Friday, November 15, 2013

Sourdough Bread (1)

This is the sourdough bread that I made using the sourdough starter I made in my previous post.

This bread is very different from the normal white bread that we used to eat.  Sourdough bread is supposed to be tangy and has a more dense texture.  However, mine isn't as tangy as my sourdough starter is still young.  From what I gather, the tangy flavour will intensify as the sourdough starter matures.  Having said that, this bread tasted very good especially toasted and eaten with a smear of butter.

I made this bread using my stand mixer as my first attempt using bread machine did not turn out well.  The bread was soggy and didn't raise as I have expected.  I think it could be due to the pre set timing of the bread machine that did not ogre well with the sourdough bread making process timing. 

By using my stand mixer to make this bread makes me realised that bread making really isn't that difficult after all.   In order to get a crusty bread I place a few pieces of ice in the dripping pan while baking the bread. 

Below is the recipe that I used to make this sourdough bread. 

1 1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3 cup bread flour

1) Place sourdough starter, water, yeast, salt, sugar and 2 cups of flour in the mixing bowl attached with dough hook.  
2) Start the mixer at low speed and slowly add in enough flour until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very sticky.
3) Knead dough for 10 minutes then transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl.  Leave the dough to rise covered with a cloth or cling wrap until double in size.  This can take between 60 to 90 minutes.
4) Once the dough has double in size, deflate the dough slightly and shape into round.
5) Place the dough on a baking pan dust with flour.  Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 200C.
6) Make slashes on dough with a sharp knife. 
7) Place a tray with some ice cube in the bottom shelve of the oven.
8) Place the dough in the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Note : The amount of flour required depends very much on the thickness of the sourdough starter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sourdough Starter

I have heard many good reviews on San Francisco sourdough bread but have never tasted it.  The most amazing thing is I came to know that there is a certain bakery in San Francisco that has kept their sourdough starter going for more than 150 years.  That arouse my curiosity and desire to want to start a sourdough starter.  This may be a good option to pass down to my daughter, Sydney since I don't have much wealth to pass on to her (wink).

After browsing many sites on the Internet, I decided to start the cultivation of sourdough using this recipe.

2 cups plain flour
2 cups water (filtered water works best)
2 tsp dry yeast

Pour the water into a clean bottle with a wide opening.  Wide opening will make pouring in the flour a lot easier.  Then stir in the yeast and followed by the flour until well combined.  Make sure the size of the bottle is about double the volume of mixture as the mixture will expand during fermentation.  I made a mistake by putting my mixture in a small bottle and during fermentation, the mixture overflow and create a mass to be cleaned. 

After a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to bubble and ferment.  Cover the bottle loosely with the cap and leave the mixture to ferment at room temperature.  The sourdough is ready for use when the bubbling has subsided and it expelled a yeasty and sour aroma.  The sourdough starter should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Due to our warm weather, my sourdough starter was fully developed after only 48 hours.

This is what my sourdough starter looks like.

At this point, you can either take some to make sourdough bread or if you are not using it, then you may store it in the fridge for later use.  As sourdough starter is a living being, remember to feed it at least once a week.  The feeding of sourdough starter is also known as refreshment of the sourdough. To refresh, discard 1 cup of sourdough starter (or use it to make bread, pancakes, etc) and replace with a cup of water and a cup of plain flour.  Stir well and return it to the fridge.

The sourdough may develop a layer of light brown liquid on top after sometime.  This is perfectly alright as it is the alcohol from the fermenting yeast. However, if the liquid on top is pinkish; or if the sourdough smells "off" or bad (not simply tangy, or like alcohol), then your starter has attracted the wrong bacteria, and should be discarded.

Remember to bring the sourdough starter to room temperature before using. Otherwise, the sourdough will still be in hibernation mode instead of activated.

Stay tune as I will be sharing some recipes using sourdough starter.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Star Wars Cake

Not sure what when wrong, but I can't seem to be able to type anything on this page unless I change the setting to HTML. Must be the blog acting against me since I have not posted anything on my blog for such a long time.

So this is just going to be a short post until I sort out the problem.

This is the Star Wars Cake that I made for a friend's son many moons ago

This is a vanilla butter cake covered with buttercream icing.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chocolate Almond Cookies

Have you come across cookies that do not look appealing but are delicious? This is one of them. 

I chanced upon these cookies when I went on a hunt for recipes for my leftover almonds slices.  I really can't recall when I purchase these almond slices.  Good thing for Chinese New Year where it is customary to clear out as much old stuff as possible making space for new ones.  Otherwise these almond slices will still be sitting in the dark corner of my fridge. 

The good thing about these cookies are, you can make the dough way ahead and freeze them.  According to some cookbooks, this cookie dough can be kept frozen for up to a month. 

When it comes to baking, there is no short cut where these cookies are concerned.  You need to bake them for at least 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookies, otherwise you will end up with soft cakey cookies.  That was what happen to mine.  I baked them for only 15 mins thinking that it would be ready by then.  But they turn out cakey and I had to rebake them for a further 15 mins. 

This recipe is from the cookie book named Joy of Making Cookies by Alex Goh

260g  butter
185g icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp chocolate paste
400g plain flour
1 tbsp milk powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
15g cocoa powder
180g sliced almond

1.  Cream (A) till well bleanded, then add in (B) and cream till smooth.
2.  Add in the sieved (C) then followed by (D) and mix till well blend.
3.  Press the dough into an 8 inch square baking pan lined with grease proof paper.
4.  Refridgerate overnight or till the dough is very firm.
5.  Remove dough from fridge and cut into 40mm bars.  Then cut into slices of 5mm thick.
6.  Place cut dough onto greased baking tray and bake at 170C for 20 - 25 mins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dark knight (18SX)


Last week was our friend, Lauren's birthday.  We, her lunch buddies decided to give her a surprise lunch and a little fun.  We got together and planned a movie followed by lunch in a Japanese restaurant.  The movie is non other than the Dark Night Rises that is showing on the cinema circuit.

Wanting it to be a memorable surprise for her since she was hitting her BIG 30, we decided to give her a Man-in-waiting cake.  Well of course not any man will do.  It has to be one with the 4Ps - Power, Position, Physic and Popularity.  We decided on Dark Knight, a follow-up from the movie.

As I have been using my cake caddy lately, it did not cross my mind that I need to be more discreet when transporting this cake around in my transparent cake caddy.  It only dawn on me when the cake appear so provocatively from the outside of my cake caddy.  I had to cover the sides of cake caddy with paper.  And this was a good move as Lauren didn't notice the cake until it was presented to her.

Her eyes almost popped-out when she saw the cake.  But we could tell that she secretly like it and was caught peeping beneath the yellow cover (wink). 

Happy Birthday Lauren.  Hope you had a great time with us.  And thanks for sharing your man (I echo what Shereen said)