I saw this Kabocha bread on a Japanese web site last year when I was searching for cute Halloween things to cook. This kabocha bread is sweet Kabocha An paste wrapped with Japanese soft milk bread and shaped like a kabocha pumpkin or a Kabocha squash. This bread is a sweet bread so it is a great snack to share at a Halloween party.
In Japan, we did not really celebrate Halloween and it was not a big seasonal event when I was young. Many Japanese people still don’t follow the Halloween traditions. However cute Halloween Jack o lantern pumpkins and pumpkin themed Halloween goods are gradually gaining popularity in Japan. Japanese people started to celebrate Halloween without knowing the real meaning of Halloween like Japanese people celebrate Christmas in Japan.
Kabocha pumpkin is the best pumpkin in my opinion as it has chestnuts like flavour and when it is cooked they are not soggy and watery like other pumpkins I find in Australia. Even the pumpkin called Japanese pumpkin or Kent pumpkin in Australia, are not really like the Japanese pumpkins that I used to cook in Japan. It is very hard to describe it, but Japanese people describe the texture with onomatopoeia “Hoku Hoku”. Perhaps this can be translated as ‘firm’ and ‘tasty’!
I modified a Kabaocha bread recipe and make my Kabocha bread like Anpan. An is made out of half pumpkin paste and half purple sweet potato paste. You need to use purple sweet potato to achieve “Hoku Hoku” flavour and texture. Then an paste is wrapped with Japanese soft milk bread but this milk bread contain a little bit of pumpkin paste as well to give the bread dough yellowy colour to look like real pumpkins. Shaping the bread dough with kitchen twine requires a little bit of practice, but is not difficult. It is really fun to make, looks great for a Halloween party and is delicious!
Kabocha Bread is Japanese milk bread roll with sweet kabocha squash and sweet potato paste baked the shape of Kabocha squash. Great for Halloween!
- 250 g Baker’s flour
- 30 g mashed Kabocha pumpkin
- 15 g sugar
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 150 ml milk
- 20 g butter
- 2 g salt
- 8 x 80cm kitchen twine cotton string
- For Kabocha an paste
- 50 g mashed pumpkin
- 50 g mashed purple sweet potato
- 30 g sugar
Make kabocha an first. Peel the kabocha and sweet potato. Cook the peeled kabocha and sweet potato and mash them.
Put mashed kabocha pumpkin and sweet potato in a small sauce pan, add sugar and stir constantly on low heat for about 5 minutes. When water evaporates a little and the paste thickens, turn the heat off and cool it down completely.
Make it into small balls (about 2 tbs each) and set aside.
Make bread dough. Place baker’s flour salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
Combine 1 egg yolk, 150ml milk (160ml all together, so you may need more than 15ml milk) sugar, and melted butter and dry yeast.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the flour bowl and mix.
Knead the bread dough for about 15 minutes.
Spray the surface of the bowl and place the knead dough and wrap with cling wrap. Leave it for 40 minutes to raise.
Soak the twine (strings) in 1 tbs of oil (any types, I used olive oil)
When it becomes twice in size, take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 8 round balls.
Flatten the dough ball out and place pumpkin an paste on the centre and wrap it.
Take the excess oil off the string and place it on the kitchen bench. Place one dough on the centre. Take two ends of the string and cross it in the centre, and flip the dough around and cross the string, and flip the dough with the string again and repeat. Try not to tie the twine too tight. Make the knot and place the knot side down on the baking paper.
Repeat the step for each.
Place a moist tea towel over the bread and leave it in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Pre heat the oven 180 degree and bake them for 12-15 minutes.
Cool the breads down and cut twine at a few places. Remove twine carefully.
This recipe is inspired and modified from the recipe