流沙包 ( Steamed bun with salted eggs fillings)..Oh ….. Goldeny Goodness…..

Freshly and Lovingly Steamed on : 27th April 2014

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YUMZ!!! A staple at every Dim sum feast that I have. Its is always a feast today and diet tomorrow mantra which I live with each and everytime I visit a dim sum restaurant. Somehow, the diet part never materialize. I am only good with the feasting. I always thought it is really difficult to make this. Actually such yummy treats can be just 2 hrs away in the privacy of your own home. Today, I made my own 莊家流沙包。

The fillings
Ingredients:
3 Salted Egg Yolks
40g Dry Milk Powder
30g Coconut Milk
5g Corn Flour
50g Granulated Fine sugar
55g Unsalted Butter
25g Custard Powder

Directions:

Start off by mashing the yolks with the back of the fork. Then cream the butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until a tad firmer. Divide up into 10 pieces and freeze it for 2 hrs. Ensure each filling is round with no sharp edges. I made the mistake of having sharp rugged edges and its difficult to wrap the dough over it.

The Buns

I use the same recipe for the buns as in the 馒头 ( steamed bun ) post where I made these pillowy piggies as shown below.

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Ingredients:

300g + 2 Tbsp Hongkong Flour
3g Instant Yeast
3g Baking Powder
40g Granulated Sugar
160ml Water
15g Canola oil

Directions:

Mix flour, yeast, baking powder and sugar together in the mixer bowl. Mix well before pouring in the water and oil. Stir with a spoon to combine before kneading it for 10 mins.

Cover it and let it proof for 1 hr or until double in size. Once that is done, divide into ten 50g dough. Round these up and flatten. Wrap each filling with the bun dough and place on a square piece of parchment paper.

Let it proof for 15 mins. During which, heat up the water in the wok. While its proofing, I use a brush and blue food colouring to write a “莊”. This is my surname. Ensure the water is boiling before placing the buns in. Steam for 12 mins at medium heat.

Do not lift the cover once you off the heat. Let it rest for 2 mins.

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Edamame Pound Cake

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 26th Apr 2014

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When I first set my eyes on this recipe, I was scratching my head as to where can I find these fava beans. This recipe by Hidemi Sugino originally uses fava beans. I am not able to find these after combing various supermarkets and thought hard for a decent and viable replacement.

As I strolled up and down the aisle, I saw edamame! I think the texture should be able to match! I excitingly took a frozen pack and hurried home!

Prepping these beans is the most tedious part. I boiled these for 4 minutes in salted water. Cool it down before taking each tiny bean out. There is a hard covering in each bean so those has to be taken out as well.

A 400g frozen packet of edamame will give me about 160g edamame beans.

Ingredients : adapted from The dessert book by Hidemi Sugino

For the cake batter
100g Unsalted butter
140g Icing Sugar
50g Almond Flour
50g Hazelnut Flour
1/3 Tsp Baking Powder
70g Cake Flour
180g Eggs ( about 3.5 small eggs)
60g Edamame Puree
35g Edamame beans

Edamame Puree
125g Edamame
125g Water
50g Granulated brown sugar
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla essence

Directions :

Boil the water, sugar and vanilla essence together until the sugar dissolved. Add in the beans and simmer for 2 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate it for 2 hrs. After which, puree the mixture.

For the cake batter
Sift almond, hazelnut and cake flour together with the baking powder and set aside.

Cream the icing sugar and butter together. Add in the eggs and combine well. Incorporate the sifted flours into the batter before folding in the edamame puree and edamame beans.

Greased desired pans and spooned the batter into it. Baked it for 25 minutes in a preheated oven of 170 degree.

I cannot wait to have these for tea!

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How to convert a normal bread recipe to one using Tang Zhong? Using this to make Gai Mei Bao as a test!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 26th Apr 2014

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I am always on a look out for ready Tang Zhong Bread recipe and is finding it a big issue. I am constantly being held hostage to a certain recipe and has no freedom to express myself. So I decide to go on a look out to find a method of converting a normal bread recipe to one that incorporates Tang Zhong.

The easiest method I found has to be this method: Assuming you have a normal bread recipe, simply take out 8 to 12% of the flour required to make the required Tang Zhong.

So the steps are as follow:
1) Get your favourite recipe.
2) Take out 8 to 12% of the flour. Assuming the bread flour content is 300g, you will take out 10%*300=30g to make Tang Zhong. The ratio of flour to water to make Tang Zhong is 1 : 5. ie 1 part flour to 5 part water. So in this case, you mix 150g of water to 30g flour.

