Brandon Goes to Beijing

Brandon Goes To Beijing by Eugenia Chu

I received Brandon Goes To Beijing by Eugenia Chu for Multicultural Children’s Book day 2022. brandon goes to beijing

My 8 year old son and I really enjoyed the story! My son’s favorite part was when they made and ate dumplings. It definitely made us want to at least eat, if not make, dumplings of our own 🙂 You can visit the author’s website ( for Pó Po’s jiǎo zi recipe. 

I also really liked how you can listen to an audio recording of the book, read by the author, on her website, which is super helpful if you have any difficulty pronouncing the Mandarin Chinese words. 

I highly recommend this book. We learned a lot and it was a fun way to learn. We love diversifying our reading collection. 

Many thanks to Multicultural Children’s Book Day , Eugenia Chu, and all of the sponsors and authors that made this possible. 


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

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January 30, 2022 / Comments Off on Brandon Goes to Beijingby /
Filipino Beef Caldereta

Beef Caldereta

However you spell it – Beef Caldereta or Kaldereta, this Filipino Beef Stew is one of the ultimate comfort foods next to Adobo And it’s so easy to make and customize.

Beef Caldereta Roasted Vegetables

Roasting the Vegetables Gives a Deeper More Complex Flavor

I know there are tons of variations on this dish as there is with pretty much ANY Filipino recipe, so what I’ve decided to try and do is show you how you can make the basics of the dish and then I added some ideas that I’ve heard from multiple readers as to how THEIR Lola does it. Some add olives, some add liver paste, some add pineapple juice, etc., etc., etc. And really, those are the things that really make this a Filipino beef stew recipe, rather than just any beef stew recipe. I happened to add Thyme to it. I know that’s not a traditional Filipino ingredient, but I had some growing fresh and I knew it would work very well in this recipe. But no, it’s also not how my Lola would make it either. I’m sure if she read this she would give me the silent stare.

One of the secrets to developing flavors in this dish and taking your beef caldereta to the next level is to roast the vegetables beforehand. This allows the sugars to really come out and give you some slight caramelization before adding it to the stew.

You’ll also notice I used three different tomato products. I find the tomato paste, especially once you’ve browned it adds an added element of umami to the dish. The whole (chopped) tomatoes once roasted add sweetness, and the tomato sauce helps make it a stew.

And now that you’ve add all that Filipino yum, let’s talk about desert, shall we? Some Lemon Bars would be the perfect counter-balance to the savory overload in this dish!

Lemon Bars

Always present at any family gathering. Lola’s Lemon Bars have always been a hit. These sweet, tart, refreshingly fresh desserts are a treat for everyone.

Check out this recipe

cut lemon bars
beef caldereta

Beef Caldereta

However you spell it - Beef Caldereta or Kaldereta, this Filipino Beef Stew is one of the ultimate comfort foods. And it's so easy to make and customize.
Print Recipe
CourseMain Course
Keywordbeef stew, caldereta, filipino beef stew, kaldereta
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings4 people


  • Instant Pot
  • Sheet pan


  • 1 lb Stew Beef cubed
  • ½ Carrot diced
  • ½ Onion quartered
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic diced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 16 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 lb Potatoes
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 16 oz Beef Stock

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • ¼ cup Olives chopped
  • 1 tbsp Liver Paste
  • ¼ cup Pineapple Juice


Roast Vegetables

  • To really bring out the flavors of the vegetables, we're going to roast them
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Combine chopped onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes in a bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and one tsp salt in a bowl.
    Caldereta Vegetables
  • Toss to coat
  • Spread vegetables out flat on your sheet pan
  • Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F
    Beef Caldereta Roasted Vegetables

Prepare Beef

  • Turn on Instant Pot (if you're using one, if not use your pressure cooker, or pot as you normally would) and set to Saute, high
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pot
  • Add tomato paste to pot, stirring and browning
  • Once tomato paste is browned add beef to pot with 1 tsp salt, turning to brown all sides
    beef caldereta browning
  • Once browned, add tomato sauce, beef stock, and bay leaf to pot
    kaldereta pre pressure cook
  • Set your instant pot to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
  • Close up lid and wait for beef to cook. The pressure cooking will help to tenderize the beef

Combine Ingredients

  • Once the beef is done and you have released the pressure add the roasted vegetables, bell peppers and any of the optional add-ins from the recipes list
  • Allow to simmer for another 15 minutes
  • Serve with a side of fresh cooked rice
    beef caldereta rice



    Serving: 8oz | Sodium: 6579mg | Calcium: 299mg | Vitamin C: 234mg | Vitamin A: 14058IU | Sugar: 43g | Fiber: 24g | Potassium: 6677mg | Cholesterol: 336mg | Calories: 1605kcal | Saturated Fat: 13g | Fat: 59g | Protein: 132g | Carbohydrates: 142g | Iron: 22mg


    April 10, 2020 / by / Tags: , , , , ,
    Bacon Jam? That’s My Jam!

