Friday, February 29, 2008

February 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge #16: Julia Child's French Bread

I’m the Daring Baker, yes I’m so proud to say that. I read about it every month on many people’s blog. I really want to be one of them, the people who love to bake and each month, they will make exact recipe and post it at the same time, and you know what the recipe is the secret that we can’t tell anyone before the publish day. I the new member of this month, the group is larger and larger each month, I know no one can stop it.

For this month challenge, it’s a real challenge for me; I never bake a good “French Bread”. I bake something that almost like “French Bread” with a great result but the bread with only flour, yeast, water, and salt, I can’t. I always end up with a thick crust and too chewy bread, I can’t love or enjoy.

So, this time it’s a challenge that I will make it good or not, and the recipe is coming from the late Julia Child, who’s famous for her French cooking. I start in the morning because it takes about 7 hour from start to finish (I read the recipe and I wonder it’s a long recipe for the most simple bread in the world, ha). I finish my bread in the evening, with different baking time; I had to bake for 35 minutes to get some color on my bread.

What do I think about my bread? It’s better than my last attempt on French bread, the crust is thinner but I like it to be softer (I like soft bread). Anyway it’s so great to hear the cracking sound of the crust when waiting for the bread to cool down. After that I found the way to enjoy my bread by tuning them into crouton and sandwich, the crouton was very good but my brother complain that the sandwich was too big (anyway he finished it in that evening, hooray).

I just copy the original recipe, but cut out some of information that I don’t use like stand mixer method and some shape preparation, I make 3 Batards.

Julia Child's French Bread

Recipe Quantity: 3 - batards (16” x 3”)

Making French Bread:
Step 1: The Dough Mixture – le fraisage (or frasage)

1 3/4 tsp or 7 gr

instant yeast

1/3 cup (75ml)

warm water, not over 100 degrees F/38C in a glass measure

3 1/2 cup (about 1 lb) (490 gr)

all purpose flour, measured by scooping
dry measure cups into flour and sweeping off excess

2 1/4 tsp (12 gr)


1 1/4 cups (280 - 300ml)

tepid water @ 70 – 74 degrees/21 - 23C

Stir the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water and let liquefy completely while measuring flour into mixing bowl. When yeast has liquefied, pour it into the flour along with the salt and the rest of the water.

Stir and cut the liquids into the flour with a rubber spatula, pressing firmly to form a dough and making sure that all the bits of flour and unmassed pieces are gathered in. Turn dough out onto kneading surface, scraping bowl clean. Dough will be soft and sticky.

Turn dough out onto kneading surface, scraping bowl clean. Dough will be soft and sticky. Let the dough rest for 2 – 3 minutes while you wash and dry the bowl .

Step 2: Kneading – petrissage

Start kneading by lifting the near edge of the dough, using a pastry scraper or stiff wide spatula to help you if necessary, and flipping the dough over onto itself. Scrape dough off the surface and slap it down; lift edge and flip it over again, repeating the movement rapidly.

In 2 -3 minutes the dough should have enough body so that you can give it a quick forward push with the heel of your hand as you flip it over. Continue to knead rapidly and vigorously in this way. If the dough remains too sticky, knead in a sprinkling of flour. The whole kneading process will take 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how expert you become.

Shortly after this point, the dough should have developed enough elasticity so it draws back into shape when pushed, indicating the gluten molecules have united and are under tension like a thin web of rubber; the dough should also begin to clean itself off the kneading surface, although it will stick to your fingers if you hold a pinch of dough for more than a second or two.

Let dough rest for 3 – 4 minutes. Knead by hand for a minute. The surface should now look smooth; the dough will be less sticky but will still remain soft. It is now ready for its first rise.

Step 3: First Rising – pointage premier temps (3-5 hours at around 70 degrees)
You now have approximately 3 cups of dough that is to rise to 3 1/2 times its original volume, or to about 10 1/2 cups. Wash and fill the mixing bowl with 10 1/2 cups of tepid water (70 – 80 degrees) and make a mark to indicate that level on the outside of the bowl. Note, that the bowl should have fairly upright sides; if they are too outward slanting, the dough will have difficulty in rising. Pour out the water, dry the bowl, and place the dough in it. Very lightly grease the bowl with butter or kitchen spray as well to prevent the risen dough from sticking to the bowl.

Slip the bowl into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic, and top with a folded bath towel. Set on a wooden surface, marble or stone are too cold. Or on a folded towel or pillow, and let rise free from drafts anyplace where the temperature is around 70 degrees. If the room is too hot, set bowl in water and keep renewing water to maintain around 70 degrees. Dough should take at least 3 – 4 hours to rise to 10 1/2 cups. If temperature is lower than 70 degrees, it will simply take longer.

When fully risen, the dough will be humped into a slight dome, showing that the yeast is still active; it will be light and spongy when pressed. There will usually be some big bubbly blisters on the surface, and if you are using a glass bowl you will see bubbles through the glass.

Step 4: Deflating and Second Rising – rupture; pointage deuxieme temps (1 1/2 to 2 hours at around 70 degrees)
The dough is now ready to be deflated, which will release the yeast engendered gases and redistribute the yeast cells so that the dough will rise again and continue the fermentation process.

With a rubber spatula, dislodge dough from inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, scraping bowl clean. If dough seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour.

Lightly flour the palms of your hands and flatten the dough firmly but not too roughly into a circle, deflating any gas bubbles by pinching them.

Lift a corner of the near side and flip it down on the far side. Do the same with the left side, then the right side. Finally, lift the near side and tuck it just under the edge of the far side. The mass of dough will look like a rounded cushion.

Slip the sides of your hands under the dough and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise again, this time to not quite triple, but again until it is dome shaped and light and spongy when touched.

Step 5: Cutting and resting dough before forming loaves
Loosen dough all around inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Because of its two long rises, the dough will have much more body. If it seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle lightly with flour.

Making clean, sure cuts with a large knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into:

3 equal pieces for long loaves (batards).

After you have cut each piece, lift one end and flip it over onto the opposite end to fold the dough into two; place dough at far side of kneading surface. Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic and let rest for 5 minutes before forming. This relaxes the gluten enough for shaping but not long enough for dough to begin rising again.

While the dough is resting, prepare the rising surface; smooth the canvas or linen towelling on a large tray or baking sheet, and rub flour thoroughly into the entire surface of the cloth to prevent the dough from sticking

Step 6: Forming the loaves – la tourne; la mise en forme des patons

Because French bread stands free in the oven and is not baked in a pan, it has to be formed in such a way that the tension of the coagulated gluten cloak on the surface will hold the dough in shape.

For Long Loaves - The Batard: (Baguettes are typically much too long for home ovens but the shaping method is the same)

After the 3 pieces of dough have rested 5 minutes, form one piece at a time, keeping the remaining ones covered.

Working rapidly, turn the dough upside down on a lightly floured kneading surface and pat it firmly but not too roughly into an 8 to 10 inch oval with the lightly floured palms of your hands. Deflate any gas bubbles in the dough by pinching them.

Fold the dough in half lengthwise by bringing the far edge down over the near edge.

Being sure that the working surface is always lightly floured so the dough will not stick and tear, which would break the lightly coagulated gluten cloak that is being formed, seal the edges of the dough together, your hands extended, thumbs out at right angles and touching.

Roll the dough a quarter turn forward so the seal is on top.

Flatten the dough again into an oval with the palms of your hands.

Press a trench along the central length of the oval with the side of one hand.

Fold in half again lengthwise.

This time seal the edges together with the heel of one hand, and roll the dough a quarter of a turn toward you so the seal is on the bottom.

Now, by rolling the dough back and forth with the palms of your hands, you will lengthen it into a sausage shape. Start in the middle, placing your right palm on the dough, and your left palm on top of your right hand.

Roll the dough forward and backward rapidly, gradually sliding your hands towards the two ends as the dough lengthens.

Deflate any gas blisters on the surface by pinching them. Repeat the rolling movement rapidly several times until the dough is 16 inches long, or whatever length will fit on your baking sheet. During the extension rolls, keep circumference of dough as even as possible and try to start each roll with the sealed side of the dough down, twisting the rope of dough to straighten the line of seal as necessary. If seal disappears, as it sometimes does with all purpose flour, do not worry.

Place the shaped piece of dough, sealed side up, at one end of the flour rubbed canvas, leaving a free end of canvas 3 to 4 inches wide. The top will crust slightly as the dough rises; it is turned over for baking so the soft, smooth underside will be uppermost.

Pinch a ridge 2 1/2 to 3 inches high in the canvas to make a trough, and a place for the next piece. Cover dough with plastic while you are forming the rest of the loaves.

After all the pieces of dough are in place, brace the two sides of the canvas with long rolling pins, baking sheets or books, if the dough seems very soft and wants to spread out. Cover the dough loosely with flour rubbed dish towel or canvas, and a sheet of plastic. Proceed immediately to the final rising, next step.

Step 7: Final Rise – l’appret - 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours at around 70 degrees

The covered dough is now to rise until almost triple in volume; look carefully at its pre-risen size so that you will be able to judge correctly. It will be light and swollen when risen, but will still feel a little springy when pressed.

It is important that the final rise take place where it is dry; if your kitchen is damp, hot, and steamy, let the bread rise in another room or dough will stick to the canvas and you will have difficulty getting it off and onto another baking sheet. It will turn into bread in the oven whatever happens, but you will have an easier time and a better loaf if you aim for ideal conditions.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees about 30 minutes before estimated baking time.

Step 8: Unmolding risen dough onto baking sheet – le demoulage.
(Mary and Sara note: we are only going to describe the unmolding of The Batard but the unmolding process is the same no matter the shape of your loaf or loaves. The key to unmolding without deflating your bread is slow and gentle!)

The 3 pieces of risen dough are now to be unmolded from the canvas and arranged upside down on the baking sheet. The reason for this reversal is that the present top of the dough has crusted over during its rise; the smooth, soft underside should be uppermost in the oven so that the dough can expand and allow the loaf its final puff of volume. For the unmolding you will need a non-sticking intermediate surface such as a stiff piece of cardboard or plywood sprinkled with cornmeal or pulverized pasta.

Remove rolling pins or braces. Place the long side of the board at one side of the dough; pull the edge of the canvas to flatten it; then raise and flip the dough softly upside down onto the board.

Dough is now lying along one edge of the unmolding board: rest this edge on the right side of a lightly buttered baking sheet. Gently dislodge dough onto baking sheet, keeping same side of the dough uppermost: this is the soft smooth side, which was underneath while dough rose on canvas. If necessary run sides of hands lightly down the length of the dough to straighten it. Unmold the next piece of dough the same way, placing it to the left of the first, leaving a 3 inch space. Unmold the final piece near the left side of the sheet.

Step 9: Slashing top of the dough – la coupe.

The top of each piece of dough is now to be slashed in several places. This opens the covering cloak of gluten and allows a bulge of dough underneath to swell up through the cuts during the first 10 minutes of baking, making decorative patterns in the crust. These are done with a blade that cuts almost horizontally into the dough to a depth of less than half an inch. Start the cut at the middle of the blade, drawing toward you in a swift clean sweep. This is not quite as easy as it sounds, and you will probably make ragged cuts at first; never mind, you will improve with practice. Use an ordinary razor blade and slide one side of it into a cork for safety; or buy a barbers straight razor at a cutlery store.

For a 16 to 18 inch loaf make 3 slashes. Note that those at the two ends go straight down the loaf but are slightly off centre, while the middle slash is at a slight angle between the two. Make the first cut at the far end, then the middle cut, and finally the third. Remember that the blade should lie almost parallel to the surface of the dough. (I made wrong slashes here, forgot that I have to make only 3, I had 5 on my bread).
Step 10: Baking – about 25 minutes; oven preheated to 450 degrees (230 degrees C).

As soon as the dough has been slashed, moisten the surface either by painting with a soft brush dipped in cold water, or with a fine spray atomizer, and slide the baking sheet onto rack in upper third of preheated oven. Rapidly paint or spray dough with cold water after 3 minutes, again in 3 minutes, and a final time 3 minutes later. Moistening the dough at this point helps the crust to brown and allows the yeast action to continue in the dough a little longer. The bread should be done in about 25 minutes; the crust will be crisp, and the bread will make a hollow sound when thumped.

