Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza

I’m a pretty quiet person.

Until I talk about books and baking, bread in particular.

So it’s only natural that I love collecting books about bread. My recent purchase is My Pizza by Jim Lahey. The whole book is about pizza making. Even though I already have American Pie: My Search for The Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart, another perception in preparing and baking one of the most loved dishes in the world is always appreciated. Besides, what Peter Reinhart stated in his book about the quest of finding a perfect pizza has ingrained, embedded in my prefrontal cortex. There will always be somebody who makes better pizza. The thing is even though we like the better ones, we will always cherish and savor the memory of the great pizza we’ve had earlier in life. It’s like nicely behaved ex lovers, really. Except that I have no need to revisit them.

There are so many wonderful pizzeria out there, it truly depends on what mood we’re in at the moment we want them. Right now I am into Jim Lahey’s but who knows what will be my favorite three months from now? One thing I know is that even if I find another killer pizza in the future, I will always love Jim Lahey’s dough, Peter Reinhart’s, Jeff and Zoe’s from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and many others whose pizza recipes I’ve tried and tested.

No knead trick in Jim Lahey’s recipe is basically the same as in other no knead recipes except that his does not require refrigeration but if you do not want to bake all at once then you can store some of the pizza dough in the fridge for later use.

To get the crispy and charred crust, a very hot oven is crucial. Traditionally, Italian pizzas are cooked on bricks in a wood-fired oven. This ensures the crispy crust, but also cooks the rest of the pizza “properly” as well. Now a brick oven is not something one can have inside an apartment or a lawn-less house in the city, right? That is why we have baking stone. Baking stone, especially one that has been used over and over again, gives a bit of that charred flavor as well. The crust cooks more evenly and moisture is drawn out of the dough rather than steaming the dough.  But if you don’t have it, it’s okay. Just make sure your oven is really hot.

Okay.. I actually don't feel comfortable in showing you the inside of my oven. No, it's not dirty. It's just.. stained. Anyhow, that's my baking stone which has definitely seen better days. But like most of the best humans, the stained are the most interesting ones.

Okay, let's get to the recipe.

500 gr all purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
Note: You can substitute half of the amount of flour with wheat flour

-Mix all ingredients in a bowl, stir with a spoon, cover it with plastic, and let it sit for at least 18 hours.
It is best if you do it at night if you want to have pizza for lunch. This is what the dough looks like after 18 hours:

-Flour your work surface, place your dough on it, then divide it by four.
-Make a ball from those pieces of dough.

-If you choose to keep some for another day, a two days refrigeration will yield a lovely tangier taste, wrap the dough individually. Otherwise, cover loosely with plastic while you prepare the topping.
-Preheat your oven to 250C. If you have a baking stone, preheat it along with the oven. If you don't, preheat your oven anyway.
-Take a ball of dough and flatten it on a baking sheet however thin you wish your pizza to be.

-Slide the pizza on the baking paper with the baking paper as well onto the baking stone if using. Otherwise use any pan and bake for 5 minutes.
-Take your pizza out, put any topping you want, then bake it again until the mozzarella melts. If your using baking stone, remove your baking paper.

Drizzle your pizza with olive oil before you bake it again and after for an out-of-this-world oomph. I use my pizza peel here. That is a great tool for sliding anything to the baking stone.

Here's the result...

Would you look.. at.. THAT!

This meatless pizza is better on the palate and for your health than any pizza you would call for a hungry night delivery. It saves you lots of money, too. Of course you can have a carnivorous pizza. I would as well, if somebody would be kind enough to give me some cold cuts.

What I am asking you is to not be afraid to attempt pizza or bread baking if you don't have a baking stone. Having it is a plus, sure, but it's not a done deal. This recipe ensures you two days of lunch or dinner and what can be better than made with love made at home meals? A pair of Louboutin shoes would be the right answer but we're talking meals here.

So don't bother kneading. Just mix, sleep, wake, and bake!


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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

French Onion Muffins

What's better than caramelized onions? MORE caramelized onions!

