Updated: Aug 29
Since travelling is and will be out of the question for a long time to come, I have been reminiscing on the best eat from my last trip in Japan. It is funny how the simplest thing in life was so easily overlooked sometimes. I still recall telling my husband when we came back to Melbourne from Tokyo that when we do travel back again, I will be looking forward to "that" soft bread slices with candied red beans at Lawson Convenience Store. Needless to say, we didn't see that was going to be a lot longer that we thought.
I came across this bread loaf on the internet and I thought I may give it a go. Almost with any type of Asian style bread, I prefer using the Tang Zhong Method to extend the keeping quality and for the soft and fluffy texture. Usually this type of bread is made with candied red bean but I decided to go with the Red Kidney bean instead. If you have never worked with Kidney Beans before, the taste is very similar to red beans but slightly less sweet and is much nuttier.
What is Red Kidney Beans
Red Kidney beans is known to be rich in iron, phosphorous and potassium and is great as a source for low-fat dietary fibre. These beans are usually confused with the ordinary red beans because of its colour but they are actually quite a different type of beans. Red Kidney beans is darker in colour and is much larger in size. Like its name, red kidney beans is so called because its shapes looks kind of like a kidney!
Facts about cooking Red kidney beans
Red kidney beans like other beans have to be fully cooked before they can be consumed. Raw beans are known to be toxic to your body if eaten raw, which is why it is crucial that they are cooked before consumption. Cooking the beans in boiling water for at least 10 minutes will be able to kill any toxins that is known to be harmful for human consumption.
It is not recommended to boil the dried beans excessively before the soaking. Heat it gently for 3 minutes then strain before adding cold water to soak overnight. The initial boiling helps get rid of any impurities that may be present in the beans during packing by the manufacturer.
Once the beans have been soaked overnight, the beans should be strained from its soaking water and then wash thoroughly in cold water. Once they are washed, the beans are then cook in fresh boiling water again for a longer period of time, usually for at least 40 minutes to an hour until they are tender or when you pinch them between your fingers, they break apart.
Kidney beans are often associated with the Mexican dish called Chilly Con carne.
You don't really need to pre soak the beans before cooking but this will just mean that the cooking time will be slightly longer. If you can plan ahead, soaking beans overnight or for at least 12 hours can cut short your preparation time the next day.
Most beans are high in Raffinose sugar, a type of complex sugar that a lot of people find it hard to digest. Soaking beans is also known to reduce the raffinose sugar where it breaks down this complex sugar making it easy to digest when consumed. I almost always soak my beans the day before just for this reason. This Raffinose sugar is also what makes it gassy in your gut when not broken down before cooking.
Want to know more about bread made with the Tang Zhong Method? Visit my page on Shokupan Bread Loaf.
Yield: (2 x 650g loaves)
Loaf Pan: 195 mm x 105 mm x 105 mm depth loaf tin
Candied Red Kidney Bean
180 g Dried Red Kidney Beans
500 ml Water (A) - for boiling
500 ml Water (B) - for soaking
150 g Caster Sugar
1 l Water (C) - for cooking
Tang Zhong Dough
For 2 loaves - Divide recipe by half for one recipe
315g 48% Full Cream Milk
65g 10% Bread Flour
(1:5 Flour to Liquid Ratio)
590 g 100% Bread Flour
55 g 8.4% Caster Sugar
9 g 1.4% Salt
10g 1.5% Instant Yeast
115g 17% Eggs
90g 13.7% Full Cream Milk - cold
10-15g 1.5% Water (A) - cold - adjust
75g 12% Unsalted Butter
10 g 11.5% Matcha Powder
15 g Cold Water (B)
Above Tang Zhong
200 g Candied Red Beans
Candied Mung Bean
1. Place the 180 g of the red kidney beans into a saucepan and fill it with 500 ml of water (A) or enough to fully submerge the beans. Bad beans will float above water, so skim off any beans that may have floated to the top and replace with the good ones.
Bring the water with the beans to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, continue boiling for another 3 minutes, turn off the heat then strain off the water.
Place the hot beans into a clean bowl and pour 500 ml cold water (B) on top and leave the beans to soak overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours, ensuring that the beans are well under the water level.
Note: Boiling the beans slightly helps rid of any impurities in the bean and for you to siphon out the bad beans. It also helps to reduce the cooking time the next day.
2. The next day, strain the beans from the soaking water then place into a saucepan and add in fresh 1 l of water (C) and simmer for approximately 35-40 minutes, checking the level of water constantly to ensure that they do not dry out. Refill with some hot water if necessary.
You want the beans to be cooked but still slightly hard. If you press the beans, it should squash with a starchy centre but not soft. Stop cooking at this point. Strain the cooking water then place the beans in to a clean bowl. While the beans are still hot, add the sugar and gently stir until the sugar has fully dissolved.
