Category Archives: Miscellaneous

I like Big BUNS!

Hmm so I got hooked on to baking bread full-time now.. Though I’m no where near becoming a pro.. With a 10 month old, its not so surprising.

But I’ve been trying my hand at White Bread and Wheat bread. So far I’ve had success only with the White Bread and 2 failures with the Wheat bread. There was a demand for Milk Bread at home and I set about looking for recipes for the same.

 

As I was going through a number of recipes, one thing became really clear to me. Almost  9 out of 10 of the recipes had egg in them!

Now I’m not a vegan, but I did not want to use an egg in bread. I just kept thinking egg will give it a  very cake-y quality. I maybe wrong.

So there was this other recipe I came across. The Chinese Hokkaido Milk Bread. There were 2 versions, with egg and the egg-less version.

 

Just when I thought I would try the egg-less one.. The whole method seemed like such a hassle. I had to make a roux starter (tangzhong) and all that.

I wanted a bread recipe that didn’t tire me out just thinking about it.

Finally I came across the perfect recipe! Thank you Josephine 🙂

http://yummyeasycooking.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/super-soft-and-fluffy-milk-bread.html

Here’s the Video Link:

 

I’ve already made it 5 times.. Once every 2 days cos its gone, as soon as its out of the oven!

The best part is I just mix it up and pop it in the fridge at bedtime.. I take it out in the morning and bake it.

 

I tried doubling the recipe and even making the flour out to 3 cups. It turned out perfect EVERY SINGLE TIME! So soft and fluffy, you end up eating more than you should. In one day one serving.

 

So here’s the measurements for 3 cups of flour:

All purpose Flour- 3 cup

Salt-  3/4 tsp

Sugar- 3 tbsp

Butter- 45 g

Yeast- 1.5 tsp

Milk- 1.5 cups

Sugar for the yeast- 1.5 tsp.

 

Follow the instructions as per the video.

 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS AND NOTES:

1. The cold rise or Cold fermentation.

Cold rise for more than 6 hours as opposed to letting the yeast dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours gives better flavor and a more softer crumb. I have seen a much better result allowing the dough to sit for a cold rise.

2. The poke test

Checking if the dough has risen enough in the first rise is crucial. Just poke your finger into the middle of the dough all the way through.

The hole will stay and the dough will deflate a little. This means your first rise is over.

 

3. The window pane test.

I didn’t know about this until a couple of weeks back. And since then its been a life saver.

This test helps you to know if the gluten has developed enough. If it hasn’t the bread wont rise properly in the oven or hold its structure.

The test: Pull off some dough in your hands. With your fore fingers and thumbs pull the dough apart. Hold it across a window (optional 😉 )

If it stretches without breaking then your gluten has developed. If it breaks then you have to knead the dough again. I feel beating the daylights out of the dough, while kneading, helps. (It certainly helps you, if you picture it to be someone you are not particularly fond of.)

 

4.  Test to see if bread is ready for Baking 

After the second rise, check if the bread has done proving. Press your finger on top of the loaf ever so slightly. It should leave an impression and the impression should start disappearing. If that happens, then pop the bread into the preheated oven ASAP.

5. Turn the bread

Halfway through the baking time, turn the pan. This ensures even baking and browning at all sides.

5. Removing the bread.

Remove the bread as soon as its done. From the oven as well as the loaf pan. Or else you will end up with a soggy mess.

If you want a softer crust, cover the top with foil after putting the bread on a wire rack to cool. If you like it crispy, do not cover.

 

6. ALLOW THE BREAD TO COOL!

Finally the most important step! Allow the bread to cool at least for 2 hours. I know its hard to resist and all you want to do is dig into the aromatic warm bread as soon as its out of the oven. Believe me, I’ve done it more times than I can count. And I immediately beat myself up. Its okay, it happens. Eventually, you will learn patience. Or not.

But bear in mind, the bread isn’t finished cooking yet. Allow it to cool. If you cut in too early it’ll have a very yeasty smell and a dry crumb. All that hard work for nothing.