If you want the crust to shine, paint lightly with a brush dipped in cold water as soon as you slide the baking sheet out of oven. (My bread is shine and lovely).

Step 11: Cooling – 2 to 3 hours.

Cool the bread on a rack or set it upright in a basket or large bowl so that air can circulate freely around each piece. Although bread is always exciting to eat fresh from the oven, it will have a much better taste when the inside is thoroughly cool and has composed itself.

Step 12: Storing French bread
Because it contains no fats or preservatives of any kind, French bread is at its best when eaten the day it is baked. It will keep for a day or two longer, wrapped airtight and refrigerated, but it will keep best if you freeze it – let the loaves cool first, then wrap airtight. To thaw, unwrap and place on a baking sheet in a cold oven; heat the oven to 400 degrees. In about 20 minutes the crust will be hot and crisp, and the bread thawed. The French, of course, never heat French bread except possibly on Monday, the baker’s holiday, when the bread is a day old.

Step 13: Canvas housekeeping
After each bread session, if you have used canvas, brush it thoroughly to remove all traces of flour and hang it out to dry before putting away. Otherwise the canvas could become mouldy and ruin your next batch of dough.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mini Coconut Muffin

Coconut is very fragrance when bake and I like the crunchy feeling it gives from this muffin plus this one is very easy to make. I got this recipe from my aunt who loves to bake and she gives me this recipe, I love it from the first time that I taste it, she told me that this is her favorite too. I like baking them in a mini muffin tin, because I will get more coconut crunchy top. The muffin is not too sweet and filled with a lovely coconut fragrance (we use both desiccated coconut and coconut milk) it’s good to have as the morning treats or with a good tea in the afternoon.

Mini Coconut Muffin

Makes 24 mini muffins

1 cup

Desiccated coconut

1 tbsp

Brown sugar

6 tbsp

Melted butter

1 cup

all-purpose flour

1/3 cup


1 tsp

baking powder

¼ tsp

baking soda

¼ tsp




1/3 cup

Coconut milk

4 tbsp


½ tsp

Lemon zest

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 mini muffin cups with paper cups. Set aside.

Mix coconut with brown sugar and 3 tbsp melted butter, take out 3 tbsp of the mixture for using as topping.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl and mix with coconut mixture. Set aside. In small bowl beat egg and stir in remaining ingredients. Add to flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Some small lumps will remain in batter. Do not overmix.

Fill prepared muffin cups two-thirds full, and sprinkle the coconut mixture on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ham and cheese ring bread

Ham and cheese is a very good combination, as I like to have a cheese on my bread so put it inside is not a bad option. I use the basic recipe from...................... (yes, this is the one that I forgot to take picture, Mikasan is very good at making bread when Takakosan is well known from her sweet), the recipe for rich bread is very easy to knead and easy to handle. You can use this base recipe to make many kinds of bread up to your desire, I got this idea when I see she make apple ring bread.
Ham and cheese ring bread
Makes 17 cm ring bread

Bread Flour
1 tsp
Instant dried yeast
2 tbsp
½ tsp
30 g
Unsalted butter (soft)
140 ml
whole milk
3 tbsp
5 slices
Ham (I use Paris ham)
30 g
Cheddar Cheese (grated)
40 g

Put the flour and yeast in a bowl, whisk to combine, add the sugar and salt whisk again. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl, use large spoon to mix everything together. Put the butter in the bowl and rub until all butter is distributed, and knead briefly to bring all the ingredients together. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead, until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic about 10 minutes.
Put the dough into a light buttered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size about 1 hour. Line a baking paper in the pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the dough out of the bowl. Gently press down the dough and a rolling pin to roll the dough to press the dough into a rectangle, about 25x25 cm. Brush the mayonnaise over the dough then scatter cheddar cheese all over and place the ham on top.

Roll the dough toward you starting at the top, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Cut the dough into 6 pieces, then place the dough, cut side down in the prepared pan.

