Friday, February 28, 2014

Sausage Caterpillar Bread

A very dear friend of mine who is also a great chef, Yana, made some sausage bread that looked wonderful and totally mouth watering. She wouldn’t normally bake bread because kneading has never been her cup of tea. So after lots of bantering and throwing loving insults on each other’s cooking, she told me that the bread doesn’t require a preliminary kneading nor it is a no knead bread.

Hmm, that does spark my curiosity.

I’ve never tried making bread in that fashion before so I reckon it would be nice to give it a go. This recipe is originally called Sweet Roll Bread and is currently trending on NCC Facebook group.  I modified the recipe to make it higher in fiber and easier to work with. See note for the use of flour.

Let’s head straight to the recipe shall we J

225 ml warm milk
2 tsp instant yeast
1 egg, room temperature
50 gr butter, softened
1 tsp salt
50 gr sugar
175 gr whole wheat flour
25 gr wheat bran
150 gr all purpose flour
100 gr bread flour
*Extra flour for kneading
*Your fave sausages
*Dried herbs
*Cheddar Cheese
Note: You can use solely all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour and wheat bran.

-Dissolve the yeast in warm milk.
-Put the egg, sugar, salt, and butter in the milk.
-Mix the flour all together in a big bowl then pour the milk mixture in.
-Stir. Just stir. No need to knead. 
-Cover the bowl with plastic and wait until it doubles in size, about an hour.

-Now it's kneading time. You DEFINITELY need more flour because the dough is very sticky. 
-Knead until it's supple and elastic.

-Divide the dough into ten if you have a family with big appetite, like mine, or fourteen if they don't get hungry easily.

How To Shape Your Sausage Bread
1. Get a ball of dough and roll it just a bit bigger than the sausage's size. Put the sausage in the middle
2. Fold and seal the edge of the dough
3. Using a sharp knife, cut ONLY the dough which covers the sausage
4. Like braiding in reverse, pull the ends of the sausage filled dough out and twist it a bit to reveal the sausage.

-Let your caterpillars sit for another hour covered in plastic, then squirt some tomato ketchup and chili sauce, grate some soft cheddar cheese, and sprinkle some dried herbs such as oregano or thyme, or both.
-Bake in 200C oven for 12 minutes if your using all white flour, 15 minutes if your using my recipe.
-Brush with melted butter right after they're done

Whoa.. I have to say I'm very happy with the result!
These caterpillars are people pleaser. The aroma is powerful enough to lure someone out of their dieting zone.

It is nice to learn something new everyday. This bread is fairly easy to make and won't take too much of your time. If you have a weekend off, do double the recipe and refrigerate them. Pop them in the microwave for breakfast, for fast supper, or just whenever you feel like eating something savory J

Happy baking,

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nutella Overload Bread

With the recent appearance of the sun, I took my time doing the laundry, enjoying the early morning breeze, daydreaming of beautiful events in the past, while feeling thankful that I am still standing after so many raging storms. I can’t help it. My thoughts and moods seem to be in accordance with the weather. With Louis Armstrong singing La Vie En Rose for the morning alarm, I really do feel like the sun is lounging around a bit longer this time.

To celebrate the good weather, well.. actually I’m treating myself something rich and chocolatey because PMS is kicking and screaming and chocolate sure calms it down significantly, I shall be making chocolate bread. I assure you it is not your average chocolate bread. I call it Nutella Overload Bread.

Chocolate + Hazelnut = Nutella

Well, it isn’t necessary to use that particular brand as the answer. Saying chocolate hazelnut spread is way too mouthful and has more syllables. Be it comes in a jar or you make it yourself, that combo is a shortcut to cloud number nine. It is weed for the soul and you won’t get arrested for possession. The only thing that you’d compromise is your jeans size though I’m definitely sure that thought won’t stop you from licking another spoonful of Nutella after you generously smear it on your bread.

