Soft Wholemeal Loaf Bread

 

wholemeal loaf4

I love my bread machine.  Guess some of you know that already.  I blogged about making bread some time ago.  You can read the post here Loving the bread machine.  That said, there is one thing I don’t like about my bread machine.  There is a problem every time I bake loaf breads in the machine.  You see, it has to do with the blade in the bread pan.  When the loaf is baked in the bread machine, there will be an unsightly hole at the base of the loaf.  When I slice the loaf there will be at least two slices with a hole.  One way to get around this is to remove the blade after kneading is completed and continue to let the bread bake in the bread machine and another is to remove the dough, proof and bake it in the oven.  I chose the latter as I wanted to try shaping it and baking in a loaf tin.

I made a loaf of soft wholemeal bread yesterday.  I loved the outcome of the loaf.  It was soft, fluffy and delicious.  It was easy to make and didn’t require many ingredients or steps.  I had planned to make white bread but at the last minute decided to add a bit of wholemeal flour.  My daughter is not a fan of wholemeal bread so I had to sneak a little in to get her to start liking it bit by bit.  Well, she ate it without even asking me why it’s not white.  I made some egg mayo and she enjoyed a good old egg sandwich as an after school snack.

Though I made this loaf with the help of my bread machine, you can also make it by hand or with an electric mixer with a dough hook.  If you are making by hand, you just need to combine everything and form a dough, knead it for ten minutes, then knead the butter into the dough and continue until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.  I had a very aching arm when I tried making bread dough by hand because it does take quite of lot of time and strength for the dough to reach the stage whereby it is elastic and not sticky.  It’s better to use an electric mixer, attach a dough hook and let the mixer do the hard work for you.  Add everything into the bowl of the mixer, except for butter which is to be added ten minutes later when everything has been incorporated.

Soft Wholemeal Loaf Bread

Ingredients:

195g bread flour

55g wholemeal flour

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 tablespoon milk powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

20g unsalted butter

170ml cold water

Directions:

  1. Add ingredients following your bread machine’s instructions and set to dough function.
  2. Remove dough from bread machine when kneading is completed.  Place dough in a slightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap.  Let it proof for one hour.
  3. Prepare a loaf tin by lining it with parchment paper or lightly greasing the tin.
  4. After one hour, test if the dough has proofed properly by depressing the dough with a finger.  It should form a deep indentation on the dough and the depression should stay.  There shouldn’t be any dough sticking to the finger you used.
  5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough by hand for about five minutes.  This is to expel the trapped gas in the dough.
  6. Next, divide the dough into three equal portions.
  7. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour.  Flatten each portion of dough with the rolling pin into an oval shape.  Roll the dough from the base of the oval all the way up.  Place the dough into the loaf tin.  Repeat till all three portions are done.
  8. Cover the loaf tin with cling wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  9. After ten minutes, repeat process in Step 7.  Place the rolled up dough into the loaf tin and let it proof a second time.  Cover the dough with cling wrap.  The second proofing will take one hour.
  10. After one hour is up, you will notice that the dough has doubled in size.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  12. Brush a little milk on the top of the dough and bake in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes.
  13. Remove the loaf tin from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy the homemade freshness!

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Bak Kwa Buns

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Bak Kwa buns are really delicious.  There aren’t many bakeries that sell this kind of bun.  However it is very common to find its counterpart, pork floss bun sold in almost every bakery here in Singapore.  Bak Kwa, also known as rougan in Mandarin is Chinese salty-sweet dried meat similar to jerky.  Often times the meat is grilled over charcoal to give it a smoky flavour, then blended with a combination of spices, soy sauce and sugar. It can be used as an ingredient in other dishes or enjoyed on its own.

bakkwapic

In the old times, Bak Kwa was an expensive, luxury food and families only splurged on it during Chinese New Year when they wanted to welcome prosperity for the coming New Year and offer lavish gifts for friends and family.

While it is no longer as expensive as it once was, it is still a traditional Chinese New Year food and welcomed gift for friends or relatives.

