Kumquat Madeleine and home made Kumquat Jam for the Chinese New Year

Freshly and Lovingly baked : 20th Feb 2015

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Ahhh… it feels good to be able to sleep till 9ish in the morning. Such a luxury to be able to sleep till you wake up naturally.

Another day of visiting and I wanted to make something rather Chinese New Yearish for the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year! A few China relatives are coming for dinner too so I think I can make a tiny something for dessert!

Kumquat madeleine is another item on my to bake list. The time was not right to bake during the year but it certainly seem really apt today!

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Ingredients:

80g All Purpose Flour
43g Almond Flour
75g Granulated Sugar
80g Cooled Melted Unsalted Butter
1.5 Tsp Baking Powder
60g Kumquat Puree
3 Small Eggs
Thinly sliced Kumquat

Directions

Slice up the kumquats before pureeing and set aside. Melt the butter, boiled and browned the butter. Leave it to cool down before using.

Sift the flour, baking powder together before adding the sugar into the mixture.

After which, whisk the eggs till its foamy and thick. Fold in the flour mixture before adding in the kumquat puree. Finally add in the melted butter in batches and ensure it is incorporated perfectly.

Leave it to chill in the fridge for 1 hr before using. I was lazy and in a hurry so I did not do this step. I understand that it is important to create the “hump”. Maybe thats the reason why my madeleine has no hump? ūüėČ

Grease the madeleine pan and then scooped the batter into it. I placed a slice of fresh kumquat onto each before scooping the batter onto it.

Bake it in a preheated oven of 210 degree for 10 minutes. Let it cool down completely once it is out of the oven.

While waiting so, I worked on the Kumquat Jam:

8 Kumquats
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Cointreau

Directions
Slice up the kumquats and add 1/4 cup of water and bring the mixture to boil in a non stick pan. Let is boil until the kumquat is soft before adding in the sugar. Let it boil. It will foam up so watch it closely to ensure it does not overflow. Stir the mixture occasionally. If you are able to cut thru the kumquat using your spoon, the jam would have been done. It would have thickened up nicely.

Lift it off the fire and stir in the cointreau.

While it is still warm, brush the liquid onto the madeleines and position slices of kumquat onto it.

Once it cooled, the jam will be too thick to brush onto the madeleine.

Homemade kumquat Jam!

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Serve and enjoy! Hope the relatives will like them!

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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 РI 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 РDid 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.

Hot Cross Croissant: 1st attempt failure.

Freshly and Lovingly Baked : 18th April 2014

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I did express my fear for laminated dough more than once in my  life. I lamented, I whined, I poured through baking books and salivated at the perfect croissant pictures, I swear to bake one and then I chickened out on baking day.

To me, the ability to make a good croissant is imperative as a baker. It is a taste of a baker’s skill.¬†The reason why I am so scare of it¬†is due to¬†the current fact that¬†I never really have luck with laminated dough. I tried with puff pastry, chinese style pastry and all.¬†The perfect layering which I so crave for never seem to materialize.

I swear that the day when I decided to take the plunge and embark on this project of Hot Cross croissant, I had dreams about rolling out the dough. I dreamt about croissant! OMG!

With Easter round the corner and I figured that I do not have time to do this bake just before Easter, I have decided to embark on this 5 days before. I have chosen a recipe from my favorite pasty chef. However, I have refrained from saying who he is this time round because the end result of my incapable baking skill did not do justice to him.

There will not be a recipe posting and how to in this post given the end result was really lousy. I will share with you my process however.

To this croissant recipe, the changes I made is the following:

I do not have fresh yeast as the recipe call for nor have I work with fresh yeast before. After doing some reading and all, instant dry yeast can be use at 40% of the weight of the fresh yeast. So that will make the instant yeast component at 4.8g. I only use 4g given that I am using the slow retarding way to do the first rise.

The only twist I have is to simply transform this croissant into the hot cross version by doing the following:

Additional ingredients:
1) Black currant and Raisin soaked in orange juice to rehydrate it.
2) Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Sugar= According to taste and I mixed all together
3) Egg Wash ( an egg plus salt)
4) Anna Olsen’s Hot cross bun Icing Recipe
– 3/4 Cup Icing Sugar (sifted)
– 1 Tbsp Milk
– Stir both together to give a thick consistency and then spoon it into a piping bag.

Assembly before baking:

Cut the dough up into triangles. in this case, isosceles triangle shape.
Take a piece of the dough. Give it an egg wash before sprinkling the spice sugar onto it. Sprinkled some rehydrated fruits and roll it like a normal croissant shape. Proof it one last time and I gave it an egg wash before baking it in a preheated oven. The oven was preheated at 200 degree. Once you place in the oven, do remember to lower the temp to 180 degree and bake for 20 minutes.

Once done, take it out and let cool completely before piping a cross onto the croissant as per picture. Let it sit for an hour to set the icing.

After baking Thoughts:

1) I still have issue rolling the dough and the butter leaks in my 3rd fold. I am not able to roll it into a 0.5 mm thick final dough and I wonder if its because I just do not have the strength or the dough is too large for me to handle. It cannot be a issue where the dough is not relaxed enough. I have rested the dough for about 24 hrs between each fold.