I have just enough love for raw onions as a cat towards a bath. But when caramelized, we’re talking about Gone with The Wind passionate love.  It’s a matter of simple science, actually. The chemical process that occurs when you are caramelizing onions, or baking, is called Pyrolysis. You have Pyro; fire and Lysis; to separate. What are we separating here? The sugars from the onions. So basically, we use the heat to break down the sugar contained in onions into smaller units of sugar and the reaction caused by breaking down larger sugar molecules into small singular ones causes the onions to brown, soften, and develop a subtle sweeter flavor. Very neat, right?

I reckon that is another reason why I love cooking. It’s simple but it allows curious minds to dive deeper and try to find the core of its magic which indeed is explainable.

But let me not put the burden of boredom on your shoulder and get to the recipe straightaway. I’ve been making these wonderful muffins when (1) I want French Onion Soup but the weather is too hot for soup or, (2) I’m going to a potluck or, (3) I just feel like having savory muffins. I like cupcakes but I love muffins more and these muffins, though they contain cheese, taste very light. Just like French Onion Soup should be.

Recipe adapted from the book Muffin Magic
Makes 12 muffins
2 Onions, caramelized
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Fresh thyme from 1 sprig (or 1/2 tsp dried)
100 gr cheese, shredded
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats/quick cooking oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
Freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat your oven to 200C
-Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and oats. Set aside.
-Mix the caramelized onions, eggs, milk, thyme, a dash of  freshly ground black pepper, and 80 gr of cheese. Keep the rest of the cheese for topping.
-Mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined.
-Fill your muffin liners with the batter, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and some freshly ground black pepper.
-Bake for 20 minutes

Mmmm... Mmmmuuffiinnss...

A single rosemary leaf put on top does give a lovely finish. Bring these muffins to a potluck party, pack some for breakfast or lunch, but be sure to share because the real joy is the unbelievable sweetness yet mellow taste given by the combination of simple and humble pantry staples. 

Or we can also put some Italian twist on this French inspired treat..

-----Put a teaspoon of pesto sauce inside the muffin.

So instead of filling the muffin liners with just the batter, fill it with a little batter, a teaspoon of pesto sauce, and cover it with more batter. If you decide to use the pesto, you might wanna skip the thyme in the batter to let the basil in the pesto shine.

Another note from me is use yellow onion. Not only because it's cheaper than the red but also because the yellow ones contains more lachrymator which produces a more complex flavour when caramelized. What's a lachrymator? Oh, it's only a compound of non-importance that makes you cry when you cut the onion. 

Lacrima.. tear.. Oh whatever, Have fun baking:)


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

I did promise you a great pumpkin recipe, right?

Here I have donuts. Just a couple of down to earth humble donuts. With pumpkin mixed in the batter.

I have to admit that as much as I avoid eating deep fried food, I would at least once a month go to Dunkin Donuts for a donut or two. Usually when I have PMS. I just need something less bad than my behavior to make me feel good about myself. PMS aside, donuts are easily everyone’s feel good food. Take Homer Simpson or just about every beer-bellied policeman in the States for example. Got a bad day? Have some donuts.

Of course I do not have an intention to clog my arteries and I don’t wanna give my daughter a bad example. So I was pretty lucky to come across some donut pans two years ago. Yes, you can bake donuts and that means less fried food to eat! I used to sell baked donuts, you know. But not anymore because I find it utterly liberating to be able to have more free time to do things I like such as going back to school myself and waking up late. Baking donuts daily was me derailing from my main path. I much prefer to take pie orders because it’s not an everyday treat.

These beautiful Baked Pumpkin Donuts are a cinch to make and it’s packed with fiber. The texture is cakey because it is using baking powder to fluff it up instead of yeast. These are something that you would wanna serve to your beloved family on weekends or any other drab day; sweet and fragrant and fulfilling. The taste improves with time. So don’t be surprised to wake up the next morning to find them taste even better than the day before.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 12 Donuts
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
2 tbs wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup pumpkin purée (see Directions)*
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon  
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg and 
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
Fine donut sugar, for dusting
Note: You can use just all purpose flour if you don't have whole wheat flour and wheat bran though the texture will be different but not less tasty.

