Wednesday, June 12, 2013
It had me at coffee. This bread has all the things that I love; coffee, chocolate and soft fluffy bread. It goes well with chocolate spread or peanut butter. But I like it simply toasted with margarine and a light sprinkling of sugar so that I can still get that hint of coffee and chocolate.
Coffee and Chocolate Swirl Bread
I used a small deep loaf pan- 20cm x 10.5cm x 7.5cm deep
5 grams instant coffee granules
10 grams cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water
30 grams unsalted butter
210 grams milk
300 grams bread flour
30 grams caster sugar
2 grams salt
4 grams instant dried yeast (See note at the bottom of this post)
Combine instant coffee and 1 tablespoon hot water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve coffee granules to make paste. Add more water if required, set aside.
Combine cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon hot water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve cocoa powder to make paste. Add more water if required, set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, set aside until warm (46 to 52 degrees celsius).
Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add warm milk and butter mixture. With the mixer on low speed (#2 on KitchenAid), knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes). The dough is ready when you can take a chunk of dough and stretch it to a very thin sheet before it breaks.
Divide dough into two equal portions. On a lightly floured work surface, knead coffee paste into first portion of dough until smooth and coffee is fully incorporated (about 3-5 minutes). Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky. Place the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl cover with cling wrap.
Repeat with the chocolate mixture. Place the chocolate dough in a seperate lightly greased mixing bowl cover with cling wrap.
Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step.
Gently deflate the doughs, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, knead each dough gently into a ball. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each dough out. The doughs should be about 20cm x 40cm (doesn't have to be exact as long as the shorter side is the same width as the bread pan).
Place the coffee dough over the chocolate dough. Starting from the shorter side, roll up the dough tightly. Place dough seam-side down in bread pan. Cover with cling wrap. Let the dough proof for the second time until double in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 160 degrees celsius fan-forced). Remove cling wrap, brush bread with milk, and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Note: I used instant dried yeast that can be added directly to the flour without having to go through the step of dissolving the yeast first. If the type of yeast that you are using needs to be dissolved, whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm milk. Add a pinch of caster sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy and frothy.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
This sweet potato cake is inspired by a similar cake from a Korean cookbook that I recently purchased. The concept of sweet potato cake sounds quirky to me, and of course, I couldn’t resist giving it a go. The sweet potato cake, known as Goguma cake, is apparently very popular in Korea. It is an Asian style soft sponge cake with sweet potato paste filling, covered in whipped cream and sponge cake crumbs.
I could have used the recipe from the book, but on closer inspection at the photo, it was obvious that they have missed out a couple of ingredients (and failed to mention a few steps).
My take on the Goguma cake is a Japanese style shortcake topped with a Mont Blanc inspired puree sweet potato cream. The sweet potato used in the Goguma cake is typically the yellow flesh type. However, I used purple sweet potato because I think that we can do with more purple food in our life. No, not really. It just so happened that there were purple sweet potatoes in the market, and making a purple cake seems like a good idea.
I’m pleased with how good the cake is. The sweet potato is not at all overpowering as I thought. It gives the cake a subtle flavour and sweetness. And with about one medium size sweet potato in this cake, it makes this a healthy cake enriched with antioxidant, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. That's what I'm telling myself anyway...
Purple Sweet Potato Cake
Makes 14cm x 28cm cake, serves 4
For the sweet potato topping:
1 medium size purple sweet potato
30 grams milk
For the sponge
Part A- egg yolk mixture:
3 egg yolks
30 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40ml vegetable oil
80 grams cake flour
Part B- meringue:
3 egg whites
30 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the sugar syrup
10 grams caster sugar
20ml hot water
For the filling
200 grams heavy (double) cream, chilled (Note: do not use low fat cream.)
20 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make sweet potato topping:
Steam or boil sweet potato until very tender. Peel skin and cut sweet potato into smallish pieces. Weigh out 200 grams of the cooked sweet potato, and reserve the rest for the filling and decoration. In a food processor, puree the 200 grams sweet potato and milk until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
To make Part A- egg yolk mixture:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (or 150 degrees celsius fan-forced). Line a 28cm x 28cm flat square cake pan with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and creamy.
