Well this is a very traditional snack from my hometown in China. I still remember when I was little, staying in my grandparents' village during summer, I could have these Bohua on a lunar holiday called 'Seven Seven'. It means the 7th of July in Lunar calendar. It's the date that, according to a very old tale, a husband and a wife can meet on a sky bridge, for the only time of the year. For the rest of the year they have to be apart. I can't remember exactly how the story was told but it's a very moving and sad story. Well of course no one wants to be apart from her/his partner for 364 days of every year.
Anyway we as children, could enjoy this holiday by eating lots of these Bohuas. Adults made them and even thread them onto a red thread and wrap them around our necks like a necklace, and we could eat them all day long.
I don't know how many places in China do this (I guess not many as different places in China have different traditions). I don't even know if they're still made nowadays in my hometown since everything now seems to be able to be manufactured so no one needs to make stuff from scracth at home. But since I have this wonderful bread machine, why not try to make them for my child, at least as a snack.
Seven Seven was on 16th of August this year. I only got the cookie cutters yesterday and have a day off today. So I made them today. To make Bohua you do need a mold, such as the small one in this. But I can't get these things in Australia so I bought cookie cutters instead.
I followed this tutorial. I'm supposed to bake them in a pan on the stove (the traditional way) but I'm lazy so I baked them in the oven. They taste pretty much like what they should be from my memories.
After getting out all the shapes, I just threw them onto the greaseproof paper on the baking pan, not even bothering to spray the oil (because the dough is supposed to be harder than a normal bread dough and it's not supposed to be sticky). Chuck the pan in the oven and bake at 185 degrees for 10-20 minutes (well, if preheated 10 should be enough but if not may need 20 minutes). I didn't even proof, because they're supposed to come out hard/dense not soft. I think they should be something between bread and biscuits.
See, they still came out puffed (which they shouldn't be if done in the traditional way)
The above batch was baked in a not-preheated oven for 20+ minutes. And the below batch was baked in a preheated oven (straight after the first batch) and it took only about 12 minutes to get a much 'baked' look.
The original recipe is:
What I used was
yeast 1 1/2t
milk powder 2T
I did try to follow the recipe but it was too little and the machine couldn't make a dough so I doubled the recipe. I used Pizza dough cycle for 45 minutes, then took out the dough, rolled out and cut the shapes using the cookie cutters and baked straight away.
You can see what they should look like here.
Next time try a more accurately calculated version:
milk powder 30g
3 months ago