(Note: in Japanese bread is "pan", and so here "pan-da" is used as a pun meaning "it's bread"- panda-bread.) I baked cute panda-pan (bread). After many revisions, this is my final version of the recipe!
Ingredients: one rectangular pullman loaf (206 x 108 x 100 mm high)
Please adjust the amounts of matcha and cocoa powder to taste.
Put all the ＊ ingredients in a bread machine! (Mix the milk and egg yolk together, and microwave until it's warmed up to body temperature; 40-60 seconds / 35-38°C.) Put the dry yeast in the yeast compartment.
When the dough is done kneading (before the 1st rising starts), take it out of the machine. (Using my bread machine, it takes about 20 minutes.)
Divide the dough into 3 portions for each part of the panda. About 75 g or 1/6 for the cocoa dough; about 210 g or 1/3 for the plain dough; about 285 g or 1/2 for the matcha dough. These weights are what I had (FYI).
Knead the dissolved cocoa powder into the chocolate dough portion, and the dissolved matcha into the matcha dough portion.
Round off each poriton of dough, place seam side down, and cover with plastic wrap and a tightly wrung out moistened kitchen towel. Leave the dough to proof (1st rising. If using a microwave for this, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes).
Deflate the dough lightly, cover again and leave to rest for about 20 to 30 minutes. Deflate again.
It's time to put the loaf together! Roll a bit less than half the plain dough (90 g) and 1/6 each of the cocoa dough (27 g each) into cylindrical shapes by rolling them on your work surface. Stick the cocoa dough pieces on the plain dough piece (the cocoa pieces are the eyes).
Fill the space between the cocoa pieces with about 1/4 of the plain dough.
Roll out the remaining plain dough with a rolling pin, and wrap it around the formed dough parts as if you were wrapping a sushi roll. *Put the seam on the bottom and seal.
Cut the remaining cocoa dough in half, roll each piece out into a long thin pieces, and attach to the top (for the ears).
Fill the gap between the ears with a bit more than 1/4 of the matcha dough.
Roll out the rest of the matcha dough with a rolling pin, and wrap it around the formed dough as if you were wrapping a sushi roll. *Lay seam side down and seal the edges.
Put the dough in an oiled square loaf pan (in the middle of the pan) and cover with plastic wrap and a tightly wrung out moistened kitchen towel. Leave for the 2nd rising, until the dough has risen to 1 cm under the rim of the pan. If proofing it in a microwave, it takes about 50 to 60 minutes.
Put the lid on the loaf pan, and bake in a 200 °C oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
This is a failed attempt. I added more of the eye-colored dough, and they got too droopy.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made this bread to to make my little niece happy. I used SALASA's delicious recipe for light and fluffy sandwich bread (Recipe ID: 282912) as a reference, and made this without thinking it through too much - and it worked! It was so cute, I decided to upload the recipe...
For the dough, please refer to SALASA's recipe (Recipe ID: 282912), which is really easy to understand. I basically just used it as craft material... The eyes will look cuter if you position them a little lower than shown in the photo. In addition, put the formed dough pieces in the middle of the pan if possible! Please adjust the cocoa and matcha tea powder amounts to taste. Even if you just add a little, the dough will still have a nice color, and will look very soft and nice.