Sunday, 26 May 2013

BREAD USING TARO STARTER


I yam what I yam, and what I yam needs no excuses ...

One thing is for sure.  I won't be able to make bread for a living.  After an afternoon of toiling, I churned out only six buns.  Six!  If my life depended on it I'd be dead by now.


Today I made bread with a taro filling using Showa HI-NEON bread flour and taro paste that I bought from Taipei. 


I began by making my trusted Roux Starter.  Taro paste, flour and water were stirred over low heat until the water was reduced and the ingredients came together to form a paste.   It was then placed in the fridge for about 60 minutes before incorporating with the ingredients for the bread dough.


For the filling, I mixed a little butter into the taro paste to give it an extra creamy texture and rich flavor.  Since the store bought taro already contained sugar I didn't sweeten it further but if you're making taro paste from scratch, then I suppose you need to.


Roux Starter: 20 grams store bought taro paste, 10 grams Showa HI-NEON, 50 grams water

Bread Dough: 210 grams Showa HI-NEON, 3 grams instant yeast, 20 grams caster sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 100 grams water, 15 grams butter

Filling: 150 grams taro paste, 15 grams butter

Finish: Egg wash

Crumb topping: 10 grams all-purpose flour, 15 grams almond meal, 10 grams granulated sugar, 10 grams salted butter

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

MY PIECE OF RAINFOREST

I'm so lucky that my desk is parked right next to this amazing view.




The sun came through the trees into my office window today.  Ignore the traffic below and I could well be in the middle of a rainforest. 


Sunday, 12 May 2013

WHAT'S A STARTER?

Ever since I discovered the benefits of a bread starter, I’m inclined on using one. You might even say I’m on a roll! (Sorry, I had to say it.)

I recently came across a recipe that uses taro paste to make a Water Roux汤种. Can you believe it? Taro! I'm so going to try it out.

So, just what is a starter? It is essentially made up of flour, water and a little yeast. You mix the ingredients together and leave aside to ferment for several hours. All (or part) of the starter is then combined with the bread dough. A starter is also called a sponge, a mother dough or a pâte fermentée.
Some common starters are:

Old dough / pâte fermentée/ 老面 - a piece of dough held back from a previous batch of bread which is used as a starter for a new batch

Water Roux / 汤种 – has the consistency of a smooth paste and popular in home baking

Poolish – a fairly wet sponge made with a ratio of equal water and flour and most often used in French baking. 

Biga – and Italian-style firm starter

Sourdough/ 酸酵种 - as long as the starter is properly fed and cared for, it can be kept active for years to provide predictable results over and over again

Why use starters?  According to Amy’s Bread, starters not only help the bread rise. They also “provide a wonderful aroma and a more complex flavour to the bread, improve the browning of the crust, create a chewier crumb and a larger hole structure, and make the bread moister so it has a longer shelf life.”

Pre-fermentation time is different for each type of starter.  If you're using a starter for the first time, it can all be rather intimidating. Will the Old Dough like the new one? Will the friendship blossom? Will there be happily after?!  The anxiety can drive any amateur baker crazy! You just need to bear in mind that every relationship requires time to mature.  Similarly, a starter takes time to work its magic.

Remember, good things come to those who wait.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

BEGGAR'S CHOICE

At lunch time today I came across an elderly beggar in the vicinity of the TPY Hub.  He pleaded with passers-by openly, muttering in Hokkien, arm outstretched, palm upwards.  I gave him a $2 note and some loose change.  He was still there after I had eaten, so I brought him a sugar loaf from the bakery around the corner.  He actually looked rather annoyed as he waved me off.

“I don’t want to eat,” he croaked. “I want money for the doctor. Do you have money???”

I turned away in a huff.  Who says beggars can’t be choosers, I thought. Would he have been happier if I had offered him a 叫化鸡?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

STARTER + PROMINENT (TAKE 2)

Here are more adventures with the Japanese Roux Starter.

First I made some Anpan.




Then I made some raisin buns with a super fluffy interior.  The raisins had been plumped with Cointreau.





FIRST OF MAY


When I was small, and Christmas trees were tall,
we used to love while others used to play.
Don't ask me why, but time has passed us by,
someone else moved in from far away.

Now we are tall, and Christmas trees are small,
and you don't ask the time of day.
But you and I, our love will never die,
but guess who'll cry come first of May.

The apple tree that grew for you and me,
I watched the apples falling one by one.
And as I recall the moment of them all,
the day I kissed your cheek and you were gone.

Now we are tall, and Christmas trees are small,
and you don't ask the time of day.
But you and I, our love will never die,
but guess who'll cry come first of May.

When I was small, and Christmas trees were tall,
do do do do do do do do do ...
Don't ask me why, but time has passed us by,
someone else moved in from far away.