Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Buns

I had alot of whipped cream. Not sure what to do with it other than baking 4 banana cakes, I melted some 200g of bitter chocolate with the cream to make a batch of chocolate ganache. Still left with half a bottle, I swirled some butter, molass and sea salt together in a heated pot and made a batch of salted caramel butterscotch. What do I do with still some leftover cream, couple of bananas and lots of chocolate eand butterscotch?? I therefore put some of these together and made a filled chocolate banana bread using this Hokkaido milk loaf recipe with some tweaks!

Bread Ingredient List:
120g tangzhong (See recipe * below)
260g bread flour
100g whole wheat flour
40g sugar
5g salt
6g milk powder
7.5g instant yeast
1 egg
50g whipped cream
35ml milk

Bread dough:
1. Combine all ingredients above in breadmaker's loaf pan
2. Choose dough program
3. Machine will start to knead the mixture.
4. After dough cycle completes (at this point, the first proof is already done), bring it out and gently press the air out. Divide into small balls.
5. Roll each little ball out, add a chunk of ripe banana and dollop of chocolate ganache and seal the bottom.
6. Place on tray lined with baking paper, sealed side down, brush paper with abit of butter to prevent bread from sticking to the paper.
7. Proof for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 200C and bake bread rolls for 15 to 20 minutes.

*Tangzhong recipe:
25g bread flour
120g water

Mix all ingredients in a metal pot and stir until there are no lumps. Cook over med heat until mixture becomes very thick, and lines start to appear when mixture is stirred. (Alternatively, test the temperature, you will get Tangzhong at 65C). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.

Due to the addition of whole wheat flour, the bread rolls are a little chewy, not the typical soft Japanese style bread. But husband and I love it, we like our breads slightly on the hefty side, soft but chewy so a 1/3 proportion of whole wheat flour works for us! If you want to keep it soft and sweet, use all bread flour and add another 30g soft unsalted butter when the first stage of gluten forming takes place.

Sharing this with
BYOB hosted by Roxana's Home Baking
#TwelveLoaves January hosted by Cake Duchess

Monday, January 21, 2013

Browned Banana Cake

I fell in love..  with a banana cake, a certain banana cake only. My friend's dad bake a mean one indeed, one so yummy that I will ask to pack leftover slices home in a really thick-skinned manner. and I'm not the only one, almost all present salivate at the thought of that cake.
It's a recipe from Aunty Yochana, which I've since bookmarked and it must have been at least 3 years! It may be weird that I love it so much, yet never attempt to bake this. It's always been at the back of my mind but since it calls for use of whipped or thick cream, an ingredient I do not usually have it on hand readily nor is keen to buy since I never ever finish even a small carton within 3 days of opening. At last, I found use for some thickened cream and bought a huge 1L pack. Immediately, this banana cake came to my mind to make use of the opened pack.
Its really very easy to make this with a few adaptations to the original recipe, cutting half the sugar, and browning the bananas in their skin before using them. All it took was half an hour to mix everything together and bake for an hour. The aroma of the banana cake filled the house and I simply could not wait.. Tried one immediately from the oven; soft and moist, it was not bad, could be a tad sweeter I thought. Waited a few hours and had a small slice that night at room temperature, it was good, the sweetness settled in a little and the texture turned slightly more hefty. One day later, I tried another slice..wow the cake taste even more strongly of banana. I heated up this slice and it resumed the moisture of day before and was a little crumbly. 2 days later, 3rd day of the bake, WOW the banana fragrance has been absorbed or infused throughout the cake. Cool from 2 hours out of the fridge, the cake is slightly on the dense side, with the crumbs holding together quite nicely. My friends and hubby pretty much love it, proclaiming it as just sweet enough. Hubby is already requesting for repeats this coming weekend! I'm loving it too!
Ingredients, recipe source from here:
3 medium sized bananas, ripened and mashed
180g unsalted butter, cubed and soft
90g brown sugar 
3 small eggs
50g whipped or thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
250g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup roasted walnuts
2 medium sized bananas, riped and sliced
Preheat oven to 200C
1. Toast walnuts for 5 minutes until brown and crunchy
2. Bake 3 banana in their skin for 10 - 15 minutes until skin is totally black. The flesh would have caramelised and realised its sweetness.
3. Remove the skin, mash the banana. Leave to cool until its warm and not hot.
Reduce oven temperature to 180C.
4. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and incorporate fully into the mixture.
5. Add whipped cream, vanilla paste and banana. Beat until well-blended.
6. Fold in the flour/baking powder/soda.
7. Stir the walnuts into the mixture and pour into an 8-inch lined circular baking pan. Top with banana slices.
8. Bake for 60 minutes. If top is becoming brown, tent it with baking paper or aluminium foil.
9. Remove and cool.

