December 28, 2008

A late Christmas wish & Happy 2009

Christmas is over and in a few days time, we are crossing over to the new year again! How time flies... we may not know it as we live our hectic life day by day; but with this blog, I can truly sense it because everytime when I make a posting towards the end of the month, I knew oh it's another month again. :)

Sorry that I had not been able to make a decent post to give my christmas wishes to all readers before the christmas. I had been so busy with friends' gatherings, outings, etc that I finally have the time to make a post today, after having uploaded all the photos taken during this festive period.
This christmas, I didn't really bake anything special, but I was happy that I got to be involved in baking cookies for my unit's X'mas Party. The cookies were to be given to each of us as door-gifts. My colleague and I came out with the idea of making giant chewy cookies and tied it like a lollipop!
This is an oatmeal raisin cookie and I decorated it with m&ms and melted chocolate. I should have used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate because it took the whole day to be dried up and the brown colour wasn't distinctive enough.
I also baked a christmas fruitcake for my family and dd and some in mini cupcakes for my colleagues. This fruitcake recipe is a much lighter version and I really like the taste of it. The only modification was I used grand marnier instead of brandy and I replaced cinnamon powder with mixed spice. Recipe taken from Florence's blog.

I would like to end this post by wishing all my dear friends, readers and baking kakis a very happy new year! May everyone have a fruitful year ahead in 2009! :D

December 12, 2008

In the Mood for X'mas Baking!

I'm sure many of you out there are now busy planning or involved in X'mas baking, cooking... be it for sale, gifts or just to get into the mood of it. :)

I have no idea why, this year's christmas season seems to be coming in such a rush that I don't seem to have done much x'mas baking. I've been putting off things that I wanted to bake as I'm more involved in christmas shopping this year. I've also been trying out some giant, chewy cookie recipes which I will be making as doorgifts during my unit's (company) x'mas party. Meaningful and fun yea! Heh heh... ;) Well, I still feel that baking x'mas-shaped cookies (like those frosted cut-out sugar cookies which I baked last year) would make me feel more involved in x'mas baking... Hehe....

Anyway, I did bake something christmas-y, and that was almost two weeks ago! it's something I've never tried before... Christmas bread aka The Pandoro! Haha, actually I don't know whether it should be "A Pandoro" or "The Pandoro", LOL, cos' I'm not familiar with this kind of bread at all. Stollen, Panettone..yes but not Pandoro. This recipe was beautifully printed in “孟老师的一百道面包”. A little about Pandoro here taken from the book - A Pandoro originated from North Italy, Verona. Unlike most bread, this bread contain more butter and sugar and when baked, the result is a beautifully golden crusted bread, hence also commonly known as "Golden Bread". It is traditionally baked in a star-shape mould so that when you overturn it after baking, it resembles the shape of a christmas tree. I don't have those kind of mould, hence I baked it in my 6-inch chiffon tube pan. I think it looks more like an eskimo's igloo. LOL.

Because of the large amount of fats used, the bread is golden brown (even without any colouring), with very crisp golden crust. It's very very soft and fluffy when fresh out of the oven but a little oily as well. It's very delicious eaten on its own! However, this bread doesn't keep well. After a day, it turned hard. But if you are one who likes toast, the bread tasted great when toasted because of the fine golden crust and buttery flavour. I whopped down two big pieces for my breakfast after toasted it. :P

If you can spare a bit of time, I recommend baking this bread for breakfast on a festive morning. :)
p/s: I realised I had spelt wrongly as 'Pandora' on the photo. Sorry! :P
Ingredient A:
100g bread flour
2g instant yeast
75g fresh milk
Ingredient B:
200g bread flour
60g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2g instant yeast
35g egg yolk
50g whole egg
35g fresh milk
Ingredient C:
100g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp lemon rind (I omitted this)
  1. Mix ingredients A together using slow speed until well mixed to form a dough. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 10 hours.
  2. Mix together the dough from step (1) with ingredients B. Beat until well mixed to form a dough.
  3. Cut butter (ingredients C) into small cubes and add into the dough. Continue beating until a smooth dough is formed.
  4. Gather the dough and form it into round shape. Put into a large mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it proof for about 50 minutes.
  5. Release the air, divide the dough into two portions, shape into two round balls and placed it in the mould.
  6. Let it undergo final proofing for 60 minutes, or when dough reaches 90% full.
  7. If you are using the star-shape mould, use a metal plate to cover the opening of the mould. This is to prevent the top portion of the bread from expanding. The top needs to be flat in order to be inverted and stand like an X'mas tree.
  8. Bake at 170°C for about 35 minutes.
Recipe Source:孟老师的一百道面包
Note: I did all the kneading with my bread machine. Because of the amount of butter used, I let the machine knead for 40 minutes before a smooth, non sticky dough was done.

Happy X'mas Baking Everyone!

December 6, 2008

Multi-grain Rolls

Multi-grain rolls...this reminds of the ones I had at "The Soup Spoon", where a small dinner roll is usually accompanied with a bowl of soup. I like their rolls cos' it's so soft and fluffy, best to be eaten with a bowl of thick, hot soup.

If not for the time consumed, I always love making breads because there would usually be no wastage and again, it's just so satiosfying to have home-made bread and eat it whatever you want, on it's own, as sandwiches...etc.

A few months back, I bought a packet of multi-grain toppings but fail to realise that the 'best by' date is already overdue by a week! It's such a big packet and I really hate to see my pantry ingredients going to a waste. I did some googling and gathered that 'best by' date means that the product would be at its freshest by that date. It can usually be consumed within a few weeks or a month as long as it's not spoilt (use your senses to gauge!).

Heh heh... as the toppings still smell and looked fresh to me, I decided to finish it up and make some multi-grain rolls. Although the recipe doesn't require so much toppings, I just sprinkled the remaining generously over the final proofed bread.

The above was the texture I took after a day. I didn't get to try the texture the day it was baked cos' I rushed out of my house immediately after baking! I wouldn't say it's as soft as it should be, but they weren't too bad, not the kind of rough, coarse texture at least.

By the way, the original recipe was a pumpkin seed bread, but I replaced the pumpkin seeds with multi-grain toppings instead! :D The recipe is taken from “孟老师的一百道面包” . I shall not be posting the recipe since I did too many modifications and dare not say it was real soft. :P If you are interested, do drop me a comment. ;)

Egg Mayo Sandwich! Yummy!