Bak Kwa is available throughout the year nowadays and people can enjoy it anytime, not just during Chinese New Year.  I received a packet of Bak Kwa as a gift recently and I decided to use Bak Kwa as a filling for my bread buns today.

I used the water roux  or tangzhong method in making the bread buns.  Water roux makes bread extra soft, tender and fluffy.  Water roux locks in the liquid throughout the entire process of mixing and baking.  This results in breads that stay soft and fresh for longer.  Water roux is basically a mixture of water and bread flour.  To make it, you have to mix 1 part bread flour to 5 parts water (1:5 ratio)  over 65 deg celcius.  At 65°C, the gluten in the bread flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. Thus, when the water roux or tangzhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it will be heightened and produce fluffier bread.  The detailed description on how to make water roux is included in the recipe below.  Here is the water roux I made.

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Bak Kwa Buns 

Ingredients (makes 12 buns):

For water roux:

20g bread flour

100ml water

For bread buns:

195g bread flour

90g cake flour

12g milk powder

30g caster sugar

6g salt

6g instant yeast

1 egg, lightly beaten

65g water

75g water roux

45g unsalted butter

a small portion of beaten egg for egg wash

For filling:

2 slices Bak Kwa, cut into small pieces or diced

Directions:

  1. To make water roux, place 20g bread flour in a saucepan.  Add 100ml water, mix with a hand whisk till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour.  Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with the hand whisk to prevent it from burning.  Within 1 to 2 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk.  Immediately transfer the water roux into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture.  This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface.  Leave to cool completely before using it.
  2. To make the bread dough, place bread flour, cake flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, water and water roux (use 75g) in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixer knead the dough on high speed until the ingredients come together to form a dough, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the butter and continue to knead for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Upon adding the butter, the dough will become wet again, add some flour if it remains wet after 10 minutes of kneading. (You can make the dough with a bread machine, follow the instructions of your bread machine for the steps in adding ingredients)
  3. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it proof for about one hour or till it doubles in size.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough to expel the gas in the dough.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions each weighing 45g.  Roll each dough into smooth rounds, cover with cling wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough into a round disc.  Press out any trapped air as you flatten the dough.   Wrap each dough with diced Bak Kwa.  Pinch and seal the seam tightly.
  6. Place seam side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Cover with cling wrap and proof for a second time for about one hour or till they double in size.
  7. Brush the top of each bun with egg wash.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg celcius for 12 – 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.  Once cooled completely, store the buns in a airtight container.

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These are so good.  My daughter ate four in a day 🙂

Enjoy!

bread bun recipe credit: happyhomebaking.blogspot.com

A healthier banana bread

Today I needed a healthier breakfast.  One that will give me the energy I need for the morning’s tasks and one that is filling so that I don’t have to reach out for a mid morning snack.  I settled for a banana bread recipe that I have used before but substituted the butter with coconut oil and brown sugar with honey.  This recipe is a fuss-free one and breakfast can be ready to eat in an hour.

The end result is a bread that is moist and fragrant.  It’s not sweet and I like it this way.  If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can add semi-sweet chocolate chips into your batter.  I didn’t have any walnuts on hand otherwise it would be nice to add some nuts for added texture and nutrients.

bananabread4

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

70g unsalted butter (I substituted with 70g coconut oil)

30g brown sugar (I substituted with 30g honey)

1 large egg, beaten

200g over-riped bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla

90g wholemeal flour

90g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Grease the sides of a 3″ by 7″ loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 175 degree celcius.
  4. Whisk butter and sugar till the mixture becomes pale and fluffy.  (I whisked coconut oil and honey till well incorporated)
  5. Dribble in beaten egg and continue whisking.
  6. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla and mix well.
  7. Fold in wholemeal flour and the all-purpose flour mixture.
  8. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan and smooth surface with a spatula.
  9. Bake for around 30 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  If the top of the bread starts to get overly brown, cover it with foil to prevent the bread from burning.
  10. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

bananabread3

 

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!