Yummy. I'm gonna make another one this Saturday!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

No Knead Rye Bread

I've bookmarked no-knead bread recipes for a long time. It sounded super easy and is indeed fuss-free, just requiring time in the fridge therefore preplanning is necessary. Despite that, it still took me a long time to get round to trying it as I usually favor the TZ bread with it's soft texture.
Now, finally did it, and its so easy anyone can do it. It's also so convenient as you can make a large batch and keep it in the fridge, using portions of it as n when it is needed. I've made couple of rolls after 1 day in the fridge and a whole loaf after 6 days in the fridge. The roll was great; chewy and slightly dense. The loaf was a little gummy and even more chewy, with larger holes in the bread. Since the rye over-shadows, I don't seem to taste a difference in flavor development though older dough mixes are supposed to be slightly more sourish. Overall, I do not find that there's a significant difference between the 1-day rolls and 6-day loaf, so no need for additional days in the fridge if you already need the whole batch.
Recipe, adapted from here 
2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup Rye flour
1 & 1/2 cup water
3/4 tablespoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon salt
Chia seeds, individual preference
Walnuts, raw
1. Mix all above with a spoon and leave in a covered but not air tight container at room temperature for 2 hours.
2. Place in fridge and use over 1 week.
3. When baking, toss out the dough onto a floured surface. The dough is very sticky, so flour your hands and surfaces generously.


4. Flatten the dough to remove the air from the dough
5. Add raw walnuts chunks and roll into a ball
6. Using a sharp knife, make a few cuts on the surface of the dough and let it proof for 2 hours
7. Pre-heat oven to 200C before baking. Place crockpot inside oven to pre-heat for 15 minutes.
8. When dough is ready to go into oven, carefully remove crockpot from oven, drop dough into pot, cover and slip it back into oven.
9. Bake for 35 minutes.
10. Cool completely before cutting into slices

This was the roll with 1-day old dough. Pairs beautifully with milky soft tomato omelet.
Sharing this with
BYOB hosted by Roxana's Home Baking
#TwelveLoaves January hosted by Cake Duchess

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brownie & Cheesecake

The indulgent auntie. I know that's what I am, at least in terms of food. I ply my nieces with their favourite bread, that sweet Hawaiian bread loaf from Sun Moulin, all the time when I was working in Orchard. Week in and out, it's the same bread.. yes, its boring but that's what they always look forward to - "the sweet sweet bread". Occasionally, (too frequently in my brother's opinion) they get chocolates,  gummies, pocky, hello pandas la la la..
Last week, I discovered a new favorite of theirs. Yes, it's Brownies! Good 'ol Chocolatey Brownie, no frosting, no toppings, no fancy addition but just warm, homely and deliciously cocoa-laden. What can I do but set out to bake it just for them.
I've not done brownies in years and set out to surf for a rich fudgy brownie recipe. The best I've ever tasted for which I still have fond memories of, were those from Skyve - rich dark almost molten squares of indulgence. Though mine didn't turn out like that, they nonetheless came out chocolatey, slightly bittersweet, with a light crunch to the top. The plus point is that its super easy and fuss-free! The nieces and nephews love them (or so I think, since the niece asked me to bring it again next week, yay!)
Recipe, adapted from here:
85g dark chocolate
113g unsalted butter
130g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
85g AP flour
Preheat oven to 180C, line a smallish tray. (I doubled the recipe and its sufficient for the large oven tray that comes default with all ovens)
1. Have a pot of simmering water, not boiling. Place another heat-proof bowl over the pot and melt butter and chocolate fully, stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar vigorously.
3. Let mixture cool almost to room temperature and whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and salt.
4. Stir the flour in and you should have a slightly thick mixture that will pull away from the sides of the bowl upon stirring.  
5. Pour batter into tray, tap the tray lightly to remove any air bubbles
6. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating tray halfway through
Cool and enjoy while slightly warm. Refrigerate and enjoy couple of cold slabs too!
It was also a good friend's birthday, a friend who loves cheesecakes. So, I used a thin layer of the brownie as the base and whip up a batch of cheesecake batter, layer it on top of the still-unbaked brownie base, and swirl a spoonful of the brownie mix at the surface. Tada, a simple birthday cake is created!

