Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BB: Rosemary Foccacia Sheet, Page 205.

I have a confession to make..I bought Rose's Bread Bible since 2008 but I have not flipped over a single page! :p  It was in cold storage until now (same with the Pastry Bible!). Glori recently set up a bake through Bread Bible group for Alpha Bakers and now I get to dig it out from deep inside the cupboard and finally read my first recipe. LOL!   

So our first recipe to bake from Bread Bible is page 205, 
Rosemary Foccacia Sheet. 

I have recently cultivated sourdough and had been having fun using them and feeding them. They are my pets now.  Instead of discarding part of the sourdough during feeding, I decided to use it in place of the yeast mentioned in the book. I used 15% of the flour weight and then do the necessary adjustment for flour and water respectively. 

The dough was pretty wet and had to use paddle. Took 20mins to get stuck to the paddle like this. At first I was watching it then I grew tired and bored and walked away to chat with other alpha bakers on FB group. I heard some noises and ran to the kitchen and saw my mixer walking around the counter top on its own! Scary. Thankfully my mixer didn't walk off the counter top!  

After it is transferred to an oiled glass bowl for proofing.  

And I brought my son out - his usual routine - same shopping centre and McDonalds every week.

I came back 3 hrs later, it proofed ..over 3x size! Yikes! 
Also due to weather being very hot & sunny that day too. 

I pour into a sheet pan and tried to push the sides around. I think somehow I only pushed the sides and not the centre..the centre no matter how i try to push it won't budge!  Then I planted rosemary leaves on the bread dough...literally... LOL! (..hahaha... I read wrongly....somehow I remembered the garlic part which was supposed to press it down but ended up pressing the stalks of rosemary leaves down instead cos I forgot about the garlic....LOL!)  After I poured some EVOO onto the top of the dough and into the oven it went.

The foccacia freshly out of the oven. 
Sorry..I couldn't help it..I nibbled on some! 

And I nibbled somemore........

And in the end..I nibbled all the crispy sides!!  
I cannot help it! It was so good fresh out of the oven!
Esp. the sides, so crispy and chewy at the same time.
I couldn't eat dinner that stomach was so bloated with bread & water. 

These were the left over bread in the centre of the dough. 
Fluffier and thicker cos I couldn't seem to push them out.

This is a very delicious bread, fresh out of the oven is heavenly.
I couldn't stop eating it.  The next day the bread remained soft, but however, it turned a bit soggy due to the EVOO.  Still better eaten fresh imo.

Monday, March 2, 2015

TBB: Hamantaschen (for purim)

First I must apologise for not making these cookies into traditional triangular shape. Because all my cutters were kept so neatly away during CNY spring cleaning, that I had a hard time trying to locate the round cutters!  In the end, I only had the pineapple tart cutters on hand cos these were the ones I used during CNY to make pineapple tarts.

I made the Apricot Lekvar two days before making these. I was complaining about making apricot lekvar again on Facebook how the previous batch stayed in my fridge for 3 years and when I used up the last bit, I was very happy.  But in the end, after all theat complaining, I still made the Lekvar..LOL! Go figure. I was running a fever that day and high on flu meds. My helper was next to me and telling me that she will do it for me because she was worried I was stirring the pot and the pot was moving out of place, onto the edge and looked like it was going to fall off.  So I timed the timer and she stirred the pot for 20 mins.  I didn't take any photos because I was just too tired. 

I had high hopes for the pastry because of the unusual ingredients like Turbinado sugar and heavy cream. I was hoping that it will be my next shortcrust pastry to go for my pineapple tarts too.  

Blending the sugar, then the butter, flour...etc

Pour into bag and knead it..and wrap in plastic wrap to be refrigerated.

I got tired after trying to use this tiny flower cutter..took me forever and the dough was melting very fast at 1/16" thick. 

So I ended up using this other plunger normally used for pineapple tarts too...(i forgot what it is called!...) but here we call it Nestar shaped, I have no idea why though? This way also, I don't have to add additional flour to roll the dough. 

I added chocolate to my apricot lekvar hoping to add more flavor to it. I find apricot lekvar very bland on cookies (re Ishler), I like them on swiss roll but just not on cookies. So I thought adding some chocolate to it will make it look as if I had poppy seeds in them and everything taste better with chocolate isn't it?

So all these tiny pieces out of the oven. First batch I forgot to egg wash..and the second batch with egg wash looked prettier, more yellow and glossy. 

Honestly, I was very disappointed!! I'm a crust person, so crust is very important to me than the filling. But it tasted bland and had no buttery taste.  I mean our local pineapple tarts pastry just used simple ingredients like butter, icing sugar, cornflour, flour with simple mixing and taste so much better - soft and crumbly and melts in mouth, but with buttery taste. If we wanted milky, we add a little bit milk powder.  Sorry, I cannot help but compare because I was expecting more from this pastry recipe. 

