Monday, July 28, 2014

Sourdough Raisin Loaf

This raisin loaf is not just 'bread with raisins', it's more than that...

1... The raisins are super juicy.
2... Plenty of raisins to satisfy your raisin hole.
3... And, It's sourdough! (are your one of those sourdough lover's like me?)

Flour 250g
Starter 125g
Brown sugar 15g
Salt 4g
A good couple of  handfuls of raisins
White wine (enough to cover and soak the raisins)

The secret to the juicy raisins is the white wine. You cook the raisin in white wine (I use sweet one) so that the raisins are nice and soft, then let them soak up the wine overnight. Add half the prepared raisins a minute before you stop mixing the dough, and the rest for the final shaping.

I don't like it when I get burnt raisins on bread, so I make sure all the raisins are nicely tucked inside before putting the dough in the tin.

Every mouthful you get juicy raisins;)

Do you toast your raisin bread or not?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Macaron - Step by Step -

With macarons I've had many failures in the past. I've tried and tested many different ways to master the art of making macarons. And now, finally, I can say that my macaron success rate is 99.9%.

So here is the recipe for you!
Bon Appetit - Macaron - step by step -

With the quantity of the ingredients shown in this recipe you can make about 10 sets of macarons. This recipe is for a small amount of macarons so you can try many different flavours. Also, with this method, you don't need to leave the piped mixture before baking, so you don't need to wait around or misjudge the timing to put the macarons in the oven. (with an authentic way of making macarons, you need to let the macaron's skin dry before baking...)

Here are some of my favourite flavours.
Pistachio used to be my favourite and wherever I go and find a macaron shop I had to try their pistachios. 

However, my new favourite is this one, salted caramel popcorn!
The combination of sweet and salty is so addictive.

I like to put some Japanese influence to my macarons too...
Purple sweet potato.

Matcha green tea.

Mini ones;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Woodfired oven sourdough pizza!

Hot hot hot, soooooo hot! But I won't complain, we've got to take advantage of this heat wave, haven't we?

So, we fired up our woodfired oven last weekend, and had a bit of family pizza evening in the garden.

Here is the sourdough pizza recipe; Sourdough Pizza.

This sourdough pizza dough is by far my favourite pizza base...
Tomato sauce and a lot of cheese, simple, but that's how I like!

It was very hot near the oven but this heat is the key for a good pizza base. ;)
As always, it was fun. Roll the dough, put toppings, bake it, eat it, and go make another one and repeat again. ;D

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sourdough pain de campagne

What sort of flour do you use for your breads?
I've been using the same flour for a while and wanted to try something new to see what difference the flour can bring to my bread.

I went to a local whole food shop and bought a bag of Gilchesters Organics Unbleached White Strong Wheat Flour to try it out with my Pain de campagne. (Recipe here.)

You can get their flour on the Gilchesters Organics website or on Amazon.

So, how is this flour?

It's pretty different from the strong white flour that I normally use. It's unbleached, so obviously the colour is not 'white' but more like nice caramel colour. It absorbed the liquid quickly and very well, which I think is a good thing because you don't damages the dough by mixing too much.

When it comes to the strength of the dough, I felt it was a little weak, and that effected the crumb to be more of a crumbly side than a chewy (it's a personal preference but I like my crumb to be more chewy...)

The loaf rose well.

The crust was good too. It had nice toughness and lovely colour. ;)

And, it tasted great. This flour brought out just the right amount of that unique sour taste of sourdough bread.

The recipe needs a bit of modification for this flour, but all in all, I really like this stone ground white flour. ;D

PS. This bread is also excellent for sandwiches!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mini Sourdough Focaccia

I thought you might be a little over loaded with Japanese bread by the previous two posts, so here is a very simple yet super delicious mini sourdough focaccia for you. ;D

Strong flour 200g
Plain flour 50g
Starter (Yoghurt & Raisin starter) 125g
Milk 174g
Olive Oil 1 tbsp + more for greasing
Salt 4g
Herbs or Toppings of your choice

The reason why this simple four-ingredients-bread is so tasty is because of the long fermentation time. It depends on the temperature but my sourdough bread normally takes 8-12hours (room temperature) for the first rise. On the other hand this mini focaccia dough has its first rise in the fridge about 36 hours, which helps the dough develop the good flavour and nice air bubbles.
Rosemary and pink Himalayan salt on the top...

Good size for a snack. ;) 
Dip it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, use two focaccia as sandwich breads, or dip in soup...
Simple focaccia can be eaten in many ways!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vanilla & Matcha Melon pan with sourdough starter

Following my last post, Sourdough Annn pan, here is another Japanese bread.

Melon pan!
(Are you thinking 'what's melon pan?', then here is the answer.;D)
Lana, Andy, and I, we all love this sweet buns. This time I made one with vanilla biscuit on top and the other matcha green tea biscuit. The matcha ones also have chestnut paste inside.

I think the beauty of Melon Pan comes down to the skin (the biscuit.) I like my skin to be nice and crunchy, not to thin but not too over powering to the bread. The ratio I usually do is '50g dough to 40g biscuit' for a bun.

Starter (banana) 120g
Very strong Flour 250g
Milk 150g
Egg 1
Sugar 30g
Honey 1 tbsp
Oil 15g
Butter 35g
Salt 3g

Butter 60g
Sugar 115g
Plain Flour 200g
(For matcha, use 190g flour +  10g matcha powder)
Egg 1

Not only is the biscuit goes well with the sweet bun, but also it's pretty awesome as is. So, if you get any leftovers, bake them at 175 ºc for 10 minutes, then another 10-15 minutes at 150 ºc.
They are so moreish. ;-d

Inside the Matcha Melon Pan.
Chestnut and Matcha, it's like a dream team!

They are best eaten on the day they are baked (if you could kept them long enough...), but if you're having them the following day, I recommend you put them in the fridge (since it has chestnut paste inside) and take them out to room temperature or warm them up slightly in the oven before you eat them.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sourdough Ann pan - あんぱん -

It's time for another Japanese bread, people!
Being away from home-home I do miss Japanese style breads, after all these slightly sweet small buns are what I grew up with...

So, today, it's Ann Pan! These sweet buns filled with sweet azuki bean paste have already appeared on my blog a few times before. It's, without a doubt, one of my favourite Japanese bread.

I put as much Annko as possible inside, possibly I got a bit too excited. Some of the buns got erupted, but I  still like the way they look anyway. ;)

I also made a XL Ann Pan with leftover dough.
(Not the sweet dough but simple white one...).
It's difficult to see from the photo but it was bigger than my palm. ;D

If there is any Japanese bread that you have heard of, seen, or eaten before and want to know a recipe of it, let me know about it! I'll try it out in the WOS kitchen and share the recipe with you. :)