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Monday, November 24, 2014

Watermelon look-alike bread loaf

High quality watermelon with minimal skin

Who says looks is not everything ?

I feel in love the moment I saw this here. Since I needed to bake bread for breakfast, it is just as well that we have bread art and breakfast at the same time.

This is just a milk loaf with colorful layers. But it was surprisingly well received at our gathering. What was meant as breakfast was soon completely consumed as that night’s get-together supper.

credits : No-Frills recipe

Ingredients :

320g bread flour
3 g instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
20g sugar
160 ml milk
1 egg  
50g butter, softened
1 handful raisins
Red and Green food dye

Method :
Combine bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the receptacle of the bread machine. Mix well.

Combine the milk and egg in a jug. Lightly whisk.

Add liquid to the dry ingredients.

Knead with the bread machine until the contents come together.

Add butter. Knead for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the kneaded dough to a worktop.

Divide the dough to 3 portions :50% of the dough for the red segment, 25% for the white and 25% for the green segment.

Red :

This portion makes the red part of the watermelon.

Add a drop of red food dye to the 50% portion of dough. Knead until the color is homogenous.

Fold in the raisins.

Leave to rise on an oiled containter until it doubles in bulk.

White :

This portion makes the watermelon rind.

Knead and leave to rise on an oiled container until it doubles in bulk.

Green :

This portion makes the skin of the watermelon.

Add the green food dye and knead until it is homogenous.

Leave to rise on an oiled container until it doubles in bulk.

….. after about an hour ….

Reknead  the red dough to a log.

Flatten out the white dough with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Brush the surface with milk.

Transfer the red log onto the white dough. Encase the red log. Seal the edges by pinching the white dough together.

Flatten the green dough. Brush with milk.

Encase the white log with the green dough. Pinch the edges of the bread log to seal.

Transfer the final product to a greased bread pan. Leave to rise until it doubles in bulk.

…. After an hour ….

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mist spray the bread before putting it into the oven.

Bake at 180C for 35 minutes.

Remove the bread immediately from the pan to cool on a rack.

Cut the bread when it is thoroughly cooled. Enjoy the bread art !

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Soon Kueh ( Turnip dumplings in crystal skin )

Amplify the flavor with killer sambal chilli. Sedap ! 
Garnish with baked garlic bits for crunch.

It is a misnomer to call this snack soon kueh when there isn’t a shred of bamboo shoot ( ‘soon’ ) in it. In my memory, soon kueh will always be associated with this old Teochew hawker who came every afternoon, hawking her wares on 2 straw baskets tethering on both ends of a split bamboo pole. We bought it most days because she was a distant relative. 

Soon kueh was a poor man’s snack when bamboo shoots grow abundantly in the backyard and with some flour, could be transformed into a lip smacking meal.  I can no longer tolerate the smell of the shoots because I had too much of them in my system from spending many typhoon months while working in Taiwan ( where all you had is bamboo shoots ! ). Crunchy turnip is a different story altogether.

I have experimented using rice flour but it proved too brittle to handle. Tapioca and potato starch were easier for the newbie and the dough is pliable for a longer time.  Don’t berate yourself for not achieving the thinnest wrapper at first but lots of soon kuehs later, you will possibly make a wrapper so thin Din Tai Fung’s recruiters will come knocking at your door.

This garlicky version is dedicated to my garlic loving teenager who simply love the stinky bulb.

Dough adapated from here.

Ingredients :

¼ cup of dried shrimps
¼ cup of minced fresh garlic
¼ cup of soaked shitake, minced and squeezed dry
1 big turnip, julienned and chopped
½ cup of water or stock
1 sprig of scallions, chopped
¼ tsp of chicken granules
a dash of oyster sauce
a dash of salt
a dash of light soy sauce
3-4 tbsp of corn starch

Method :

In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil.
In medium low heat, sauté shrimps, garlic and shitake until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes.
Add turnip, scallions and water. 
Cook , covered, at medium heat, until the ingredient is almost dry.
Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.
Set aside to cool.