Combine milk, vanilla extract and oil in a small bowl. Add to beaten egg yolk mixture and whisk at low speed until just combined. Sift flour over egg mixture, and whisk at low speed until smooth and well-combined.
To make Part B- meringue:
Combine sugar and cornstarch.
Clean and dry the whisk thoroughly, and in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add half the sugar-cornstarch mixture and continue beating for a few minutes, then add remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture and beat until egg whites are glossy and stiff peak form.
Add one-third of meringue into egg yolk mixture from Part A. Fold in lightly with a spatula to loosen the mixture a little. Then add the rest of the meringue and fold to incorporate completely.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading the mixture evenly and smoothing the top with a spatula. Lightly tap the bottom of the tray on the work surface.
Bake for 14 minutes until the cake has risen slightly and feels springy to the touch. Remove from oven. Turn sponge straight from oven onto a sheet of baking paper. Peel off baking paper from the bottom of the sponge. Cover with baking paper, then a tea towel. Set aside to cool completely.
To make sugar syrup
Dissolve sugar in hot water. Set aside to cool.
To make filling:
Combine cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a clean bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip cream at medium speed until stiff peaks form but cream is still smooth.
Weigh out 30 grams of whipped cream and whisk into cooled sweet potato topping.
When the cake is completely cool, cut cake in half so that you get 2 pieces of 14cm x 28cm cake (if you are using 28cm x 28cm cake tin).
Brush sugar syrup on one side of cake layers. Spread cream filling onto cake, then topped with sweet potato pieces. Place second layer of cake over and press down lightly. Pipe sweet potato filling over cake. I used a plain nozzle with a smallish hole and piped filling diagonally over cake. Decorate with parsley and a piece of sweet potato. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
It has been a bad baking week for me. I made lemon bars with soggy base, brownies that tasted funny, coconut bread as heavy as brick and brioche that didn’t rise to the occasion.
This no-knead bread was my only success all week. I have made it two more times since and I'm really excited about sharing this recipe here. The bread is super easy to put together, requires only 5 basic ingredients, and the result is a beautiful crusty bread that is as good as what you get from the bakery. In fact, after making this no-knead bread, I don't think I will buy another loaf of crusty bread from the shops again.
There are 3 changes I have made to the original recipe. First off, the dough after more than half a day of resting will be very sticky. The original recipe suggests placing the dough on a floured cotton towel and covering it with another cotton towel for the second proofing. I found that the dough still stick to the cotton towels even after I have dusted the dough with a generous amount of flour. So the way around it is to use baking paper instead of cotton towels.
The second recommendation is to put the dough on a baking paper before putting it in the pot. The first time I make this bread, it got stuck in the pot and I couldn’t get it out... which is a shame because the bread was perfect otherwise. I did a search on “help, no-knead bread stuck to pot” and found that a lot of people had the same problem too. Apparently, it was because the pot wasn't hot enough when we put the dough in.
On the Martha Steward website, the recommended oven temperature is 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius). My oven doesn't go that high. I baked the bread at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) and it turned out great.
(Adapted from Jim Lahey at Sullivan Street Bakery via Martha Stewart)
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Olive oil, as needed
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Coat a second large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 18, at room temperature. When surface is dotted with bubbles, dough is ready.
Lightly flour work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle just enough flour over work surface and your fingers to keep dough from sticking; quickly and gently shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a baking paper with flour; place dough seam side down on baking paper and dust with more flour. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and cotton towel on top. Let rise until it has more than doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius (425 degrees fahrenheit). Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot, such as cast-iron or Pyrex, in oven as it heats. When dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and turn dough over onto a baking paper, seam side up, and place dough together with the baking paper into the pot. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until browned, 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I adore chiffon cakes. In fact, it was the third thing that I made it a mission to master as soon as I got my first proper oven. The first was swiss roll and the second was sponge cake. I had suffered many failures making chiffon cakes before I finally got it right. Oh...about 10-15 times. But I soldiered on. I have immense patience when comes to making things I love.