Proceed to cook this mixture over low heat in a pan with a thermometer at hand. Keep stirring until the temperature hit 65 Degree. I believe that you might not need the thermometer after a few tries given the distinctive thickening of the paste with obvious lines as you stir. Let cool. If you are not going to use it immediately, you have to cover it with a clingwrap. Ensure the wrap touches the tangzhong. This is to prevent hardening of the top layer. Tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to 48 hrs. If its store in fridge, you have to take it out to return it to room temperature before using.

3) Then look at the liquid ingredient in the recipe and substract the amount of water use in tangzhong from it. Eg if the recipe call for 200g water, the water amount to use finally should be 200-150 g = 50 g

4) Weigh out all the other ingredients needed from the recipe and incorporate the Tang Zhong. Knead it till sufficient gluten development before adding the butter. Then proceed to knead till you pass the window pane test.

Bake as per normal.

Let me give you an illustration using the below cocktail bun aka Gai Mei Bao recipe. I am going to use this to test out the formulae and see if its work out fine.

Original Bread Recipe

Ingredients:
300g Bread Flour
4g Instant Yeast
5g Salt
35g Granulated Sugar
10g Milk Powder
200g Milk
25g Unsalted Butter

Converted into a Tang zhong Based Recipe

Ingredients:
270g Bread Flour
25g Unsalted Butter
4g Instant Yeast
5g Salt
35g Granulated Sugar
10g Milk Powder
50g Milk

Cocktail Bun Fillings

Ingredients :
100g Unsalted Butter
45g All purpose flour
50g Milk Powder
45g Castor Sugar
20g Dessicated Coconut

Directions :

For the fillings
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy before adding all the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and set aside.

For the buns
Incorporate all ingredients except Butter and knead till sufficient gluten development before adding the butter in. Thereafter knead till full gluten development.

Let it proof to double before punching it down. Divide into 10 equal doughs. Round it up into circles and flatten it. Wrap a tablespoon of the fillings into it. Let it proof a second round. Give it an egg wash and sprinkle white sesame seeds onto it.

To bake the traditional GMB, the shape is supposed to be longish with another concoction pipe on top. I do not want to shape it the traditional way. So if you like, you can do that. The dough will give about 10 buns. Each dough is about 45g. Bake it in a preheated oven of 175 degree for 15 minutes.

For my version, I am trying to shape it into a chicken like what I did to these cookies below. I shaped the biscuit dough into turkey shapes for thankgiving dinner last year. Instead of baking real turkey, I still have my ‘turkey’ in biscuit form. I have these given out as gifts as well. It never fails to put a smile on the faces of these kind souls.

Last year Thanksgiving bake project:
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The Gai Mei Bao (Cocktail bun) version baked fresh today.

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Which versions do you prefer?

Lastly, let me end this post with the fabulous texture. Its a yummy bun. Soft and fluffy. So this conversion project actually works! I shall leave one until monday and see if it still stay soft. Stay tune!

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Croissant – My post mortem of attempts (1st and 2nd)

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 19th Apr 2014

 After a diaster super oily leaked in the 1st batch of Croissant, I decided to bake another one just to satisfy my craving. I tried a different recipe this time.

A recap of what I did for the 1st attempt:

1) Lamination – Dough was hard and hence the hardened butter matches the texture. Lamination for the first 2 folds was alright but the dough is difficult to roll out thinner. I am wondering if its because I do not have the strength or the dough is just too hard. By the 3rd fold, I am having such a difficult time rolling and hence it takes longer and the butter just melted. Each fold is done after the dough is rested for 24 hrs in between. I suspect the dough could have dried up further along the way and hence the difficulties.

2) Folding Method- I use the book folding method and the english lock in method for the lamination process. I like how it build up the initial no of layers.

3) Butter block – I divided up the amount of butter needed by stuffing it into the ziplock bag to create rectangular block. Chill it up in the freezer and simply cut it open when I need to use.

4) Temperature – I did most of the  folding at night and hence temperature would have been aroudn 25 to 27 Degree.

5) Final proofing – It is done for a hour at a room temperature of 23 degree.

6) Egg wash – I did an egg wash before final proofing and just before baking.

Verdict

Butter leak massively on my first attempt. I suspect it is because I did not proof it sufficiently and the final fold which I did is sloppy given the butter has softened and the dough breaks. I am not able to roll all folds sufficiently thinly as well. It is really thick as you can see but the layers are good. I think the hard dough helps .

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The croissant shapes get distorted as it bakes. Probably due to the massive butter that leaked.

The croissant is a tad underbaked as you can see from the cross section.

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SO when I was deciding on the next recipe to test, I chose one that has a softer dough and use a lesser butter block to combat the issue. I have also proof the final product sufficiently for about 2.5 hrs.