*Prepare the pumpkin puree by steaming the peeled and seeded pumpkin. I strongly recommend you to buy a small pumpkin. The reason is the original recipe requires canned pumpkin. Yes, it is sold here in Indonesia but I don't eat canned foods and we surely have no problem in finding pumpkin anytime of the year.
*After you steamed your pumpkin, mash them, and cook them in low heat so the water contained evaporates. This is a crucial step because steamed pumpkin contains a lot of water and if you use it in this recipe, you will have a runny batter and your donuts will be rubbery.
*Keep stirring to avoid burnt pumpkin. You are looking for a very thick consistency and do prepare yourself for a divine smell while doing it.
*Cool the thick pumpkin puree and measure 1 1/4 cup. Freeze the rest. You would wanna have this in your freezer.

Now let's get on the mixing...
-Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
-Add the flour and wheat bran and stir just until smooth. 
-Lightly grease two standard donut pans and fill with the the batter.
-Bake the donuts for 15-18 minutes at 175C. Do insert a toothpick into the center of one of those donuts. If it comes out clean, they're done.

If that is not divine enough for you, I don't know what is...

-After about 5 minutes, gently loosen their edges  with a toothpick and transfer them to a rack to cool.
-While the donuts are still warm, roll them in fine donut sugar. Note that donut sugar is different with icing sugar. You can find it in baking supply store. it's less sweet and finer than icing sugar. Of course icing sugar is okay. But why be okay if you can be perfect. Beside, its price is just the same as icing sugar.


If you don't have the luxury of having donut pans, you can still make muffins with this batter. I can promise you they are going to be one of the best muffins you'll ever have. Just remember to add more baking time if you're making them in muffin tins or liners.

Now who wants some coffee with this?


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato, Smoked Beef, and Cheese Bread

I woke up this morning with an unbearable desire for bread.

I am extremely grateful that Taiphoon Hayan did not pass Indonesia and being in the same region where it stroke, we still have downpours several times a day. But who am I to complain. I still have a dry bed to sleep on though it’s way passed its prime ten years ago and sturdy roof with leak spots bonus courtesy of a self proclaimed brilliant  architect my sister in-law recommended. Life is good.

Getting my chia seeds out of the fridge I saw a half full jar of sundried tomatoes and it just might be the perfect match for the bread I was about to make; rustic and bursting with flavors. Since I have absolutely no plan to go out and zero intention to cook lunch, the bread itself has to be dense and fulfilling enough to qualify as lunch. So, modifying the bread base of my Braided Pesto Bread I present you Sun-dried Tomato, Smoked Beef, and Cheese Bread. 

Bread Ingredients:
285 gr bread flour
15 gr wheat bran
3 tbs golden flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
-/+ 1 cup water
70 gr sourdough starter, optional

For The Filling:
8 sun-dried tomatoes, mashed
4 slices smoked beef, thinly sliced
Cheddar cheese, preferably old, grated
Dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, or rosemary
Egg wash, optional
Note: If you don't have wheat bran, just use all flour

-Combine all the bread ingredients. Knead well, oil the bowl, and leave it to proof until the size is doubled about an hour or so.
-Lightly oil your work space and roll your dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle then cut into three pieces on the long side.
-Spread the mashed sun-dried tomatoes evenly, scatter the smoke beef slices, grated cheese, and finish by sprinkling it with your herbs of choice.

-Roll each piece individually so you have three long rolls and braid them like you do the Challah then round them up together.
-Let the dough rise covered in cling film for 30 minutes then bake for 25-30 minutes in 215C oven.

I am not jumping with glee with the braiding this time because I put too much filling in one of the braids ;p that's nothing new. But nevertheless, the taste.. is impeccable!

The flax seeds in this bread give a nutty taste, lovely texture, and provide no argument about the health benefits they offer. The crust is so crispy and the crumbs are out of this world soft and delicious with a nice sourdough tang. This is also a kind of bread which taste improves overnight because the oil from the filling will be absorbed by the bread. So left overs are intentional.