And in case you were all wondering, chocolate didn't help the apricot lekvar. It still tasted pretty bland. :(  I was actually quite thankful that I didn't use up my pineapple jam for this recipe. Pineapple jam took me 3-4 hours to stir it down to a thick jam would have been wasted on a bland pastry.  

Overall: Bland. 
Nobody in my family really liked or dislike. 
They were like forgettable. 

and I was quite sad the whole day
...and didn't help that I was watching last 2 episodes of the Korean drama in which the father died of cancer.
I cried a lot that night. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

TBB: Lemon Posset Shortcake


Recipe actually looks more intimidating than it actually is.  I made the posset first because it needed time to set.  And after making the posset, everything seemed to fall into place quite easily. :)  I pour the lemon posset into 3 mini shallow pie dishes..I think if I read correctly, as long as the posset is not above 3/4" should be ok.

I had clarified butter in my fridge. So I just measured out from that small plastic container on the left, right in front of the French Pear Gelee. 

Next, I made the sponge cake. 
Since I have Hong Kong flour or what we call here as Super Lite flour, which is lighter/same as Pastry Flour? (not sure!).  I used that instead of substituting.  Worked very well. 

You can see I used the tiny mixing bowl. Only little batter, so small bowl beats up better imo.

The mini sponge cakes out of the oven.  They were so fragile, I was afraid of damaging them.

The first few came out beautifully, the last 2 not so good...but still ok, no major damage.

I searched high and low for Apple Jelly!  Finally found this French Pear Gelee. I figured they will work the same... apple and pear same family right? lol!... and Gelee sounds like must be same too. LOL!  

Mixed 1/4 cup with water. 

Microwave till liquid. 
Reminder to myself. Next time microwave only when you need to use it! It hardens up again quite fast!  

All syrup & glazed!  
The in-between waiting made me a bit impatient...but time passed by quickly because I was baking pineapple tarts at the same time. :)

Posset out from the fridge and the top part is hardened with oil/fats! 
Put the top part and then put back in fridge. 

All filled up..but I couldn't wait to try! LOL! 

Ok.. at least I waited for them to rest 1 hour in the fridge and took it out to try!
The lemon posset still not set yet..but it tasted sooo good!! 

The next day, after overnight in the fridge, the posset finally hardened totally.  No more dripping posset..

Still as yummy! A bit of sweetness and a bit of tartness. 
Nice balance of flavors. 

Absolutely Delicious!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

TBB: Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache

I woke up early on Saturday morning (which is like once in a blue moon..hahaha..cos Sat is like my catch up sleep day) and when I saw Raymond posted a photo of his freshly baked Chocolate Pavarotti Cake on our FB group, I knew I had to make it right away (this was like 3 weeks ago...figured it was good to bake earlier too as I wanted to bake Chinese New Year cookies during this weekend).

I got all my ingredients ready. I found white chocolate in my pantry just enough to make this cake.  When I heated up my white chocolate, it didn't really melt into flowly turned into a dry soft mass.  It's I know it has to have cocoa butter in it. Maybe it's dried up? *shrugs*.. Since I had some cocoa butter on hand (see the small container..), I placed a teaspoon of it into the soft dry mass and immediately it turned the white chocolate into liquid.  Problem solved!   Next the boiling water + cocoa powder mixture - done.

Measure eggs & water mixture and add vanilla.

Oh..missed out taking some photos.. that is the mixing of the dry and wet ingredients.

And placed into oven to bake.  
It's a very easy and fast put together cake.

While the cake is baking, time to make the ganache. 
Melt the chocolate + 3/4 tsp of secret ingredient X + heavy cream in microwave.

Stir into a smooth ganache. 
Oooooh... X-hot! I like! :D 

Cake is all ready after 40mins.  

Measure the height of the cake. 

Then frost with ganache.  Lazy to take out my piping tip.
I just used a spatula to swirl it around.  Photo below, the cake is just out from the fridge.
I put in the fridge for a while to set the ganache.

After, I found the cake very dull & boring.

Saw some coloured hundreds thousands rice (what is it called? I forgot!) in my pantry and put it along the swirl giving it a lollipop look.  Just like only need a bit to brighten you up! (Like the Chinese saying - "There is no ugly women, only lazy women!"...and sometimes forgetful woman

I think it is quite pretty now.  
I never thought a short 1 layer cake can look this pretty.
Before this,  I only had eyes for tall cakes.

Now I changed my mind after seeing how some decorations can prettify the cake. :)  

Sliced and ready for taste testing! 

Sooo GOOD!  
Very light, tender and moist crumb. 
Very chocolaty as well!

I was slightly disappointed that the X-factored ganache when paired with the chocolate cake - seemed to only just 'tickle' the tongue..  The cake had washed out the X. 

Honestly, secret ingredient X can remain anonymous because to me even without, the cake with plain ganache is still a Winner imo! I would definitely be making this cake often. 