    Bacon Jam? That’s My Jam!

    Of all the loves in my life, bacon jam always returns to me. I may forget about it for a while (mainly because I make so much at one time, or try not to eat so many burgers, or grilled cheese) but when it enters my consciousness, it really comes storming in. And I go storming in to Costco to buy vast quantities of bacon. Because that’s my jam.

    I originally found this bacon jam recipe by Martha Stewart. And I’m not allowed to change the way Martha does things. The only thing I’ve changed is that I’ve used my Cuisinart Multi Cooker. That way I can just do everything in one pot and leave it.

    So what should you do with your new jam? Well you could just eat it. Or, the best uses I have found are burgers, and grilled cheeses. Maybe even with… Cinnamon Rolls!

    bacon jam

    Bacon Jam

    Meaty, salty bacon, sweet onions, bitter coffee... what can you do with all this? Bacon jam! Your new favorite condiment and it's my jam!
    Print Recipe
    Keywordbacon, bacon jam, condiments
    Prep Time10 minutes
    Cook Time4 hours
    Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
    Servings5 cups


    • Slow cooker
    • Food Processor
    • Measuring Spoons


    • 1 ½ pounds bacon sliced, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 onions medium yellow, diced small
    • 3 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
    • ½ cup cider vinegar
    • ½ cup dark-brown sugar packed
    • ¼ cup maple syrup pure
    • ¾ cup coffee brewed


    • In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
      cooked bacon for bacon jam
    • With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
    • Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use); add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
    • Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.
      simmering onions for bacon jam
    • Add bacon and stir to combine.
      bacon jam almost ready
    • Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
      bacon jam
    • Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.
    • Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.


    Serving: 2oz | Sodium: 456mg | Calcium: 28mg | Vitamin C: 2mg | Vitamin A: 25IU | Sugar: 16g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 221mg | Cholesterol: 45mg | Calories: 360kcal | Saturated Fat: 9g | Fat: 27g | Protein: 9g | Carbohydrates: 20g | Iron: 1mg
    March 12, 2019 / Comments Off on Bacon Jam? That’s My Jam!by /
    The Best Champagne for the Holidays

    Every holiday is different. Whether it be one of the winter holidays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Talk Like a Pirate Day. They each have their own nuances requiring different tastes and styles in in champagne or sparkling wine.

    A quick aside, I won’t go too in depth into the difference between champagne and sparkling wine. Simple, if it’s from the champagne region of France, it’s champagne. If it’s not, it’s something else, likely just sparkling wine, but not technically champagne. But for the sake of ease and fanciness we’ll just use the word “champagne”. *Sorry to my readers in France

    So what makes the best tasting champagne? Here’s a secret – it’s not the price. The best champagne for the holidays is the one that you like. Let’s not get crazy.

    affiliate links ahead!

    And if you’re looking for something quick and nearby, I noticed Target has a TON of options (and of course all the accessories you need to go along with it!



    cremant d'alsace

    For Hanukkah I would recommend a nice Sparkling Rose. While munching on latkes, briket, noodle kugel, you’re going to want something that can be fully versatile and be able to jitterbug through all of the different options like Bayani Casimiro. A sparkling rose like a Joseph Cattin Cremant d’Alsace Rose is going to do that for you. And with all of the “Rose All Day” stuff going on right now, you probably have something on hand, if not it’s easier than ever to find something in your price point and to your taste.


    Doctor Loosen Sparkling Riesling

    Your Kwanzaa meal often employs a variety of spicy dishes, whether it be a creole dish, Jamaican type of dish, or African curry type of dish. You’re going to need something to help tame that fiery beast doing battle with your tongue! For this I recommend a nice sparkling Riesling. Like this Doctor Loosen Sparkling Riesling. The sweetness of this grape is going to dance around on your palette and tell those spice induced demons “Hey, we’re all cool here. It’s the holidays”. And everyone will be happy… Depending on ho much of it you drink.

