Friday, March 28, 2008

Char Siew Buns

Finally, I'd made my first savoury "char siew buns" with homemade char siew yesterday. Char siew, be it bun or bao, is my husband's favourite. My kids love it too, but not me!

I use a "sweet buns" recipe from Happy Home Baker, char siew fillings from Aunty Yochana, and char siew from Lily Wai Sek Hong.

This sweet buns recipe is a keeper! The texture of the bread was very soft. However, my husband commented that the fillings were too sweet and he preferred the char siew to be in bigger chunks...!! He also noted that the buns aged and not as soft as it was baked yesterday........ :( What a fussy eater!!

Nonetheless, my kids love it :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cream Cheese Loaf

A number of bloggers out there gave thumb-up for this bread. Better than the "Hokkaido Milk Loaf!? Wow! so die die must try :) I also find the "Hokkaido Milk Loaf" has a VERY strong milk taste not to my liking! Anyway, I'd also experiment using non-diary whipping cream to achieve the same softness as the famous "Hokkaido Milk Loaf " minus the strong milky smell. :))

Back to this topic "Cream Cheese Loaf". Recipe was taken from Pure Enjoyment. Indeed, the texture of the bread is extremely soft and cottony! I had to be very gentle when I sliced the loaf. After slicing, I get my two little testers to try with their favourite spread, peanut butter, as their night snack! (Very lucky hor! got freshly made bread everyday!) They like the softness of the bread!

I baked it into a loaf pan which I haven't used for quite sometime. Should have just flattened and rolled into one long strip instead of dividing them into two (keep thinking I'm using a pullman's tin!) So you see, my loaf ended with one big or one small! :((

Despite the look, this bread is definitely a keeper! :)

Char Siew (Barbecue Pork)

Made a batch of "Char Siew" today using a recipe from Lily's Wai Sek Hong. Truely amazing blog! You name it she has it :)

Actually I'm thinking of making them as my bread buns' fillings tomorrow. So, I double the recipe using 500g pork (五花肉) and marinade it overnight. As usual, this recipe never fail me. Sedap!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Almost a perfect square!

I've not achieved a perfect loaf for quite some times :( My last successful attempt was in November last year! Today's loaf was almost a perfect loaf if not for the side... I did a bad job in unmolding the loaf and in the process deformed the side..... :(

This is a coffee nut bread recipe taken from <曾美子教你第一次做面包>. Since I did not have any walnuts on hand, I just omitted it. Although coffee powder was added, it didn't have an intense coffee flavour. Guess my coffee powder wasn't good enough.. :(

Since this book is more for novice baker, the basic fermentation she explained is quite tedious! I just used my normal method of kneading and proofing. However, I noticed that she used some warm water to speed up or maintain the temperature. I find it very useful and it does help my 2nd proofing tremendously. This is how I do: Place your shaped dough in a warm/enclosed place with a bowl of warm water. Check your dough every 15-30 mins to see whether any rising and change the warm water once it turns cold.

When I sliced the bread, I noticed that the bread was real soft and cottony! May be that's why the side was difficult to unmold?!

Recipe as follows:
Ingredients A:
Bread flour 300g
Castor sugar 45g
Yeast 3.6g (I use 4g)
Water 150cc (I use fresh milk)
Egg 45g (I use 1 whole egg)
Ingredients B:
Salt 4.5g
Instant coffee powder 9g
milk powder 9g
Ingredient C:
Unsalted butter 45g
Ingredient D:
Walnuts 90g ( I omitted this)
Method: (I use my own method)
1. Combine ingredients A &B into a mixer to form a dough. Add ingredient C till smooth and elastic.
2. Remove dough. Shape into round and leave it in a big bowl cover with a piece of damp cloth/clingwrap. Leave to proof in a warm place for 50 to 60 mins till double in size. (Temperature: 28 deg C to 30 deg C)
3. Once double in size, punch out the air. Divide into 2 portions. Shape into balls. Rest the dough for 15 mins before shaping.
4. Flatten each piece and roll up tightly into a swiss roll style. Place the rolls into a greased tin. Cover with clingwrap/damp cloth and let it proof for 60 mins in a warm place till it reach 90% of the tin (temperature: 36 deg C to 38 deg C, humidity: 85%) {Mine took 1 hour 15 mins}
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 deg C for 30-35 mins.
6. Remove the bread from the tin. Cool well on a wire rack before slicing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Tangzhong (汤种)面包 - Spring Onion Buns

I made it! My most successful 汤种面包 (water-roux method) so far ! :)

Using the water-roux starter which I prepared yesterday, I made a batch of these buns. Looking at the smooth and satin second rising (shaped dough), my heart leaped with joy! I knew that my buns would be perfect today! Finally all that trying and guessing....