You know you can always make a simple sandwich with the same filling combo of sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, and meat. But why take the simpleton way of eating if you can build layers and layers of flavors with the exact same ingredients?

Interesting things come when you're willing to take a journey further from your comfort zone. That being said, I'll brew some coffee because I'm off for some interesting adventures myself this afternoon with my books.

Have a dazzling rainy afternoon,

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Norwich Sourdough

This is THE wonderful sourdough recipe that I have always wanted to share but keep forgetting because it’s just oh so good you'll forget what you were about to do before. At home, we’re not that good at waiting till the bread cools before we eat them. So every time I bake these, once they’re out of the oven, we usually wait for 5 minutes just so that we can listen to the crackling sound the crust makes and deeply inhale the fantastic aroma, then indulge like we have not eaten a single gram of carbohydrate in a month.

Norwich Sourdough.

The name was given by Susan of Wild Yeast to honor the Vermont hometown of King Arthur Flour where Jeffrey Hamelman resides and teaches. She adapted this recipe from Hamelman's book, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes; THE book I really want for Christmas. If you are a bread enthusiast like me and spend hours reading about bread on the internet, I’m pretty sure you would come across this wonderful sourdough bread because it’s widely popular. 

Yield: 1 kg (2 medium rather large loaves)
450 gr all purpose flour 
60 gr  rye flour 
300 gr water at about 74F
180 gr mature 100% hydration sourdough starter**
11 gr salt
Feed/refresh your starter at least three hours before making the bread
**100% hydration means equal part of flour and water for feeding

-Mix the flours, water, and starter  until just combined.
-Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
-Add the salt and continue kneading (or mixing if you have the luxury of owning a good mixer *cue to hubby*) until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 5 minutes.
-Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
-Ferment at room temperature  for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
-Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into two. Preshape the dough pieces into balls.
-Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
-Shape into batards and place seam-side-up in a floured couche. If you dont have it, simply rest the batards on your silpat/good quality parchment paper lined tray seam-side-down. Though I have a couche, unless I'm proofing baguettes, I much prefer silpat/good quality parchment paper because it is simply more convenient.  I don't I need to transfer the proofed loaves to tray hence there is a lesser room for error.
-Cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2–2.5 hours. 
-Preheat the oven, with baking stone if you have it, to 240C. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
-Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment if you're using a couche. Slash each one with two overlapping cuts that are almost parallel to the long axis of the batard.
-Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 225C. Bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. Leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar.

Time Frame
Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
First fermentation: 2.5 hours
Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard in the fridge for 2 – 16 hours if you plan to bake it later )
Bake: 35 minutes

My friends always ask me about feeding a starter matter and the time needed between refreshing the starter and using it for the bread making. Well, not all starters are the same. Some are stronger than the others. Mine, it thrives in harsh environment, our house is filled with yell hard love harder ladies, it's alive and kicking. But one thing I do like, is keeping my starter at 50% hydration. That means feeding it with flour and water with 2:1 ratio. That allows me more time between each feeding time.

About the sourness of the sourdough bread itself, I concur that there is no bread made with sourdough would taste identically the same. Store A's bread would taste different even it's only slightly with store B's. Depending on how you maintain your starter and what you've been feeding it, certainly rye fed starter would produce more sour bread than white flour fed. I alternate Bonnie's feeding with rye and white flour because we love the rye taste in our bread and pizza but we don't want it to be overwhelmingly rye-ish.

I strongly recommend any sourdough lover to try this recipe. It has great crust and the crumb is surprisingly soft.

What do I do with so much bread in the house?  

Make French Onion Soup of course!


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Sunday, October 6, 2013


Autumn always puts me in a romantic mood.

Although no tree turns glorious golden brown here and the closest encounter I have to anything maple is my plastic maple leaf shaped cookie cutter and maple syrup, September, October, November, and December are indeed my favorite months. The food, the fashion, the equinox, the bittersweet feeling of knowing winter is coming.. Hmm, now I start to sound like The Starks of Winterfell..  My point is, I love autumn.