 

I’ve used this to make hamburger buns as well. The top sprinkled with some sesame seeds. Just remember to cut down on the sugar and slightly increase the salt. It turns out amazing!

 

So happy baking!

 

 

The Bread Obsession

For a few weeks now, I had made many attempts at bread-making with not much success. I became obsessed with making the perfect bread, and obviously my first instinct was to go for the very simple and easy No-Knead Bread method. There was not a single stone left unturned, there was not a single bread blog left unread. Though the ingredients were minimal (Flour, Yeast, Water, Salt) and there was virtually no effort (just mix ’em and leave ’em alone for around 12 hours or more), this bread-making exhausted me. Because of the very chewy and gummy result I got every time I made it!

At first I thought, it was because I was cutting it too early. Sometimes temptation gets the better of you, and unlike a cake you can never know if a bread is done until we cut it. The third time I made it, I made myself wait a good 2 hours (The wait killed me because the smell was heaven!!) before I sliced it. Once again I was disappointed.

The bread had a very baguette-y exterior and the inside was so dense, chewy and gummy. Because I didn’t have the heart to throw it out, I managed to have it after toasting (toasting seemed to make it a little better, but not quite).

I nearly gave up when I saw this particular recipe, and it wasn’t a no-knead method. The Ingredients were once again not too fancy (I saw breads made with eggs.. Though it was guaranteed they’d be deliciously soft, wasting an egg over a bread, which I may make every week didn’t seem to sit well with me). Anyhoo, I baked this bread at 1 in the night because I saw the recipe at 9 and I had to make it right away. This recipe was the make or break one. If this didnt turn out right I was gonna give up Bread-making forever.

Fortunately, it turned out so good!! After baking I had to let the bread cool for an hour, and this time I had to punch myself to make me wait.The whole house smelled so delicious 😀

After cooling, I cut the bread at 3. That’s right, 3 in the middle of the night. I was so excited it turned out so soft and delicious, I shook the sleeping husband awake and shoved it into his mouth to taste it!! 😀 (I’m evil, I know)

In a very confused and groggy state he mumbled, it was good and went back to sleep. I on the other hand, basking over my victory couldn’t sleep all night! 😛 And boy was I pleased Grandma VanDoren had a good memory!

That was a couple of weeks ago..I made it again yesterday and deviated a little from the original to see how it’ll change and the resulting bread though soft, it wasn’t the same as the first one I made. So I’m gonna stick to the original for the foreseeable future!

And the original recipe made 3 loaves, I just halved the recipe and made one huge loaf 🙂

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 3 – 1 1/2 pound loaves

  • 3 cups warm water                           (1.5 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast         (1.5 TB spoon)
  • 3 teaspoons salt                               (1.5 teaspoon)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil              (2 TB spoon)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar                          (1/4 cup)
  • 8 cups bread flour                            (4 cups)

P.S: The ones in the bracket are the measurements I used.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, salt, oil, sugar, and 4 cups flour. Mix thoroughly, and let sponge rise until doubled in size.
  2. Gradually add about 4 cups flour, kneading until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn several times to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.
  3. Punch down the dough, let it rest a few minutes. Divide dough into three equal parts. Shape into loaves, and place in three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch greased bread pans. Let rise until almost doubled.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 45 minutes. The loaves may need to be covered for the last few minutes with foil to prevent excess browning.

Recipe from:  Grandma VanDoren’s Bread

Also there was a video along with this recipe without which I would have been totally lost! I would recommend watching it once or twice before making the bread. Its very straight forward 🙂

Please make and enjoy! 🙂

Ciao,

Rocky

The Baking Frenzy!

Once in a while I get into this Baking Frenzy, where I just look at oodles and oodles of recipes and end up drooling at the pictures than making them. I loove baking, but I never get around to doing it!

