Friday, May 6, 2011

Hamburger Buns

For busy (or lazy) people like me, I would prefer to make plain bread loaf or bun. It saves me the trouble of preparing the filling. So far, the fillings I have prepared at home are simply store bought grated cheese, cinnamon sugar and sausages. I really like to try fillings like curry potatoes and custard but that will have too wait.

This time, I tried a recipe from 65oC Tang Zhong Bread by Yvonne C. I heard so much about this book and it is really not disappointing. I am so inspired to try out all the recipes in the book. In this post, I have tried the hamburger buns.

I was so happy and amazed by the smell and softness of the bread when it just came out of the oven. I simply could not resist but to press the sides of the buns. Please bear with me. I hardly have success baking bread so far. Haha. After it was cooled, though not as soft as it was when it came out of the hot box, but the texture is comparable to the bakery one. As I was slicing them into half, I was smiling all the way. I had them with cheese the next morning, it was good without toasting. I had it the next next morning again with honey baked ham, still so good. I gave two to my mum and she gave me the same feedback too. She had them with ham, cheese and tomato. She said that the sesame seeds gave the bread the fragrance that cannot be found in the store bought ones. I was delighted.

Recipe (adapted from 65oC Tang Zhong Bread)


bread flour 210g
cake flour 56g
milk powder 20g
castor sugar 42g
salt half tsp
instant yeast 6g

whole egg 30g
water 85g
Tang Zhong 84g

butter 22g

Sesame seeds for decorations

1. Mix (A) and (B) until it is smooth using a dough hook. Start with slow speed to prevent the flour from flying around then change to medium speed.

2. Add in (C) and knead till the dough pass the window pane stage, which means if you tear a piece of dough out, you are able to stretch it till it forms a thin membrane.

3. Make it into a round dough and put it into a floured bowl. Let it proof in an enclosed area for 40 minutes. (I placed it in a big box with a cup of steaming hot water and cover the box with the lid.)

4. When it has doubled in size, punch down the dough and divide into 9 round doughs (each ~60g) and let it rest for 10 minutes.

5. Roll them into nice round balls, brush the surface with the remaining egg or water and coat it with tonnes of sesame seeds. Space them out on greased baking tray.

6. Let it proof for another 40 minutes. 20 minutes before the end of proofing, preheat the oven to 180oC.

7. Bake for 15 minutes in middle rack. Let it cool first before slicing. Enjoy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bread Bread and More Bread

Seems like I have abandoned my blog again. :( I am stuck in a busy and vicious cycle. Even though I am baking every weekend, by the time I clean up my kitchen, it will be time for bed and get ready for another week of work. Sometimes I do get a little depress over this. Finally I am here again after about 4 weeks.

I have been baking bread during these 4 weeks. Why did I keep on baking bread?? First, I love bread and I have it for breakfast every weekday morning. Second, the bread that I baked just doesn't seem to be as fluffy as what I bought in the bakery. Sometimes I do get soft bread but it's just not the fluffy kind. More dense to be exact. I don't know if my expectation is too high. But to me, I feel that I have yet to succeed in bread making. I will keep on trying. This process just simply has too many variables and unknowns. Maybe this is the third reason. It is challenging.

20th March - Butter Cinnamon Roll from here

For this bun, I forgot to leave the dough to double in the second proof. After shaping it, I sent them into the oven straight away. So blur. Luckily it is still soft and nice just that it is not fluffy.

I am sure if I did not forget that step, the standard will be closer to my dream bread.

27th March - Sweet Bun with hotdog from here

This ugly looking bun is the result of me acting smart when I am not. Slap myself. I prove the dough overnight because I don't want to spend so many hours in the kitchen on Sunday. On Sunday, I took out the dough, shape it and bake it. Terrible mistake. I should have thaw it first but I am afraid that the dough will be over proof. Sigh. I think I won't try this method again until I got more specific instructions on how to carry this out correctly from a trusted source. Anyway, this bread has a scone-like texture. It still taste decent after toasting. Far from my dream bread.

