Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bake With Yen

in another post, i blogged about where to buy bread flour in malaysia. actually, it's more like just kuala lumpur to be exact.

what i didn't mention is that you could buy all the related stuffs in those stores as well.

however, when my friend, ew, told me about this shop in puchong, i just had to take a look!

as ew is not free around here, it took me quite a while to find that place. but i'm glad i took the trouble!

like hock choon and chun ship, "bake with yen" also buys flour in bulk and repackages them in 1kg bags. prices are about the same like the other 2 shops. what makes them different (and interesting) is, they do the same to many other stuffs too!

i almost can't believe that i could buy dried herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley leaves at such fantastic prices! why heck, they'll even sell you 1kg of dried rosemary leaves if that's what you desire. i saw the 1kg package there!

white chocolate? dried raisins (best prices here), sultanas, almond flakes, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed... boy, i just couldn't resist. from now on, you can be sure my breads will have lots of nutritious seeds. :)

and not to mention all tthe other baking paraphenalia too, whether you bake cakes, cookies or bread. as you should know by now, i have no interest in the rest, but only bread.

why heck, they even had a website, though it's pretty basic. bake with yen

if i were them, i'll do mail order!

my only snag is the flour offerings isn't that great. if they sell organic flour as well, then i'm sold!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

whole lot of fibre!

i was at the market and came across this stall where this young chap was selling lots of grains. most interestingly, he also sells this "10 grain mix", supposed to be very nutritious, full of fiber etc.
well, i can't help it so had to take a look. the 10 grains are... barley, oat, quinoa, buckwheat, flax seed, sunflower seed, millet... and 3 other types of which my poor memory couldn't grasp. 
hmm... very interesting indeed! so i bought some and said to myself, "this makes excellent bread"!
now, you are supposed to soak the grains over night before you include them into your bread dough the next day but i wasn't keen on waiting, so i had the grains (about 1 cup) boiled/simmered in hot water for about 5 minutes.
now, if you don't do this, you'll be in for a culinary adventure! every bite could potentially damage your tooth! if you are keen on this sort of "fun", go ahead!
[actually on another occasion that i did this bread, i tried the "soak overnight" method. the grains didn't soften enough, so i recommend the boiling/simmering.]

to have more fun, i used rye flour, so that's 11 type of grain! and if you include the white whole wheat flour, that makes it 12!

  • 4 cups of flour (i used 2 cups rye + 2 cups white)
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup stout + adequate amount of water
i used more honey here as since the dough will turn out dark (thanks to rye), might as well make it darker!

i added in stout as i just love rye + stout.

beware that this is a very heavy dough. the usage of rye only makes it worse. this dough needs PLENTY of encouragement. don't be suprised if it needs 4 hours to rise appreciably. if you can't wait, heat your oven to 60c and put the dough in. that's bread making the express way!

if you are short on fiber, it doesn't get any better than this!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

goji berry and dates

i got tired or raisins, mixed fruits, rosemary... so i decided to make something different this time. but typical of me, i didn't plan ahead so i did not have much ingredients at home to try out something different.

however, as i opened the fridge door, hmm.... saw those packets of goji berries (or known as wolf berries). since my wife wasn't around,  so in it went into the bread!

but goji berries by itself isn't exactly tasty. makes sense to add another ingredient.

since the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr - the end of Ramadan, has just ended, hypermarts everywhere is giving big discounts on their stockpile of dried dates. ahem... so why not include them in our bread? it so happened that we have some at home, so this makes perfect sense. besides, both ingredients are red in colour.

goji berries are supposed to be very nutritious.

so too are these red dates.

  • 4 cups flour (i used 2 white + 2 wholemeal)
              • 1 tsp yeast (i used dried, so had to active with warm water first)
              • 1 tsp honey
        • 3/4 cup of dried goji berries. (soaked 10 mins in warm water)
              • about 7 dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces

as usual, i had it baked at 180c for about 20-25 minutes.

of course, feel free to vary the ingredients!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

where to buy bread flour in malaysia?

yes, i'm based in malaysia, kuala lumpur to be exact.

if you are in malaysia as well, and want to bake bread, you'll probably encounter the very pertinent problem of where to buy bread flour. so i'll try to surmise my findings here. feel free to add to it!

currency is ringgit malaysia. at time of writing, around 1 euro dollar = rm4.70.

i prefer organic flour so the findings are geared towards organic flour.

Carrefour - the french hypermart. not all branches stock these though.
Brand name : Country Farm Organic
Organic Rye Flour 500gm rm3.90
Organic Unbleached Wholemeal Flour 500gm rm4.10
protein content not listed so you can't tell whether it's suitable for baking bread. i have used them though and it's ok! listed as product of finland.

Jaya Jusco - supermart from Japan
Brand name : Country Farm Organic
Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour 500gm rm4.10
Organic unbleahced Wholemeal Flour 500gm rm4.10
same offering as carrefour but have this additional product.
Organic semolina flour 500gm rm10.70. note the much higher price! said to be product of usa

Cold Storage - cold storage is more known as purveyor of imported foods
Brand name : Country Farm Organic
Organic Unbleached Wholemeal Flour 500gm rm3.19
Organic Rye Flour 500gm rm3.89
same offering as carrefour and jusco but the prices are better!

