I really feel sorry for mothers with small children. It has been so wet and horrible in the UK recently. It just doesn’t stop raining.
When my children were small, we did a lot of hand craft at home on rainy days. Since we didn’t have a television or computer games, we needed to use our imagination and creativity to enjoy the day.
Baking bread was one of the fun projects. We could let steam out by bashing the dough on the kitchen worktop, too.
My boys favorite was bread with Adzuki bean paste. They still love them.
In Japanese food shops, you can find powdered Adzuki ready to use for cooking but I quite often use tinned Adzuki bean from supermarket.
Bread with Adzuki bean paste
for the paste
400g (1 tin) Adzuki bean including water
100-130g sugar or desired quantity
450g strong bread flour
2 tsp or 10g fast acting dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
170-190ml warm milk
1. Put Adzuki bean and sugar in a saucepan and cook until thick. You would need to make into a thick paste for easy handling.
2. Put the strong bread flour in a mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar on one side and salt and lukewarm milk on the other. Put butter next to salt as well. Gently mix them together. If the mixture ins too sticky, add more flour, if it is too dry, add milk.
3. When combined, take the dough out onto a work table and knead good 15 minutes.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and set it aside to prove, about 45 minutes. This gives the yeast time to work: the dough should double in size.
5. Once proven, punch the dough to knock out air. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut up in several pieces. Spread out the piece with rolling pin and place the cooled adzuki paste in the centre. Roll it into a ball. Shape it into a animal shapes or faces if you would like; teddy, fish, hedgehog, etc. Use raisins for eyes. Use kitchen scissors and snap the dough to make the spikes of a hedgehog.
6. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Brush with beaten egg yolk for glaze (optional) Bake in a pre-heated oven, 350F or 180C for about 15 minutes.
You can use chocolate paste or peanut butter for variations.
A Happy rainy day!