Marinated California Mozzarella Shokupan
Recipe courtesy of Jason Gronlund
Sponsor: California Milk Advisory Board
- 2/3 c all-purpose flour
- 2/3 c boiling water
- 1 ½ c Real California whole milk
- 2 Tbsp Real California butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp yeast
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- 2 lbs fresh Real California Mozzarella, torn or diced
- 1 1/2 c olive oil
- 1 c white balsamic
- 1/2 c finely diced red pepper
- 1/2 c minced fresh garlic
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
For the Yudane
- Twelve to 24 hours before making bread, combine the yudane ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Stir well to combine, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
For the Dough
- Combine the milk, butter, sugar and yeast in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (better if you have the flat paddle with rubber lead edge).
- Mix on low speed, adding the yudane in small pieces, mixing until the pieces are pretty broken up.
- Add the flour and salt and continue to mix on low until the mixture is a loose dough.
- Switch to the dough hook and then increase the mixer speed to medium-high (numbers 5 to 6 on a KitchenAid). Continue to knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic, about 20 minutes. When you stretch the dough and you can see through it without it tearing, it is done kneading.
- Form dough into a ball and transfer to a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area or a proofing box. Proof until doubled in size, about 1 hour. To test if the dough is ready, poke it with a floured finger. If the indentation doesn’t bounce back, it’s ready to be shaped.
For the Marinated Mozzarella
- In a large container, combine the mozzarella with all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
To shape the Shokupan
- Lightly flour a clean work surface or rolling pad and place the dough on the flour. Press out the air.
- Divide the dough into an even number of 2-oz and 1-oz pieces. Round them into small balls, cover them, and let set for about 30 minutes. If you need to clear the area, place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan with a small amount of spray release. Place the balls on there and cover them; place in a warm area.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C with low fans. Whip the eggs in a small bowl for an egg wash; keep chilled and covered until needed.
- To shape, roll out each round of 2-oz dough to about a 3-in diameter and the small 1-oz dough to about a 1 ½-in diameter, both about ¼-in thick.
- Place each of the 3-in circles on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper coated with spray release. Brush each round with the egg wash. In the center of each piece, place 3 pieces of the marinated California fresh mozzarella, making sure the liquid is drained but the herb particulates are still clinging to the cheese. Repeat until all the rounds are on the sheet pan and topped.
- Take the 1½-in rounds and cut them in half. Press the edges of the two halves against the edges of the larger dough round. They should partially cover the cheese but be sealed to the bottom dough. Egg wash the top of all the dough again lightly.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let proof until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes in a warm spot.
- Bake until browned, 25 to 30 minutes. If the bread is getting too brown before 25 minutes, cover the top with foil.
- Carefully remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. The bread will still be very soft with a nice tight cell structure.
Yudane is the step of pre-gelatinizing starch in flour, converting it to sugar. The dough can take on more liquid, giving the bread a nice dense, soft cell structure and will stay moist for a few days. You can make a batch of yudane and hold it for a few days. Keep it in a sealed container as it will pick up any migrant odors in a refrigerator.
The dough can be molded in other shapes and even sealed like a calzone with the cheese on the inside. You can add sliced meats like pepperoni.
The Calabrian chile peppers in the aioli can be replaced with Japanese Sriracha for heat. A bit of togarashi can be sprinkled over the top for more Japanese influence, flavor, and visual appearance.