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So, here friends, I'm excited to share with you my first attempt to make ube bread... it's not as purple as other ube breads (maybe you could add more ube to make it look ube-esque), but this bread disappeared fast from my kitchen... Enjoy!
For the streusel
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
For the bread
- Unsalted butter or cooking spray, for the loaf pan
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 Cup grated purple yam (ube)
- 1 Cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
Ube Spanish Bread
Ube Spanish Bread will surely be adored by Filipino bread lovers. Just when you think our favorite bread roll can’t get any better.
This recipe is proof that an established food will always have the potential to become more exciting. That is thanks to the Filipinos’ love for innovative recipes! Are you curious about how it would taste? Make some for yourself right now, and add a few batches for your family and friends while you’re at it. I am sure that you will enjoy this as much as I did!
Ube Milk Bread
Ube. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now. With the increasing popularity of Filipino cuisine, ube is finally making it’s mainstream debut.
This ube milk bread combines the soft and fluffy characteristics of Japanese milk bread with the visually striking color of purple yam.
While the bread itself doesn’t have a powerful ube flavor, I suggest serving a slice of this bread toasted with some ube halaya for the ultimate ube experience!
What is Ube?
It is a purple yam native to Southeast Asia. Ube is pronounced “ooo-bae.” The “ooo” sounding like what kids say when another kid is called upon to visit the principal’s office.
This unique purple yam is a very popular tuber in the Philippines. Ube is widely used in desserts, especially ice cream!
Is ube the same as taro?
NO. Do not confuse ube with with taro or Okinawan sweet potato. They’re not the same, despite the shades of purple color they share.
Taro is called gabi in Tagalog. Like ube, it is commonly used in Filipino cuisine.
While purple yam is a relative of sweet potato, they’re not the same tuber.
Where is ube grown?
Ube is natively grown in Southeast Asia, but it’s cultivation has spread further to include Africa, India, and parts of South America.
However, ube is still very difficult to find fresh in the United States.
Luckily, there are many other ube options available.
Use powdered purple yam!
From my experience, powdered purple yam is the easiest to find and use. There are a variety of brands to choose from. I recommend the Fil-Choice brand photographed above.
Powdered purple yam is simply dehydrated purple yam. Make sure you purchase the package that is 100% pure purple yam. Some varieties include powdered milk or sugar.
Frozen ube is another option. It is sold grated, shredded, mashed, or whole.
Both powdered and frozen ube can be found at well stocked Asian Supermarkets.
However, you will have the most luck at a Filipino market like Seafood City or Island Pacific Supermarket. The powdered ube is usually stocked alongside other baking ingredients like flour, chocolate, and extracts.
NOTE: And if all else fails, powdered ube is sold on Amazon. I purchased mine in store at Seafood City for about $4. I’ve seen prices range from $3.50-$5. Don’t spend more than $6 per four ounce bag. It’s not worth it.
What does ube taste like?
On it’s own, ube tastes rather bland. The flavor we have come to associate with ube is the sweetened version.
After being boiled or baked, purple yam is sweetened with sugar or condensed milk. As such, it takes on toasted coconut-like flavor.
What does ube milk bread taste like?
Sorry to disappoint you, but this ube milk bread won’t be full of “ube flavor.” In order to develop that distinct flavor, you need a ton of sugar, or an excessive amount of ube extract flavoring.
Instead, this bread tastes like my Japanese milk bread with a touch of ube. To fully immerse yourself with ube, I suggest serving this ube milk bread as toast with a generous amount of ube halaya.
Essential Bread Making Tools:
Bread doughs can be knead together by hand the old fashioned way. This recipe can be done without a stand mixer. However, the three tools, I highly recommend for bread baking are:
A kitchen scale is very important when making breads. It ensures even, equal portions.
No need to splurge on a fancy scale with all the bells and whistles. I’ve been using this basic $10 digital kitchen scale from Amazon for the past three years without any problems.
This tool becomes super helpful when working with very wet doughs like ciabatta. Overtime, the bench scraper becomes an extension of your arm.
The bench scraper is used for a variety of purposes including: portioning bread dough, dividing pie dough and cookie dough, or slicing butter.