Dough :

A )
160g wheat starch
50g sweet potato flour
1/8 tsp fine salt
¼ tsp sugar
( Combine in bowl A )

2 TBSP canola oil
500g boiling water
( Combine in bowl B )

200g tapioca flour ( Bowl C )

Method  - making the dough :

In mixing bowl ( A ), combine components ( A ) ; wheat starch, sweet potato flour, salt and sugar.

In container B, combine oil and hot water.

Pour the hot liquid in ( B ) to contents in ( A ) . Stir with a pair of chopstick until the flour in ( A ) is combined.

Transfer the scalded flour in ( A )  onto the tapioca flour in  ( C ).

Knead the contents until it comes together as a pliable dough. Be careful not to burn your hands.

Making the skin :

Pinch off 40g of the dough and make it into a smooth ball with slightly oiled hands.

Cover the rest of the dough until you are ready to make the next soon kueh.

Dip the ball into the tapioca flour.

Flatten the ball into a disc using a flat pastry cutter. Roll out the disc, about the size of your palm. I find it easier to roll out the disc by pressing the rolling pin on the flat cutter that is resting on the dough.

Neaten the edge of the soon kueh using a medium sized bowl as a template.

Spoon the ingredients onto the disc. Encase the ingredients and seal it by pinching the edges together.

Transfer the soon kueh to a heavily oiled plate.

Repeat the procedure until the ingredients / dough is used up. By rolling out the discs and then encasing the ingredients as you go along, there is less chance of the dough drying out.

Steam over high heat for 10 minutes or until the skin turns translucent. To handle the cooked kuehs, used oiled chopsticks and utensils to prevent tearing.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coconut coffee bun

Roti Mum on Steroids!

This is an upgrade of the previous peanut butter bun. With the coconut filling , it is practically a Roti Mum on steroids ! There was a tight squeeze on the baking tray as I did not space the buns well which caused some ‘United Buns’ syndrome. Next time, I will remember to give the buns plenty of space to rise and not cut corners.

This recipe is very long, so take the bun to visualize each segment before embarking on the project.

Makes 10 buns

Water-roux -
15g bread flour, 75 ml water

30 g egg
85 ml water

1.    Whisk to combine the 15g flour and 75 ml water in a pot.
2.    Cook over low heat, stirring continuously.
3.    When the whisk makes lines on the mixture, remove the pot from the heat source. If using a thermometer, whisk and cook until it reaches 65C.
4.    Leave to cool.
5.    When cooled to room temperature, add 85g water, 30g of egg ( lightly beaten ).
6.    Combine. Set aside.

Bread dough -
210g bread flour
56g cake flour
20g milk powder
42g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6g instant yeast
20g unsalted butter, softened

1.    Combine all the dry ingredients, minus butter.
2.    Add final roux mixture.
3.    Combine to bring the ingredients together.
4.    Add butter.
5.    Transfer the mixture to the bread machine.
6.    Set to dough mode to knead and let the dough ferment, about 1.5 hr.

Coffee butter cookie topping –
50g softened butter
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp water
50g egg-lightly beaten.
50g cake flour.

1.    Combine the above ingredients.
2.    Whisk. Sift in 50g cake flour.
3.    Whisk again.
4.    Transfer the topping to a piping bag.
5.    Chill until it is ready for use.

Coconut filling –
4 Tbsp palm sugar / gula melaka
2 cups shredded coconut
½ tsp salt

1.    Melt 4 Tbsp ( or 1 tiny block ) of palm sugar.
2.    Add 1 cup of shredded coconut and 1/2 tsp of salt.
3.    Cook until the filling is well mixed.
4.    Leave to cool.

Assembly of buns –
1.    Preheat the oven to 180C.
2.    Grease the baking tray and worktop.
3.    Make out 10 equal portions of dough and coconut filling.
4.    Flatten out the dough and fill it with the coconut filling. Lightly grease your hands if the dough is hard to handle.
5.    Seal the bun , lightly pat the top of the bun with a floured hand and return it to the prepared tray to rest, 30 minutes. This helps the coffee piping to adhere to the surface later on.
6.    Just before baking, pipe the coffee butter on the bun.

7.    Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes.