3rd Daring Bakers Challenge – Julia Child’s French Bread

29 February, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Posted in » Daring Bakers, » Fresh Breads & Buns | 11 Comments
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It’s been sometime since I have baked any breads… and I had a strong feeling that this month challenge will be on breads and boy how right could I get ! I was stressed out when I saw this month’s DB Challenge recipe… it was like 11 – 12 pages long!!! Really can faint! I have to read it a few times, dig out all my bread books to research on the technics, and then think of how to do it before I can get myself started on it….

But thanks to our sweet hosts for this month, Breadchick Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I Like to Cook, I was able to have a go at this lovely Julia Child’s French Bread, which again I have never done before… Since young, I have been very fond of French Bread and never would I have thought of myself baking it until now…

The recipe is actually very simple, just Yeast, Water (warm & tepid), Salt and of course All-Purpose Flour. So how difficult can this be right? Just add all the ingredients together and mix lah…. if it’s really so simple, the recipe will not be so long and I would not have been so stressed… Yes, the ingredients are very basic… but the steps/technics are not…. I never known that making French Bread could be sooooo tedious!! And the waiting time for the dough to raise and to be totally cool down after baking is really long…. the total time stated from start to end for this recipe is 7 – 9 hours…

We are given the options to make the bread into several shapes and size shown below:breadshapes.jpg

I  have chosen to make mine into tire-bouchons for easy consumption and save the hassle of cutting the bread. It is required to make 1 loaf of plain bread without any toppings, as for the rest of the remaining loaves, I have added roasted white sesame seeds, shredded pasley, chopped garlic and powder cheddar cheese respectively on the top for different type of savoury flavours…

All is well until the first raise… it was suppose to raise up to about triple the original size… but after 3 hours plus, it’s still at it’s doubled size… so I just went ahead with the next step… the second raise & the final proving seems ok…

This is how it looks like after I took it out from the oven, it’s looks quite deciving from the outside…
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but inside…. =( 
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My bread crust turns out to be crispy…. but it’s too hard… and the inside is quite dense… unlike those I bought from those bread shops… =(

Nevertheless, hubby says the taste is not bad… but the crust too hard… For me, I think the yeast smell is too strong, dunno why…

Even though it did not turn out quite well for me, I would say this month is a very good challenge for me… all thanks to the hosts Breadchick Mary and Sara for coming up with such a wonderful recipe.

I would definitely try to make french bread again… but most likely not with this recipe… it’s too tedious. I will try using my other Bread Books for this.

You can read how the rest of my fellow Daring Bakers did here.

P.S. I’m not going to post the recipe for this month as it’s too long, however you can get the recipe here.

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Great Cooks Blogroll

27 February, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Others | Leave a comment

I have just joined the Great Cooks Blogroll, it’s where all the bakers and cooks can meet and exchange pointers, tips and recipes…

Do check it out!

Delicious Thai Agar-Agar

21 February, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Posted in » Desserts | 3 Comments
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Went to Golden Mile Complex for steamboat lunch with my in-laws about 1 month ago… it wasn’t the first time we went there for the steamboat… but having went there so many times… hubby & I have not been to the Thai supermarket above until last month… how mountain tortoise we are !!… but there really alot of things to see lor… alot of Thai stuff…

As usual, I was attracted to the baking section… and I found this…
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MIL has been asking me to make those agar-agar with a layer of coconut… so I went ahead and bought it…

They have been sitting in my kitchen for about 1 month until I took it out and went ahead to make it yesterday…

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It’s really nice… a combination of salty (coconut layer) and sweet (green layer)… MIL loves it… but hubby finds it abit weird cos of the salty layer… hahaha… I will definitely buy more of this in different flavours next time =)

Belated V. Day

18 February, 2008 at 10:27 am | Posted in » Cooking | 1 Comment
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It’s kinda spoiler that this year V. Day is on a weekday… moreever it’s falls on a Thursday… not here not there… so hubby and I decided to postpone the celebration to Sat. Well, it’s not much of a celebration, no fanciful dinner or gifts…. just a home-cooked dinner…

I decide to cook an assorted western food for hubby… it’s been long time since I have cooked that…

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There’s pan-fried fish with white sauce and black pepper steak… and to go with it we had Campbell soup, I have oso made some mashed potatoes for a complete look… heehee

Orange Angel Food Cake

17 February, 2008 at 11:23 am | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 3 Comments
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Having left with alot of egg whites from the Double Berries Cheese Lapis (see below post)… I have been searching for recipes that make use of egg whites and I found the Angel Food Cake recipe, just the recipe that I need!

I have added some orange juice to the original recipe… but I did not put enuff orange juice to have the orangery taste and fragrant as I afraid that it will be too sour if added too much.

Nevertheless, the cake still taste nice… it’s already about half eaten after it’s just cooled down! It’s like Chiffon Cake but lighter, more spongy texture… more holey…

Ingredients:

250 grams egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
110 grams castor sugar
100 grams Cake Flour
2 tablespoon orange juice

Method:

1.    Preheat oven at 175 deg C.
2.   
Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until foamy, add in sugar gradually and whisk until peaks formed.
3.    Fold in orange juice and flour and mix well.
4.    Pour into a 20 cm chiffon pan and bake in preheated oven for 40 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Double Berries Cheese Lapis

12 February, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Posted in » Yummy Cakes | 1 Comment
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Some time back I bought an interesting recipe book on all layered cakes. I decided to try to make one for CNY, and I have choose the double berries cheese lapis cos of its color for CNY…

The cake does look nice…. but the recipe of this cake is not nice…. it’s so tasteless…. so bland… dunno if the rest of the cakes in the book are as bland as this… maybe I’ll try another one next time. If it turned out to be as bland then I dun think I’m going to use any of it’s recipes for cakes but the techniques of the layering… even if I’m going to use is again, most likely I’ll add more sugar…

Pineapple Tarts

3 February, 2008 at 12:53 am | Posted in » Bite-size Tarts, » Recipes | 13 Comments
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How often do you see pineapples tart on the shelves other then during the CNY period? I would say the chances are low… Pineapple tarts are usually available during CNY period… it’s strange that why this lovely treats are only available during that time of the year… and maybe becos of this, it’s so special and a must have during CNY.

This year I did not make my own pineapple paste, instead, I bought those ready made from my regular baking supply shop… hubby was complaining that the paste is not nice, not moist enough and lack of flavors… I guess he is too used to the pineapple paste I made… heehee

Personally, I dun really like those ready made pineapple paste as well… I always find that it’s too hard for my liking that’s why I always insists on making my own… but this year I’m kinda lazy to make the paste… so I just make do with those ready made…

I modified my usual recipe abit to add some milk… and the outcome turns out quite well, the crust is flaky and kinda melts-in-the-mouth…

Ingredients:

550 grams plain flour
350 grams butter
2 tablespoon icing sugar (if you like your pastry to be sweeter, you can add more)
1 teaspoon bakin powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
3-4 tablespoon of ice water / cold milk

pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten to glaze
1 kg pineapple paste

Method:

1.    Sift flour and baking powder together with salt. Add icing sugar.  Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2.    Lightly work in the vanilla essence, egg yolks and egg white. Add in ice water a teaspoon at a time until dough is soft but not sticky.
3.    Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
4.    Press the dough into a disc, use a pineapple tart cutter to stamp out the tart and arrage on ungreased baking sheet.
4.    Glaze with egg. Place a smaller ball of pineapple paste on the centre of the tart and press lightly.
5.    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

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