Thursday, July 17, 2008

I made bread!!

I made bread!! I did!! I MADE BREAD!Bread making was initially soo daunting to me. I borrowed a number of books from the library to understand bread-making. Read from end to end. They talked about flours, organic, stone milled, whole wheat, barley etc etc. And then there is yeast, dry, wet, fresh, instant. And then there is the bread culture in Europe, America.... Artisan bread, country bread, festive bread. I'm like wha...??? I had planned to bake during my whole 4 days leave recently. But my bones just seems too heavy. We were out celebrating F's bday. [Happy 29th sweetie!!! Hope you enjoyed ur 3 full days of celebration].
But 2 days ago, I decided that I will brave the bread-making front and faced it hands-on. No Kitchen Aid, no bread maker. Just my trusty Kenwood, the hook and my bare hands.And oh! My Mario Batalis... heheh. Sis made some the other day too, so I was soooo motivated to try. Hah!! I scaled the floury mountains and conquered.
Ok enough! Here's the proof:

Of course I have my office-ful of guinea pigs. Hehe.. my critics. Too dry, what happened? (AC). Too sweet (that's me). Just nice (Dad). Taste like pizza!!!(ME) I like the cheese ones (JW and she came back to my desk for seconds).

When I first tried to make bread. It was the Cheese buns using the Straight Dough method. It does not yield the kind of softness and texture I enjoyed in bread.

This time, I tried using the Sponge and Dough Method. I love it!! I left it overnight to rise. Wake up in the morning and knead my stress out. Fun fun fun!

Straight Dough Method
(A)480g Bread Flour
120g Plain Flour
110g Sugar10g Salt
20g Milk Powder
4tsp instant yeast

(B)1 Egg
300ml Cold Water

(C)60g Butter

Mix (A) till well blended
Add (B) and knead into a dough
Add (C), continue to knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.*

*What I did was basically to Pour the ingredients into my Kenwood until it forms a dough. Take it out on my kitchen top and knead knead knead. Mum's words in my head. Not smooth yet... not smooth yet. Okie...

Sponge and Dough Method
(A) Sponge Dough2tsp Instant Yeast**
2tbs Water**
1/2tsp Sugar**
420g Bread Flour
220ml Cold Water

(B) Main Dough
120g Plain Flour
60g Bread Flour
1tsp Instant Yeast
110g Sugar (I omit this and add only abt 1tsp when making my savoury bread)
10g Salt
20g Milk Powder
40ml Cold Water (I mix this with the yeast too and the sugar)
1 Egg
60g Butter

For the Sponge mix, mix instant yeast and water and set aside for 10 mins.
** I read somewhere that Sugar is Yeast's 'food'. The instructions did teach me this... But I mixed Instant Yeast, 2tbs water and Sugar together and let it mix it well. It will become bubbly and looks like wet/ fresh yeast.

Add remaining ingredients and knead into a dough.
Cover the dough with clear film and let it prove for 2.5hrs. I let it prove overnight....
Then add the sugar, salt, eggs from Main Dough ingredients.
Mix till well blended (into the Kenwood babes!!)
Then add flour, instant yeast, milk powder and water.
Mix well and knead into dough (this is where you bare your muscles... and start kneading).
Add butter and knead until smooth (not smooth enogh!! more more...) .
Cover with a clear film (I am assuming you know that you are to place your dough in a bowl.. yes).
Let it prove for another 10 mins.

Now you are ready to put in your creativity.
My first attempt was Sweet bread with cheese toppings.Soo... I follow diligently the recipe for the Sponge and Dough. Every single grain... and when bread is almost done... I sprinkle sugar... and put cheese slices on top. And then I sprinkle more sugar when it comes out of the oven.

My second attempt... the ones that ME said tastes like pizza, but AC and the rest of them said is a bit dry...I omit the 110g sugar. Add a bit more salt. Use Olive oil instead of butter. [Now the next portion is sis' idea with a bit of tweaking... must give her some credit you know]. Add sauteed minced garlic, mashed honey tomatoes, chopped sun dried tomatoes and dried herbs.