3. Place the sugar coated beans into a steamer and steam on low heat for approximately 20 - 30 minutes until all the sugar are dissolved and do not feel granular. After steaming, the beans should feel tender when squashed with no hard bits. If the beans still feels hard, steam for a little longer.
Leave the beans in the sugar syrup then strain when ready to use.
Note: The candied beans can be done a day ahead. Store in the fridge.
For the Tang Zhong
4. Place the flour and water into a saucepan and whisk over medium heat and cook whilst continuously whisking until it starts to thicken to an opaque paste.
Turn the heat off and transfer the Tang Zhong into a clean bowl and wrap with a cling film touching the surface to prevent it from drying out. Leave to fully cool.
The Tang Zhong can be made a day prior. Just make sure to wrap it well and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before adding into the final dough.
For the Final Dough
5. Place all the ingredients and the cooled Tang Zhong except for the water into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix over medium speed for 1 minutes to help mix through all the ingredients. Add the water gradually allowing the dough to absorb the water before adding more. You may not need all of the water. Continue to mix for another 3 minutes until the ingredients just come together. The dough should be soft but not wet to the point that it is hard to handle. If the dough looks wet at the beginning after you added the water, let the dough mix for 30 seconds and it should come together again.
Note: If you happen to add more water than you need and the dough looks wet even after 30 seconds of mixing on medium speed, add in 1 tablespoon of flour and let the dough absorb the flour and continue to do so until you get a good consistency. The best thing to do is to add enough water from the start so you don't have to play around with the ingredients too much.
6. Once the ingredients have come together, add in the softened butter then continue to mix over medium speed for another 5 minutes. At this point, the dough will starts to come together and have absorbed all the butter.
Stop mixing the dough at this point. The dough will not be fully developed yet. And this is what we want.
Remove half of the dough from the mixer bowl. Cover the other half of the dough. With the other half, mix further in the mixing bowl on medium speed for 3 - 5 minutes or until it starts to develop some elasticity and comes away clean from the side of the bowl.
Once the plain dough is ready, transfer on to the work bench and roll the dough with the help of a scraper until it comes to a smooth ball. You can dust the dough with some flour if it is too sticky to handle but be careful not to add too much flour or the dough can become dry. Lightly grease a bowl then place the plain dough with the seam side underneath and cover. Leave aside at room temperature
7. Immediately, place the other half of the dough into the mixer bowl. In a sperate bowl, whisk Cold Water (B) with the Matcha powder until it turns to a paste. Add the Matcha paste in with the dough then mix on the stand mixer on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes just like with the plain dough. When the Matcha dough have developed enough gluten or feels elastic and come off clean from the side of the bowl, transfer onto the work bench, lightly dust with flour if you need to, then roll it to a smooth ball. Lightly grease a separate bowl and leave the Matcha dough into the bowl with the seam side underneath. Cover and leave at room temperature together with the plain dough to bulk ferment or until they double in size.
The bulk fermentation time can take from 1 to 2 hours to double in size depending on the ambient of your kitchen.
Shaping and Final Proofing
8. Once the two dough have doubled in volume, divide each dough to two equal portions or approximately 320- 325 g each. You will have 4 portion in total : 2 plain & 2 Matcha dough.
Working with one loaf at a time, cover the doughs that are not being used, roll the plain dough to approximately 180 mm x 350 mm rectangle with the help of a rolling pin. Dust the work bench lightly with some flour to prevent sticking. do not dust too much flour though otherwise the dough will slip and slide during rolling.
If the dough becomes too soft to roll, from the centre, gently stretch the dough out with your hands ensuring that they are as even in thickness as possible.
9. Roll the Matcha dough to the same size rectangle as the plain dough then place the green sheet of dough on top of the plain dough.
Strain the beans from any excess sugar water then sprinkle the top of the Matcha dough with half the amount of candied beans.
From the shorter ends, roll it towards its opposite sides, making sure that you don't roll it out too tight. Adjust the length to fit into your loaf pan. In my case my bread log is approximately 180 mm in length. Place into the pre-lined bread tin then cover and leave to bulk ferment for 1 hour to 90 minutes or until it increases 50% of its volume.
Repeat the same process for the second lot of loaf - if you are making the full recipe. 1
10. While the bread loaves are going through its final proofing, pre heat the oven to 175°C.
When the loaves are ready, lightly grease the baking lid with some oil (not too much or the oil can fry the top of the loaf) then cover the tin with the lid. Bake in the pre heated oven for 40 - 45 minutes or when tested with a probe thermometer, the interior temperature is above 85°C. Transfer the baked loaves on to the wire rack to fully cool then cut and enjoy!