3rd April - Sweet Bun with hotdog

I am tired of failure. So this time, I decided to be obedient and follow the above recipe step by step. And finally, I got a bun that is close to my dream bread, just that the fluffiness is still shy of those bought ones. But this bun is good enough to make me happy for the whole day.

10th April - Wholemeal Bun (Using Tangzhong)

I forgot to take picture of these plain wholemeal bun. After hearing so much about Tangzhong method and how it can retain its fluffiness for three days, I decided to try it. But sad to say, it did not come out right. Quite soft but not exactly fluffy. Luckily it tastes good when it is toasted with cheese.

I am taking a break this week from baking bread. I think I will bake muffins instead. :) But... I will be back.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Deep Fried Nian Gao in Spring Roll Pastry

What is sticky, sweet, gooey and delicious? Caramel? No. What I am describing is a traditional Chinese delicacy that is available only during Chinese New Year, the Nian Gao. It is made from glutinous flour, sugar and water, steamed for many hours in a mould lined with banana leaves. I have heard of several ways of eating it but I still prefer the deep fried version.

My mum used to sandwich the Nian Gao in between a slice of sweet potato and a slice of yam then coat it with a batter, deep fried till golden brown. I have been eating this once every year for twenty over years and not tired of it yet. :) But my mum always complained to me that the oil splatters everywhere, even onto her arms when she is deep frying them. So when I saw what Wendy did with her Nian Gao, I proposed this idea to my mum and she was in for it.We did some modification to the recipe. Instead of mashing the yam and seasoning it, we just cut the yam into rectangles, rubbed them with salt and steamed them for 10 to 15 minutes. After which, the assembling part is the same as what Wendy did.

The outcome is simply divine. Haha. When it just came out of the fryer, the Nian Gao is gooey and the pastry is crispy. Left it to cool for a while, the Nian Gao becomes a bit chewy and the pastry is still crispy. This is my favourite texture. If left overnight, the pastry will turn soft and crumbles but still taste good. The pastry will regain its crispiness after toasting but the pastry looks darker and full of wrinkles. Tastewise is as good as before. Yum Yum.

Traditional Delicacy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Weekend Afternoon Tea

Today, I invited my uncle and aunt to my house together with my parents to have a simple afternoon tea and also a bonding session. Haha. I have baked a blueberry pound cake yesterday. I need to bake in advance because I am a slow worker. Sigh. I inherited this from my mum as what my dad always says. :) I think I slightly overbaked this cake as you can see that the crust is rather thick. Other than that, I love this cake. It is so fragrant, fruity, buttery and tender. High cholesterol but I can't resist it. Love it. My mum brought back what was left as she didn't have enough of it too. I got this recipe from Seasaltwithfood. Thanks so much.

I think my skill still have lots of room for improvement. See the big holes there? I will definitely make this cake again. The next dish that I prepared is the savory dish called pearl balls. It is actually meatballs coated with glutinous rice. I got my inspiration from Honey Bee Sweets. It is a very simple dish to prepare. I made the meat mixture in advance and coated them with glutinous rice when I wanted to steam. I modified the recipe a bit by replacing the prawns with fish paste to make my life a little easier. As usual, lazy. ;) I am still not very confident with my seasoning skills so I boiled some water and cooked two meatballs to have a taste of it. Luckily the taste is well-balanced. Good enough to treat my parents and guests.

Pretty morsels. Looks elegant and cute. Easy to eat too. I think I will omit the grease paper next time and just simply grease the plate to prevent them from sticking.

Lastly, I also baked two hasselback sweet potatoes. The slicing of the potatoes is really a challenge to me. The sweet potatoes are so hard. I cut through it twice. So sad. No skill. After struggling for half an hour, I finally did it. Haha. Filled with satisfaction. I prepared according to what Seasaltwithfood has blogged. Towards the end of the baking, a familiar smell struck me. Roasted chestnuts. It must be the smell of the burnt sugar on the aluminium foil. This dish is also well-received. Just that I need to eat more spinach to gain more arm power before I do it again. ;) But I think I will make this again because my hubby likes it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Banana Cake

Last Thursday my mother gave me the ripen green banana that she used it to bai tian gong (pray to Emperor Jade) on Lunar 9th. With so many bananas in hand, I decided to make banana cake. I made once before but the cake is not very nice so I did not blog about it. I blog hop for more recipes. Then I stumbled upon Wendy's recipe here. What attracts me was the simplicity of the recipe. I decided to gave it a try. I do not know what is pisang emas so I just use my pang jio, literally translated from Hokkien is fragrant banana.