Use any cheesecake recipe that you'd like.
I used the following:
225g cream cheese + 1/2 cup sugar, beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
Add 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, incorporate into mixture.
Beat in 1 egg then 1/3 cup thickened cream until smooth.
Bake at 180C for 30 minutes, cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving

The light cream cheese was a good balance against the chocolate of the brownie. Pretty yummy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Robert Timms - Best Fries Forever

If anyone were to ask me for my favourite eating place in orchard or even, whole of SG, it would have to be the House of Robert Timms. With the recent burgeoning trend of self-proprietary cafes, each boasting their uniqueness in various areas, I've hardly ever repeated any that have been visited before. Each cafe usually gets a virtual tick mark next to it as a been-there, tried-that and get struck off my mind. However, 2 places linger in my mind (& stomach).. One is Wild Honey, the other is House of Robert Timms. I'm a uber bread lover so it's no surprise that the allure of these 2 places are the fantastic bread that I wish I can just keep eating, ignoring the carb-contents. Within these 2, I've been to WH only 2 times but to RT at least 5 times. So it's definitely crowned "Bread of my Heart". They have 2 outlets, one in Wheelock and one in Somerset area. I've always gone to the Wheelock outlet; encased in glass and large in size, it's a clean-cut, pleasant & modern environment plus its seems easy to get seats as they are usually not 100% full (though I usually make reservations).
I love their all-day brunch items. Above is a Turkey French toast. It was simply oozing with cheese and overflowing with an abundance of turkey ham slices. The cornbread is thick-cut, very very soft yet slightly chewy, studded with seeds and lightly coated with egg. The toasting gave a crunch to the bread and as you bite into it, mmmph, the "cruuunch" gave way to a sweet moist crumb then proceed to explode with flavor as the ham and cheese came together. Can you tell that I just love this?
Oooh note the title, it's actually one of the other reasons I simply cannot resist RT. It's the fries! The photo above do not do justice to the fries. RT fries comes in many forms, waffle-cut, straight (like above), in cheese etc.. My favourite is the waffle fries. A serving is $9 and comes in a tall wide vase, pretty and appetizing. They are crispy, crunchy and the soft potato center melts in your mouth thereafter. Yum! It's a must-order for any trip to RB.
Above is a multi-grained club sandwich that had bacon, which I changed to turkey ham (They have very good service and is accommodating!). 3 slices of again crunchy multi-grained toasted bread with egg, ham, roasted chicken, tomatoes and lettuce are served with a big heap of fries and a side salad. It's flavorful and satisfies as a very hearty yummy brunch!
  Being an Australian joint, they also boast fragrant coffees and I love that they use different latte art for each cup served at the table! The brews are somewhat lighter in flavor as compared to some cafe places such as Chye Seng Huat, but since the food is hearty and filling, I felt that the lighter brews go well together. Above left is the cappuccino and right is their piccolo latte which is great but since it's a small cup, I usually have to order a 2nd cup thereafter.
Oh, note that their servings are large. I could only finish half of their main courses usually since we will indulge in fries as a starter, have coffee by the side and leave some space for dessert at the end. On the left is brownie with marshmallow and choc chips as topping. It's not overly sweet but nothing to shout about. The brownie is kind of dense and cakey. It would have been better if served warmed rather than chilled.               
However, I've tried other desserts, pity I have not started blogging then and did not take any pictures. RB's sticky date pudding is one of the best I've ever had, even better than PS Cafe. The pudding is somewhat dense, very moist and drenched in a thick caramel sauce and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Oooh, it's dessert heaven for me!
Their chocolate lamington also surprised with a ganache/truffle filling in the center of the 4x4 square. At only $2.80 the last I tried, it's a simple yet happy end to any meal.
Now, I feel like making a trip to Robert Timms again!
Wheelock Place:
501 Orchard Road, #01-02/03, Singapore 238880
Tel: 6735 9201