Here are the close-up of the bread texture:

So soft and fluffy....

I think my last few attempts failed (2nd rising) lies in the temperature.... must be 38 deg C. And I also think must follow the author's procedure/method to the T, then you can achieve this soft and fluffy stage, including when to add ingredients (dry & wet) and butter.

The following was the first batch of 汤种面包 which I made yesterday (using Florence's recipe: bread loaf). I'd included some pandan paste into my loaf. But unfortunately it didn't rise to the brim :( but the bread texture is the same... soft and fluffy... My husband said GOOD! (Wow! he rarely used the word "good" to my bakes... only "not bad"!)

My tiny loaf (think dough surface a bit dry that's why the cracked!?)

BTW, this bread remained soft and fluffy even today:) My sons simply loved it :)

Recipe source: <香葱面包 > “65度C 汤种面包” by Yvonne C.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My experiment: “65度C 汤种面包”Tangzhong Mian Bao

Last week, I went to a local library to return my books. I was lucky to borrow quite a few interesting cooking books and this is one of them, “65度C 汤种面包"by Yvonne C.

My family takes bread almost everyday. And I'm constantly in search of breads that stay soft and fluffy for at least 2 days. Coincidently, when I bloghopped to Florence's blog a few days back, I discovered that she was baking this “65度C 汤种面包" with great success.:) She also gave a detail explanation with pictures on how to prepare this 65度C 汤种. Armed with this valuable informations, I tried my experiments yesterday and today.

Pic A: 1 of 3 - This loaf was made on 12-3-2008.

Pic A: 2 of 3 - Close-up

Pic A: 3 of 3 - Texture of the bread

From the above pictures, you can tell my experiments were not very successful. My shaped doughs didn't rise properly as a result my breads are "tiny". Strange and puzzle: why it didn't rise even in the hot oven? One suspect: humidity. With the past few days raining non-stop, the humidity level is different? Don't know whether other bloggers out there encounter such problem? Or was it my 汤种 giving me problem?

Thinking that the kneading was not enough, I made another loaf today (using another recipe). Same problem: dough raised very well initially, thereafter, rising was slow or stagnant?? and it practically didn't rise in the oven!?

Overall, this 汤种 really made a difference to our normal bake. One bite and you know the difference :) My husband who is very particular about food texture, nod his head and said "Nice"! Will try again once the weather is good.

Coffee Yogurt Cashew Nuts Cake

Made this cake specially for my elder son's birthday yesterday. Recipe was taken from Happy Home Baker. I use a loose bottom cake pan to bake this cake.

Though this was fairly an easy cake, my cake looked a bit over baked! :(

As the cake was baking in the oven, I busy myself with other things. When I tried to take a look at my oven later on, to my horror, smoke was circulating in the oven! Panic! I opened the oven and noticed some liquid flowing on my oven floor! (I seldom put my dripping pan under the rack.) Swiftly, I wiped the liquid away. From then on, my oven became hay wired... my top grilling elements lighted up!!....gosh! I could smell some "burnt" coffee!! The rest of the time I'd no choice but to open the oven door frequently...... :( and the cake was obviously brown as compared to Happy Home Baker and Small Small Baker.

Overall, this is a good cake (but fattening! can't make often :) ) though my husband find it on the sweet side. Well, next time I just have to reduce the sugar (brown or caster sugar?)

Looking at how my sons ate their cakes, I knew they enjoyed the cake very well... crumbles on the table, chairs and floor.....! My little son, a picky eater, finished all the crumbles first before eating the cake layer !