Digital Instant Read Thermometer:
When it comes to working with bread dough, temperature is VERY important. Not just the temperature of the oven, but the temperature of the ingredients as well as the temperature of the working environment.
This is my favorite digital instant read thermometer. It’s a little pricey, but so helpful in the kitchen.
Asides from breads, use the thermometer to cook meats to the perfect temperature.
Milk Bread Dough Starter:
This recipe requires the mixing of two different doughs: the standard milk bread dough (cream colored) and the ube milk bread dough (purple colored).
Milk bread gets its iconic fluffy texture from the use of a dough starter, also known as a water roux.
The dough starter is a mixture of flour, milk, and water heated together to a form a thick paste.
Once cooled, this paste is mixed with the remaining dough ingredients to create an easy to work with, very forgiving dough.
How to assemble dough:
Allow the two doughs to rest and rise. Divide each colored dough into eight equal parts. (This is where a kitchen scale comes handy!)
Remember, this recipe will make two 9-inch loafs. Each loaf will have 4 cream colored doughs and 4 purple colored doughs.
It is vital to keep the cut dough covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Working with one ball of dough a time, flatter or roll dough to a length of about 8 inches and width of 5 inches. Place the rolled purple dough over the rolled cream dough.
Starting from the shorter end, roll the dough into a log. Place into a greased loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.
Repeat process of rolling logs with remaining dough balls.
NOTE: I used a different rolling technique for the pullman loaf to achieve a more marbled effect. See recipe notes for details.
Standard Loaf Pan vs Pullman Loaf Pan
As noted above, I used a different rolling and folding technique for the pullman bread loaf. This results in a more marbled effect. See recipe notes for details.*
The standard loaf pan is on the left side of the image. It is the pan normally used for quick breads like banana bread.
Pullman loaf pan is different because it has a lid. This pan is known by many names including: pain de mie (crumb bread), pain anglais (English bread), or sandwich loaf pan.
Either type of loaf pan works wonderfully in this recipe. It just depends on what shape you want to achieve.
The standard loaf pan will create a tall loaf with peaks and valleys. While the pullman loaf pan will create a straight-edged rectangular block.
Just like my Japanese milk bread, this ube milk bread will remain soft and fluffy days after baking!
Enjoy one loaf for yourself and the give the other loaf away. Or, for later enjoyment, wrap the second loaf in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to one month.
5-Ingredient Ube Bread
It is a purple sweet potato that is very popular in the Philippines. The pronunciation of ube is /əbe/ in IPA or the “oo” sound in u no mixed with the word bay (keep in mind, I have a Chicagoan accent). Some people pronounce the second syllable as /bɛ/ like the beginning of the word “ be nd” so it sounds like “oo-beh”. This purple sweet potato is mashed and mixed with sugar or condensed milk and generally eaten for dessert.
Ube is one of my favorite flavors and even Elliott’s! He requests something ube flavored for his birthday every year. This year I decided to make him this 3-ingredient ube ice cream and he loved it!
My secret weapon for making ube desserts without all the fuss of actually preparing and cooking the purple sweet potato is by using an ube flavor extract. Just 1/2 tbsp of this extract yields enough ube flavor to make this very easy bread.
Ube Loaf Bread
Soft bread filled with creamy ube halaya or purple yam jam, You can use either store-bought or homemade. Either way, this ube loaf bread is delicious!
Rise time for the dough 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup reserved
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter or 43 grams
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 and 1/4 cup ube halaya (homemade or store-bought) measured using a liquid measuring cup
For the Egg Wash
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and active dry yeast. Whisk well.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter, milk and water until the butter melts. The temperature of the mixture should be between 110-115 F. Re-heat in the microwave when necessary.
Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add the egg and stir. Add some of the reserved flour gradually while stirring until the mixture turns into a soft dough that gathers in the center of the bowl. You may not need all the flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for 6-12 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Let the dough rest for ten minutes in a bowl, covered.
Roll the dough using a rolling pin into a 14x10 inch rectangle. Spread the ube across the dough. Roll the short side of the dough to form a tight log. Cut the log into 4 equal portions using a sharp knife. Arrange the portions, cut side up in a greased 9x5 loaf pan.
