With a savory curry filling, a chewy, springy texture, and a light coating of crispy panko, Japanese Curry Bread - or Kare Pan - is the star of pastries at Japanese bakery shops. If you are a huge fan of Japanese curry, you have to make this insanely delicious bread bun at home.
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: curry puff, japanese curry
Author: Namiko Chen
1 ¼cupbread flour(I calculate 1 cup = 120 g for bread flour; if you use a measuring cup, fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. Otherwise, your flour ends up with more than 120 g. )
Gather all the ingredients. Leave the unsalted butter and Japanese curry at room temperature.
To make the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour (150 g), cake flour (50 g), kosher salt (3 g), and sugar (15 g).
Microwave the milk (125 ml) until warm to the touch, about 95ºF/35ºC. Then add in the instant dry yeast (3 g) and the warm milk.
Using the silicone spatula, combine the wet and dry ingredients together until it becomes a rough dough. [1-2 minutes]
Once the dough becomes a ball, add the unsalted butter (10 g) in the center of the dough and combine well until the butter is incorporated into the dough. At first, the dough will be sticky, wet, and oily and you might want to add more flour, but wait and try kneading a little longer. [2-3 minutes]
Once you don’t see any big chunks of butter, transfer the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable. Read the tip on kneading below. [5 minutes]
Tip on kneading: Using the lower part of your palm, push out the dough. Then roll back up as if you’re drawing the number “8” with your hand. Rotate the dough 90 degrees every time you finish drawing “8”.
After drawing “8” a few times, bang the dough onto the work surface and fold it over away from you. This helps develop gluten (elasticity). Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat drawing “8” again. Continue this process until the dough is smooth, supple, and silky.
When the dough is moist, smooth, and pliable, form a ball. Place the seam side down on the working surface and twist the ball a few times to close the seam.
Place the dough back into the bowl, seam side down, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at 100ºF (38ºC) for 60 minutes, or until doubled in size (I used proof setting in my oven).
Dust your finger with flour and poke the center of the dough. If the dough doesn’t close up, it’s ready.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently punch/press it down.
Fold the dough into thirds widthwise.
Fold the dough into thirds lengthwise.
Turn upside down so the seam is facing down. Twist the dough to form a nice ball shape.
Measure the weight of the dough on a kitchen scale and divide the number by 8. Roughly cut the dough into 8 pieces.
Weigh each piece of dough and cut off the extra dough if it weighs more than you calculated.
Add the extra dough to the smaller dough piece(s). Hide the extra dough in the center of the small dough by pulling the dough from the side.
Twist the dough to seal the seam on your hand. Place the 8 dough balls on the baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
To form the curry bread:
Place the dough seam side up and flatten out each piece with your hand. Fold in thirds widthwise.
Fold in thirds lengthwise, and then turn it upside down so the seam side is on the bottom.
Flatten again, and flip so the seam side is up.
Roll out into a 3.5 inch (9 cm) circle using a rolling pin.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. One by one, thin out the edges of the dough with your fingers, with the center thicker than the edges. The circle should be 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place the dough seam side up and put 1 to 1.5 Tbsp of curry paste in the center of the circle. Gather the opposing edges of the circle and fold the dough in half. Remember, KEEP THE CURRY OUT from the edges! It’s the most crucial part. If you didn’t read my post, read my tip #2 now in the post!
Tightly pinch the edges to seal well. If the edges are not pinched and pressed tightly, the seam might open up during proofing/deep frying.
Next, to double secure, fold the edges over to one side at least once, like folding a brown lunch bag. Press the edges again to secure.
Keeping the seam side on the bottom, put the bread back onto the silicone mat and cover with a damp towel while working on the rest of the dough.
Once all the dough has curry filling, crack the egg into a bowl and whisk well. Place the panko in a shallow bowl/tray. Using a pastry brush, coat the formed dough with egg and then panko.
Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rise at 100ºF (38ºC) for 45-60 minutes or until 1.5 times its size (I used proof setting in my oven). If you touch the dough with your finger, the indentation will stay on the dough.
To deep fry the bread:
In a deep frying pot (I like using my 2.75QT Staub), heat the 4 cups (960 ml) oil to 320ºF (160ºC). Place 2-3 pieces of the curry bread into the oil, seam side down. After a few seconds, flip it around so the seam side is now up. You may need to hold it with a pair of tongs. Keep turning them while they deep fry, until they cook to a golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the oil well and transfer to the wire rack or some paper towels to drain while it cools. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 3-4 weeks. To reheat, bake at 350ºF (177ºC) until warm inside.
Cake Flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour and corn starch. Here’s how.
Prepare 1 cup all-purpose flour in the bowl.
Remove 2 Tbsp from the bowl.
Add 2 Tbsp corn starch back to the bowl.
Now you have 1 cup of cake flour.
Be sure to sift the flour to distribute the cornstarch well before using it in your cake batter.
Instant Dry Yeast: If you're using active dry yeast, it requires being activated in a little bit of warm water (110ºF/43ºC) before being added to the rest of the ingredients. In this recipe, add the active dry yeast in 110ºF/43ºC milk, hotter than the temperature specified in the recipe because if the milk is not hot enough, the yeast won't dissolve nicely.Japanese Curry: Make sure the curry is solid pasty texture and not liquid so that you can scoop the paste and wrap it in the dough. My recommendation is to make the curry one day before you plan to make curry bread, chill overnight in the fridge, and bring it back to room temperature while preparing the dough.