Anpan (あんパン) is a Japanese bread roll with red bean paste filling. This is a favorite breakfast item in Japan, and it is quite impossible to find a Japanese bakery not selling this in the shop.
Although most anpan uses plain bread dough (like the one I use for sweet potato bread)), I am going to use matcha dough for my anpan. The slight bitterness of matcha (Japanese green tea powder) and sweetness of red bean paste is a match made in heaven.
Kneading bread dough and the first proof
The basic of my matcha bread dough is the same as the bread dough for sweet potato bread, but instead of using 300 grams of all-purpose flour, I use 280 grams all-purpose flour plus 20 grams of matcha. The rest of the steps to make the bread dough stays the same.
Lately, I have been making plenty of bread, and have been sorely tempted to get a stand mixer like Kitchen Aid. But then I remind myself that we keep moving every year or so, and the less stuff we own, the easier it will be when we move, so I still knead bread with hands. The bright side is I can count this as my exercise and it does keep my muscles toned without going to gym :D
Anyway, you will need 20 minutes to knead by hands, and most likely only 15 minutes with a stand mixer. Once the dough is non-sticky, smooth, soft, and elastic, place in a mixing bowl. Wrap with wet kitchen towel/saran wrap, and let it proof until the volume is doubled, about 1 hour in a warm kitchen.
Red bean paste filling
Before I forget, the recipe for red bean paste is the same as the one for red bean steamed buns. If you recall, I only used half of the filling when making the steamed buns, so this time I use the remaining half for making my of matcha anpan.
My family loves red bean paste and we practically inhale the stuff, so it is always wise for me to make a bigger batch. If you are making the filling only for the matcha anpan, feel free to half the filling recipe, though I prefer to have extra filling than running out of it.
Shaping and filling the bread
Once the dough has finished proofing, punch to release air bubbles, and knead again for two minutes.
To replicate the shape of anpan from bakeries, I divide the dough into 12 portions, flatten each portion, place one medium ice cream scoop (1 1⁄2 tablespoon) worth of filling at the center, gather the dough edges and seal, and gently shape into a round shape. Repeat for the other 11 portions.
There is no correct or wrong way in shaping a bread roll, so feel free to shape your bread in any way you like.
Final proofing and baking the bread
Place all the bread rolls in a baking tray lined with a parchment paper and let it proof again for another 45 minutes, or until the volume is at least 50% bigger.
Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Prepare an egg wash by mixing one egg with one teaspoon of milk or water.
Brush the top surface of the dough liberally with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with some toasted black sesame seeds, then bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Red bean paste filling
- 300 gram red bean
- 300 gram sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon honey (optional) (*)
- a pinch of salt
- 150 ml warm milk (38 Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit)
- 5 gram active dry yeast
- 5 gram sugar
- 280 gram all purpose flour
- 20 gram matcha (Japanese green tea powder)
- 10 gram sugar
- 4 gram salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- Egg wash (mix together)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon milk/water
- Garnish (optional)
- toasted black sesame seeds
- Red bean paste filling
- In a pot, soak well rinsed red beans in ample of fresh cold water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Heat until boiling, add 4 cups of water. When it boils the second time, drain in a sieve.
- In fresh cold water, boil beans again until tender and slightly fall apart. Add water so that liquid always covers the beans by about 1 inch while cooking. Drain again in a sieve.
- Transfer beans back to a pot, add sugar, and mix well. Cook over low heat and stir gently.
- Add honey, and mix well. Add a pinch of salt, stir lightly, and remove from heat.
- Mash with the side of a spatula or a potato masher. Chill until needed.
- Mix together warm milk, active dry yeast, and 5 gram sugar. Let rest for 20 minutes until foamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, matcha, 10 gram sugar, and salt. Make a well, then pour the foamy yeast solution, egg, and butter. Knead into a smooth, soft, elastic, and non-sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky, you may add 1-2 tablespoon of all purpose flour. Kneading time is 20 minutes.
- Place the dough in the bowl, wrap with wet kitchen towel or saran wrap. Let it proof until the volume is doubled, about 1 hour in warm kitchen.
- Punch the dough to release air bubbles, knead for 2 minutes, then divide into 12 portions.
- Roll a piece of dough into a flat circle of about 4 inch diameter. Place one medium ice cream scoop worth of red bean paste filling on the center of the dough (about 1 1/2 tablespoon), then gather the edges and close the seam tightly to fully enclose the filling inside the dough. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the other 11 portions.
- Proof again for 45 minutes, or until the bread is 50% bigger.
- Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).
- Brush the top of each bread liberally with egg wash, and sprinkle the top with toasted black sesame seeds. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Best served warm when out from the oven. The bread should be fresh for up to 3 days.