Monday, March 10, 2008

Peanut Butter Cupcake Bread

When I took out my muffin pans and paper cupcakes this afternoon, my elder son thought I was making cupcake! :)) Indeed, the final products were somewhat similar to cupcakes. :)

This is a recipe taken from "Aunty Yochana". This is my first attempt doing a twisted bread. Of course the final products were a far cry from hers lah! Despite the appearance, the breads smelt very delicious during baking. :)

Initially I was rather hesitant to do the full recipe (500g is a lot, mind you!). In the end, I halved the recipe. But, soon regretted it! Half recipe only yield about 11 pieces "cupcake bread"! Not enough for us! The next round I'll do a full recipe and improve my skills. :)

Recipe as follows:

Ingredients: (Bread Dough)
400g bread flour
100g hong kong flour ( I use plain flour)
10g instant yeast
90gm sugar
5g salt
30g milk powder
300g water
60g butter or margarine

Filling: (Mix all together)
200g peanut butter
50g roasted almond nibs

Some extra almond nibs for sprinkling

1 beaten egg for glazing


1. Mix all the bread dough ingredients into a mixer bowl except butter. Beat for 10 mins till dough is formed. Add in butter, continue beating till smooth and elastic. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour.

2. Weigh and scale dough to 60g each. Rest for 10 mins.

3. Wrap up the dough with peanut butter fillings. Use a rolling pin to roll into a tongue shape, then cut into strips. Hold both ends together and twist it into a bowl and place into a greased muffin cup. Arrange onto a baking tray. Cover and let it rest for 45 mins or till double in size.

4. Glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle almond nibs on top.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 deg C for 10 mins.

Recipe source: Yochana's Cake Delight

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Homemade Pizza II

Pizza for dinner tonight. This is my second attempt at making a pizza from scratch. This time round with the correct baking sheet my pizza turn out so much better:)

With the gloomy weather for the past few days, I was very doubtful that the dough would rise within the 1-1.5 hours time. So in order to make it for dinner tonight (which is around 6-6.30 pm), I prepare earlier. I started kneading around 1.30 pm and the dough was sent for proofing by 2.00 pm. I constantly peeked at the proofing dough to check the rising. I was a little surprised that it did rise within the one hour stipulated time....just like my first attempt.

I use the same recipe from My first homemade pizza. I divide the dough into two. This time round I use a sandwich tin and a baking tray. I thought a round sandwich tin would yield pretty well like a store-bought pizza. However, this round pizza turned out to be a little thicker than the elongated one. Hmm.... next time, I will just roll out into round and bake it on a tray.

Overall, my family loved it very much. My eldest son who just came back from school gobbled up three pieces at one go! Getting to be a big eater now:)), but still so slim:(

Here's a close-up of my pizza:

Seems like my kids love this kind of thick crust pizza. May try out the thin crust next round. Oh yah, my little son complained about the pineapple chunks. He doesn't like pineapple!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chicken,mushroom & sausage kebab

Our lunch today, chicken,mushroom & sausage in terriyaki sauce. Since I didn't have the sauce, I made do with a terriyaki marinade in my fridge. Also taken from the same bento cookbook. Quite a number of delicious dishes in this book.

100g boneless chicken - (I use more)
(cut into 1" cube)

4 chinese mushrooms - (I use more)
(soaked & halved)

4 cocktail chicken sausage - (I use Apple cheese & more)

2 tbs terriyaki sauce - (I use terriyaki marinade)

1 tbs oil - (adjust according to quantity)



1. Combine chicken pcs, sausages and mushrooms with terriyaki sauce. Marinade for 20 mins or more.

2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add marinated chicken, mushrooms & sausages and cook till lightly browned.

3. Arrange on skewers, makes 4 skewers in total.

Serve with warm cook rice. I believe you can serve on its own without the rice.

My kids love the apple cheese sausages only (I think).

Pork with nam yee and wine

Saw a bento cookbook which feature this dish. The picture looks good in the book. :) As the recipe is for "bento", I expand the quantity to suit us. It looks like "char siew" but isn't. The interesting part is that, you deep fried the pork and steam later... Tastewise, my kids love it, my husband said not bad. For me, next time I'll stick to 3 tbs of wine instead of adding 1 tbs more.

