Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pain au lait (Milk Bread)

It had been a while since I last made bread. I can't remember when was the last time I used my bread machine but there was once I used it to knead my pizza dough, I heard strange noises. It sounded like something came loose. The dough was kneaded, nothing unordinary and we had pizza.

Several months back, I decided to try out this Pain au lait recipe that I've shortlisted in Pook's blog. After weighing out the ingredients, they went into the bread machine and I went on my usual routine. The bread machine started to knead and I heard the noise again, then the machine stopped. Took a peek and what I saw was the ingredients were in it's original state. Darn!  I didn't want to waste the ingredients so I hand-kneaded.  It was a mess pouring out the ingredients.

Actually, I enjoy hand-kneading as I find it very therapeutic.  A great workout and a good time to destress.  But due to time constraint, I am very dependant on my breadmachine.  Oh well, now that it's dead, do I think I'll make more bread?  I guess not.  I just can't spare the time.  If you've been reading my blog, you'll know I don't blog as much as I used to now.

(Sis E passed me her breadmachine upon knowing my machine died on me, but it had been on the shelf since Aug 2010 and I've not baked a single loaf of bread :P)

I like how these bread turned out, soft and fluffy.  And an additional note, buttery too!

Pain au lait (Milk Bread)
230g All purpose flour
60g Bread flour
38g Sugar
4g Instant yeast

125g Whole milk
1 Egg (approx 50g)

5g Salt
63g Unsalted butter
Some sugar, for sprinkle

  1. Mix (A) till well blended. Add (B) to form a dough. Add in (C) and knead until dough is elastic and smooth (the dough should not stick to your hand now).
  2. Gather dough to form a ball and cover dough with cling wrap and let it rest for abt 50-60 mins or double in size.
  3. Divide dough into 10 equal portions. Shape into balls and leave it to rest for 10 - 15 mins.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle, about 8 cm. Fold the dough and roll into a small batard.
  4. Let it proof on lined or greased baking tray for another 50-60 mins or until dough is double in size.
  5. Before baking, brush the dough with egg wash and use a scissor to cut the top of the dough .  Sprinkle the pearl sugar (I used fine sugar) on top.
  6. Bake dough in preheated oven of 210ºC for abt 10 - 12 mins, or until the bread is golden.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sea Coconut with White Fungus Dessert

This is very much like the papaya dessert I've prepared here and here. But this time round, instead of using papaya, I replaced it with fresh sea coconut.  It is believed that sea coconut eliminates phlegm and relieves cough.

Fresh sea coconut from local supermarket.

After removing the endocarp (light brown skin), this is how it looks like.

This dessert may be served hot or cold but my kids prefer it cold.

Sea Coconut with White Fungus Dessert
1.5 litres water
10 fresh sea coconuts
20 - 30g white fungus
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried longans
20 - 25 red dates (I used pitted ones)
rock sugar to taste

  1. Wash and soak white fungus till soft. Remove the stalk and separate into petals.
  2. Wash and remove the endocarp (light brown skin) off the sea coconut and sliced.
  3. Bring water to a boil.  Add sea coconut and cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add white fungus and red dates, bring to boil again.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add dried longans and rock sugar to taste.  Cook till rock sugar dissolves.
  6. Serve hot or cold.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gula Melaka and Coconut Milk Agar Agar

During my last trip to Melaka, I stocked up on quite a bit of gula melaka.  With an abundance supply sitting in my fridge, I googled for recipes to utilise them.

Found a few gula melaka agar agar recipes but decided to go for this one (by Amy of Che Cheh) which has minimal ingredients.

The coconut milk I used is not the suggested thick coconut milk.  I'm always willing to compromise on taste for a healthier version dessert/snack.  Anyway, my coconut layer occupies 2/3 of the whole layer.  Could this be due to the skim coconut milk used?

500ml water
180g gula melaka, chopped roughly (I used 160g)
3 teaspoons agar powder
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
300ml thick coconut milk (I used skim coconut milk)
pinch of salt

  1. Place water, gula melaka, agar agar powder and pandan leaf into a pan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer until agar powder is completely dissolves.
  3. Remove pandan leaf.
  4. Add a pinch of salt to coconut milk and pour it into the same pan.
  5. Bring it to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
  6. Pour jelly into a glass bowl or cake tin.
  7. Leave jelly to cool and then chill in the refrigerator.
  8. The jelly should separate nicely into 2 layers – a clear gula melaka layer on the bottom and a coconut layer on top.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Almond Cookies

Happy New Year to all my readers!!!  I know I'm late but there's a saying, "better late than never" ;-)

I've planned to post this before CNY, in order to submit this to Aspiring Bakers #3 but I was too busy baking.

Some years back when I first started baking, an ex-colleague (also a blogger) shared her Almond Cookies recipe in a forum.  Those who tried all gave thumbs up as it's a very simple recipe yet yield good results.  I had the recipe copied onto a piece of paper then and made it once.  It was good.  But I misplaced the recipe and couldn't find it anymore.  I thought there is no harm asking my ex-colleagure for the recipe again, she replied in her sms that she will send me the recipe, but to promise not to broadcast as she is selling the cookies.  I waited for a few days, nothing came.  Sent her an sms reminder, but still no reply.  Alright, I got the message, she's reluctant to give me her recipe.  I didn't give up, continued to search the internet for the recipe but aint got much luck.

This year, Lady Luck decided to pay me a visit when I was blog hopping.  I couldn't quite recall the ingredients but I vaguely remember it calls for very simple ingredients and no creaming method, just dump and stir.  Another verification, the dough will be crumbly.  The final confirmation, Jess wrote this recipe was from Phoon Huat Demo class, bingo!

Upon getting all my ingredients ready, I baked these babes.  This was from my first tray, baked for 15 mins flat.

My 2nd tray was baked a little longer as I went to open up the door for DS2.  Some diced almonds turned slightly darker but thankfully they were not charred.

As I was rushing (you may read here to find out why),  I didn't bother to shape them into rounds.  As long as the dough comes together, I just dumped them into the paper casing.

Verdict:  Expect a crunchy and melty cookie in this no fuss recipe!  What else can you ask for?  It's so easy to make with very simple ingredients.  And if you're looking for a quick and easy recipe, look no further!

(makes approximately 50 cookies)
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
60g icing sugar
80g ground almond
80g diced almonds
100g corn oil
Egg yolk for brushing (I used the balance from my pineapple tarts making)
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and icing sugar.
  2. Add in ground and diced almonds, mix well.
  3. Add corn oil to form a soft dough. (the dough will come together when you roll them so don't worry about it being crumbly)
  4. Shape into small round balls and place into small paper casing.
  5. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle some diced almonds on top (optional).
  6. Bake in a preheated oven of 170°C for 15-20mins or until slightly brown.
  7. Cool completely on wire rack before storing into airtight containers.