Loving the bread machine

Our family has bread almost everyday, for breakfast and sometimes tea.  We used to buy our bread from the supermarket and bakery until I started making them two years ago.  I decided to buy a bread machine as I was really keen to make bread but I wasn’t very good and strong in kneading dough.  It takes quite a bit of muscles to do the job well and I didn’t have the confidence in succeeding.

My bread machine has served up loaves of bread for us in this two years.  In addition to the delicious and nutritious loaves we enjoy up till now, it has also helped me knead nice dough so I could experiment and make bread buns and bread rolls.

These are the cheese buns I made yesterday.  I have found a good recipe for basic bread bun which I will share below.  You can tweak your fillings and toppings.  Have fun coming up with different buns!

cheesebun

Basic Bread Bun

(makes 8 buns)

recipe source: Cooking a Dream (with slight modifications)

Ingredients:

250g bread flour

3 tablespoons milk powder**

2 tablespoons caster sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

110ml cold water (** if you don’t have milk powder use 110ml fresh milk instead of cold water)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

40g unsalted butter

a little beaten egg for egg wash

Directions:

  1. Check the instructions of your bread machine and add the ingredients as per the machine’s instructions.  For my machine I have to add dry ingredients first followed by wet ingredients (all except for butter which is to be added later).  If you do not have a bread machine, you can use a mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough or you may also knead by hand.
  2. Select bread dough function to set the machine to knead the dough.
  3. Ten minutes into the kneading, add in the butter.
  4. Allow machine to continue kneading.  After the kneading is completed, you can allow the dough to proof in the machine or you may take out the dough and place it in a well oiled bowl to proof it.  I take mine out and proof it in a bowl covered with a plastic wrap or wet towel to prevent moisture loss.
  5. Allow dough to proof or double in size.  This takes about 1 hour in a warm environment.  Place the dough in a warm place in your house to proof.
  6. Once dough has proofed or doubled in size, do a window pane test to check if you are ready to proceed to the next step.  Alternatively you can press the dough deeply with a finger.  The depression should stay and your finger shouldn’t have any dough sticking on it.
  7. On a slightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes to expel the gas in the dough.
  8. Cut the dough into equal sizes and roll them into balls.  Place each dough ball on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap or a wet towel to prevent moisture loss.  Let them rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Take each dough ball, lightly knead to expel gas.  With a slightly floured rollling pin, roll the dough into a circular disc and add your filling in the centre of the disc.  Wrap the dough and pinch the bottom to seal the dough.  Repeat till all are done.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap or wet towel and let them rest for another 1 hour or till dough doubles in size.
    For the cheese buns I made, I rolled the dough into balls and let them rest for 1 hour.  At the end of the second proofing, I applied egg wash on each dough ball before adding shredded cheese on top of the egg wash.
  10. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  11. Apply egg wash over the dough balls.  This step is already done for the cheese buns I made.
  12. Bake for around 15 minutes or till lightly golden brown on the tops.
  13. Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack.

 

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Butterless Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am loving this chocolate chip recipe that I found on Chef Savvy website.  The cookies taste absolutely fantastic and the texture is crisp on the outside and chewy inside.  I will be using this recipe from now on whenever there’s a demand for chocolate chip cookies.

This recipe is great because it uses coconut oil rather than butter.  Coconut oil is well known for its health benefits.  It is widely used in food and health care.  Composing of medium-chain triglycerides it is lower in calories than most oils.  There’s only a very slight hint of coconut in the cookies.  The taste is just great!  In fact, I personally prefer this version of chocolate chip cookies.  My food picky daughter also loved them.  She had five and asked to pack some for school.

coconut oil choc chip cookies 2

Butterless Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients (makes about 12 cookies):

11/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut oil (not melted)

Directions:

  1. In an electric mixer beat coconut oil with brown sugar and caster sugar till everything is incorporated well.  I used a whisk to do this step.
  2. Add egg and continue mixing till well incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla and mix till well incorporated.
  4. Sift in all purpose flour, baking soda and salt into the mixture.  Mix till all the dry ingredients are combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and form a soft dough.
  6. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
  8. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  9. Remove dough from fridge and roll them into balls and place them on the parchment paper.  Leave ample space between each cookie dough as the cookie will spread while baking.
  10. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes.
  11. Place cookies on a cooling rack.  Store in air-tight cookie jar or container when they are cooled completely.

coconut oil choc chip cookies 1

Enjoy them with milk!  I’ll be making another batch soon.  Hope you like them too ♥

coconut oil choc chip cookies 3

recipe source: Chef Savvy

 

My daily housekeeping must-dos

I am my home’s Chief Cleaning Officer.  Cleaning is a big part of my portfolio as a SAHM.  I think it’s the same for most families.  Mom is the main housekeeper.  I embrace my role with gladness because I am blessed with a house to keep and a family to care for.

Cleaning is tiring and overwhelming when I have other tasks and priorities.  Cleaning is a never-ending job but it needs to get done.   I found that it helps when I have a routine and habits that make it almost second nature to get things going.

Here are my daily must-dos or habits I have for cleaning my home.

