Sunday, June 8, 2008

All from One Book

What more do I need to say about this loaf? It's good looking and has chocolate. I first came across this bread when I saw Happy Home Baking's post. I then realised that I have the book where the recipe came from!

I stumbled on this book 孟老师的100道面包 while browsing at a bookshop. I would not have bought the book had it not come with a DVD. So I willingly parted with slightly over S$30 for the package. Intially, I was daunted by all the chinese characters. Thankfully, the author had devoted several pages of photos in the begining to the fundamentals of baking bread, from ingredients to shaping breads in various ways, among other things. All the bread recipes featured in it are interesting and what I would call "Asian". I bought another book on western bread making bread (mainly for breadmaker) but have yet to try a single recipe. I have tried 4 recipes from this chinese book over 3 days!

I revisited the water-roux (汤种 tangzhong) method for this bake. It was interesting and different from my previous attempt. This time, I had to add a slice of cheddar cheese to milk and some bread flour to make the tangzhong. If you are keen to learn more about this method, I would recommend that you check Florence's blog here.

If you are not a cheese person, don't worry, as the taste of cheese was not noticeable at all. On the whole, the bread was soft and very delicious with peanut butter (I did not have any chocolate spread at home). My boy asked for more chocolate chips if I were to bake this again.

I realised that I haven't been doing things "right" when baking bread. As the whole baking process is long, I tended to cut corners to save time. I have been very fortunate that the breads I baked previously turned out alright. Lessons learnt with the help of 孟老师's DVD:

- Check the dough (window-pane test) after removing from breadmaker.
- Not to add flour at own whim or even flour hands/work area when kneading dough :S
- Give time for dough to rest (10 to 15 mins) after the first proof but before final shaping (after dividing the dough to smaller portions, if necessary).

I won't profess that I am an expert at baking bread. In fact, I'm still wrestling with sticky dough and have yet to solve the mystery. I have not passed the window-pane test since I started checking for it. I definitely do NOT know how to knead the dough by hand. The learning journey with bread will still go on, more on the other 3 loaves soon.

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