Sunday, February 24, 2013

French bread biscuits

Because I'm trying to perfect the French style breads and I keep baking them, sometimes I have more breads than we can eat and the breads get dry after being left for a few day... ;(

So, this is how I rescue these dry breads. Simply, slice the bread thinly, spread butter on each slice, sprinkle sugar on top and bake in 160ºc oven for 20 minutes. You'll get a nice sweet snack.

Give the old bread a new life before you give it to the birds.... :D

Friday, February 22, 2013

Soft taro bread

The other day I saw taro potatoes in a shop and bought some. I love those sticky potatoes like taro or yam, and not only they are nice when they are cooked with sugar and soy sauce, but also great in bread!

Mashed taro potatoes gives the bread nice soft texture. I also use milk as the liquid to make the bread even softer and look nicely white inside.

Next time you get taro potatoes, save some to make these super soft rolls. You won't taste the taro but will be amazed how soft they are!

Ingredients:

Flour 250g
Mashed taro 100g
Yeast 4g
Sugar 1tsp
Salt 3g
Milk 200g
Butter 20g

1. Put all the ingredients except butter in the standing mixer, and knead for a minutes.
2. Add butter. Keep kneading for 10 minutes.
3. Cover the dough with cling film and rest it until it has doubled in size.
4. Punch the dough to let the air out. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and make them into balls. Rest for 10 minutes.
5. Reshape the balls, place them on a baking tray, and rest it until it has doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Dust the bread lightly with flour, bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tofu waffle sticks

This morning I finally used the Christmas present from Andy's mum and dad. It's a waffle stick maker. And, it was... awesome! The waffle maker was so easy to use and clean, and most importantly it's so much fun!

I made healthy tofu waffle sticks for breakfast. They were perfect finger food for my girl and she seemed to love the sticks. She ate four of them! Of course, they are great for big kids too (if there are any left...). ;D



Ingredients:

Tofu 150g
Flour 30g
Brown sugar 1tsp
Egg 1
Milk 50g
Butter 1tsp

1. Mash tofu into a smooth paste. Melt butter.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
3. Pour the mixture into the heated waffle maker and bake for 2-3 minutes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to Chris

It was my mum-in-law, Chris's birthday two days ago, and we had her birthday meal yesterday.

I made a cheese dome cake. I started decorating the cake with Maltesers chocolate because I knew she would love it. As I was putting the Maltesers, the cake started to look like a face, so I decided to turn it into a face, which ended up looking a bit funny...

Surprisingly, Chris had made a dome cake for dessert too! What a coincident! Hers was ice cream cake, hummm, that was very nice.. ;D

Once again, Happy Birthday to Chris! :D

Oh, by the way, the face is not her face...


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Baby shower cake

Yesterday we were invited to our friend's baby shower and I brought a cake for the mum&dad-to-be. I put a baby pink bird and a message ('mummy & daddy, see you soon') on a lemon cake. :)


I can't wait to see the baby girl. Good luck to Mary and Yung!

And also, thanks to Sam for hosting such a lovely baby shower. ;D

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day dessert

For the Valentine's day dinner, Andy made prawn cocktail and avocado salad for starter, and monk fish and scallop risotto for main. They were super tasty;)

For dessert, I made lime cheese cake with crushed macaroon and sugared strawberries.

The whole full course dinner experience at home was great. I felt much more comfortable than going to a posh restaurant. And the best thing is I was given a 'hungry monkey' size dish. You don't get that much food in a posh place, do you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - Tomoto round bread ♥

Happy Valentine's Day! Today I'm in charge of bread and dessert for our dinner.

To start with I made a lovely coloured tomato bread in the round tin, and I'm cutting it into hearts ♥♥. Andy and Lana already had some for breakfast, and they seemed to like them. ;D

Now, it's time to do the prep for dessert...

Ingredients:

Strong flour 230g
Semolina flour 20g
Milk 190g
Sugar 1 tsp
Yeast 3g
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Tomato paste 1 tbsp

1. Put all the ingredients except olive oil in the standing mixer, and knead for a minutes.
2. Add oil. Keep kneading for 10 minutes.
3. Cover the dough with cling film and rest it until it has doubled in size.
4. Punch the dough to let the air out. Make a ball and rest the dough for 10 minutes.
5.Grease the tin, place the dough and rest it until it has doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 190ºc. Bake for 40 minutes.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

French style bread 2

See previous French style bread

Here I am again, this is my 'French style bread at home' take 2! I've changed the amount of water and salt. I also made DIY steam oven by preheating the oven with baking beans and pouring hot water onto them when I put the bread in the oven. There are few other things I tried differently to the last time.

....And..., Look, it's improved! The crust is looking much better! The flavour was there! However, it didn't have as many air pockets as I wanted. The 'slits' on the bread needs more work.

So things I did this time:
1) 68% water.
2) I used a small amount of dough that I kept from last time. (Apparently at artisan bakeries it's a know practice to keep a bit of dough to use it next time.)
3) I did 'knead (or rather fold) and rest 20 minutes' three times, before I put the dough in the fridge.
4) 'DIY steam oven'

I'm getting there! Next time, I'm going to get more uneven air pockets!

See previous French style bread

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yeast Pancake

Happy Pancake Day! This year I made thick American style pancakes for breakfast.

Instead of baking powder, I used yeast as a rising agent and it made lovely soft think pancakes! I intentionally prepared a small amount of mixture last night that was just enough for the breakfast... because I didn't want to fill myself up in the morning in case there are more pancakes later on!

