Making bread makes me nostalgic. I miss the days when we’d binge on whatever bread I made that day way too late at night while watching tv or playing PS3. I haven’t made bread at all since I came back, just because it’s not something I’d make for myself- eating homemade bread is a group activity!
But today just felt like a bread day, so I made the milk roux and got the yeast going. I didn’t have enough bread flour on hand so I had to use some plain flour too. It definitely makes a difference, today’s loaf was noticeably less fluffy and “stretchy”. But a decent loaf anyway- nothing a bit of toasting couldn’t fix.
I love this particular bread dough, it’s super supple and silky and soft. Very soft in fact, for a bread dough- a stand mixer would very much come in handy for this recipe. You can make it by hand, just expect to knead for a while! It’s down to all the milk, butter and eggs in the recipe. You’ll know you’ve kneaded enough when it passes the windowpane test as demonstrated in my fourth picture. It’s when you can almost see through it when you stretch it, and when it does break, it breaks in a neat circle.
Recipe is from here, as always. I omitted the milk powder and replaced it with about 2 tablespoons of whipping cream instead. It’s very versatile, I’ve added white chocolate, matcha, black sesame, cheddar cheese, cinnamon sugar and steamed pumpkin in separate occasions before and they all turned out fine.
This weekend was full of yeasty experiments, I made a black sesame braided loaf, a plain milk loaf and croissants. My intention for making croissants was to use my newly discovered ingredient, a jar of rose petal jam that I had chanced upon in a Middle Eastern grocery shop in Edgware road. It’s very floral, rose-y but assertively sweet, so I thought a buttery, flakey croissant would be the perfect blank canvas for the flavour of the jam to shine but not overwhelm. I’d only ended up making two croissants with jam in the middle as I was worried the jam would leak terribly and make the croissants stick to the baking sheet. I needn’t worry though as even though it did leak slightly it was perfectly ok and in fact it was so delicious! I had only spread a smidge of jam in the middle and it was the perfect amount, enough to perfume the croissant delicately and make it just a touch sweet.
I still have half of the croissant dough in the fridge, I’ll probably bake the rest of it with jam, and when I’m done with that I’m thinking of making little brioches filled with rose jam.. Or maybe mixing some of the jam with berries and making a galette, or spooning it over vanilla rice pudding.. or semolina? Or making little rose doughnuts.. hell yea definitely doughnuts! Maybe I should fill the doughnuts with rose crème diplomat instead of just jam? Or a rose bakewell tart? Rose linzer cookie? Rose pound cake?
There’s just something so lovable and naughty about doughnuts, so cute and puffy and sugary. And when they’re shaped like clouds? I’m a bit of a goner.
The ideal doughnut, to me, is one that is not too light, something fluffy but still with a bit of a chew. A beautiful, crackly crust dusted with caster sugar (powdered sugar is pretty, but lacks the crunch of caster sugar) or, depending on my mood, a thin layer of glaze. I once saw a beautiful photo of a raspberry doughnut covered with a speckled, pale red raspberry glaze, and the image has been stuck in my head since. It wasn’t one of those bright coloured artificial looking doughnut- it looked natural and rustic and absolutely irresistable. But most times, I prefer my doughnut plain, with just a sugary coat.
The recipe I used, is once again, my go-to bread recipe. The only thing that has to be done differently is instead of shaping the dough into a loaf, it is rolled out about 1.5 cm thick, then cut out into doughnut shapes using 2 different sized round cookie cutters, or, shapes of any kind with any cookie cutter. Fry them in oil that’s 375F- this is important as it is hot enough to fully cook the doughnut without it sitting in the oil for too long, and not too hot as to burn the outsides before it is cooked in the middle.
Oh, and if you’re ever in KL, the best doughnut you will ever eat (seriously) is from a doughnut truck in Taman Tun.
I love Japanese pastries and bread. Their bread is always so soft and plush, like eating a milk-scented cloud. The Japanese have a knack for making absolutely beautiful pastries- their cakes and bread look exactly like how they should- like pastries from an alternate and perfect universe. I mean, their bread look more bread-like and their cakes more cake-like than seen anywhere else, and I am absolutely in awe of them.
This bread is Japanese inspired, and is made from my favourite Hokkaido milk loaf recipe with some matcha powder kneaded into half of the plain dough. I make the plain milk loaf frequently and is my absolute favourite home-made bread. It is so soft and milky and smells slightly sweet and very lovely. It keeps for days as it uses a “water roux” which is essentially milk and flour cooked together to form a paste, and this paste, which keeps the bread moist, is incorporated with the bread dough.
I make the swirls by separating the dough into 2 portions, and add 2 tablespoons of matcha into one of the portions. It takes abit of kneading to incorparate the powder but eventually it will be combined and the dough will be a beautiful jade green. Let the dough proof then deflate them and separate the 2 portions into 3 little balls each. Flatten a plain dough and a matcha one, then lay the matcha dough on the plain dough. Roll it out into a long rectangle and spread some adzuki paste on it, then roll it up from the short end like a swill roll. Repeat with the others and you’ll end up with three rolled-up doughs. Place them in a loaf pan, let it proof until doubled then bake as stated in the recipe. I know, sorry for the very wordy explanation, it’s much easier to understand with illustrations or photos, I promise the next time I make a loaf I’ll take some pictures!
The recipe for the milk loaf is from here.