Introduction: Baking Mochi!

Mochi is a delicious, chewy Japanese dessert.  It traditionally contains filling such as red bean paste, but in this Instructables, I will teach you how to make plain mochi, which is yummy as is!  Also, although mochi is normally steamed and then molded into balls while it's hot, I found a nice recipe for baking mochi, which I find to be easier--and less painful!  The mochi tastes just as good.

Step 1: Gathering Your Ingredients

To make mochi, you will need the following ingredients:

1 box Mochiko glutinous rice flour
1 + 3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 14oz can of coconut milk
Potato starch

You can find the Mochiko flour and potato starch at a Chinese or Japanese grocery store.  If you can't find the Mochiko brand, you can just buy a bag of glutinous rice flour.  

You will also need the following basic tools:

9x13 baking pan
Measuring spoons (to measure in tsps)
Measuring cup
2 mixing bowls
Aluminum foil
Cutting board
Plastic wrap 
Cutting knife

You will need to use a pan that is exactly 9x13 (or very close to it) because changing the size of the pan changes the thickness of the mixture, thus changing the baking time.  I've tried using differently sized pans in the past, and it hasn't worked well.

This recipe makes a lot of mochi (around 35 servings).

Step 2: Preheating and Mixing Ingredients

First, preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly grease your baking pan.  I use Pam, but you can use other types of spray oil that are flavorless (i.e., don't use something like olive oil).

In a large bowl, whisk the entire box of Mochiko flour with the sugar and baking soda.

Step 3: Mixing More Ingredients

Next, in a second large bowl or pot, mix together the water, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.

Now slowly blend the mochi flour mix into your second bowl, whisking continually.  As you mix the ingredients, the mixture should become much thicker.  Mix until the mixture is smooth and doesn't contain any clumps.

This video shows the consistency that your mochi mixture should have when you're done:

Step 4: Putting the Mixture in the Oven

Once your mixture has reached the right consistency, pour the mixture into your pre-greased pan.  

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and place it in your oven for 1 hour.

Step 5: Cooling

After an hour, remove your pan from the oven.  Very, very carefully, remove the aluminum foil, and check the consistency of the mochi with your fingers.  Steam should escape from the mochi as you remove the foil, so be careful not to burn yourself!

The mochi should be sticky but firm.  Here's a video of what it should look like:

If the consistency seems fine, let the pan cool for about 10-15 min on your stovetop, and then refrigerate it overnight.  It takes about 4-5 hours to completely cool.  If it's not firm enough, leave it in the oven for a little while longer (probably around 10-15 min depending on the consistency).

Step 6: Cutting the Mochi

After letting your mochi cool in the refrigerator, it should be ready to cut.  

FIrst, prepare your work surface by placing plastic wrap over a cutting board.  Sprinkle some of the potato starch onto the plastic wrap to prevent the mochi from sticking to the plastic wrap.  I usually keep some potato starch in a bowl so that I can grab some when necessary (mochi is sticky, so you'll need it!).  

Take a knife, and run it along the edges of the baking pan.  Then flip the pan over the plastic wrap, and the mochi should fall out.  Then use your knife to remove the border of the mochi sheet, which is a bit crusty - it should taste fine, but the texture is crunchier than mochi should be, so I usually remove it and eat it separately.

Then proceed to cut your mochi into squares, adding potato starch as necessary to prevent the pieces from sticking to your hands and to each other.  Don't add too much potato starch, though, or else the mochi will have a powdery, starchy taste.

When you're done, you should have some delicious mochi to eat!