Scatter Gruyère cheese all over the top.Let the dough rise until almost double in size.
Bake for 25 or until the bread is golden and the cheese is slightly brown.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Banana Cream Pie

I got this recipe from a lovely Thai language blog (the owner is a cute woman who likes to share her knowledge about food and sweet things, she lives in USA), if you want to take a look just click here. The search for this recipe happened when I have a lot of banana in the house, banana cake seen to be boring (I want to try something different and delicious). I look at this recipe (with a mouth watering picture, then I think I have to make it.

The original recipe (Banana Cream Pie-in Thai language) called for a peanut butter sandwich cookies but I don’t wan to go out so I make the crust by using the pasta frolla, that I find it great for every sweet tart, but this time I scale down it to a small quantity (if you read about CHESTNUT AND WHITE CHOCOLATE TARTLET you will remember that the quantity of the original recipe is very much).

The pie comes out very good, I like the gentle taste of the cream that mix very well with the banana, and I have a good recipe to use banana than making a cake.


9 inch pie crust

250 g

all-purpose flour

60 g

caster sugar

160 g

unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing

pinch of salt



1 teaspoon

natural vanilla extract

Using a food processor, process the flour, sugar, butter and salt for about 10-12 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then put the mixture in a bowl.

If making by hand, put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into pieces and work it into the flour with your fingertips.

Make a well in the middle of the flour- and-butter mixture and add the egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Stir to incorporate the flour evenly until you have to begin using your hand.

Bring the dry and wet ingredients together. Dust work surface with flour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on the floured surface for a few minutes until it is smooth and homogeneous.

It is now ready to be rolled. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5mm (1/4 inch).

Carefully lift it up with the rolling pin, and ease it into the pie pan.

Chill the tart cases for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Bake blind the pastry for about 20 minutes. Remove the weight and fully bake the pie until the pastry is just turning golden for about 20 minutes more. Remove the pie pastry from the oven, let cool before making the filling.

Note: if you want to use peanut butter cookie, the recipe call for 8 oz of the cookies put in the food processor with 1/8 salt and 2tbsp melted butter,

Pie Filling

200 g


1 cup

Whole milk

1 cup

Whipping cream

1/8 tsp


2 tbsp

Corn flour

1 tbsp

All purpose flour


Large egg

1 tbsp


2 tbsp

Butter (cut into small pieces)

½ tsp

Vanilla Extract


Large banana

To serve

Whipped cream

Shaved chocolate

Cut the banana and put in the prepared shell.

In a medium pot, whisk together sugar, salt, corn flour, and all purpose flour, set aside.

Whisk together egg and rum, then add milk and whipping cream whisk to combine.

Pour egg mixture in to the flour mixture whisk to prevent lumping.

Put the pot over medium low heat, stir with a whisk all the time until the mixture is thicken and bubble, take of the heat put the butter and vanilla in the pot and whisk to combine. Then pour into prepared pie shell, wait until cool enough then cover with plastic and refrigerate for 6 hours before serve.

To serve put the pie in a dish drop a spoonful of whipped cream on top and sprinkle shaved chocolate over the pie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth

by Jill O'Connor and Leigh Beisch

Another cute book on my collection (seen like it’s growing larger and larger like crazy). You may think I will start with a phrase like “How can you resist it?” But I won’t I will tell you that if you like a book with a girly style and a beautiful picture go out and grab it.

I know I have a lot (OK, too much) books, but this one is so lovely after I opened it at the bookstore I didn’t want to put it down – so what should I do I just took it home.

The book is very sweet from the cover to the back as there are a lot of dot and ribbon all over the book, pink and chocolate color make the book so sweet. Jill is very good in writing because when she describes about the sweet, it makes my mouth watering (with a little dreaming feeling). The recipes in the book can make you throw the diet sign away, because there are no word such as low fat or reduced fat here, we yearn for the real thing. (Now I’m reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan, and this book is fit in one category that its recipes don’t have “for better health tag”, so it’s a real food that we can eat, ha ha. Plus it will be great to have a real dessert once a week than having an artificial one everyday)

Because this can be the first cookbook for someone so the book starts with an introduction to ingredients and equipment: the basic knowledge for baker. Then follow by the flood of sweet and dessert from chocolate, puddings, cookies, cakes, pies and irresistible sweet.

