Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Plaited Loaf

24 March 2008

Another new attempt using the breadmaker, this time I use it just to make the dough. I followed Happy Homebaker's sweet bun recipe using a breadmaker when she made the Red Bean Braided Bread. Well, I was actually intending to replicate that Red Bean Braided Bread, but I wasn't feeling confident enough to do it, that's why I ended up with a Plaited Loaf.

It is quite hard to do a nice plait due to my inexperience as this is my first time trying to shape a bread. To make a plaited bread, you need to shape 3 pieces of long thin strips with the same length. My problem is by the time I finish rolling the third strip, the first strip has already shrunk by 1/4 of the original length. The dough is very elastic and keep shrinking as I go along. That's why I'm pretty excited to see how nice the plaited loaf looks in the end. :P

I make 2 plaited breads. This is the better looking one.

This is the not so nice looking one. You can see that the end of the bread is not tuck in properly.

Needless to say, it is another great recipe from Happy Homebaker. It still tastes good on the next morning and I definitely want to make more next time.

Using the breadmaker: (I use a slightly different method and note this down)
1. Put all the ingredients (except butter) into the pan and set to "SWEET" and let it knead for 10 minutes.
2. Re-start the machine, set to "SWEET" again, and add in cold butter when the kneading starts.
3. After the kneading is completed (20 minutes), leave it in the machine for proofing. (That's why I set it to "SWEET" as sweet breads take a longer time to rise and I want to ensure sufficient time is given. The machine will punch the dough 2 times during the rising time. )
4. Stop the machine after 1.5 hours when the dough is about double its original size. Remove the dough from bread pan and shape them into 2 plaited breads and placed on a greased baking tray. Cover with a damp towel and leave them to rise for 40 minutes.
5. Brush the top of the bread with some milk and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Machine at work

21 March 2008

You surely know what this machine is. It's a bread machine of course. I didn't buy this. It belongs to my mother's friend who seldom use it. So we borrowed over since she's just staying in the block just next to ours. I never expected it to be such a big set. It is Breville Breadmaster Big Loaf breadmaker that can make 3 loaves size: 1.5kg, 1kg & 750g, and has 12 automatic settings including even pasta dough, pizza dough & jam setting. Must be a really good one. I have no idea how much this costs.

As I have never used a bread machine before, I start by first reading the manual and then go straight to Happy Homebaker's blog for source of good bread recipes. Finally, I settle for the Milk Loaf since it has been getting wonderful reviews from other bloggers who have tried it.

I increase the recipe by 1.5 times according to Aimei's milk loaf. Since I do not have any loaf pan or pullman tin, instead of bringing the dough out to proof and shape, I just leave everything to the bread machine. I set it to basic white, 750g and light crust and the whole process takes 3.03hrs. Starting at only 5:30pm in the evening, it is estimated to be done by 8:30pm.

My house smells like a bakery by night. It is really amazing to see how the bread machine works and how easy to use it, erm... except for the removing part. I take quite some time to remove it out of the pan. It's hot and I have to wait for it to cool a bit first. Still I haven't figured how to remove it. In the end, I manage to take it out by shaking the pan vigorously upside down. And parts of the bottom of the bread come out still sticking to one of the blades. That's the downside of using the bread machine.

No disappointment at all. It is crusty on the outside and very soft and fluffy inside. So soft that it is quite hard to slice them properly. It definitely keeps well cos it still tastes as good in the next morning as breakfast.

I want more breads! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Apple Crumble Pie

18 March 2008

I finally got myself a new tart pan and have been looking for recipes to try out. Frankly speaking, I don't really like baking stuffs that require me to use my hands to knead and roll, making my hands greasy and the table messy and got to wash up later. So I seldom bake cookies or tarts unless it is something that I would really want to try out.

After reading a couple of nice pies and tarts recipes, I manage to convince myself to get a tart pan and try baking my first tart - Apple Crumble Pie. I got the recipe from the Kitchen Capers Forum which I have just registered recently. A very interesting place to learn more about baking and cooking.

It's a three-step procedure for making this apple crumble pie. First, you have to make and bake the crust as the first layer. Second, cook the apples and fill them into the baked crust. Finally, sprinkle the crumble on top of the apple filling. Then, send it to bake.

And this is the nice and yummy looking apple crumble pie I've got. Hot and fresh from the oven. I must say this is a recipe worth trying. It is not too sweet and I like the combination of soft and crispy texture in one bite. I can't stop myself from taking a second piece after finishing the first. :)

Apple Crumble Pie
(adapted from Kitchen Capers and my previous apple pie)

Ingredients (bake in 8 inch tart pan)
100g butter
180g plain flour
25ml beaten egg

Apple filling:
2 large apples (about 220g each), peeled, cored and cut into cubes
2 tbsp brown sugar
sprinkles of cinnamon powder (I omit this)
lemon juice from a slice of lemon (I omit this)
some water
1/2 tbsp corn flour

60g butter
100g self-raising flour
4 tbsp sugar

1. To make the crust, sift the plain flour in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until small crumbs are formed. Add the beaten egg and knead to form a dough. Roll and press dough onto the tart pan. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for about 8 minutes (or till the base is dry).
2. To make the filling, cook the apples with the rest of the ingredients with some water for about 10 minutes. Add cornflour to thicken.
3. To make the crumble, gently rub the butter and flour to form into crumbs and add sugar and mix well.
4. After crust is baked, pour in the apple filling and sprinkle top with the crumble. Bake at 200C for about 25 minutes till the top is nice golden brown.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cocoa Yogurt Cashew Nuts Cake

10 March 2008

I baked this Cocoa Yogurt Cashew Nuts Cake with some cashew nuts and remaining yogurt left from the precious yogurt cake. I followed the recipe from Happy Homebaker, but I substituted the instant coffee powder with cocoa powder instead.

I did not cover the cake pan with a layer of foil. Luckily the crumbles did not fall off very much from the cake when I turn the cake out. As described by HHB, it is indeed very very tasty. It really tasted almost like a cheesecake with the 3 layers of crumbles made out of digestive biscuits. My nephew and I were eating and nodding with satisfaction, though I find it a little sweet. I'm thinking the possibility of using oreo biscuits for the crumbles next time. It is really good and I encourage everyone to try this out!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Min Jiang Kueh (Peanut Pancakes)

2 March 2008

I have always wanted to try this since I saw it on Aimei's blog more than 2 months ago. This is a Chinese-style pancake, traditionally stuffed with ground peanut fillings. There are also a variety of fillings such as red bean paste, or even kaya, blueberry, chocolate and cheese! It's not particularly my favourite, but I occasionally eat it as breakfast or snack.

It is quite easy to make. It took only 1 hour to wait for the batter to double in size. And less than 15 minutes to finish making the pancakes. The texture is softer and less chewy compared to those selling outside but I actually prefer these pancakes. It remains soft even after leaving it for a few hours. My mother really likes it and says that we don't to buy it anymore. I would prefer a different filling, perhaps cheese or chocolates. :)