Monday, May 30, 2011

Quick Crusty, 'Holey' Bread

I've been baking bread for almost two years now. I've never been to any baking classes actually but I learned from the internet and books. I believe that it isn't really necessary to take up the classes but if you want to understand further on what you should do (if you don't like to read), then perhaps you might want to attend those classes. However, I prefer to learn from the books and internet but maybe someday, if I decide to open up a bakery, maybe I will go on a short course or something like that.

Today, I finally decided to make a no-knead bread. I've always thought that a good bread needs a good, long kneading process. All these while, I was intimidated by the thoughts of my bread being stone hard if I didn't knead it. But I was wrong. Kneading is not essential to a good bread. You can still get the perfect texture with a no-kneading bread recipe. However, I must say that the texture is different from the kneaded bread. This bread has a very nice crust with a chewy texture on the inside.

Recipe (3 small loaves) :
Source : ShareMyKitchen
  • 500g bread flour
  • 370ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp of yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt
Method : 

1. Dissolve honey in the lukewarm water. 
2. Put the bread flour into a big bowl and add yeast. 
3. Pour in the lukewarm water with honey.
3. Mix them together with a fork while adding the salt. The dough will be soft and sticky and not smooth.
4. Let it rise for an hour or so.
5. Line the baking tray with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 220C.
6.  When the dough has doubled, transfer the dough onto a generously floured surface. Shape them into 3 small loaves. 
7. Try to transfer the dough with the flour facing up or you can just sprinkle some flour onto it after it has been transferred to the baking tray.
8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes before lowering down the temperature of the oven to 160C and bake it for additional 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are definitely the best one that I have ever made or tasted. The crust is actually made with Biscoff cookies but since I could not find it here in Malaysia nor when I was in London last year, I decided to use the caramelised biscuit which comes from the same company brand. I served these to Umi's friends who came last night and all of them liked it, especially uncle. They said it is much better than the ones in Hilton. :P
So I bought three packets of these from Sainsbury when I was in London last December. And it was only 99 pence.
For the crust, take about 27 biscuits (1 1/2 cup), put them into the food processor and chop until nice and fine.
Add 6 tablespoon of melted butter to the cookie crumbs. Put them into a 13 X 9 inch pan and press firmly.
Mix up the cheesecake ingredients and pour over the crust.
Bake for about 45 minutes and let it cool. 
Once the cheesecake is cooled, make the chocolate ganache and pour over the cheesecake. Let it set in the fridge.
And it is ready to be served! :D

Recipe (Cheesecake bars) :

  • 27 crushed cookies (about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 6 tbsp of melted butter
1. Mix the cookies and butter together and pack them firmly onto a 13 X 9 inch pan.

  • 680g (24 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 227g (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees / 169C.
2. Cream sugar, cream cheese, flour on medium until light and fluffy. 
3. On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix until just combined. 
5. Pour over the crust and bake for 45 minutes.
6. Let it cool and prepare the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
  • 227g (8 oz) of heavy whipping cream
  • 57g (2 oz) of unsalted butter
  • 113g of dark chocolate
  • 113g of milk chocolate chips
1. Heat cream and butter on a stove until just before boiling. 
2. Turn off the heat and pour over chocolate until completely combined.
3. Pour over cooled cheesecake.
4. Refrigerate overnight and serve. 

Original recipe can be found here.

I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #7 - Chocolate Delight (May 2011) by DG from Tested and Tasted.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mixed Berries Frozen Yogurt

I have finally withdrawn from A-Level programme at Taylor's as I managed to secure a scholarship to do IB in KMB which later they will also pay for my undergraduate course too. Actually I did get Taylor's Scholarship which is The Top Achievers' Award but since that is only for A-level, I decided to accept MARA's. I will certainly miss my friends in Taylor's but I guess I have to start all over again and make another batch of new friends there. I'm really glad that Zareen and a few other friends were also offered to the same place. At least, I know I'm not alone in that place. :)