Orchard Shopping Centre:
321 Orchard Road, #01-01/02, Singapore 238866
Tel: 6733 0609


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pumpkin Tangzhong Bread

The TangZhong method of bread-making is still my favourite, a never-fail way of ensuring soft textures and fluffiness, even up to 3 days later. It's also one way to incorporate whole wheat into my bakes as whole wheat tends to make bread tougher and the TZ balanced the texture and results in a soft but slightly chewy bread. I've also switched from using butter to yogurt as the fat for the dough; it makes the bread even softer. However, note that I've once added sweet potato mash and yogurt in place of butter for a all-breadflour dough and the resulting bread was too soft, to the extent that its limpy. So I will always sub 100g of the bread flour to a whole-wheat or rye flour when using yogurt instead of butter.

The baked pumpkin bread rolls rose beautifully. They were slightly chewy and the crisp seed topping added another dimension to the mouth-feel. My only note to self is that the pumpkin filling is not sweet enough. All in All, a rather satisfying breakfast!

Pumpkin Filling:
1/4 of a pumpkin, steamed/boiled until soft and mashed into a paste
Stir in Vanilla Yoghurt (up to individual taste preference, I used around half cup Yoplait Vanilla yoghurt to sweeten and make the paste creamier)

Tangzhong recipe:
25g bread flour
120g water

Mix all ingredients in a metal pot and stir until there are no lumps. Cook over med heat until mixture becomes very thick, and lines start to appear when mixture is stirred. (Alternatively, test the temperature, you will get Tangzhong at 65C). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.

Bread recipe:
All the above Tangzhong
250g Bread Flour
100g Whole Wheat Flour
20g milk powder (I used coffemate)
50g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon instant yeast
Pumpkin Puree 100g
80ml skimmed milk
1 egg
30ml plain yogurt
Pumpkin seeds

To make the bread dough:
1. Combine all wet ingredients except yogurt in breadmaker's loaf pan
2. Place flour, milk powder, sugar and salt into the wet mixture and stir the dry ingredients lightly. Add the yeast, ensure that it does not come into contact with the salt.
3. Choose dough program
4. Machine will start to knead the mixture. When gluten starts to form, around 10 minutes onwards, add the yogurt
5. After dough cycle completes (at this point, the first proof is already done), bring it out and gently press the air out. Divide into small balls. I used half the dough and made 5 balls. (Kept the other half in the fridge to make a whole loaf the next day. See notes below)
6. Roll each little ball out, add the pumpkin filling and seal the bottom. Place on tray lined with baking paper, brush with abit of butter to prevent bread from sticking to the paper.
7. Brush with milk and add pumpkin seeds or any topping of your choice. Proof for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C and bake bread rolls for 15 to 20 minutes. To test it, the bread is done when it sounds hollow upon tapping the bottom. Cool completely. Enjoy one when it's still slightly warmed! Keeps soft and moist up to 3 days. Warm it up slightly in the microwave before eating it over the next 2 days.

I kept half the dough in the fridge for baking a loaf the next day. The overnight fermentation made the bread even more chewy. Took the dough out of the fridge, shaped into a loaf, placed on baking paper, cut couple of lines on top of dough, milk-wash the top and sprinkle pumpkin seeds on it. Proof for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C and place a crock pot (I used Le Crueset) in the oven to pre-heat the pot. I added a teeny bit of water to the pot before pre-heating it in the oven. Just before baking, carefully remove the dutch oven pot and drop the dough, with the baking paper into the pot quickly. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 5 minutes to brown the top more. I think my temperature is too high, my bread became too dark. 

Sharing this with
BYOB hosted by Roxana's Home Baking
 #TwelveLoaves January hosted by Cake Duchess