Now, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at making chiffon cake. Modest much? The most important thing about making chiffon cake is getting the right bakeware. You will need a tube cake pan (aka angel cake pan). DO NOT get the non-stick type. The cake needs to "cling" to all sides of the pan to get the height, which is also the reason for the tube center. The one with aluminium construction, removable core sleeve and cooling legs is the best for the job. People are always complaining to me that their chiffon cake won't rise. And 99 percent of the time, they used either non-stick cake pan or cake pan without the tube center. Or worst still, a non-stick cake pan without the tube centre.
Another tip on making a chiffon cake is never line or butter your cake pan. The same reason as above that the cake needs all the help it can to cling to the sides of the pan. Now, I know what you are thinking, how are we going to get the cake out of the pan afterwards? Just carefully run a spatula around the sides (including the tube center) to loosen the cake. If your cake pan doesn’t have a removable core sleeve (aka removable tube center and base), then you will need to line the bottom of your cake pan. But that is it, only the bottom and not the sides.
The danger is not over after your chiffon cake has risen to a considerable height in your non-buttered, unlined, non-stick aluminium tube cake pan. Once the cake is done, and still in the cake pan, immediately turn it over to cool completely. That is when the cooling legs come in handy and also another reason why non-stick pan is important. If the chiffon cake is cooled the right side up, it will collapse, shrivel and sink like a soufflé.
If you got everything right (which I promise is not as hard as it sounds), you will be rewarded with the softest and lightest cake you ever have. It is so airy that you are forgiven for thinking it’s healthy enough to eat the whole cake, in one sitting, by yourself.
A chiffon cake doesn’t need icing. However, I want to make this chocolate chiffon cake a little bit special, and decided to pair it with an equally fluffy chocolate frosting that I love. This chocolate frosting is dangerously like chocolate mousse that I can eat by the spoonfuls straight from the mixing bowl. Due to the amount of butter in this frosting, it needs to be at room temperature before serving. The chiffon cake will taste better too at room temperature.
A soft light airy chocolate cake with a fluffy mousse-like chocolate frosting… don’t tell me it’s not like chocolate cloud.
Chocolate Cloud Cake
(Chocolate chiffon cake adapted from cookpad. Chocolate frosting adapted from epicurious.)
Makes 17cm cake
For the chocolate chiffon cake
65 grams cake flour
20 grams cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg yolks
35 grams caster sugar
50ml vegetable oil
90ml milk, room temperature
4 egg whites
40 grams caster sugar
5 grams corn flour
For the chocolate frosting
100 grams caster sugar
25 grams plain flour
16 grams cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
pinch of salt
60 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make chocolate chiffon cake:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (or 150 degrees celsius fan-forced).
Mix cake flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl. Sift flour mixture and set aside.
Whisk egg yolks and 35 grams sugar until pale and creamy. Add oil and milk and whisk to incorporate. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a seperate small bowl, combine remaining 40 grams sugar and corn flour.
In a clean bowl with a clean and dry whisk (or an electric stand mixer), whisk egg whites until foamy. Add half the sugar and corn flour mixture and continue beating for a few minutes. Add remaining sugar and corn flour mixture and beat until egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
Add one-third of meringue into egg yolk mixture and fold in lightly using a spatula. Add remaining meringue and fold to incorporate completely.
Pour batter into tube cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. When cake is done, remove from oven and turn it over, leaving it to cool. Once cake has cooled completely, carefully run spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen it before inverting onto a wire rack.
To make chocolate frosting:
Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is smooth and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature, covering surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add cooled chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating until frosting is fluffy and spreadable.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I'm sure matcha fans will love these cookies.
There is something about this cookie that makes me want to stop for quarter of a minute (because that is how long it took for me to eat one of these cookies) and enjoy it quietly. The matcha flavour is perfectly subtle, and is neither weak nor overpowering. The cookie is lightly sweetened, and has a shortbread-like crumb that is crisp and yet delicate.
The original recipe suggests coating the cookies with granulated sugar. I prefer without. Instead I decorate each cookie with tiny black sesame seeds, painstakingly, using a tweezers.
Matcha (Green Tea) Cookies
(Adapted from Lovescool)
Makes about 24 numbers of 5cm diameter cookies
64 grams icing sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons matcha powder
140 grams unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
240 grams plain flour
3 egg yolks
Black sesame seeds to decorate (optional)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and matcha powder.