Speaking about autumnal food, I have several pumpkin recipes I’d like to try soon. But that should wait because I’ll have final tests early next month. Not that I dread having them, it’s just that the amount of pages I have yet to read is quite overwhelming. The problem is; I need a break from studying. Those Sons of Anarchy DVDs aren’t gonna play themselves. So I gave myself a week off from studying. I’m happy to report that I read all three books from The Infernal Devices Trilogy, nothing like a light romance steam punk style to refresh the mind, watched the Sons of Anarchy episodes that I haven’t had a chance to watch, and made Korvapuusti this afternoon.

Korvapuusti is the Finnish take on cinnamon rolls. That somehow translates as a clip or slap on the ear. What makes it so darn gorgeous is that cardamom plays the lead role. Have I got your attention? Cardamom is one of the spices that just by grinding them using mortar and pestle, the smell will calm your nerves and in this point in life I’d take anything to calm my nerves, natural of course.

The recipe is adapted from Scandifoodie. As usual, I incorporate wheat bran in the dough for the fiber.

For the dough
250 ml milk
60 gr butter
2 tsp yeast
60 gr sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt 
1-2 tbs freshly ground cardamom**
300 gr all purpose flour
125 gr whole wheat flour*
35 gr wheat bran*
1 egg 
More all purpose flour, if needed

For the filling
50 gr butter
1/2 cup sugar or light brown sugar
1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the topping
1 egg for brushing

*Note: If you don't have it, substitute it with all purpose flour
**Green cardamoms has stronger scent than the white ones

-Warm the milk just until the butter dissolves.
-Mix all the dry ingredients together.
-Pour the warm milk-butter mixture in the dry ingredients and stir.
-Put in the egg.
-Transfer your dough onto your work surface and begin kneading. Incorporate more flour if your dough is too wet.
-When your dough is already cohesive, transfer it to an oiled bowl and proof until it doubles in size.
-Oil your work surface so it's going to be easier for the dough to be rolled.
-Roll your proofed dough into a 1 cm thick rectangle.
-Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon filling and roll it like a roll cake.
-Seal the edges nicely.

-Cut into 10 pieces
-Now to make the authentic Korvapuusti style, or you can skip it altogether:

Use a slim spoon handle, finger, or just about anything to make a straight indentation in the middle.
-Let them proof for another 30 minutes covered with clingfilm.
-Brush with egg and sprinkle with more sugar
-Bake in the preheated oven, 225C for 12 minutes

My house smells deeevine! My love affair with cardamom in sweet baked goods started when I first made Orange-Cardamom Danish Braid. Eversince that time, I have always been looking for recipes that incorporate cardamom in dessert. 

Apparently, Scandinavians love cardamom so much. Well, that's an important note for me if I wanna date Loki.. Gawd, Im so oot :D 

Anyhow, feel free to add more sugar in the filling if you think it's not sweet enough. Korvapuusti freezes very well. Just put it in an air tight box, pop it in the microwave for a quick breakfast or afternoon treat or just like.. whenever.

I hope you'll try this  beautiful and easy recipe and I sure will post something amazing with pumpkin to celebrate the season, soon.


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Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free ChoCoconut Tart


Quite a mouthful of title isn't it?

Today I decided to make something fancy that anyone can eat. After all, it is my birthday and birthday equals indulgence. I actually did not plan to make anything because I already planned a night out with my friends. But alas, something came up. My brother and sister in law have to go out of town and then I end up with 3 kiddos.

No complaints here, they're adorable and being the only child, Amiko always love to play with her cousins. The problem is, one of her cousin has a severe dairy, egg, and gluten allergy. A bit of of those would give the poor child red rashes and unbearable itchiness all over his body. So, no eggs, no dairy, no gluten, hmm.. Almonds to the rescue.