To let the rolls rise, preheat oven to 200 F. Once the temperature is reached, turn OFF the oven and put the ube loaf inside. Let it rise for 60-90 minutes, or until the size is doubled. Take the ube loaf out of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface with egg wash. Bake the loaf for 18-22 minutes or until the top is golden.
Beat one tablespoon of milk with 1 egg. Brush on the surface of the ube loaf.
Ube Bread Rolls with Cheese (Ube cheese Pandesal)
Made of real ube or purple yam, moist, soft, and fluffy on the inside. It has a crusty texture on the outside. Brushed with condensed milk and melted butter, then sprinkled with ground graham crackers that made this crusty exterior.
Filipino ube cheese pandesal has been recently popular bread rolls in the Philippines. Adding the two ingredients, ube and cheese to the traditional pandesal sure did hit to Filipino palate.
I made some twists on the traditional pandesal ube cheese bread rolls ingredients and method. I used real purple yam and boiled it with 1 1/2 cups of water until tender. I used the water from the boiled purple yam instead of regular liquid, like milk or water. It has the aroma of ube and purple colour that added extra flavour to this ube bread rolls. The starchy water from the ube gave additional elasticity to the texture of the dough.
By brushing the dough with a mixture of condensed milk and melted butter, it helps the bread crumbs to stick and give that more crusty texture.
Bread flour vs. All-purpose flour
I normally use bread flour for pandesal because I noticed it stays soft longer than the all-purpose flour. Since I don’t have bread flour on hand, so all-purpose flour is also a good substitute. To substitute the ratio is the same 1:1.
The bread flour has more protein and produces more gluten that makes the dough more elastic.
Typically the all-purpose flour has 11℅ gluten and bread flour has 14℅ gluten. All-purpose flour is so versatile that you can use it in many kinds of bread, cakes and pastry. That is why I always have this in my pantry at all times. It is also a great substitute for other types of flour.
It’s all about the Yeast
In any bread recipe, if using active dry yeast, it is a must that the yeast has been activated properly. Proofing is the term used by professional bakers to describe the initial process of activating the yeast. To be activated and multiply, sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the liquid. The yeast eats the sugar and it will multiply faster. The ideal liquid temperature in activating the dry active yeast is between 100°F to 120°F, and instant yeast ideal liquid temperature is 120°F to 130°F. It is important to remember that too much heat will kill the yeast, and the bread will not rise to maximum capacity.
Without a thermometer, test a drop on the inside of your wrist, the feel should be warm and not uncomfortably hot. If the liquid is too cool the yeast will be slow to activate.
Ube Powder VS. Fresh Ube
This recipe uses ube powder that is now widely available in baking supply shops or even online. Alternatively, purple yam jam (ube halaya) can also be used. Just reduce the sugar as it usually contains sweetener already. Of course, fresh ube can also be used. It has to be boiled and then mashed. I would say to use about half a cup to ¾ cup of ube jam for this recipe.
The ube powder is first rehydrated with hot water that will have a consistency similar to ube halaya. This will be added in making the dough. It will create a sticky dough. But because of the high water absorption of the ube powder, the resulting bread will be soft and moist even for several days after it is baked.
I get a lot of comment from others who used ube powder but theirs turned watery when hot water was added instead of absorbing the liquids. I think this is not the real ube powder starch but is used for flavoring only. If this is what you have, then I recommend using our regular Pandesal recipe and just add the ube powder flavor to the dough, dissolved in little water.
Ube Bar Bread
I have this Ube Bar Bread recipe for awhile but just didn’t get the chance to post it sooner. This bread was my absolute favorite growing up. I recently visited the Philippines and it will not be complete without getting my hands on it. We even brought some back to the States, well they were long gone now. Surprisingly, these Ube Bar Bread are not that easy to find anymore. We have checked several bakeries in Bulacan and where did we get them, the same bakery we used to get it! It was oven fresh meaning still warm when we got them.
I know what a close up, right? Just to give you a good view on how enticingly delicious these goodies were. Warning alert…because I used real ube or purple yum powder in this recipe, just eating two Ube Bar Bread can fill you. Seriously it was heavy but oh so yummy!
This recipe was adapted from here.