    Christmas Eve

    Winderlea 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir - Red Wine

    Here he comes! Good Ol’ Saint Nick! Tonight is the night you’re readying yourself for the big day. You might be attending midnight mass, you might be having fondue, you might be getting visited by spirits intruding on your sleep. Whatever it is you’re doing, this just a buildup to the big day. For this I’d recommend making your own concoction. A sparkling Mulled Wine! Gluhwein is already sweetened with spices, all you need to do is provide the bubbly. And some bubbly water will do just fine in this case. Start with a nice red, like this Winderlea 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir – Red Wine then add your mulling spices (cloves, cinnamon, orange and lemon peel), warm over a stove. Then add the bubbles!


    Moet & Chandon Imperial (375ML half-bottle) - Champagne & Sparkling

    Christmas is here! The goose is indeed fat, and you’re getting another hillbilly hoover for Christmas! Yay! For this and for NYE I say break out the good stuff. It’s the celebration of the year and you want to be happy. Tiny bubbles make Don Ho happy, so why not you! I also saw that Moet has these cool Christmas themed bottles at Costco right now. Yeah, they got me.
    Moet & Chandon Imperial (375ML half-bottle) – Champagne & Sparkling

    New Year’s Eve

    Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut (375ML half-bottle) - Champagne & Sparkling

    Should old acquaintances be forgot… wait, is that it? Doesn’t matter. The year’s over, you’re ringing in the new year, getting ready to sweep your entire house, bank a bunch of pots and pans together to chase out the spirits and wear your best polka dotted attire. And like a week ago, you’re breaking out the good stuff. But you already did Moet… try Veuve this time! And like the Moet, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating because you’re drinking good bubbly. Bonus, I’ve seen this at Costco too, and it had a nice outfit on.
    Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut (375ML half-bottle) – Champagne & Sparkling

    New Year’s Day

    Ok, you’ve done a lot of bubbly drinking over the last week it’s now time to start winding down. The new year has started everything looks bright, there are football games on. And now that sparkling wine in a can has become acceptable, you no longer have to settle for the Champagne of Beers (Miller High Life)! And for this, I recommend getting whatever you can get your hands on because someone else will get their hands on it first!

    So I hope I’ve cleared this up for you and whatever you’re celebrating, I hope you’re doing it with good cheer and at least decent bubbly. And what is a good champagne for the holidays? That one you’re drinking right there.

    Happy Holidays from Filivino!

    December 7, 2018 / by / Tags: , ,
    Simple Ube Ensaymada Recipe

    Simple Ube Ensaymada Recipe!

    I keep finding more uses for the bread dough in my Fluffy White Sandwich Bread recipe. And my latest concoction is a Filipino Ube Ensaymada recipe!

    The Filipino ensaymada bread is a great treat for every household. You’ll find it is a staple in every Filipino bakery you walk into. This ensaymada recipe includes ube, but if you don’t have leftovers from your ube bread, or just don’t want to use it, you can easily leave it out if you want plain ensaymada. That makes it easier to top with cheese, or peanut butter like Lolo! But really, who doesn’t love some purple ube ensaymada? And while they may look like cinnamon rolls, they are quite different. Perhaps more akin to a sweet, savory dinner roll.

    Now considering how easy to make the bread dough is from the previous recipe, this simple ube ensaymada recipe is going to make your life so much simpler and infinitely more delicious.


    ube ensaymada inside

    Ube Ensaymada

    Starting with my Fluffy white bread recipe I've decided to see what else I can do with it. So far it's a lot! It makes great ensaymada. If you don't have or want to use Ube, feel free to leave that part out.
    Print Recipe
    Keywordensaymada, ube ensaymada
    Prep Time2 hours 20 minutes
    Cook Time20 minutes
    Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
    Servings12 rolls


    • Stand mixer
    • Bread Machine


    • 1 Cup warm water
    • 2 tbsp white sugar
    • 2.25 tsp yeast
    • 3 cups bread flour
    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • Butter for brushing
    • Sugar for sprinkling
    • optional Finely shredded cheese for sprinkling


    • Getting your bread machine ready to go (or your mixer, or chosen method)
    • Place warm water, sugar, yeast into bread machine
    • Quick stir to dissolve


    • While your yeast is proving, start the Tangzhong by adding 3tbsp flour and 2 tbsp water into a pot
    • Warm over low heat while mixing to get a nice gooey roux. Should only take a minute or two.