This recipe is adapted from

For the crust
190 gr blanched or sliced almonds
40 gr dried unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs maple syrup

For the ganache
220 ml boxed coconut milk, I use Kara
250 gr good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the topping
1/4 of whole coconut, peeled

-Simply put the almonds, coconut, and salt in your blender and blend into a fine meal.
-Mix the meal with coconut oil and maple syrup to form a dough.
-Transfer the dough into a greased 9 inch removable bottom pan and bake for 20 minutes on 175C. Cool completely.
-Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, just peel the coconut from the side so you will get coconut ribbons. Bake them together with the crust though it will take longer for them to brown and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container.
-To make the ganache, simply boil the coconut milk then pour over your chopped chocolate to melt it then add the vanilla essence.
-Pour the ganache in the crust and refrigerate until it sets.
-Once it sets, top it with your crispy coconut ribbons.

I honestly believe that food has gotta be made to please us but at the same time we should honor our body by eating food that nourish our body. This tart is the perfect example of love on a plate.

I cannot get a pic of the sliced ones because once I cut it, there's no stopping everyone from eating it. An important note though, Each brand of coconut milk has different thickness. So since Kara is the brand of boxed coconut milk that most of my friends use, and I think the most delicious one, using the original recipe gives me rather thin ganache and it didn't set as fast as I hoped. Though the tart was still absolutely yummo. So I guess a bit of experimenting by making the ganache would be better. Just put the ganache in the cup and you have beautiful midnight snack, right?

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


Submitting this recipe to NCC Chocolate Week
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flax Seeded Quick Dinner Rolls

It has been almost a month since the last time I posted anything here.

I do have an arsenal of killer true and tested recipes but haven’t found the right time to put it together into a readable post. I even find it hard to just sit in front of the computer to just have fun and browse. I’m still trying to get used to the new rhythm of homeschooling my daughter. Her dad and I have decided that she would benefit more from being homeschooled. Fortunately, Kak Seto Homeschool has an outing every month, all the monthly tests are done at school, there are tutors at school for challenging subjects, so basically she goes to school one time a week. That leaves her plenty of time to pursue whatever she wants to do. She was so brokenhearted when she couldn’t play violin again two years ago because 7am-3pm school time really took all of her energy and happiness.

But all good things come with a price. It takes a lot of energy to teach her at home and I am also wrapped up in my study. Boy, it takes a whoolllle lot of getting used to and if someone is selling patience by the bucket I would buy ten containers every week. I am becoming more nocturnal and my coffee consumption is doubled because apparently teaching her by the day doesn’t go so well with me studying for my exam. So I prefer to study after she sleeps, if I’m not tempted to watch any lame show that doesn’t require my brain to digest any information. But overall, we’re good.

I sadly have to admit that we mostly buy take outs for lunch for the past month and survive dinner with white bread from the nearest 711. Argh! I’m so ashamed to have a bread blog but I do those things to my family. Ironic!

So today, I said to myself, “Enough is enough.”

Poorly made bread with I dunno what’s inside ingredients is harming our body, and our wallet. I may not have the time to make fancy bread. But I sure have the time to make bread that will nourish our body and please my palate. I choose Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls recipe from my favorite site, King Arthur Flour. But I oomph it with crazy amount of wheat bran for the fiber and golden flaxseed for the Omega-3 benefit. 

Oh, let’s not forget Bonnie who gives the rolls a pleasant sourdough tang.

Let the kneading begin!

Makes 12 rolls
350 gr All purpose flour
25 gr wheat bran
4 tbs Golden Flaxseed
10g sugar
1/2 tbs salt
1 tbs instant yeast
50 gr warm water
225 gr warm milk
1 1/2 tbs butter
3 tbs madre, if using
Butter for slathering

-Heat the milk with the butter until it feels warm enough when you put your finger inside, pour the water in, set aside.
-Mix the flour, bran, yeast, sugar, and salt. 
-Pour the warm milk mixture into the flour, add your madre, if using, stir.

-Put your dough on the table. Toss in the flax. I actually put a handful here without measuring :p But please don't do so with other ingredients.

-Knead until the dough develops medium gluten and doesn't stick to your hands.
-Oil a bowl and proof for 20 minutes is your kitchen is hot. I usually put the bowl near my rice cooker.

-Transfer the dough onto an oiled work space. Form a rough rectangle with a 1cm thickness.
-Cut into 12 pieces, make a roll out of each, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let the rolls rest for another 15-20 minutes. Don't let them rest too long or you'll overproof.