Tonight will be my 3rd and 4th attempt. The sponge dough are proving right now. I will try making the more moist version of the sun dried tomatoes bread and 4th batch is using whole wheat flour. Tune in....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

June ....Oh June

June had never been this slow for me. I can't wait for it to end. It dragged and dragged ... but yet there is soo much to do. So little time... but somehow it just never ends. I suppose cos May ends with such a bang!! We had a BBQ to celebrate my birthday and our wedding anniversary. We were too busy to even bother taking pictures. Mil and family decided that it'll be a good time to organize a BBQ.... with 15kg of chix wings.
I've seen lots and lots of chix before. But that's when we cook for weddings, like 1000 pax. But 15kg chix wings defrosting on my kitchen floor. I was overwhelmed! But guess what??!!! It weasn't enough. Mil went down to the nearby supermarket to buy 4kg more. Of course we didn't only serve chix. The menu were as follows:
  • Chix Wings ala Thai (Iused my Kua Curry Recipe)

  • Chix Wings ala Percik (I used my Ayam Percik Recipe)

  • Merguez [spicy Mediterranean Sausages that I read about in recipe books, saw it at Mustafa, jumpped for joy and bought a few bags!!]

  • Baked potatoes with Corned Beef [2nd bro in law's idea - YUMMMY!!!]

  • Hotdogs

  • Mil fried up two HUGE tubs of rice and noodles.

  • Choc Fondue [errmm.. apparently the kids didn't care much for the choc fondue... they took the marshmallows and grilled em' on the fire... and had a gooey feast!!]

  • Garden salad [people didn't seem to pay much attention to them... I wonder what happened to the salad in the end....]

AND About 3 family size tents, for sleeping in of course. We stayed over after the guests left. 3rd Bro and Lala came. I was soo glad!!! The rest of the guests are F's family and friends. J & A's kids played ball on the large patch of green that we had. Their youngest one can run REALLY fast. He took something out of my hand and ran and ran ... and altho I have longer legs, I couldn't catch up!!

Sleeping by the beach. It rained in the middle of the night.... 3rd bro in law's GF zipped the windows of the tent shut. I would have probably sleep thru even if the tent flew away... then again the tent won't fly if I am in it. It's called gravity pull... :-P

In June I managed to squeezed in a number of activities. There was the belated birthday dinner courtesy of NL, KT and JW. Thank you babes!!! The yacht ride.... spending the evening like the Rich MFs that we served. An experimental Preztel, a walk thru the old Sembawang Park and alas, the month comes to an END! And comes July and I am on another FIVE days leave!!! Happy days are here again!!

Coincidentally I got an order of Egg Mayo, and Cucumber sandwiches for tomorrow. Let's have a pictoral run thru of the events....

The chix wings for the BBQ

The Yacht Ride

A walk down memory lane at Sembawang Park. It is still the same!!!

I remembered having a BBQ Party for my 18th Birthday there. My childhood friend, good old crazy punk rock NA decided that we should have one, eventho all my Poly pals ditched me on my birthday to go JB for seafood, or something. I recalled feeling weird for being ditched... rather than disappointed. So I call NA and he dragged out an old satay pit, gathered all BBQ-able food from his mom's freezer, dumped it into a red pail and off we went on his scooter. LOL!! And we managed to dragged a few others staying nearby to drop by to finish all the food. And we stayed till abt 2am, which is unheard of in my parents' books. They busted my mini BBQ party and dragged me home. NA refused to dropped by my house after that, afraid that my dad will strangle him!! I think I still have the pictures someplace. And from then on, each time I think of Smbwg Park, I remembered my 18th Birthday Party.

I thot the eggs looked beautiful... I'm boiling them for the egg mago sandwich tmrw.
Oh, I alomost forgot! I promised Sis the Pretzel Recipe.

Heheh... I got it from here.
Which brings us to a silly story....

I tried the recipe once. It turned out well... edible, not picture worthy tho.
I told mum about it... describing it like the Aunt Annie's pretzel that mum loves to eat. So i promised her that I will make a batch when I next drop by for a visit. I doubled the yeast... water, etc... I doubled the flour 2 3/4 Cups X 2 = 3 1/4 cups.
I waited and waited and wondered why the dough is sooo gooey still. It was just IMPOSSIBLE to roll. Then I realised that the flour shoukd have been 5 1/4cups... not 3. F came up with the idea of frying the dough instead. Which I did...

And after, glazed it with syrup. Yummy!!! There was still a strong yeast smell... but otherwise it was our tea time snack for two days. Mum got a tupperware full of them too.
And then I realised that the recipe of such combination seems very familiar.... and indeed it is!! It is the Moroccan Donut recipe that I read abt in the Cooking Moroccan book that I borrowed from the library.

2tsp active yeast
1/2tsp sugar
375g all purpose flour
oil for deep frying
caster sugar to serve
Ground cinnamon to serve (optional)

Ain't it ammazing!!