I will take you through the book.

The First: Sticky, Chewy Chocolate

I don’t need to say more, brownies, cakes, churros, cupcake, madeleines etc.

The second: The Pudding Club

Any kinds of comfort sweet, that I hope I can have it all in one day.

The third: Cookies, Cakes & Pies

Even the name is a simple sweet but they aren’t, think about caramel butter bars, double-crumble hot apple pies and etc.

The forth: Do Try This at Home

Many kinds of sweet, such as salted cashew toffee, giant coconut cream puff and everything that the kid in all of us dreams about and I know you dream about them too.

So if you don’t worried about having a real dessert in your house, I mean if you really serious about sweet “Go out and grab one”.

Recipe tested:

The Best One Bowl Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake Pots

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Choux Puff

This one is a family’s favorite, we call “éclair” but don’t be confuse with the name this one is so easy. The little choux puff that softens by the pastry cream filling can be described as a comfort food for me too. Start by making the choux pastry and filled them with a sweet and fragrance pastry cream, and you get the little sweet that can be vanished in real soon. I make a bite size choux puff that after start eating the first one many people can’t stop popping it in their mouth, 90 pieces can be gone in one day how amazing?
The key to have a good choux pastry is the liquid, be caution when you add the last egg, you may need all or only a half of it, your choux pastry has to be smooth and fall as a ribbon, not hard or thin like a water.
The pastry cream is the adaptation from .........................., as it contains whole egg; you won’t have to think about something to make with the egg white. But if you have your dearest pastry cream recipe, feel free to use, just make sure it’s enough to fill them all.

90 pieces

Choux Pastry
100 g.
250 ml.
3 g.
6 g.
150 g.
Soft flour (or cake flour) sifted

Pastry Cream
95 g.
Salted butter (cut into small pieces)
670 ml.
1 tbsp
Vanilla extract
175 g.
50 g.
187 g.
Eggs (both white and yolk)

Make the Choux pastry
Preheat the oven to180° C. lined three baking sheets with parchment baking paper and set aside.
Bring water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil. Add Flour all at once, blend well. Remove from heat, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture no longer sticks to pan and forms into a ball. Reduce heat to low and return pan to stove, beating for a minute Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs one at a time.
Fill a pastry bag with the warm pastry and, using a ½ inch nozzle, squeeze the pastry to make 1" round circles on to the prepared baking sheets allowing space for them to rise separately.
Bake for 22 minutes or until golden.

Make the Pastry Cream
In a saucepan, bring milk slowly to the boil, in a bowl whisk eggs with sugar until pale and slightly thickened. Sift cornstarch and mix thoroughly with egg mixture add vanilla extract.
Pour milk onto egg mixture whisking continuously. Return to a clean pan and add the butter, stir with a whisk to the boil over a gentle heat until it starts to thicken, stir to ensure it is of a smooth, lump free texture
Place some Clingfilm over the surface and chill until required (the Clingfilm will prevent a skin from forming)
Cut a small hole in each choux puff.
Fill a pastry bag with the pastry cream and, using a ⅛ inch nozzle or any small nozzle that you have, squeeze the pastry cream to fill each choux puff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Because I have a lot of books from different country, this is the problem that I have. The call for different kind of yeast when you have only one type on hand, how can you convert it, so that you will have the finish product that still good as the original one. This chart is a guide line for convert different kinds of yeast base on the guide from Baker's Manual (5th Edition) by Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees, remember that each kind of yeast need different preparation.

Fresh Yeast: very short life, need to be mixed with liquid before use.

Active Dry Yeast: has a stronger odor than instant yeast, need to be proof before use.

Instant Yeast: very convenient, just mix in the flour, but not to let the yeast contact directly with salt.