With an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar/matcha mixture until pale and creamy.
Add flour and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
Form dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper to 1cm thick. Cut out dough with a cookie cutter. Place onto prepared trays. Re-roll leftover dough and repeat.
Decorate with black sesame seeds. Freeze cookies for 10 minutes while waiting for oven to heat up.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 160 degrees celsius fan-forced). Bake cookies for 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool on tray for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Monday, May 6, 2013
People! You need to lock these cookies away immediately after you bake them! Or you will find yourself coming back for seconds, thirds, fourths… These cookies are THAT good!!!
These are the best cookies, and my favourite, that I have made to-date.
The flaked sea salt gives the cookie an interesting first bite, balance out the sweetness, and makes it moreish. The brown butter adds a beautiful nutty caramel flavour to the cookies. (What is brown butter, you might wonder. It is simply just cooking the butter until hazelnut brown.) The nutella gives a gooey chocolaty centre. The cookie is crispy around the edges and still slightly chewy and soft in the middle. The whole cookie explodes with different flavours and textures. It is out-of-the- world good.
I tried the peanut butter stuffed version of this cookie, and it is equally good. Oh and a tip; don't bake these cookies without freezing the cookie dough first (or at least refrigerate for 2 hours), or they will not bake properly.
Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)
Makes 48 cookies
48 x 1 teaspoon Nutella
225 grams unsalted butter, cut into cubes
275 grams dark brown sugar
50 grams caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt (or natural yogurt)
280 grams plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Flaked sea salt for sprinkling
At least 1 hour before making cookies, spoon or pipe about a teaspoon dollop of nutella on baking paper. You will need at least 48 dollops. Freeze nutella until firm.
Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a hazelnut brown colour. Keep your eye on it- the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds. Immediately transfer butter to a bowl to prevent burning and set aside to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
With an electric mixer, mix the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.
With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.
Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Flattened dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. Place a dollop of frozen nutella in the middle and fold dough around it. Gently roll into a ball. Place dough balls on cookie tray. Freeze dough balls for at least 30 minutes. (At this stage, if you do not wish to bake all 48 cookies because you might end up eating it all, you can pop the frozen dough balls in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. You don’t have to thaw the frozen dough before baking.)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 160 degrees celsius fan-forced). Place dough balls on baking tray, at least 5cm apart. Bake the cookies until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown (about 15-18 minutes). The cookies will be soft and appear undercook in the middle but they will continue to cook and harden once out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the sheets for at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I can’t get enough of this crispy pizza-like “pancake” with savoury filling of minced beef, silverbeet and feta cheese. It is simply delicious. I used marinated feta cheese for added flavour. Any type of feta cheese will just be as good. And if silverbeet is not available, replace it with spinach instead.
(Adapted from Taste)
For the pastry dough
250ml warm water
415 grams plain flour (more flour may be required, see instructions below.)
7 grams dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the filling
1 small brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400 grams lean beef mince
300 grams silverbeet (or spinach)
1 tablespoon olive oil
100 grams feta, crumbled
You will also need olive oil and lemon.
Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a jug. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy. (Note: You can skip this step if you are using instant dried yeast. Instead, mix the instant dried yeast and sugar together with the dry ingredients.)
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook, combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix at low speed until the dough sticks to the hook and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. You should get a very pliable elastic tacky dough that is not overly sticky. (Note: If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl after 10 minutes, the dough is too sticky. Add 1/4 cup of flour, and continue to beat for 5 minutes.)
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with cling wrap and stand in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring, until onion has softened. Add mince. Cook, stirring until browned. Add silverbeet. Cook, stirring, until silverbeet has wilted and mince is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour work bench and rolling pin. Roll 1 piece into a rectangle shape (roughly 32cm x 20cm), or as thin as possible. Place a quarter of the filling over one half of rectangle and crumble feta over filling. Fold dough over to enclose filling. Press edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Heat a frying pan over low to medium heat. Brush one side of gozleme with oil. Cook until base is golden. Brush uncooked side using remaining oil. Turn over. Cook until golden and crisp. Transfer to a board. Cut each gozleme into slices. Serve with lemon wedges.