Making these Ube Bar Bread include baking the bread, making the ube syrup and finally rolling the bread into the dessicated coconut. Dessicated coconut are readily available in Asian Markets. Look for the medium grate or fine grate dessicated coconut.
1) Sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar into the warm milk. Add in the yeast and whisk in and set it aside.
2) Combine the flour, sugar, and the salt.
3) Add in 1/2 cup of flour into the milk and yeast mixture. and let the rise until double in size about 30 minutes.
4) Into the bread machine bucket or stand mixer add in the flour and yeast mixture, melted butter, flour and the egg yolks let the machine knead the dough.(if kneading by hand just combine all this together and knead it until its smooth and elastic ).
5) Once the machine finish kneading the dough transfer the dough into a large greased bowl and cover the dough and let it rise for 1 hr or until it doubled in size.
1) Combine the crushed graham crackers, brown sugar and the ube halaya mix it then add in the ube flavoring and the food color. Mix it again until it is well combine.
3) Do this to all divided dough and let this rise again for another 30-45 minutes.
after 45 minutes. This is now ready to bake
4)Bake this at a Preheated over 350 for about 15-18 minutes or until the top get slightly golden brown. Store the left over in the air tight container.
Ube Halaya Bread Rolls
Aside from getting a massage, bread making has been so therapeutic to me. Just seeing the dough magically transforms into an edible masterpiece brings me so much excitement and joy. I consider it my art work, my zen!
Although I am not an expert and definitely need inspiration from bakers before me, I make sure that the bread I make will be eaten by the family, they are after all my taste testers and direct consumers. One of the homemade breads that they approve of is this Ube Halaya Bread Rolls that is so soft and not overly sweet.
This dough is the same as my cinnamon rolls dough recipe that I adapted from Emma Fontanella of Emma’s Goodies. It is on the sticky side, (which makes the bread pillowy soft) so I suggest that you use a stand mixer if you want an easy clean up afterwards. You also don’t need a lot of mixing bowls! Just use the one that comes with your stand mixer and you’ll be fine. Here are the list of ingredients:
- 360 g flour or 2 ¾ cups
- 50 g granulated sugar or ¼ cup
- ½ tsp salt
- 50 g melted butter or 1 stick
- 180 g warm milk or ¾ cup
- 1 egg
- 1 packet instant dry yeast or 2 ¼ tsp
Here are 5 simple steps to guide you, but you can refer to the printable recipe below. First, combine all the dry ingredients second, add the liquid ingredients into the dry third, mix them together until well combined and sticky fourth, knead on medium speed for 5-8 minutes or until the dough forms into a smooth bowl fifth, spray with oil, cover with saran wrap or kitchen towel and rest for 1 hour.
Don’t be intimidated by the stickiness of this dough because that is what we want. You can add a tablespoon or two of flour, but adding too much may cause the bread to be tough.
The Ube Halaya Filling
To be honest, this bread would be so much better if I had used a homemade ube halaya from the real yam tuber, but we can always hope for the best next time. I couldn’t find an ube in an Asian supermarket near me, so the other best option is to use the powdered one. After all, this is nothing but a dehydrated version of the real thing!
You can also use a bottled ube jam! It will definitely lessen the prep time, especially if you are a busy person.
I just followed the ingredients and instructions listed at the back of the packet, but I will make sure to include it here:
- 1 pack 115 g Giron’s Powdered Ube
- 4 cups water for rehydration
- 1 can 370 ml evaporated milk (you can use whole milk)
- 1 can 300 ml sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cups to 3/4 cups sugar or as desired (I put 1/4 cups on my recipe because we did not want it overly sweet)
- 1 tbsp butter
- vanilla or pandan extractor grated lime rind for flavor– optional (I used 1 tbsp. ube extract to enhance the aroma and add color to the halaya.)
Soak powdered ube in water or simmer mixture until rehydrated. Add evaporated milk, condensed milk and sugar. Mix thoroughly until smooth. Pour in cooking pan preferably non-stick and cook over low fire for at least 30 minutes. Stir constantly until mixture forms into a thick paste or to a desired consistency. Add the vanilla or pandan extract or grated lime rind and the butter anytime during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
I only used about 2 cups of the cooked halaya, but you can add more if preferred.