So now I have a one month break before class starts. Since KMB is in the middle of nowhere, they don't have internet connections in the dorms which makes it hard for me to go online. And yes, I'll be sharing a room with another girl and KMB is like a boarding school. I'm sure it will take some time for me to get used to the surroundings. Anyways, I'll be enjoying this break by cooking and baking as much as I can. :D
I have to admit that I've been addicted to fro-yos ever since I started college. Staying near to Tutti Frutti makes me want to go there at least once a week. And now that I'm back in Seremban with no Tutti Frutti, I have no other choice but to make my own fro-yos. Berries have always been my favourite, be it blueberry, raspberry, blackberry or even strawberry.. I just love them all. However, living in Malaysia makes it quite impossible for me to get cheap fresh berries, except for the strawberries which sometimes can be quite expensive too even though its a local produce. So instead of buying fresh ones, I just buy frozen ones from Cold Storage. 
Recipe (Mixed Berries Frozen Yogurt) :

Ingredients : 
  • 4 cups of mixed berries - I used frozen strawberries and blueberries
  • 8 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon - use less if you don't like it
  • 1 kg (4 cups) of Greek-style yogurt
Method :
1. Put the berries, sugar, water and cinnamon into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reduces to a thick syrup. 
2. Using a hand blender, blend the berry syrup until the desired texture is achieved. If you don't like the seed, you can strain them. Set aside to let it cool. 
3. Mix the yogurt with the berry syrup/puree. Pour the yogurt mix into the ice-cream and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions which normally takes about 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries

This week, I decided to make pavlova since I have four egg whites in the fridge which I haven't use. Pavlova is said to be named after the Russian ballet Anna Pavlova. It is actually a cake of meringue with a crispy crust and a marshmallowy interior.

I've never eaten pavlova before but I know it would be very sweet, looking at the amount of sugar in it. However, I have to say that this recipe is not very sweet at all. Well, it is a little sweet but the dark chocolate sort of balance out the sweetness in it, making it a perfect dessert for any special occasions.

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe. Since it is hard to find fresh raspberry here, I simply replace the raspberries with strawberries. The sweetness of the pavlova is further reduced by the sourness of the strawberries.

Recipe (Chocolate Pavlova) :

Ingredients :

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar - I think I used less than this
  • 2/3 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • strawberries
Method :
1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line the baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form and slowly add in one tablespoon of sugar at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
3. Sprinkle the cocoa powder, vinegar and chocolate chips. Gently fold in everything until the cocoa powder is thoroughly mixed in.
4. Mount the meringue onto the baking parchment and smooth out the top and sides.
5. Place in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 150C. Bake for one to one and a quarter hours. The crust should be crispy and the interior should still be a little gooey. 
6. Leave the meringue with the oven door slightly ajar until it has cooled completely.
7. When you are ready to serve, invert it onto a big, flat-bottomed serving dish.  
8. Whisk the cream until thick but still soft and mount it onto the meringue. Put strawberries (or other fruits) on top of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza

1st May was Labour Day and we just got back from Sabah two days ago. It was fun indeed. We stayed at Hyatt Regency Hotel and the breakfast buffet was great - it was definitely up to my liking. However, I must say that the croissants weren't as great as the ones in Hilton. The room was very spacious but there was no bathtub so Hani was quite frustrated I think. :P
This is like only half of the room.
We went to three islands which I could recall their names, to snorkel. It was fun. The fish were beautiful. :) 
The same fish that I saw when I went snorkeling. We call it the rainbow fish. :D
We also bought lots of dried fish, shrimps and oysters - Sabah is actually famous for the seafood, apart from the Mount Kinabalu and Rafflesia. However, we did not buy any lobsters as they were expensive. Pretty much like the ones in Peninsular. 

Well, yesterday I made some pizzas for lunch. I found an amazing recipe for the crust but still could not find a great recipe for the sauce. Maybe someone can recommend me any recipes?  
Ingredients (Whole Wheat Pizza Crust) :
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

 Method :
1. Proof the yeast by dissolving the yeast with warm water and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Combine all the other ingredients together and pour in the yeast mixture into the same bowl. Using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth.
3. Let the dough double in a lightly greased bowl for about one hour.
4. When the dough is doubled, tip it out into a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 balls for 2 thin pizza crusts. Let it rise for 45 minutes, until doubled.
5. Preheat the oven to 220C. Roll a ball of dough using a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists and gently pull the edges outwards, while rotating the dough. When the circle has reached the desired size, place it on a well oiled pizza pan. Top your pizza with your favourite toppings.
6. Bake for 16-20 minutes (depending on the thickness), until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges.