Happy soon-to-be Halloween! To get into the spirit of the holiday, I decided to make this Halloween Pull-Apart Bread! This sort of bread is called “chigiri-pan” in Japan, which basically means “torn bread”. It is super popular in Japan right now and people love to decoarte the bread with cute animal faces or cartoon character designs. So since it’s Halloween, I drew scary faces, bats, and spiderwebs; basically anything ‘halloweeny’ I could think of! This bread is so much fun to make and decorate, especially for children, and it makes a great Halloween party snack or a treat to give out to trick-or-treaters!
Halloween isn’t a big thing in Australia and not many people really celebrate it, aside from children who love to get free candy from trick-or-treating. But in Japan, it’s huge and people really love it! A while ago, when I was growing up, it was barely heard of and no one celebrated but recently it became really popular! One of the main reasons for this are the big theme parks in Japan, like Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios, started to decorate the parks for Halloween and had themed parades and events, which got everyone excited about Halloween! Another reason is that Halloween usually means dressing up in crazy costumes, so of course Japanese people who invented Cosplay love this! Nowadays in Japan, towards October, Halloween supplies can be found in probably any store, and everywhere is decorated to celebrate the holiday.
So although I’m in Australia where Halloween isn’t that popular, I still wanted to get into the Halloween spirit by doing some baking! I decided to make this bread after being inspired by all the cute Japanese pull-apart breads that I had been seeing on Instagram. Some were shaped like bears or pandas, and some were decorated like famous Japanese characters like Rilakkuma and Totoro. I was going to make the bread into one of these Japanese characters but I thought since it’s nearly Halloween, I’ll make it into a spooky design! I used the classic Halloween colours of black, white, and orange by using cocoa to make the black and pumpkin to give the bread an orange colour.
After we waited impatiently for the dough to rise then bake then cool down, we finally got to the fun part of decorating! My daughter and I had a lot of fun decorating the bread with Halloween designs. We went in to our local Daiso (a Japanese store that sells cheap items) and found a food decorating pen. We filled it with melted chocolate then decorated the bread with all the Halloween designs we could think of! If you don’t have a Daiso near you or in your city at all, you might be able to find a similar decorating pen in any homeware stores or cooking supply shops.
Once you’ve decorated all the bread pieces with your Halloween designs you finally get to eat it! Serve the bread at a Halloween party and everyone can have fun pulling off the piece with their favourite design. Or pull the bread apart and put into bags to hand out to trick-or-treaters!
- For Basic Bread Dough (3 batches need to be made: one for white bread, one for black cocoa bread, and one for the orange pumpkin bread)
- 125 g baker's flour
- 12 g sugar
- 2 g salt
- 12 g butter
- 90 ml warm milk (microwave it)
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- For the Pumpkin Bread- add 30g of pumpkin puree and reduce the amount of milk to 60 ml
- For the Cocoa Bread- add 1 tsp of cocoa to the flour
- Melted white and milk chocolate for the decoration on top of the bread
- Follow the instructions below for each separate ball of dough (white, cocoa, and pumpkin).
- Add the warm milk, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl. (For the pumpkin bread, add the pumpkin puree in this step and reduce the amount of milk).
- Add flour to the same bowl then make a well in the centre of the flour and add the dry yeast in to it. (For cocoa bread, add the cocoa to the flour in this step).
- Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until it forms into a big ball of dough.
- Dust flour on a kitchen bench and knead the dough for about 20 minutes or until the surface of the dough becomes shiny.
- Spray some oil in a big bowl and put the dough in the centre. Do this for the cocoa and pumpkin bread too at the same time but in different bowls.
- Cover each bowl with cling wrap and leave them somewhere warm (or leave them in an oven for 1 hour at 30 c).
- Once the dough has been left for an hour take each out of the bowl and place onto a floured bench or chopping bread. Preheat the oven to 180 c.
- Punch each ball of dough down and divide them into even-sized pieces. The white and cocoa dough should be cut into 5 pieces and the pumpkin dough cut into 6 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a nice round shape and place it in a baking tin lined up next to each other.
- Cover the baking tin with cling wrap and leave it in warm place till the size of the dough doubles.
- Bake it for about 20 minutes. Occasionally check the bread to see if it has become browned (you need to cover with aluminium foil to prevent further browning or burn).
- Take the bread out of the oven once it has cooked, allow it to cool down a little, then have fun decorating it with a deco-pen filled with melted chocolate.
- Serve the bread on a plate for everyone to pull apart.
Serving size= 1 piece of pull-apart bread.
This bread was inspired from several recipes on the Japanese blog site, レシピブログ.