    • Add everything (but the Ube) into your bread machine
    • Set to "dough" and walk away
    • Once dough cycle is complete place dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8-12 pieces
    • Roll pieces into about 12 inch long snakes
    • Flatten snakes
      ube ensaymada flattened
    • Add Ube jam to flat snakes and roll over to seal
      ube ensaymada filling
    • Once sealed, roll again to make sure the snakes are uniformly sealed
      ube ensaymada filled
    • Roll your snakes into a spiral, tucking the last bit underneath
    • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes
    • Add a container of water to the warm oven
    • Bake Ube Ensaymada for 20 minutes
    • Once baked, brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar, and if you want to go all in, sprinkle with cheese
      ube ensaymada done


    Serving: 1roll | Sodium: 230mg | Calcium: 6mg | Vitamin A: 118IU | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 38mg | Cholesterol: 10mg | Calories: 157kcal | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fat: 4g | Protein: 4g | Carbohydrates: 25g | Iron: 1mg

    December 6, 2018 / by / Tags: , , ,
    The Best Version of KFC is Korean Fried Chicken

    Having traveled to Korea multiple times and living in California for most of my life, I have been lucky enough to partake in KFC… “Oh, the Colonel” you say. No, not that KFC, although I have had that more times than I should admit. Even tried that double-down monstrosity. No, I mean Korean Fried Chicken. Whether having it in Korea or having it at Bon Chon (I’ve visited locations in Boston, California, and now even Orlando!).

    Korean Fried CHicken Mascot

    Well if you’re going to eat me, let’s have a shot!

    KFC – So What?

    “So what?” you grumble at me. Well, I”ll tell you “what”! Korean Fried Chicken is the most transcendent chicken experience you can have. The chicken is moist and the skin is thin, crispy, and intensely flavorful. I’d say the crispness is akin to having enveloped a chicken leg in a potato chip. And so long as you don’t let it steam itself, it will stay crispy for quite some time.

    I’ve Got a Secret!

    So what’s the secret? The main thing is the double frying. I’m guessing it’s something that may have originated with being able to precook batches of chicken before being ordered. The first fry cooks it at a normal temperature returning edible, tan chicken. The second, hotter further crisps the skin without further cooking the chicken inside.

    And as usual I’ve scoured the internets for the perfect recipe (serious eats among others), trying multiple styles and not finding just the right one, ultimately making a combination of recipes into one final recipe

    Gettin’ Sauced

    Generally when you order Korean Fried Chicken, you have a choice of Soy-Garlic flavored, or spicy. Or both. Get both. And order all of them. You’ll be surprised how many chicken legs you can eat in one sitting!

    Oh and you see the humanoid chicken up there? He recommends you have a drink with your KFC. Either Soju like our friend there (I prefer Bek Seju), or a light beer. Chimaek is a popular combo in Korea Chi (Chicken) and Maek (Maekju/Beer).



    Korean fried chicken

    Korean Fried Chicken

    Korean Fried Chicken - KFC is the most transcendent chicken experience you can have. The chicken is moist and the skin is thin crispy and intensely flavorful.
    Print Recipe
    Keywordchicken, fried chicken, kfc, korean fried chicken
    Prep Time1 hour
    Cook Time12 minutes
    Total Time1 hour 12 minutes


    • cooling rack


    For the Chicken

    • Kosher salt
    • ¾ cups corn starch
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 2 lbs chicken drumsticks
    • 2 qts peanut oil
    • ½ cup AP flour
    • ½ cup cold water
    • ½ cup vodka

    For the sauce

    • ¼ cup 1/4 Gochujang
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
    • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

    Garlic Soy Sauce

    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 bulbs garlic finely minced



    • Combine 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1/2 tsp baking powder in a large bowl and whisk fully.
    • Add chicken (I use drumsticks) and toss until completely coated.
    • >Transfer drumsticks to a wire rack over a baking sheet, shaking loose any excess coating
    • Transfer to refrigerator to rest, uncovered 30 min - 24 hours
    • While you're waiting perhaps you should start working on your sauces (see below)
    • Preheat fryer to 350F
    • Combine remaining cornstarch, 1/2 tsp baking powder, flour, and 2 tsp salt and whisk until fully combined.
    • Add water and vodka and whisk until smooth. If too thick add a bit more water. It should be a pretty thin consistency.
    • Add half of the chicken to your batter.
    • Working with one piece at a time, lift the piece out allowing excess to drip off and use your finger to help get rid of any large dollops of batter.
    • Lower chicken slowly into fryer.
    • Repeat with remaining pieces, cooking each piece about 8 minutes when golden brown.
    • Move chicken to a wire rack to drain.
    • Crank your fryer up to 400F
    • Fry the chicken for 2 more minutes.

    Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

    • Whisk together all ingredients adding water to ensure consistency. It should barely stick to a spoon.
    • Either toss with plain chicken, or serve on the side.

    Garlic Soy Sauce

    • Combine all ingredients and let rest for 5-10 minutes
    • Either toss with plain chicken, or serve on the side.


    Serving: 0.5lbs | Sodium: 1308mg | Calcium: 67mg | Vitamin C: 2mg | Vitamin A: 52IU | Sugar: 8g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 274mg | Cholesterol: 70mg | Calories: 2399kcal | Saturated Fat: 42g | Fat: 246g | Protein: 17g | Carbohydrates: 29g | Iron: 2mg

    December 1, 2018 / by / Tags: , , ,
    Fluffy White Bread Machine Sandwich Bread

    Fluffy White Bread Machine Sandwich Bread

    I’ve finally found a way to make Fluffy White Bread Machine Sandwich Bread, and spoiler alert – I only use my Zojirushi Bread Machine to mix and raise the dough. It does a good job of baking it and it does so in a normal, horizontal loaf, but not as good as a proper oven bake.

    Fluffy White Bread Machine Sandwich Bread makerSo I’ve ended up with one of those fancy (affiliate link ahead!) Zojirushi bread machines. In the past I’ve had a couple of other models and never really cared for the bread that they turned out. This one, however is infinitely better but- I still prefer to do the baking right in the oven. There’s just no way any bread machine can match oven baked due to the the process is uses. But this one does come close.

    I found a version of this recipe at geniuskitchen and on its own is very good. However, I’ve tossed out the oil for melted butter, started with tangzhong, and went for the steam oven instead of the bread machine. If you want to just use the bread machine end-to-end you can do that too and won’t likely be disappointed.

    And once again, being inspired by the Great British Bake Off and discovering Kim-Joy’s use of the Tangzhong method I’ve started employing it in most of my breads.

    You can braid this bread, twist it, roll it, make onion bread, cinnamon raisin bread whatever you want, it’ll turn out great! In fact when making these loaves I made one with some leftover bits from the Fluffy Cinnamon Roll recipe.

    fluffy white bread machine sandwich bread

    Fluffy White Bread Machine Sandwich Bread

    Great, easy homemade white bread for sandwiches, or whatever you might want. Can be adjusted for all types of breads.
    Print Recipe
    Keywordbread, bread machine, sandwich bread
    Prep Time2 hours
    Cook Time30 minutes
    Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
    Servings16 slices


    • Bread Machine


    • 1 Cup water warm
    • 2 Tbsp sugar white
    • 2.25 tsp yeast
    • 3 Cups bread flour
    • 1/4 Cup butter melted
    • 1 tsp salt


    • Getting your bread machine ready to go (or your mixing bowl, or whatever your chosen method), place warm water (set aside 2 tbps), sugar, and yeast into machine. Give a quick mix to help dissolve. Allow to become frothy and bubbly, about 10 minutes


    • Tangzhongin'While your yeast is getting warmed up, start the tangzhong by using 3 tbsp of the flour and 2 tbsp of the water into a pot and warm over low heat until you get a nice gooey roux. Should only take a minute or two.
      fluffy white sandwich bread tangzhong


    • Into your bread machine goes (in order) tangzhong starter, flour, butter, salt
      bread ingredients in bread machine


    • set bread machine to "dough" and walk away


    • Once dough cycle is complete, remove dough onto a floured surface, divide in half and punch down
      bread dough
    • Place dough into two loaf pans
    • While the dough is rising a second time, preheat oven to 350
    • Place an oven proof container with about 2 cups of water into the oven. The water will create steam and keep you from getting that tough, hard crust
    • Once oven is ready place your loaf pans into the oven and bake for 30 minutes
    • Voila!
    • This bread should keep well in a zip-top bag for about a week while remaining soft and ready to eat


    • I've used this dough for a modified version of my Garlic Onion Bread, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, on and on... it's very useful!


    Serving: 1slice | Sodium: 147mg | Calcium: 4mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 29mg | Cholesterol: 1mg | Calories: 92kcal | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fat: 1g | Protein: 3g | Carbohydrates: 19g | Iron: 1mg

    November 29, 2018 / 2 Comments / by / Tags: , , , ,