Copy and print it out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Plain Pound Cake

I think everyone like this plain and easy cake, it’s good on its own or with ice cream, chocolate sauce, sweet whipped cream and etc., there are many way to enjoy it. Most people have their favorite recipe, I have mine too. This is the real simple cake that has a sweet aroma from vanilla, honey and rum, when you bake this cake the smell is very very good, if you want to get better taste go beyond the limit by use the best cultured butter that you can find. Using salted butter is great for bring out the sweet taste, but if you have only unsalted butter just add a pinch of it in the batter. Because this recipe is from a Japanese baking book, the yield is small but I find it’s good because even you can keep this cake for 5 day, the taste is not good as the fresh one. The recipe is an adaptation from 何度も試作してようやくたどりついたほんとうに作りやすい焼き菓子レシピ超人気お菓子サイトたかこ@caramel milk teaさんの the author is Takako Inada, she is very famous in Japan from her websiteたかこ@caramel milk teaさんの –(Japanese language website with cute pictures of sweet and a diary of the author). I have 7 of her books (I forgot to take a picture of other one that she write with Mikasan (みかさんの手づくりパンのある楽しい食卓 (Happy Home Made (made by hand) Bread (a meal with a bread) that I wrote about in Milk square bread ). I will write about the book in the future, today let’s enjoy this fragrance pound cake together.

Plain Pound Cake

Make 18 X 8X 6 cm loaf pan

⅓ tsp Baking powder
100 g Cake flour
100 g Salted butter (preferred cultured butter)
95 g Sugar
2 Egg yolks
2 Egg whites
1 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Rum
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Line the baking paper in the pan, set aside.

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Sift together flour with baking powder, set aside.

Beat together butter and half of the sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla, milk, rum and honey.

Make the meringue by beating egg white and the rest of the sugar, beat until soft peak form.

Use a rubber spatula folding the flour mixture into the butter mixture in alternately with the meringue, stir until just blended. Pour batter into prepared pan

Place pan in the oven. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, about 40 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Onion Soup from NDS

If you like to play video game, you should know Nintendo DS. I got it for two months now as a new year present from my brother. (At first I really want to show it to but I remember I set this blog to write about food not game, and I’m so glad that I have a chance now, ha ha) I got this program “1000 recipes from Orange Page (a Japanese food magazine)” to use with NDS, the program is very stunning (ok, if you don’t crazy about food like me you may find it just so simple but it has a function like calculate the balance of the menu and season suggestion Oh, I love it). I find this recipe is very easy to make (except it takes some time), onion soup is like a long time friend. When I was little, I went to a restaurant with my aunt, I like this soup and impress with the tasty cheese on top of the soup. I never try to make it, I don’t know why but when I read the recipe today I think it’s time. The recipe call for bouillon (you can use any flavor you like: chicken, beef, vegetable), but taste before add more salt cause most of them can be salty.

Onion Soup from NDS

Makes 2

1 Large Onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
½ Garlic (finely chopped)
1 tbsp Unsalted butter
½ piece Bouillon (any of your choice)
500 ml Water

Salt and pepper

2 slices French Bread (½ inch thick)
6 tbsp Gruyère cheese (grated)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)

Melt butter in a saucepan. Cook onions and garlic over medium heat for 1 minutes, then lower the heat to lowest and continue cooking until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Add water, and bouillon; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover soup, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Toast the bread slices at 150 ° C just until browned, about 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into small, oven-safe bowls. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top then place 1 slice toasted bread on top of the soup in each bowl. Then sprinkle the Gruyère cheese on top. Place soup bowls on a cookie sheet for easier handling.

Bake at 220 ° C for 10 minutes, or just until cheese is melted

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cup of Love: Happy Valentine’s Day

Ok, don’t blame me for the love that I have for Starbucks. The last time that I went to the shop, I got these cups, The Cups of Love: these little cups come with milk chocolate, to remind me that Valentine’s Day is coming. The little cup will be great for espresso, imagine two happy people with a good coffee in the morning (ok, I’m dreaming). So, let me give this picture to you to say that “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008



(Make a delicious cake with first-class pâtissier)

I love this lovely book; there are a lot of pictures (the same as many book in Japanese). The chefs (pâtissier) will show you how to make a delicious cake (you can see in the picture that there are many kind of pastry that the book shows how to make).

The book starts with introducing the chefs (some of them have their own book and there are some French chefs, who will show how to make the famous pastry from their shop, like Tart Tatin from Hôtel Tatin). Then you will be shown how to make famous French pastry from the famous shop (like Dalloyau) and etc.