So yesterday I saw a couple of strawberries lying around, I felt sorry for them because no one was having them. I decided to put them to good use and make muffins. Then my eyes fell on a packet of chocolate chip cookies which I had bought a long time ago.

Now came a moral dilemma: Strawberry or chocolate chips?

I just couldn’t give up one for the other, and hence the search for Strawberry and chocolate chip muffins was on. Finally I settled on one recipe, and judging by the way my muffins turned out.. I declare thee, “Averie’s Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins” the Lord of all Muffins! (Of Course, thats just my opinion).

Here are my Lovelies:

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As you can see, there are a couple unaccounted for.. ahem.

So after that frenzy was over, and all my unwashed baking dishes were piled sky-high, I wanted to do something more. And though its the wrong order (Mitts before the muffins, not the other way around) I looked up a few DIY Oven mitts, and I liked Professor Pincushions tutorial. I wanted to try the traditional Oven Mitt and after half an hour, Tada! For some odd reason I was so proud of it.. I guess it looked so good and professional.. not something I as an amateur Sewer would do.. And besides, it was my first time! Woo-Hoo!

Professor Pincushions Oven Mitt Tutorial:

All her videos are worth checking out 🙂

Here are my Mitts:

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(I’m gonna let you in on a secret here. I didn’t have the insulation materials.. So I used up my husbands old blankets and layered them up between the cotton fabric.. I dont think he’s gonna notice anytime soon.. Unless of course he reads this. :/ )

Maybe the colour doesn’t go too well with each other.. But I was so in the zone I just wanted to try it out right away, all thoughts of colour coordiantion and designs were out the window.

All said and done, Im so very pleased and cant wait to use it the next time I bake something.. Which knowing me.. Could be a a few days. Or Months. Or Years.. Ahem, there’s no telling. 😛

As always, I’d b pleased to hear your thoughts and comments.. and any ideas to improve on what I did are also welcome!

Till the next time,

Ciao

Rocky

Mattress Stitch Tutorial

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Mattress stitch is used to sew together the sides of two stockinette stitch pieces of knitting. It creates an invisible seam and is often used to make up garments that are knitted in pieces.

“Ladder Rungs”

The most important factor in this technique is identifying the “ladder rungs” or horizontal bars of yarn. These are hiding behind the Vs of your stitches. So, before you begin to sew, gently pull your knitting until you see those “ladder rungs” they should look like the photo above.

Decide Where to Begin

There are “ladder rungs” between every stitch and behind every stitch, there are even some right on the edge of the knitting. Count in at least one stitch from the edge of both of the pieces you are seaming. You are looking for a column of stitches, close to the edge where the stitching is even.

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Lay the two pieces to…

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How To – Make Personalised Knitter’s Graph Paper

Ah I’ve been looking for this everywhere!!

I’m a big believer in never buying anything you can make yourself and knitter’s graph paper definitely falls into that category.

But first a quick explanation for the non-knitters. Sometimes a knitter will use graph paper to map out a design which will go into the knitting, either in a different colour or in a different stitch. However, ordinary graph paper just won’t do for this, it’s too symmetrical and knitted stitches are rarely symmetrical, usually stitches are wider than they are tall. Therefore knitter’s graph paper is made of small rectangles which are wider than they are tall.

I’ve been looking around for some explanations of how to make the paper using an Excel spreadsheet, but they seem to be generically sized. So I thought about it for a little while and in the end this is how I made the graph paper for my project. It’s really easy…

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Tutorial: how to make and crochet with “Plarn” – plastic yarn

Finally something to do with the bags lying around!

UK Crochet Patterns

You’ve probably never heard of this but it’s becoming more and more popular!

Plarn!

It’s plastic yarn, made from carrier bags. Yep, the type you bring your shopping home in! If you have a wander around the Interwebs and Pinterest in particular, you’ll find people crocheting all sorts with it.

Today, we’re going to show you how to make and use your own. The process we’re going to follow can also make you t-shirt yarn (one of us would crochet with nothing else, if she could!).

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