like the can. 


Wrap in lightly dampened tea cloth or towel to keep the crust moist. 



The crowning touch of this culinary delight is to serve it warm with a glorious drizzle of this Spiced Citrus Vanilla-Bean Honey-Butter. It adds a fresh, lightly-sweet, kiss of happiness to the bread and is just what we need on a cold winter's evening! 


Tropical paradise, here we come! Oh...and take the foil cap off your own head now. It looks ridiculous. 

Chef Tess Spiced Citrus Vanilla-Bean Honey-Butter
1/2 cup pure honey
1 cup Honeyville Powdered Butter
1 tsp fresh orange zest, fine grated
1 tsp fresh lemon zest, fine grated
1/2 tsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice Blend
1 tsp LorAnn Natural Vanilla Bean Paste
1T  very hot water


 Combine all ingredients until smooth and spreadable. 


Slather generously all over your divine perfection-of-a-bread. Try not to pass out from happiness. 


Have a taste of paradise today and enjoy a fun way to use an empty can! Oh, by the way, putting the cooled loaf back in the #10 can is also a great way to keep the loaf moist and tender...er...um...hide it from the rest of the family. Grin.

There you go! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess




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