Let’s bake it!

Nutella Overload Bread

Adapted from Handimania
420 gr bread flour
30 gr wheat bran (can be replaced with bread flour)
250 ml warm milk (if using wheat bran. Use 220 ml if not)
1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks 
1 ½ tsp instant yeast
30 gr vegetable oil
35 gr sugar
pinch of salt
Water, if needed 
As much Nutella as you want, baby!

-Mix all the ingredients except the Nutella.
-Knead well. Add more water if your dough is fighting you back and feels dry.
-Oil a bowl, put your dough in, and let rest until it doubles in size.
-Divide the dough into 5 pieces.

-Roll your dough until it's 2-3mm thick.
-Use the base of a round pan or pretty much something round, thin, and flat to simply mark the dough as a border. I use my 22cm pie pan base.

-Spread the Nutella within the border.
-Roll another dough and gently stack them up.

-Cut the excess dough using the pan as the template.

-Make 8 incision and twist the lower edge of each one in.

-Brush the bread with some egg whites.
-Bake it right away in a preheated oven, 175C for 15 minutes. There is no need to wait for the second rise.


I am so giggling like a little girl because of the softness and the deliciousness of this bread. You may find a marbled or layered chocolate bread at the store but the chocolate filling will never be as extreme as this one. Come to think of it, the extremity of this bread reflects how extreme you are with the amount of Nutella you spread between the layers.

Shall we take a closer look?
Simply pull one layer at a time and the oozing chocolate will make you melt with happiness. Such utter bliss.

Why make something like this when you can just spread the Nutella on a slice of bread?


Mediocrity is just an option as greatness is.

Here's for life, may it brings us happiness
Here's for imagination, may it sets us free
Here's for family, may it keeps us grounded
Here's to fun, may it eradicates everything banal

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Extreme Garlic Loaf

If you still buy your garlic bread, truly, you must have never been to garlic bread paradise.

There are so many garlic bread recipes out there and 80% of them taste better than store bought or even from ones you get from restaurants. Even a simple white bread slathered with butter, sprinkled with garlic powder, and quickly toasted tastes better than opening your wallet and paying for something less than mediocre.

When I was a kid, spending money on treats was fun. Stale bread slathered with cheap chocolate when bought with my allowance at school and shared with friends tasted like the ultimate chocolate bread. But now, yes I admit I'm a snob when it comes to bread, I reject the idea of spending hard earned money for food that taste so-so. We live today, so we should eat well. Even if it's just an egg, be it one that's poached properly. Even if it's just a piece of brownies, be it one that will take you to heaven and back.

Savor every bite.

Since I have some leftover marinara sauce in the fridge, having it as a dipping sauce would be nice. It isn't enough for even two portions of pasta and it's so good I don't wanna throw it away. So garlic bread it is. Well, in this case, loaf. Anyhow, it is based on the recipe I found at Taste of Home. Garlic Bubble Loaf. The title seemed fun, so I clicked it, read the ingredients list and came up with my version which has more garlic and more fiber in the dough.

The Dough
350 gr all purpose flour
25 gr wheat bran*
7 gr instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs poppy seed, optional
2 tbs garlic infused olive oil**
1 cup warm milk 
Warm water, if your dough feels too dry

*Substitute wheat bran with flour if you don't have it
**Finely chopped 3-4 garlic cloves and heat them in olive oil. Just heat, not fry. Leave until cool. 

Melted Garlic Butter
50 gr unsalted butter, melted
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tsp garlic powder

-Mix and knead the dough ingredients well. 
-Oil a bowl, leave it to proof until it's doubled in size, about an hour.

-Divide the dough into eight, or more, and form a ball out of each.
-Prepare your melted garlic butter, dip, and coat each ball in the butter.

- Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and put the dough balls in the pan. Pour the rest of the butter on the dough balls.
-Cover your dough with plastic and let rest until it doubles, approximately one hour.
***My picture has olive and cheese between each balls. That's because Amiko  decided to interfere and make the loaf 'her style'.