 1) Lamination – The dough is significantly softer and the mistake I have made was that both butter block and dough is not in a similar “hardness”.  The dough is soft while butter is rather hard. So as you can see later in the picture, the final shapes show uneven butter distribution. It is not a pleasant sight.

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In this new recipe, I do 2 folds before resting for 1 hr. It is just too soft by the time I did my 2nd fold. Not ideal. I guess by this time, I am suffering from crossiant fatigue. I did this immediately after my failed 1st attempt and I must say I am too eager or impatient. After spending 5 days with my 1st attempt, I am seriously running out of patience.

2) Folding Method – Sames as 1st Attempt. Book Folding Method and English Lock In.

3) Butter block – I tot a lesser amount of butter will be easier to fold. But it melted equally as fast. In fact, a smaller butter block can potentially melt faster.

4) Temperature – I did this at night so the temperature was similar to first bake of 25 to 27 degree.

5) Final Proofing – these pillowy buns have been given 2.5 hrs of proofing time at 25 degree air conditioned room. You can see how puffy and pillowy it is. These are taken just after 1 or 2 mins in the oven.

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 6) Egg Wash – Did only one before baking.

Verdict

There are still leaks but not so badly this time round. I attribute it to the good lengthy proofing time. The croissant shapes stayed on well and the final product looks good on the outside.

5 minutes into the baking

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12 minutes into the baking

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I tent it thereafter to prevent excessive browning.

After cooling and taken out from the oven.

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But the cross section is really still far from ideal. I wonder if the yeast content is too high vs the previous one.

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Instead of sharing the recipes, I have included here the proportion of each ingredients used. From here, I will tweak the proportion for the 3rd attempt. I will only share the actual recipe when I am able to perfect it. So stay tune. For now, Let me give you what I have done for the past 2 attempts.

In % 1st Attempt 2nd Attempt
Bread Flour 100.00 100.00
Sugar 15.00 6.70
Salt 2.40 2.20
Milk Powder 3.00 1.90
Fresh Yeast 2.40 5.00
Water 49.00 54.40
Butter for Folding 65.00 55.60

Have fun reading! If you have advices for me, please share ! I am not a professional baker and I really hope that those who are professional in this field to share as well.

Japanese Sponge Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Happy Birthday Someone!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 20th Apr 2014

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When someone has been nice to you, do you reciprocate or ignore? I reciprocated and this time with something I made myself.

A dear friend send me a cool gift for birthday this year. I truly love it because he made an effort to do so for me. I saw a sincere kind heart and I felt really blessed that day. I thought hard as to how I can bless him and wife in return and decided on baking him a cake.

A simple yet delicious cake topped with tonnes of berries. Just simply perfect!

Ingredients :

The Cake
3 Medium Eggs
50g Granulated sugar
10g Cornstarch
55g Cake Flour
10g Unsalted Butter
10g Milk

Cream cheese frosting

115g Unsalted Butter
225g Icing Sugar
5.5oz Cream cheese ( cut into cubes)
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
A little saltCream cheese frosting

115g Unsalted Butter
225g Icing Sugar
8oz Cream cheese ( cut into cubes)
1 Tsp Pure Lemon Extract
A little salt

Directions

Mix butter and sugar at low speed until well mixed before switching on to high speed to whip it fluffy and light. Then add in the cream cheese a cube at a time before finally adding in the lemon extract and salt.

Directions

Mix butter and sugar at low speed until well mixed before switching on to high speed to whip it fluffy and light. Then add in the cream cheese a cube at a time before finally adding in the vanilla and salt.

Store it well in the fridge.

The following day, I started on the cake. I begin off by preparing the 18 cm cake pan by coating butter over it and dust it will APF). Sift the flour and cornstarch together.

First, melt the butter and the milk over a double boiler and set it aside. Next, whisk the eggs with the sugar over a double boiler until the batter warmed up before using the mixer to whip until it thickened. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and incorporate the sifted flours in by folding. Use the bottom up cut and fold method.

Next, scoop 2 ladles of this batter into the melted butter and milk mix. Combine these well and then return that to the mixing bowl of egg batter. Then pour this batter into the cake pan and tap to ensure no big air pockets are trap.

Baked it in a preheated oven of 170 degree for 15 to 18 minutes. Once done, take it out and drop it from a height. Apparently this prevent the cake from shrinking. Let cool in the pan before taking it out.

Assembly :

While waiting for the cake to cool, I washed the fruits, dried it and tossed it in honey.

Once the cake has completely cool, I did a crumb coat over it and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes. While waiting, I prepare the piping bag and fill it with more of the frosting. I use a round piping tip to create the top design. Once I finished piping the strings of frostings, I positioned the fruits in the middle.

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