 

1. Make the Bed

This is the first thing I do each morning after I wake up.  Having a made bed makes the room clean and fresh and it sets me moving to other tasks.  At the end of the day, I can climb in and relax on a clean bed.

Image result for bed

2. Do the laundry

I do a load of laundry everyday.  There’s always a lot of clothes in the laundry basket so if I skip a day it would be disastrous the next day.  I hang and fold the clean laundry and put them away so that there will not be a back log and my family always have clean clothes ready to wear.

Image result for laundry

3. Clean the bathroom counters

My bathroom counters always seem to have water and water marks on them everyday.  I wipe the counters and mirrors down with a micro-fibre cloth and vinegar and water.  I also clean the toilet seats daily.

Image result for clean bathroom

 

4. Mop the floors

My floors are dusty everyday.  And with a dog running around and playing ball in the house, mopping the floors is a must-do.  I spray on floor cleaning detergent and give myself 20 to 30 minutes to get this done.

Image result for mopping the floor

 

5. Clean the kitchen

My kitchen is always busy.  I cook everyday so cleaning the stove, counters, appliances, utensils, dishes and sink are daily tasks.  It helps to multi-task when working in the kitchen.  I always clean up utensils or spills as I cook.  For example while waiting for the soup to come to a boil I will wash the bowls and utensils I used or clean up any splashes or spills.  Each night, I will clean up the sink with baking soda and dish soap before going to bed.

Image result for cleaning the kitchen sink

6. Empty the trash

Trash bins harbour odours and bacteria.  I bag up the trash each night and bring them out.  Once a week, I give the trash bins a wipe down with vinegar and water.

Image result for emptying the trash

7. Quick scan and pick-up

At the end of the day, I do a quick scan around the living room and bedrooms to put things back to where they belong.  My daughter would sometimes go to bed forgetting to put her things back.  I will place them neatly on the dining table and get her to keep them the next day.  I will do a quick 10 minute tidy up to put things like remote controls and pillows back to their designated places.

Image result for hdb living room

 

After all these are done, it’s time to hop into bed to get some needed rest.

These are my daily must-dos.  What are your daily must-dos?  I hope to hear yours.

Blessed day!

 

 

Time for some Cookies

Sometime ago I realised I haven’t used the cookie stamp I bought from our vacation to Brisbane a few years back.  The cookie stamp was quite an impulsive purchase, definitely something I wouldn’t buy now because I already owned some really beautiful cookie cutters handed down to me by my granny.

Since staying at home full time, I have been conscious with my spending, always asking myself whether I needed an item before buying it and whether I already have a similar one lying at home.  I don’t buy anything straightway anymore, rather I would go home and get about my usual activity.  If I really needed the item, it would surely pop up in my mind.  So no more impulse shopping for me.  I feel this change leads to less unwanted, unused things in my house, less clutter, less cleaning and a simpler life for me.

Oh, back to the cookie stamp.

I made some yummy butter cookies.  This is a really simple recipe.  Give it a try because the cookies are really good and the cookie jar will be empty in no time.

cutoutcookies1

Cut-Out Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

(makes about 36 pieces depending on the cookie stamp/cutter size)

100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

80g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

180 cake flour

20g corn flour

Steps:

Sift cake flour and corn flour together and set aside.  Line baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

With an electric mixer, add in sugar to the butter in 3 additions and cream till the mixture turns light and fluffy.

Add in egg yolk and mix well.

Add sifted flour mixture in 3 additions, stir with a spatula to form a soft dough.

Place dough in a plastic bag and flatten with a rolling pin.

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from the fridge and roll it on a slightly floured surface and cut out with slightly floured cookie cutter.

Line the cut-out cookie dough with some space between each cookie on the baking tray as they will spread a little while baking.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Cool them on a cooling rack and store in air-tight cookie jar or container.

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Welcome to Lovin the Simple.  Today’s first post will feature an easy muffin recipe.  If you love bananas and chocolate then it’s easy to combine both ingredients in this recipe to make this super quick and delicious treat.

chocchipmuffin1

Ingredients:

Makes 9 small muffins

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 over-ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

40g castor sugar

30g vegetable oil

30g fresh milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate chips for topping

Steps:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Sift plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Lightly whisk to combine the dry ingredients.

Whisk egg and sugar till well combined.

Add milk and whisk till combined.  Next add vegetable oil and whisk till combined.

Add mashed banana and vanilla and whisk till well combined.

Make a small well in the centre of the dry ingredients.  Pour in the wet ingredients and fold to combine both ingredients.  Do not overfold as this will result in tough muffins. Light and swift folds will result in moist and fluffy muffins.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners till about half full.

Garnish or top with chocolate chips.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

After baking, let the muffins cool on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.

chocchipmuffin2
Enjoy these muffins warm with a cup of coffee or tea

I kept the extra muffins in an air-tight container and stored them in the fridge because the chocolate chips would melt at room temperature in sunny Singapore.  When the sweet tooth kicks in I will take them out of the fridge and enjoy them with coffee and a nice conversation with my daughter.  That’s the simple life I love!