-Bake the loaf in 185C oven for 40 minutes.
-Wait 10 minutes before you take the loaf out of the pan.


You will hear a 'frying' sound while the loaf is being baked. No worries, that means you're doing it right. The excess butter, the one you pour on the loaf after you dip the dough balls, will literally fry the bottom and make the bottom extra crispy and oh so yummy!

But the crumbs.. Oh so cottony soft...

So cheap, so easy to make, and a whole-lot-of wonderful. The only advice I can give you to make the cotton crumb is to always knead well. No mixer, no cry. Think of it as exercising at the gym, but you get bread afterwards and you don't need to look good to feel good.

Give it a go and tell me what you think.


Submitting this on Yeast Spotting
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Homemade Kaya Jam

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s the year of the horse! Even though we don’t believe much in zodiacs and what the stars say about us based on the day we were born, the little pagan girl inside of me that loves to peek out and see the world once in a while does get excited. 

Even though I have family and friends that celebrate Chinese New Year, I did not go anywhere because it still rains cats and dogs and blanket sounds like a heck of better idea than putting make up and dress up for a party. Even free food failed to seduce me. That says a lot about how unfriendly the weather is, right?

Anyhow, having a little daughter that was born in the year of the rooster makes me unable to sleep through the sunrise. She is like a chatty, cock-a-doodle-dooey small rooster that wakes up before 5am everyday including weekends. I was in the middle of dreaming about David Gandy and me having a date when Amiko gently woke me up just to say good morning. Lord knows I wanted to go back dreaming. I had a slight craving though in a moment between being fully awake and straining hard to go back dreaming. I crave for fresh bread and Kaya Jam. But I have none at home and it was 4:30am and it was raining.

Make it then.

With my eyes still sore and my back still ached, I put some taro in the steamer, took my umbrella, and pull two pandan leaves from its bushes. I reckon Kaya jam and  Vegan Taro Buns will add color to my gloomy, rainy morning. Kaya Jam is actually sweet coconut custard cooked into jam consistency. You can find different version of kaya Jam across South East Asia but the main ingredients will always be eggs, coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves. The best Kaya Jam I’ve ever tasted is from North Sumatra, the one with 8 yolks, but I am not that crazy to cook something like that. Not ever.

So here’s my version with less eggs but of course oh-so-damn yummy and it is a Ya Kun Kaya Toast's Kaya Jam copycat.

Homemade Kaya Jam
adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover
350 ml fresh thick coconut milk*
150 gr sugar
100 gr sugar, for making caramel
2 chicken eggs
1 duck egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 pandan leaves, knotted
* If you do not have fresh coconut milk ready, you can use the ones in small UHT box and thin it with fresh milk.

-Mix the coconut milk, 150 gr of sugar, and eggs. Set aside.
-Make caramel syrup with the 100 gr of sugar. Be careful to not overcook your caramel lest your jam will be bitter.
-Pour the caramel in your egg mixture. If it gets hard, do not worry. You will cook it later and it will melt.
-Prepare a bain marie and cook the egg mixture with low heat. Use a whisk to stir. Keep the heat low.
-Put the knotted pandan leaves in.
-Just keep stirring.. stirring.. stirring.. stirring *Dory sings to Nemo*
-Pour the vanilla in.
-Stir until its thickness resembles lemon curd's thickness and you see traces of your whisk after you stir. 
-Strain your Kaya Jam. You want no lumps.
-Cool and pour in sterilized jar.

Okay.. my taro loaf is also ready...

Instant Summer!
Look at the color *happy*

Now all you have to do is spread the lovely jam and enjoy!

If patience has a form, then it would appear as bread and jam. It is always easier to buy them, but when you have a little time to spare and you choose to make them, I promise you you can even taste the fruit of your patience.


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