The whole kitchen was filled with the fragrant of the banana, from the mashing stage to the baking stage. It even attracted my hubby to the kitchen. When the cake is baked, strange enough, it smell like fried nian gao. Haha. I love the smell and when it is slightly cooled, I cannot wait to have a taste. I love everything of this cake, from its taste to its texture. With minimal ingredients, minimal steps, minimal washing, the result is fantastic. I will definitely make this cake again for my friends and family. My mother also love this cake and she promised me she will supply me with more bananas for this cake.

Great satisfaction. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Weekend Lunch

Working. Our lives revolve around our work. This is the most common thing that everyone does. Most of us need to work. I am also part of the working force. Being part of this force, hardly do I have the time to prepare dinner on weekdays. Luckily I am living near my mother-in-law and she is very kind to have us over for dinner almost everyday. I really appreciate her understanding.

So when do I cook for my hubby and myself? On Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Why not Sunday dinner? By Sunday night, I am already having Monday Blues so I prefer to spend my night on the sofa or in front of the computer and not in the kitchen washing. So what do I usually cook? The most frequent dish is PASTA. Haha. The reasons being you can add any ingredients into it and it is my chance to clear my fridge. Secondly, I only need one pan and one pot. Minimal washing. Haha. I know I am lazy. I love to cook but the washing really annoys me. Luckily, my hubby is kind enough to wash everything for me after I cook. Thanks dear.

I have tried cooking Aglio Olio and the recipe is from Elinluv's Tidbits Corner. I added deep fried bacon bits on top. I really love this simple dish and the bacon bits really enhances its taste.

I also love tomato-based pasta. The tangy sweet salty flavour really got me. The pasta below is my own creation. Haha. I just simply saute half a chopped onion and chopped garlic, with sliced portobello and some sausages until they brown up nicely. Then I added in a can of stew tomatoes and simmer it. After that, I added in the cooked pasta, tossed and served. Just nice for a lazy bum like me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

For the past week, I have been indulging myself with CNY goodies like my favourite bak gua, pineapple tarts, love letters... The list is so long. The angel in me will tell me to watch out for my waistline and the devil in me will say one year once only, it's ok. Sigh. I always lean towards the devilish me.

For Valentine's Day, by right I should be making heart shape cookies or chocolatey heart shaped cake or even heart shaped truffles (even though I never make it before) but I think my hubby and I had enough of those high sugar, high sugar, high calories goodies (or maybe I should call them baddies ;). I should make something for him that is part of his daily three meals so I would not increase his calories intake. My decision is Bread. You may think that I am unromantic. Yeah. You hit the jackpot. I must say I am quite a practical person. Flowers for Valentine's Day? I don't know how to appreciate them and I don't really crave for them. I rather have something practical. Haha. Hope he gets my hints.

I made him cheesy heart-shaped buns with a little raw sugar sprinkled on top. I read about this technique of shaping in Happy Home Baking. The recipe that I used is adapted from Angie's Recipe. In order to add more fiber to our diet, I replaced 30 g of bread flour with wholemeal flour. As for the taste, you cannot expect it to be super soft and fluffy like the white bread. However, it is indeed soft even on the second day (which is today) without toasting. I can say that I am satisfy with the result. :)

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers hosted by Cuisine Paradise. More information can be found here.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Almond Pandan Cookies

Every Chinese New Year, I will bake pineapple tarts only due to demand and time constraint. This year, I managed to squeeze out some time to try another cookie recipe that I have bookmarked. It is from My Kitchen Snippets - Almond Pandan Cookies. Alot of local desserts in Singapore use Pandan leaves in them as it imparts a nice fragrance to the desserts. I love the smell of these plain looking leaves. So when I saw this recipe, I kept it in my sleeves and pray hard that I have time to try it out.