-Preheat the oven to 175C. bake for 20 minutes.
-Brush the hot rolls right away with melted butter.

I have to give this 5 stars. One of the tastiest bread I've ever made. The fact that it doesn't contain egg and it's done in less than two hours are just.. RADICAL! 

These rolls are so cotton-like. Extremely soft. 

If you can't find golden flax seeds, feel free to substitute it with sesame seeds. The black ones would be cool to give any bread a dramatic effect. My only advice is to not skip the melted butter spread. It truly gives a wonderful flavor to these rolls.

Even though it's already delicious to be eaten just as it is, it would be wonderful to serve these rolls with soup or gravy.. along with a turkey feast..

But since I own no such things in my house today, a dollop of whole grain mustard and a hefty spread of sinfully sweet nutella are enough to make the three of us happy.


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Soudough Boule w/Balastra Flour

When we talk about comfort food, everyone has one.. or more. 

Comfort food is usually determined by what one had the most when one got sick during his or her childhood days. That particular food evokes the fondest memories. It can be one of the many arrays of noodle dishes, porridge,  conge, and soups, with or sans cream. One thing in common from those dishes is they are all best served hot.

Even though Indonesia has a hot climate, we just cannot get enough of hot, soupy dishes. They just make us feel good though not all are necessarily good for us but who cares. I personally always have different kjinds of soup in our weekly meal rotation. The reason is simple; I’m lazy. Soup is a perfect one pot meal. It’s warming, it’s a flu-buster, it’s a cinch to make, and I really don’t have to wash too many dishes afterwards.

Given all the reasons above, I can be a cheapskate when it comes to ordering soup when we dine out. Come on, I wouldn’t wanna spend money for cream soup. Skip the entrée please; Get the steak out, will you?

But I melt whenever I see chowder served in a bread bowl. I’m a sucker for bread and that is not even a secret. The thing is, I can get very picky when it comes to bread. The point of having chowder or cream soup in a bread bowl is that each has to complement the other. But I usually just eat the soup because the bread bowl tastes bland. So I end up feeling bad for wasting food. My ancestors would laugh at my stupidity for spending money on bad food and then curse me for not finishing my food. Double blasphemy. Dang!

So off I went to take Bonnie out to do her job. That is to make a sourdough boule and I shall use the boule as a soup bowl. You can find the bread formula at Wandering Bread. The only thing I do differently is I use Balastra flour. It’s whole wheat flour with bits of everything good like millet seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax and golden flax seeds, and sesame seeds. How yum and healthy it sounds!

Makes three medium sized bowls or two large ones
150 gr fed sourdough starter
225 gr Balastra flour
200 gr bread flour
275 gr water
10 gr salt
Note: You can use all bread flour if you can’t find Balastra flour

1.  Mix the starter, flour and water. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
2.  Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
3.  Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Do the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes again. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do one stretch and fold.
6. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Note the volume of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
7. Repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.
8.  Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.
9.  Put the dough into the fridge until the next morning, about 20 hours.

10.Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface. Divide into three equal parts and loosely shape into rounds. Let rest for 60 minutes.

11. Shape into boules and left proof for 30 to 45 minutes.

12. Preheat oven to 230C.
13. Slash and load into oven. Bake with steam for 20 minutes, then bake for another 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Well... Whaddaya think?

Oh.. The Smell..

The Crust..

I know some of you might be taken aback with the numerous steps and the time it requires. I used to be like that long ago but if I think about wine.. Well, to make good wine time is the essence. I am nothing compared to wine maker. Really. These boules need a mere two days.

Using inexpensive, completely natural ingredients, we all can make high quality bread.

Now all you need to do is prepare your soup, cut a circle on the top of the bread, fill it with soup, then use the top as a dipping.

Filled with a simple vegetable chowder, the whole dish is made with love and served as a nourishment for the body and soul for my family. I may not be able to provide a fancy meal every time, but food is meant to be eaten and act as a vessel for love. 

Cheers from a melodramatic baker,

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