This wholemeal nian gao loaf bread was a recipe I tried last year. The photos were a little dull, so I decided to redo them this year!
Do you still have any nian gao left in your refrigerator?
Nian gao (年糕) is a block of sweet cake made from glutinous rice flour for Chinese New Year celebration. There are many myths and practices on this sweet cake, originating from the olden days to now. Nian gao can be eaten during the CNY period, or if well-kept, to be refrigerated and eaten through the year.
For my family, we really enjoy eating this little sweet treat! What’s more about adding the nian gao into making bread?! We love the texture of this bread! It is soft and chewy. The texture can be described as “绵密” in Chinese.
若想阅读中文版本，请在网页的右边 “Google Translate” 点击选择 中文简体 (Chinese Simplified）或 繁体 (Chinese Traditional) 翻译。可能食谱读起来会怪怪的，所以如果有疑问都可以问哦！
This year, I tried making homemade nian gao again, since I wanted to let my elder daughter try. And yes, her first try, and she loves nian gao just like me!
>> MORE BREAD RECIPES:
So while we “indulge” in our favourite nian gao once in a year, I have also decided to make this a healthier choice by using some wholegrain flour, demerara sugar, coconut oil, desiccated coconut topping. I also reduced the sugar for this bread. If you use the reduced sugar version (5g), you’ll find that the bread is not sweet.
However, if you prefer a sweeter bread, feel free to use sugar between 10g – 15g.
A sweet loaf bread that contains nian gao, a Chinese glutinous rice sweet cake, which makes the bread soft, with a dense, wholesome mouthfeel. Yum!
- 220 g bread flour + 30g Prima superfine wholegrain flour*
- 5 g sugar
- 100 g nian gao, steamed for 5 mins if it has hardened
- 25 g coconut oil
- 130 g water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 30g-50g dried cranberries, optional
- Desiccated coconut, optional
Place all ingredients (except cranberries) into bread machine bread pan, to knead into dough. I am using Panasonic SD-P104, Mode 9 Bread Dough. This includes kneading + first proof. If you are using mixer, mix all ingredients together (except cranberries).
Proof for about 45mins to 1 hour till it doubles. You can add in the cranberries after the dough comes together.
After first proof, remove the dough and let it rest for10 mins. The dough is quite sticky, so dust your work space and dough with flour. Punch out air and roll into a rectangular shape. Ensure the length is just nice for your bread tin. Swiss roll the dough up and placed into bread tin.
Let the dough proof again for about 45 mins to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180C. Just before baking, brush the surface of the dough lightly with milk. Sprinkle desiccated coconut and press onto dough gently to "secure" the coconut.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C, middle rack, for about 20 mins.
Let cool completely before slicing or placing into air tight container.
I like to use Prima's range of unbleached bread flour and wholegrain flour. You can substitute 30g of wholegrain flour with other wholemeal flour of your choice, plain flour, top/cake flour or bread flour.
Do note that most top/cake flour will be bleached. Prima has unbleached version of top flour; its cake flour seemed to be bleached though.
If you prefer a sweeter loaf, you can use 10g-15g of sugar. Any type of sugar is ok. I am using demerara sugar as it is unrefined sugar and carries some nutritional values than refined sugar. You can also use coconut sugar here for low GI. - I am using coconut oil as I love the fragrance, but you can choose to use any kind of oil you prefer.
Over here, I roll out the bread dough after 2nd proofing, into a longish rectangular shape. I then use a knife and made 2 cuts along the length, and braided the bread. You can do this, or roll into regular bread - totally up to u! 😉
Recipe adapted from Carol Hsu
The desiccated coconut is slightly toasted more to the brown side as I am using 180C to bake. Previously I used 160C to bake for a slightly longer time to retain the white desiccated coconut look.
Which do you prefer? 🙂
And here’s the photo from 2017! If you are interested to know how I improved my food photos, go here!