I cleared my off in lieu on a Friday and managed to reach home early. So I rolled up my sleeves and out the recipe. The cookies smells great. Very buttery and not too sweet. I guessed I slightly overbaked them as mine looked more brown. But the pandan smell is not prominent. I think it is due to the pandan paste that I used. I offered them to my mum and she loves it. She had them with coffee in the afternoon while watching TV. She even offered to pound some pandan leaves for me to make my own pandan essence as she believes that it will taste even better with the pandan smell.

Chinese New Year Bakes

It is Chinese New Year again. This is my favourite time of the year. Somehow or rather I got very busy during this period every year. Be it at work or at home. Time is always not enough. However, I will still set aside one day to make my dad's favourite pineapple tarts. Ever since my auntie stopped making hers, my dad could not find the type of tarts that he adores until November 2008. Haha. I found a recipe in the internet and decided to try out. He fell in love with them and ever since, he will ask me to make it every CNY. I am sorry to the owner of this recipe because I could not recall where I took it from and thus could not acknowledge it in my post. I am thankful that you shared this recipe and I have been very loyal to this recipe. Making it every year. :)

This year, I made 352 open faced tarts with the help of my mummy. I prepared the tarts and she rolled the pineapple paste into little balls. I used store bought one as my family like the taste. Not too sweet and it goes well with the tarts. This recipe yields melt-in-your-mouth tarts. The downside of this recipe is that it is hard to pack them into the containers. Very delicate. But who cares. It is for our own consumption. ;)

Pineapple Tarts (make about 70 tarts)

300g plain flour
half tsp of salt
4 tbsp corn flour
200g butter
2 egg yolk

1) Sieve flour, corn flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
2) Rub in cold butter and add in the egg yolk to form a dough.
3) Roll our the pastry into 0.5 cm thick and stamp out.
4) Place the little pineapple paste balls on top and bake in preheated oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or till the bottom is light brown.
5) Cool them on racks and store in air tight container.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favourite CNY Cookie. Hopefully I am not too late.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I am Back!!! (Again)

Ever since I started this blog in 2008, I have not been updating it as regularly as what it should be. I am really guilty of that. Sigh... Never place my blog under my to-do list and I began to forget about it. I still visit my own blog very often as this is the door to my food blog-o-sphere. I hoped from one blog to another during my lunch time but could not leave any comments. I suppose the computer at my workplace barred us from doing that. Sad. :(

Though I was not actively blogging, I am actively cooking and baking as and when I have the time to spare. Now that I have a kitchen of my own, I stock up with equipment and ingredients that I used to dream of having in the past. I was very happy with my house until this morning when I discovered that I was invaded by ants. I kept all my things clean and tidy but where do they come from. The worse thing was I could not find the source of these invaders. Anyone has any solutions to get rid of these ants asap? I could not stand the sight of them and not to say cohabit with them.

Back to my food blog. One of my New Year resolution is to update my blog every fortnightly and leave comments in the blogs that I visit. I even set alarm in my handphone to remind me of that. Really serious this time. (Hope so :p) Another reason is because I bought a toy that I was dreaming of every day. Kitchen Aid. Haha.

This is my most treasured toy. Most expensive too. I chose the gray one because of the Matt finish. And the first recipe that I tried out with this toy is kuih balu. I made this once last year but failed terribly. All my kuih got stuck in the mould. To make the matter worse, I used a recipe that called for 6 eggs. Crazy mess. How come I never thought of halving it at all. Never mind. Lesson learnt.

This time round, I did my homework before hand and I decided to use the recipe from Elinluv's Tidbits Corner. The sweetness is just nice for me. However the texture did not pass my mark. It looks like sponge inside, big holes. I believed that I should have used a lower speed to beat the eggs instead of the highest one. And my folding skills as well, need more practise. Lesson learnt - even though you have a good piece of equipment, you still need skills to produce good results. I will definitely try again.