While it is doing the last round of proofing, it is really thick.

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2) Butter melted really fast. I wonder why. I did each folding at night and the weather has been rather cool.
3) As the croissant is baking, tonnes of butter leaked out. My croissant slided and changed into a totally different shape from those seen before baking.

Just beforee baking, it is a beautiful croissant shape:

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4) I bake these for 18 minutes and realised that it is not well cooked as you can see from the intersection. I figure it has to do with the thickness of the dough. As I have mentioned prior, I am not able to roll it thinly.

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As I wrote this post, I have another dough proofing in the fridge. Its going to be a long weekend. I will once again post the result of this 2nd attempt. If you are reading and you know my problems, please tell me what I could have done wrongly. The entire batch and 5 days worth of work ended up in the bin. I was devastated.

At the meantime, enough my failure.

Kouign Amann – my way again….

Freshly and Lovingly Bake on : 22nd Mar 2014

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Kouign Amann….pronounce seemingly as “qweeen ah man”… Honestly, I have no idea. All I do know is just to eat it in a sparingly manner. Too much fat involves and I figured that it will not benefit me in any way. However, the satisfaction that I derived from finally conquering my fear on laminated dough is priceless.

Its a rich sweet taste which I never forget. It was touted as a cross breed between pastry and croissant. I prepped the dough and butter block the night before.

Ingredients :

Dough
400g All Purpose Flour
12.5g Salt
3g Instant Yeast
15g Unsalted Butter
200g Water

Butter Block
325g Unsalted Butter
36g Cocoa Powder

Directions :

I did up the dough first by mixing all ingredients into the mixer and knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. I mixed the ingredients without the butter for a good 5 minutes before adding the butter in and knead for the remaining time.

Turned out the dough into a clean bowl and cover it with clingwrap. I retard the dough overnight in the fridge.

After the dough is done, I basically cut up the butter into the mixer bowl and cream it. Then I add in the cocoa powder and mix it well. Thereafter, I turned it out onto a clean sheet of clingwrap and shaped it into a square shape. I wrapped it up and leave it in the fridge overnight as well.

The next morning, I took out the dough and flatten it. Roll it out into a big rectangular shape. Then I position the butter block onto the dough and wrap it up. I roll it flat out into a longish rectangle before folding it one third up and down. I will then turned it perpendicular and repeat the process for 3 more times before letting it rest in the fridge for 1 hr. At each roll out, i will sprinkle a layer of sugar onto it before folding it up.

After resting it for one hr, I will then roll it out into a 1 cm thick flat rectangle. In this project, I used  2 different sizes round cookies cutters to create the flowers. I will then take one big almond and press it in the center to create the look.

Bake these at a preheated oven of 170 degree for 30 minutes.

I shaped it in two ways. The first are shaped by rolling strips of the dough and proof and it in pastry rings.

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The second shape is done using round cookies cutter, score and uses almond to push into the centre of the dough to create a flower shape.

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The distinctive layers that really made me happy.

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Home Made Puff Pastry – A liberating method!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked : 15th Mar 2014

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I am hot. I mean really hot. Alright, I meant my body temperature. My hand is naturally rather warm for whatever reasons and hence making butter related bake that requires rolling and folding is really a challenge.

When I stumbled upon this way of making puff pasty, I am eager to try. The french way of making puff pastry requires a butter dough (beurrage) to be placed inside a dough (detrempe) and roll out flat. There will be a repetition of folding and rolling. This process take hours given a rest of a few hours is require in between folds.

This method which I am trying out today cut out the lengthy process by simply incorporating the butter into the flour and do the usual fold and roll without resting in between. It cut down the time spent on it. Although time is not an issue for me, I am simply eager to try out something new after being deprived of baking for a month plus.

Yes, my oven is back in action. And I am rolling up my sleeves ready for action.

Ingredients for the puff pastry:

125g All Purpose Flour
140g Unsalted butter
1 Tsp Salt
60g Very Cold Water

I did everything in advance. Measure out the butter, water, flour and chill them with the mixing bowl, spoon etc in the fridge. I switched on the aircon and cool down the room and I dipped my hand in cold water to cool them down.

First cut the butter into the flour and salt mixture. Do not overdo it. I basically use 2 forks and mixed them until it looks like coarse pea sized of butter coated with flour.

Then I pour in the cold water and mixed gently with my hand until they come together.

Next, flour the work station generously. And roll out the dough into a rectangle. Fold and roll for a few times before sending it into the fridge to be chill for at least an hour. If you like to see how to fold puff pastry, you can youtube it.

While waiting, I made a simple “marzipan”. A marzipan is usually made with almond flour. I do not have almond and so I decide to try out hazelnut. Grind them fresh.

Ingredients :
1/4 Cup Ground Hazelnut
2 Tbsp Brown sugar
2 Tbsp eggs

Mix well and set aside.

After one hr, roll out the dough and cut in shapes that you desired. I basically use 2 round cutter ( one smaller than the other) to create a well. Then I spoon some “marzipan’ into the well before positioning your desired fruits onto it. Give these an egg wash.

Bake them for 25/30 mins in a preheated oven of 190 degree.

Check out how flaky this puff pastry is. Its perfect!

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