Friday, March 13, 2009

mad about bread

Why make bread when its so readily available and pretty cheap and affordable? I guess for many, they find it therapeutic when they knead the bread and etc. Well, this reminds me of how i embarked on my bread-making journey sometime last year and how i met with many many failures. Not that i'm all good and super now, i'm still pretty unsure if im the right track, but i can feel it improving =p

I don't think i shall tell the long story about how and what failures i met along the way. to summarise it all, i started out with aunty yochana's recipe, using a hand-held mixer with the spiral attachement (for making bread dough). disaster. i dun think i'd ever go back to using that again. i then turned to my only hope (then) - my pair of hands. Painstakingly tried to learn how to knead bread and figured that i would save on a bread machine if i mastered kneading the bread. i'm not too sure if i "succeeded", but things got better. I got tired of the mess i have to clean up after kneading and succumbed to buying a bread machine. the reviews from other bloggers and their experiences using it, which program/function is the best etc PLUS the price, made it all too attractive NOT to buy it. So, i got a bread machine. now, sometime later, i got myself a kitchenaid. it seems as though now, i wouldn't need my bread maker anymore. zzz

I'm really noob at bread making, and still in the process of learning and identifying the different stages and texture and feel of the dough etc. I would liken bread making to an art. Well, it definitely taught me patience, precision and good time management and planning. Yeasts waits for no man. It's unlike certain dough (cookie dough) where you can leave it in the fridge and bake it some days later. you HAVE to bake your bread dough once it's done with it's second proof.

to save you from my ramblings, i shall move on with my "experiments" for the day. Made this milk loaf when i saw rave reviews about how soft and cottony this bread is. It's actually my second attempt on this bread and it's finally a SQUARE! However, I was so concerned whether or not it could reach the top of the tin and fill up into a square that i actually forgot to preheat the oven. As a result, the poor dough was almost bursting out of the tin and develop a "tumour" at the sides. Needless to say, the dough overproofed and as a result, lacked a little in the flavour. Nonetheless, the bread was really really soft and cottony and lived up to its reviews. At least my mum had something nice to say about this =p

Next up, some roti boy! I've no idea why i'm so determined to succeed in making this roti boy. probably because i once was a little crazy over it and used to buy it whenver i was in sengkang for piano lessons. (which probably explained my exponential weight gain)

I've tried this recipe for at least 3 or 4 times and i would say i'm pretty satisfied with the results this time! Here, i'm using the sponge and bread dough method which make the bread unusally soft and has an amazing ability for the bread to stay soft up to 2 days! (cited from jo's deli) I can't verify that fact as yet, but the bun was really really soft and nice.

I had one that was really fresh out of the oven (but cooled of course) and one that was left out for 5 hours or so. The one that was fresh had a nice, crispy fragrant coffee crust which gave way into a soft, pillowy bread which burst with buttery goodness. However, when left out, the coffee topping became soft but still, the bread was soft and buttery. my previous attempts always yielded buns that weren't as soft as this (still edible) and for some odd reason, the topping always seemed to be "sticky" after leaving it out for a while. This time, all went well =D yippee!

However, improvements are to be made and i have no idea how to see if i've over-kneaded the dough/over-proofed it (though i know it deflates at the slightest touch)/why does the bread douhg keep shrinking while rolling it?

Any bread masters out there? any help/ comments would be greatly greatly appreciated!

6 comments:

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Youfei, I love your perfect square loaf! When would I ever bake something as good as yours?!! Maybe I can blame it on the pullman tin I am using, it is tapered, not a perfect square ;)

I have been wanting to make roti boys too! However, whenever I look at the ingredient list, I'm always put off by how much fat that goes into one! I have not picked up the courage to try one...but your buns certainly has inspired me to want to try make them NOW!

I can help clear your doubt on why the dough keeps shrinking when rolling it. I used to get puzzled over it too. Actually, after the 1st proof, you need to divide the dough into smaller portions, then you MUST roll them into rounds, and then let them REST and RELAX for about 10-15mins. Once they feel very RELAXed, they will cooperate, and be much easier to roll and shape...the dough will be less elastic and won't shrink so much. Hope this helps :)

youfei said...

Hi HHB,

let me first apologise for the longggg comment-reply. its so very nice of you to drop me a msg and clear the mystery clouds with regards to baking =p Plus, i'm seriously flattered by your compliments, i guess i kinda just got lucky =p You're like my "sifu" (if you don't mind me calling you that) most of my baking knowledge (esp bread stuff) came from me spamming your comment list =X (if you do rmb hehe)

I'm really glad to be of inspiration to you to make the roti boy! hehe..i think it's a very vesatile recipe, you can change the filling and the topping according to the flavours you like..hmmm maybe wrap it with raisins instead of butter? hahah!I'd love to see your roti boys some time soon! I've always always loved your bakes and pictures. Somehow, you could make something plain looking look so nice and elegant. I really have to brush up my photography skills, i feel i always do injustice to the food i bake =(

With regards to your advice, does it mean after relaxing the buns, i should not squeeze out the air/ lightly knead it? I just proceed straight into shaping it? I'm really a slow worker and my roti boy recipe yields 15 buns and by the time im done with scaling the last bun, the first one has started to "proof". Since they were air bubbles, i wasn't sure if i just get them out (lest i have big holes in the bread) hmmm..

in any case, thanks for clearing the doubts i have and hoping for more "masters" to answer my questions =p

p.s.: I really really admire your willingness and the efforts you put into answering everyone's queries in so much detail and explanation. you've really helped alot of noob bakers (like me)a BIG thanks to you! next on my list would be to try your bacon and cheese loaf =p wish me luck!

regards,
youfei

Ian's mummy said...

When can I try your roti boy?? :-D

youfei said...

hahaha..aiyo! I didn't know you like roti boy. I made so many the other day i dunno who to give away to. in the end i ate 3 of them -_-''' now i know who i can make it for =p hahah definitely inform you when im gonna make it again =) or...i can make it at your place when your confinment over wahahah

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi youfei, after the dough has rest for 10-15mins, you don't have to knead it anymore. However, when you are shaping it, do press out any trapped air bubbles, otherwise there will holes and 'blisters' on the finished bread :)

youfei said...

Hi HHB,

yea! I realised i had like "lumps" of air and wasnt sure if i should press them out. In the end, some of the roti boy had ba lu kus hahah. thanks for the advice!

Looking forward to see your roti boy! =p

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