Friday 18 September 2015

Totoro & Brown Bear Pull-Apart Bread

Pull-apart bread buns are called chigiri pan in Japan. Chigiri pan made into various characters are all the rage in Japan recently. I first saw them on various Japanese accounts on Instagram a couple of months ago, and they immediately went into my to-do list. I first tried making them around four months back (my memory isn't that fantastic, I checked my Instagram to see when I first posted the buns, lol), but I was not too satisfied with how they turned out. I attempted them again recently and I'm happy with them this time, so I've updated the recipe in this post. :)

And it's no surprise that the character I choose for my bread bun is my favourite Totoro. The bread recipe is nothing new though, I used a recipe I shared on the blog before. This recipe is a keeper for me, it's really straight forward but the bread still remains soft the following day.

I used marshmallow for their eyes here, I only realised I was out of icing and white chocolate until it was time to decorate the bread buns. -_- I was searching for something I could use and found some mini marshmallows. They actually turned out quite well and compliments the icing sugar I used for Totoro's tummy. However, if you prefer, icing and white chocolate will work too.

Makes me happy just looking at so many of Totoros, but I'm bias towards anything Totoro.

Thought I'll share this earlier attempt of mine too, this was my first attempt at making pull-apart buns in a ring. I decorated them into Brown bear from line. I was not happy with these, so I won't be updating the recipe, but I'm sure you can figure out how to make this and other similar characters using the recipe I'm sharing for Totoro.

Sorry, one more Totoro related photo to share. Totoro marshmallow on top of my latte. Isn't it cute? Drank this while I was updating my blog.

Alright, back to the Totoro bread recipe. I used a chiffon tin to make the bread buns, but it's not a must. You can substitute it with a round pan, and place a small ramekin in the middle too.


Bread Dough:
250g bread flour
30g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
25g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 beaten egg (keep the reminder 1/2 egg for egg wash)
120g water
Icing sugar
Mini marshmallows
Melted chocolate

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except butter, in a large bowl to get a dough. Add in butter and knead until dough is springy and soft, this takes around 10 minutes. If you have a bread maker, you can just use the dough function for this step, as well as step 2.
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  3. Cover the dough with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for it to rise. This takes around an hour and the dough should double in size. Do a finger test to check if it's ready.
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  5. Take dough out and punch out the air from the dough with your fist. 
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  7. Divide the dough into 9 portions, 8 portions will be used for the Totoro's body and the last portion is used for making all of Totoro's ears. You can weigh them out if you like. I weighed out 8 portions of around 57g and just combine whatever is left for the last portion. Roll them out and form them into balls. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
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  9. Roll out the 8 portions, one at a time and form them into balls. Grease the pan and place them round in a 21cm chiffon tin. At this point, there will still be space, as the dough will double in size after proofing. Pinch off dough from the last portion and shape into ears for Totoro. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough proof for 40 minutes.
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  11. Brush with egg wash and bake at 180 degrees celcius for around 15 minutes or till they turn golden brown. I did not brush with egg wash for mine.
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  13. After the bread has cooled down, spread on icing sugar for Totoro's tummies. I used a brush to brush on the icing sugar. Using a mini marshmallow, cut off both ends and stick onto the bread. After cutting, the cut side of the marshmallow is sticky and can stick onto the bread. Alternatively, you can also use icing or white chocolate for the eyes and tummies, if you prefer.
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  15. Pipe on the rest of the details using melted chocolate.
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  1. 每一款都好cute啊!!真让人兴奋^^

  2. I love pull apart bread buns and these are the cutest I've ever seen! One of these days I've to try to bake buns, your recipes are all so tempting!:)

  3. So cute! I love these pull-apart bread buns too, been making some over the last few weeks.

  4. how do you make melted chocolate? I had tried a few brands of chocolate bars, placed over a bowl of hot water and it melted into lumps.. not in liquid kind. I dont have a microwave oven

    1. I was using chocolate pens bought in Japan for this. I think Phoon Huat sells something similar. I've not tried melting chocolate bars, but I tried chocolate chips and they work too.

    2. that often happens when you cook the chocolate on too high of a temperature, you have to cook it super low and stir frequently, this takes awhile but its the only way it will work, and don't over cook it, that's when it clumps

  5. Umm Where did that super cute marshmallow come from?!

    Also, I am super excited to try making these. Thank you so much!

    1. I've no idea, as they were gifts. I'm working on making similar marshmallows thought, hope to share soon.

  6. Hi, i would like to ask, where do you have the Totoro Marshmallow from?
    And the recipe looks really good, i will try it too today :)

  7. Hi, should I choose mix dough or ferment dough for Mayer bread machine?

  8. Hihi, It looks yummy! I am trying out your recipe now for my kids. Can I know what should I select for my Mayer bread machine? Should it be mix dough or ferment dough?

    1. Should be ferment dough if you want to do both step 1 and step 2.

  9. For the Totoro's ears, how do you get the dough to stick/stay on the body? Mine keeps pulling apart :x

    1. I pressed it in a little, and after the final proof, the ears should be supported by the centre tube of the chiffon tin.


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