Original Receipe as follows:

300g pork fillet - (I use a mixture of pork fillet + hind lean -total abt 450g)

1 pc nam yee (mashed) - (I use 1+1/2 pcs)
3 tbs rice wine - (I use 4 tbs shaoxing - should stick to 3 tbs next time)
1 tbs sugar - ( I use 2 tbs sugar)
2 tbs light soy sauce - (I use 3 tbs)
Few drops of sesame oil - (I use 1 tsp)
Oil for frying


1. Marinade pork with above for 2 hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.
2. Deep fry pork fillet in hot oil for 5 mins till the crust is nicely brown colour.
3. Steam fried pork together with marinade for 30 mins, slice.

Note: The pork looked dry because I just sliced them. Use the steamed marinade and drizzle over the pork.

However, my finished product did not look as good as the cookbook :(

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Home grown Spring onion

These red onions were spotted sprouting in my kitchen's onion basket. I decided to give a go to plant them in a flower pot. My two sons, who have been very eager to offer their service every night to help me water all my plants, were delighted to see the spring onions sprouting beautifully a few days later! :)

This morning my younger boy, who saw me trimming the spring onion off the pot, was puzzled why I did that. I told him that I would be using them to make buns. To excite them a bit, I suggest that I would spare a few more onions for them to plant in the same pot again. They were very pleased to hear that and quickly get into action. :)) Let see whether the new batch will sprout again soon or not. I may use them to fried with eggs! Ha!

Anyway, the thought of making "Spring onions buns" only occurred this morning when my husband remarked that he would like to eat this bun. Why not, after all, the spring onions sprouted in the pot are all ready waiting eagerly to be eaten!

I use the same recipe from my previous post Spring Onion Buns. This time round the buns are really special cos' they are home grown. And I believe they'll taste sweeter!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Chinese Pancake

This chinese pancake is one of my family's favourite. Decided to give it a try this Saturday since we're not going back to my mum's place. Also putting it off that long cos' the batter need to be proofed (how long? it wasn't stated in the recipe.) But now I know how long is the proofing process. :) Read on.

This recipe was taken from Aimei of Baking Cottage. The original recipe yield 2 large and 1 small pancake from my flat pan (I use a 26cm-if I'm not wrong). By the time, I have a chance to take picture of my pancakes, one big piece was gone from my plate! The rest would have been gone if I've not stopped my kids :) Needless to say, this pancake is very good: very soft!

As I didn't have any ground peanut for the filling, I use peanut butter as the spread. I try to spread some red bean paste, but my paste was not that easy to spread trhough. :(

It was also interesting to see the bubbling batter. My sons were fascinated by the bubbles popping sound from the batter. :))

Recipe as follows. For a more detailed one, visit Aimei's Baking Cottage .

150 plain flour
1 tsp instant dry yeast
35g caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt

200ml tepid water (water that is lukewarm to touch)

2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

60ml canola oil ( I used 50 ml)

1/2 tsp alkaline water (Substitute with: 1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 tsp water)

extra tepid water if necessary

Sesame peanut mix:
100g peanuts

25g white sesame seeds

50g caster sugar, or to taste

1. Mix together: flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.

2. Add in 200ml tepid water and stir to mix well. Put in a warm place, cover loosely with cling wrap, and let it proof until bubbly and double in size. (I proof for 45 mins: double in size, but not bubbly; let it proof further 5-10 mins: this time it starts to bubble-see the video above).

3. Once the batter double in size, add lightly beaten eggs, oil and alkaline water. (I use baking soda + water).

4. Beat to mix in well. Let stand 5-10 mins before cooking. (The batter should be of pouring consistency at this stage.)

5. Heat a non-stick crepe pan (top about 20cm diameter) until hot. Pour a little canola oil, then wipe over the surface with a paper towel.

6. Pour about 125ml (or more to make it thicker).

7. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium to low heat for about 3-4 mins, or until the top is bubbly and just set.

8. Spoon sesame peanut mix onto half of the pancake, lift the other side and fold over.

9. Best serve hot or warm.

Overall, this is a very simple and straight forward recipe. Worth trying again :)