First, let’s make the batter. Add the warm milk to the honey in a bowl. Mix it evenly with a spatula.
Add the egg and lightly beat with a hand mixer.
Then, add the sugar.
Continue to whip the mixture at a medium speed until the color turns white, and it reaches a soft peak stage. When you lift the mixer, the rippling pattern should remain on the surface as you see here.
Now, switch to a low speed and break any relatively large air bubbles.
Next, add the baking powder to the bread flour and mix. Then, place the powder into a mesh strainer. And sieve it into the egg mixture.
Lightly mix at a low speed.
When all the flour is moistened, turn off the mixer. Avoid overmixing otherwise the castella will lose its fluffy texture. If you are unsure, lightly mix with a spatula instead.
And now, let’s make the baby castella. Coat the takoyaki mold with vegetable oil. Turn the heat to low and place the batter into the molds.
Each mold should be about 7 to 8 parts full. The batter is light and foamy so it’s a little difficult to place it into the molds but you will be rewarded with soft and fluffy castella later.
Cover with a lid.
When the top is still wet and the small air bubbles on the surface begin to break, combine 2 pieces together and lightly press them.
If the surface is dry, they will not stick together so please do it quickly.
Then, rotate the baby castella to brown the sides.
Cover again and cook the inside on low heat.
Turn the castella to brown evenly.
Now, they are ready. Place the baby castella onto a cooling rack.
Next, we will show you how to make the suzu castella. Clean the plate and re-oil the mold.
Then, place the batter into the molds. The heat should remain on low but this time, each mold should be completely full.
When the bottom of the castella is thoroughly browned, flip the pieces over. The half browned round shape looks like a bell, doesn’t it? Suzu means bell in Japanese so that is why we call these suzu castella.
Reduce the heat to the lowest possible heat. Cover and cook the inside but try not to brown the bottom.
Now, they are ready. Place the suzu castella onto the cooling rack.
When the suzu castella are slightly cooled, place them into a plastic bag with sugar. Slightly cooling the castella will help them to coat thinly and evenly, making them more presentable.
Unlike suzu castella, baby castella is entirely browned. It is often sold as a snack at festivals and known by a variety of names, depending on the area of Japan.
These castella are still fluffy and delicious when cooled or even the next day and they can be stored in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can make slightly different versions by adding sweet bean paste or melting cheese as a filling.