I gave out some slices to my friend and colleagues and none of them came back to me about the heat in the ganache. Some said they didn't even taste it!  Some commented that there was this annoying aftertaste sensation on tongue and they can't quite make out what it was (I didn't mention the secret ingredient X till later).... Perhaps our taste buds have been de-sensitised.... knowing how spicy South East Asia's cuisine can be..  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Milk Bread

This week is catch up week from TBB. Since I have nothing to catch up,  I decided to make this fast & easy Milk Bread from WoksofLife.  Usually I'll bake the Hokkaido Milk Bread version using Tang Zhong method.  But this recipe intrigues me because it uses heavy cream as well as cake flour. So made me curious as to how it would taste.

This is a very fast and easy recipe.  Forgiving too since I forgot to add egg but the bread still turned out very well.  Very soft & milky. It's more milky than the Hokkaido Milk Bread.  So if you like your bread very milky in flavor, this is the bread for you.

I have to bake it once again tonight with missing ingredient (egg!!!)..and see the difference. :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

TBB: Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread

Baking the Panettone has pushed me into bread-making mode. And this bread recipe looks simple compared to Panettone.. I mean if I could make that so many steps and so many days Panettone bread, I can make any bread isn't it? 

So I got ready to make the biga (at the same time I made the gingersnaps).  Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to change flour from KA to this Organic one (from US so it says on the packaging).  The unforeseen circumstances was due to the fact that I found a worm (translucent orangey worm) wiggling in my sifter after sifting the KA bread flour..which I just bought for the Kouigns!  And I opened another new packet and found strings of eggs sitting at the sides of the paper packaging. So no more KA bread flour for the time being... 

I mixed in the rye flour I had on hand.  Rose says (in bracket) that Pumpernickel flour is course rye flour so which means fine ground rye flour is also ok right? Same fat or thin, tall or short, different yet the same?  So the only difference is course or fine rye right? Logically is so, correct?  Or so I thought!!    

BTW,  I've never eaten pumpernickel bread before, but this Barney Pumpernickel Bread song keep singing in my mind whenever I read or say the word "pumpernickel"!?!  (..Barney says "it is a very funny name for a very tasty bread...yum yum pumpernickel, pumpernickel bread..")  It's so annoying to have it in my mind but I cannot help it.........argghhh!!!!   

Maybe I have to share it with all of watch it with me... LOL!

Nice Song? So you all know the different types of bread now? Good..!  hahaha

Back to my Swedish Bread....

Here's the biga to be rested in fridge for 3 days.

After 3 days it looked more fluffy and relaxed. 

 Mixed in the with rest of the flour, knead and after add raisins and walnuts. Let it proof for a day, overnight in the fridge.  And I wondered why my dough is grey in color?  Rose's bread in her book is white in color! So I must have used the wrong flour..I was a bit disappointed at this point.  But Barney in that video was holding a dark colored bread...!

The next day, I took it out and shaped it and fold the top corners down into triangle.
For once I understood instructions perfectly.....but I had to use the wrong type of flour! *shake head*... 

Then I placed the apricots in one straight line. I wanted to squeeze in as many as possible..which is only 7 pieces. 

After I rolled it down from top to bottom and pinched the ends. So proud of myself at this point! 

I proofed the dough in a basket, no particular reason but because I just bought it and wanted to use it. LOL!

After 1 hour, I thought the bread should be ok to be baked now. Most likely the bread is going to be headed to the bin soon because I used the wrong flour and proofing longer is just wasting my time.
So I made some slashes..but I think not deep enough. And baked as stated. The dough didn't raise up a lot in the oven either...and I was like pouty-faced.  

I didn't' wait for the bread to cool down for 2 hours before cutting. After 45mins, I cut the bread just to check the inside and to take photos for documentation before I threw it away.  

But after cutting, I realised the bread inside looked good. I took a bite and hey, it tasted good too!  I was very surprised!!!  The grey color didn't matter at all. :)  I cut a slice each for everyone to try (except my son of course..he doesn't want try new food, only his usual routine and food).  Everyone in my family said it is good and tasty. They like the apricots and raisins and walnut combination too.   It will go very well with cheese and wine.  Now I regretted cutting it so early, I should have freeze the bread and eat it during weekend with cheese and wine when I have more time to savour and enjoy it.  

Will definitely bake it again next time! 

I posted on FB and Kristina explained to me the difference between course rye and fine rye and the effects. Raymond said he used rye flour too. It's good to have alpha bakers as my friends on FB, I feel like we are just like a family. :) I'm envious Kristina has her own flour grinder. I can't wait to see how she grinds her rye berries into pumpernickel ( Nooo..not that Barney song again in my mind...!). 

..Yum yum ... Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread, ..yum yum... Golden Panettone, ..yum yum... tortillas, ..yum yum... pita pocket, ..yum yum.. bagel,  ..yum yum... white bread, ..yum yum.. pumpernickel, pumpernickel bread....


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