Friday, 28 October 2011

NEW FLOUR: DUELIO




This is bread made with 'Duelio' flour by Nisshin (日清杜蘭小麥麵粉), bought during my visit to Taipei in August. Compared to other brands of bread flour, this one is develops gluten much faster. It's the colour of cornmeal - a nice pale yellow.  The Ham & Cheese Loaf smells heavenly and so natural.  A good flour definitely produces a more flavourful bread.

I can still recall the first time I made Ham & Cheese Bread. After 20 minutes in the oven, the dough was still white as sheet and very much uncooked. It also smelled weird. My parents made faces (who could blame them?) and wouldn’t touch it. I gave a slice to Moon, who told me quite bluntly, “Fun, you're my best friend and I love you but I’m afraid I don’t have the courage to try this!”

I have no talent.


But who was it who said that "Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy"?  Talented fellow blogger, Christina, once told me (when I commented on her beautiful homemade baguettes), “Yes you can if you have the will to learn.”

So here I am. A learning a day.



Bread dough: 100 grams Nisshin DUELIO (durum), 50 grams all-purpose flour, 20 grams caster sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 grams instant yeast, 20 grams egg, 90 grams milk, 10 grams unsalted butter

Footnote: The morning after. Saturday, October 29, 2011. Last night, I double-wrapped the remaining bread in clingfilm and left it on the dining room table. It is still soft this morning.  Amazing!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

FOCACCIA FOR DINNER


After an exceptionally busy work week, I'm glad to retreat home to Chilli Crab Kitchen. This is my happy space.  In here I think happy thoughts and do only the things that I enjoy most.


Serena brought home a beautiful bottle of olive oil while vacationing in Italy.  Will attempt to make focaccia!  Today's focaccia recipe is from 面包新语, written by Kyoto-born pastry chef Nishikawa (西川功晃).

As with all bread dough, I started by beating the crap out of it (for about 6 minutes).  When I attempted to release it from the mixing bowl onto the countertop the dough, as if afraid of further abuse, clung on for dear life and refused to leave the bottom of the bowl!  And when I tried to coax it into letting go  I got dough stuck to the spatula, my fingers, and then the countertop.  I was like King Midas except everything I touched turned into dough, not gold.  I was horrified, “Oh no! There’s too much water!  I'm so in trouble now."   Fortunately it cooperated beautifully after the first proof. It wasn't long before the entire kitchen was filled with the heady scent of herbs and olive oil.

The focaccia came out of the oven just in time for dinner and the three of us had a simple meal of ham and cheese sandwiches. Dad was curious what expensive, high-end flour I splurged my money on this time but the secret is to use a mix of all-purpose flour and cake flour in equal proportions.  The dough was very sticky in the beginning but with a pair of lightly floured hands and a little patience, it all worked out well.

I still have a long way to go in mastering the art of making focaccia.  This one is a perfect golden brown, yet its centre is dry.


This one looks pale but it isn't uncooked.


Love the crumb structure though.


Still a long way from perfection.  Didn't do the nice olive oil justice at all. *disappoint!*

Bread dough: 250 grams all-purpose flour, 250 grams cake flour, 300 grams water, 5 grams salt, 7 grams instant yeast, 75 grams milk, 50 grams olive oil, dried oregano