And if you don’t have a basic knowledge of pastry making, don’t worry, all the chefs will guide you from the basic like how to prepared the pan, make the basic sponge cake and much more. After that there are series of how to make a French pastry (they’re so good looking, and the instruction is step by step). The book has variety of the pastry from sponge base, tart, ice dessert, butter cake, chocolate and simple bake goods. Plus, there is a dictionary of dessert, which has information of ingredient and special words that use in pastry making. Most of the ingredients are simple or if they are special, there is the address of the shop (and the website) where we can find them (in Japan).

But I accept that I love this book because of the beautiful pictures, it’s so tempting, all the pastry look very beautiful (a feast to the eye). It’s good to know that we can make many kind of patisserie style dessert at home (the recipe is in small quantity, not the professional size). This book is good for anyone who likes the French pastry.

Many kinds of dessert

The recipe with illustrations

After talking about the book it’s time to try the recipe, the Madeleine bases on basic pastry ingredient so use the best if you can (or use the vanilla extract that you really love). I like it warm from the oven but when they are cool my sister will put it in the toaster oven, it will crisp on the outside (I know it’s not traditional but if it’s delicious I don’t mind).

Mostly I will prepare everything, like Madeleine batter and pans in the evening (put the pans in the refrigerator, too because they have been greased and floured) and I will bake them in the morning, what easy lazy time! A plain little cake (or some people call cookie) with a hot coffee or tea, I think it’s so relax.

Note: this recipe has to refrigerate overnight before use, and greased and floured pan very carefully the Madeleine is a sticky cake.

From: 一流パティシエといっしょに美味しいケーキを作りたい (make a delicious cake with first class pastry chef)


Make 24 standard sizes Madeleine

200 g unsalted butter
200 g cake flour
6 g baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
150 g eggs, at room temperature
200 g superfine white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt the butter and allow it to cool while making the batter.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in to a medium bowl and set aside.

Put egg in a bowl then set the bowl over the pot of simmering water, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when lifting the beaters. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Pour half amount of egg mixture over the flour and, using a large whisk, mix the flour mixture and egg together to moisten, then add all the egg (the mixture will be crumble). Add melted butter into the flour mixture (little by little 5-6 times) mix until smooth do not overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Generously butter two 12-mold Madeleine pans. Dust the molds with flour and tap out the excess. (Make sure the pans are well greased, the Madeleine will stick like crazy and hard to remove.)

Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold.

Bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not overbake, or they will be dry.

Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines. Transfer the madeleines, smooth sides down, to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Crumb Coffeecake

This is an additional recipe for the crumb lover, especially my sister (as I told you that she loves everything with crumble top). The cake gives a contrast feeling of soft cake and a little crunchy top.
The first time that I made this recipe, I was so crazy that I start making the crumb by creaming the butter, don’t try this in any case, because you will get the most condensed crumb in the world, so crazy right?. Even in the recipe uses 9 x13-inch pan cake sometimes I use 2-8x8 square pan, the cake will be thinner but still delicious, it’s a good choice because you can put one pan in the freezer (for the day that you’re so lazy to do anything, just pop it in the oven and you got something nice and soothing to comfort you).
This recipe is from ..............................
This book has a lot and lot of recipe, but I have to confess I make only about 3 recipes from this big book.
Crumb Coffeecake
Make 9 x13-inch cake

2½ cups (10½ ounces)
unbleached all- purpose flour
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces)
½ teaspoon
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces)
butter, melted
1 teaspoon
vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon
almond extract
½ teaspoon
baking soda
1 teaspoon
baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces)
1 cup (7 ounces)
½ teaspoon
large eggs
1 teaspoon
vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces)
sour cream
2 cups (8½ ounces)
unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 9 x13-inch cake pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Melt the butter in the microwave or small saucepan and add the extracts to it. Pour the butter into the flour mixture and mix until all the butter is absorbed and you have a uniformly moistened crumb mixture. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat between additions. Scrape down the mixing bowl; beat in the vanilla and sour cream. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together. Add to the butter/sour cream mixture, mixing until evenly combined. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan.
Crumble the crumb mixture over the top, until the batter is completely covered. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.


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