Ingredients:

Strong flour 50g
Plain flour 50g
Yeast 3g
Brown sugar 1tbsp
Milk 140g
Butter 30g

1. Melt butter. Warm up milk to body temperature. Mix them together.
2. Mix flour, yeast and brown sugar in a bowl by using chopsticks.
3. Pour 1 into 2. Mix with chop sticks. Cover with cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight.
4. Take out the mixture from the fridge. Heat up non-stick pan.
5. Pour the mixture onto the pan. When air bubbles start to pop on the surface of the pancake, turn it over and bake the other side.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flaky square bread

I bought a couple of square bread tins in Japan. They are about 10cm  and come with a lid so you can bake a perfect square bread. Pretty cool. ;D

I tried out one of the recipes that I've had in mind for a while, which involves puff pastry. I wasn't sure whether it would work or not, but the result was pretty good.

The bread was very soft so I struggled a little when I took it out from the tin, but I was please to see nice sharp corners. With the high butter content from the puff pastry, the bread is nicely flaky and has rich buttery flavour. It definitely nice when it's cut thick and toasted, which brings up the flavour of the butter even more!

I used my own puff pastry but ready-to-roll ones from shops will do the job. Unfortunately I don't know where  you can find these tins in the UK, but they are available on Amazon Japan.

Ingredients:

Strong flour 250g
Sugar 20g
Salt 3g
Yeast 2g
Milk 150g
Butter 20g
Egg 1
Puff pastry 100gx2

1. Mix all the ingredients except puff pastry in a standing mixer. Knead for 10 minutes.
2. Place the dough in a clean bowl and let it rise until the dough is twice the size of original size.
3. Take out the dough on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape them into a ball. Cover the dough with cling film and let it rest for 10 minutes.
4. Grease the bread tin. Roll out the dough and fold the puff pastry in. Shape into the tin.
5. When the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 180ºc. Bake for 40 minutes.

Friday, February 8, 2013

French style bread

One of the things I want to master this year is to bake nice crusty french style bread at home (I've currently got only a very very small oven that only goes up to 230ºc.). I've been reading about tips and techniques about how to get a nice crust outside and air pockets inside.

Yesterday I attempted to bake crusty french style bread based on what I've read.
Here are some of the things I did:
1) I made starter the day before. (I mixed strong 125g flour, 75g water, and yeast 1g.)
2) I proved the dough in the fridge overnight.
3) I didn't knead the dough but used a wooded spatula to form the dough.
4) I added more water than I normally do.
5) Baked in higher temperature.

... And the result was... ok, I don't think it was quite there yet, but it was not bad. It was crusty outside and the texture was nicely chewy. However, there wasn't enough air pockets, and the round shape ones became a bit flat. I think I overproofed the dough.. I also think I should have added a little less water and a little more salt.

It was still lovely to dip in the soup and after all they were tasty and we did destroy them all... They kind of grew on us as we ate...

There is definitely a room for improvements. I can't wait to try it again soon and will be updating the progress to my perfect french style bread.

If anyone have any tips or advice, please let me know! :D


Monday, February 4, 2013

Round loaf

When we were in Japan, I finally got this round bread tin I'd always wanted. It is known as 'トヨ型 (Toyo Gata)' in Japan. I've never come across this type of bread tin here in the UK so I did a bit of research to see where it's originally from. Apparently there is a almond cake made in a rounded tin like this in Germany and Austria called 'Rehrücken' (which means saddle of venison). So, maybe that's where it came from.

Anyway, I used the tin to bake my Milk Rye bread again. Since I cannot see the inside once I put the other half of the tin, I was bit worried (and excited) to see how the bread was done. When I opened the tin...., it was... PERFECT!

I used 500g of the dough and when the dough rose about twice the size, I put the other half of the tin and waited for another 10 minutes, then baked it. Make usre you take out the bread from the tin as soon as it comes out of the oven or the bread gets soggy because of the moist inside the tin.

The tin even have waves so when you cut it you get nice even slices! Perfect for a buttery toast... ;) I can see this tin is going to be my new friend in the kitchen. :D

The tin is available on Amazon JP. I also found something similar on Amazon UK.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Milk Rye bread

Since we came back from Japan, I'd been feeling a lack of energy to go in the kitchen and bake...;( However, today I finally got off my bum and decided to bake for my girl (and Andy and myself...)

I used 'Yudane' method (湯だね) to make a nice soft bread with an unique flavour of rye. This time I also made a starter by using much less yeast than usual, flour and milk (I call it 'Nakadane' in my recipe below).

After a long preparation, the bread came out just how I wanted. My girl loved it. She ate almost the whole thing. I dipped it into a home made super spicy tomato soup. Look! My bread looks as if it was in a bath of tomato soup! ;D

So..., today's baking session was really good. It certainly lifted up my '.......☁☹☔' mind a bit. And... most importantly it was very rewarding to see Lana eating it so well. ;)

Ingredients:

Yudane
Rye flour 100g
Boiling water 100g
---
Nakadane
Milk 100g
Strong flour 100g
Yeast 2g
---

Strong flour 300g
Milk 150g
Sugar 40g
Butter 40g
Salt 4g

DAY 1---
1. Make Yudane by mixing rye flour and boiling water together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight.
2. Make Nakadane. Warm up milk to lukewarm. In a bowl combine milk, flour and yeast and bring them together. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight.
DAY 2---
1. Take out Yudane and Nakadane from the fridge in order to bring them to room temperature.
2. Combine all the remaining ingredients and mix with the standing mixer for 1 minute.
3. While continue kneading, add Nakadane into 2 little by little followed by Yudane. Knead for 10 minutes.
4. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave it until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Take out the dough on a floured surface. Reshape into a ball. Leave it for 10 minutes.
6. Shape the dough into a tin. Leave it until the dough has risen twice the size of the original size.
7. Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Bake 40 minutes.