By Request


Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Henry Shun's cookbook, date-nut and sweetbreads.

Baker’s secrets

Henry Shun has been baking for 50 years, at first in commercial bakeries, then as a baking instructor at Leeward Community College.

As you can imagine, he's got quite a haul of recipes, for many of the baked goods nearest and dearest to local palates. Now retired and in possession of a new computer, he's assembled a cookbook, "Seasons of Baking."

In this self-published book you'll find formulas for chiffon cakes and pies, chantilly and dobash frostings, ensamada, empanada, malassada ... and lots more. For example, a Portuguese sweetbread recipe sought by Dawn Yoshimura ("My dog ate my old recipe ... really," she wrote).

Shun is already working on a second "Seasons of Baking" and is inviting users of his first book to suggest recipes for the second. One already slated for the next book is a Date Nut Bread that meets the requirements of Mary Oyadomari.

Oyadomari wants to replicate the bread sold at the old King's Bakery. Shun says his recipe is from the Food Pantry, where he once worked -- and where many of the King's bakers trained, decades ago.

Shun's guide is for professional bakers and home cooks, with ingredients listed for both large and small yields.

The date bread is a pretty straightforward recipe, but Shun cautions that the sweetbread is one of the most complicated and should be tackled only by bakers experienced with yeast breads. "If you've never tried yeast, make the breadsticks. Nobody cares what breadsticks look like."

"Seasons of Baking" sells for $25 at Dave's Ice Cream at Sears Ala Moana or may be ordered for $19, plus $5 postage, from Shun at 236 Lae St., Honolulu 96813. Or e-mail

Don't expect a slick cookbook. It's homespun, the language unpolished, reading as though Shun dusted off his recipe cards and translated his personal shorthand to share with others. And in a way, that's what he's done. The proof is not in the presentation, after all, but in the final baking.


>> Stage 1:
3/4 cup milk
1-1/4 cup bread flour
4 tablespoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons dry potato flakes
4 large eggs
>> Stage 2:
1 cup milk
1-1/4 cup plus 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
5-3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 beaten egg

Stage 1 (sponge): Combine ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with paddle, 5 minutes on second speed. Mixture will seem very soft. Proof 30 to 45 minutes (will start to show bubbles the size of soap bubbles).

Stage 2: Combine ingredients while sponge is proofing. Once sponge is ready, add all the Stage 2 ingredients (do not allow sponge to sit more than 10 minutes once proofed or the baked bread won't smell right). Mix 6 minutes at second speed. Cover with damp cloth; allow to fully proof (when three fingers are inserted into dough it will slowly sink down). This will take 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours. Or instead of proofing, cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Punch down and divide into 4 pieces. Grease 4 9-inch pie plates with butter (cooking spray is not suitable for yeast-raised products). Divide each piece into 8 smaller, equal-sized pieces and make into balls. Place in buttered pan, with 1 in the center and the other 7 in a circle around it. Allow to proof until the touch of a finger leaves a slight indentation. Brush with egg wash when dough is 3/4 of the way proofed, and again when proofing is nearly complete.

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Bake rolls 25 minutes, or until dark tan (decrease temperature to 350 if rolls are browning too quickly). Center roll should spring back when pressed. Makes 4 pans of bread.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Date Nut Bread

1-1/4 cups water
10 ounces dates, chopped
1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup minus 2/3 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
2-1/3 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 cup pecan pieces

Heat water. Add half the dates and cook until pulp-like, about 15 minutes. Cool well.

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

Combine cooked dates, remaining chopped dates, sugars, baking soda, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder and milk. Mix on low speed until blended, then 2 more minutes at low speed. Stir in nuts; mix 10 seconds.

Pour batter into pans and bake until top is firm, 45 to 55 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per slice (10 slices per loaf): 200 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein.*

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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