Brand name : Waitrose
Organic Stoneground Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour 1.5kg rm14.99 13.6% protein content
Organic Strong White Bread Flour 1.5kg rm14.99 12.9% protein content
Very Strong Canadian White Flour 1.5kg rm14.99 15% protein content!

Brand name : Hovis
Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour 1.5kg rm11.99 14.2% protein content
Granary Malted Brown Bread Flour 1kg rm11.99 14.7% protein content

Cold Storage definitely is the place to go! lots of choices there!

Justlife - organic food specialty shop. members get 10%.
Brand name : the bites
Organic High Protein Wholemeal Flour 1kg rm10
Organic Wheat Flour Unbleached 1kg rm10
these are listed as product of australia

Brand name : Alce Nero
Wholemeal Spelt 500gm rm15.6 [ouch!]
Wholemeal Kamut 500gm rm17 [ouch!]
listed as product of italy

now you know why i haven't tried spelt nor kamut. they also sell organic active dry yeast 100g rm5.90

Hock Choon - a mini market specializing in imported foods. store in jalan ampang, kuala lumpur.
Brand name : Radiant Whole Food
Organic Bread Flour Unbleached 1kg rm7.75
Organic Wholemeal Bread Flour 1kg rm7.75
Brand name : Harvest King Better for Bread Unbleached White Flour 2.26kg (5 lbs) rm15.55
brandless bread flour 1kg rm3.70
brandless wholemeal bread flour 1kg rm3.70
brandless semolina flour 1kg rmm3.70
i really like hock choon they open early (operating hours 8.30am-8pm), have lots to choose from and prices are reasonable. they even sell italian flour '00', the super fine all purpose flour favoured for italian breads.

Chun Yip - a shop specializing in baking paraphenalia. store in jalan sultan, kuala lumpur.
brandless bread flour 1kg rm3.75
brandless wholemeal bread flour 1kg rm3.75

i believe hock choon and chun yip buy flour in bulk, then pack them in 1kg packs. they don't brand them so there's no info whatsoever on protein content etc. i listed these as brandless flour above.

my favourite of all is hock choon. maybe because i'm an early riser. maybe because they have almost everything you need there. maybe because their prices are good...

there you go! my little summary on where to buy bread flour in malaysia. comments welcomed!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

4 seed bread

hee hee hee. such a rich, heavy and nutritous loaf!

you have to give credit to the guy (or gal) who thought of combining seeds/nuts into bread. the added dimensionality, bite and subtle taste transforms the basic bread into one hell of a nutritious meal!

there are so many variations you could do, depending on what's easily available. first time i'm trying this and i'm already thinking of other combinations. this is another "keeper" and i'm sure we'll be baking this from time to time!

  • 4 cups of flour (since i like rye so much, i used 2 cups of rye + 2 cups of white)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1-2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ~1.5 cups water
  • 1-1.5 cups of seeds (your choice here)

i had some leftover poppy and flax seeds. so went to the store and, to keep the theme consistent, bought some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. so there are 4 types of seeds here!

combine them anyway you like. i had the poppy seeds soaked in warm water for 10 minutes first before adding to the other seeds.

there are 2 ways to mix the seeds into the dough. you could mix all up first, then pour in the yeast + water mixture. or you could add the seeds to a rather active dough which has grown considerably for an hour.

i prefer the latter as i like to knead the dough a little first. you know, make sure all the flour/yeast/salt is pretty well mixed up first. also, to let the yeast grow considerably first.

then spread out the dough (but not flatten), pour the seeds mixture and knead like crazy.

boy, this will be one wet messy dough. it won't be like kneading anymore but more like just stretching the dough. [if you are unsure whether your dough is too dry or too wet, err on the side of wet.] the seeds (especially the smaller poppy and flax) will be everywhere, sticking to your fingers as well. boy, they do have a knack of hiding in the space between your fingers.

but don't worry too much about this. let it be a wet messy mixture. after mixing them up for a few minutes, leave it aside and let the yeast work its magic.

an hour later, you'll find the dough has grown more and has "taken in" the seeds. now it'll be really easy to stretch or do whatever you want with the dough. the seeds won't fall out anymore. they behave!

such a heavy dough, it won't rise much, so forget about looking for big holes in your bread. in fact, it rises pretty slowly...

[i cheated here. i had to leave early so i had the oven heated up to 60 c, then switched off, and placed the dough inside. boy, in 20 minutes, it grew a lot!]

placed at the middle rack of the oven and had it baked 180 c (about 350 f) for 25 minutes.

it's a beautiful loaf and tastes fantastic! you could chew and savour every bite and taste.

i better stop here. got to take another bite!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

rosemary raisin

farmgirl fare introduced me to the excellent pane di ramerino - rosemary raisin bread hailing from tuscany, italy. this recipe's been around since the early 16th century. i hope i get the chance to visit tuscany some day!

the combination of rosemary and raisin is simply awesome! this is one of the favourites here and my wife regularly shares this bread with her work colleagues. smells good, looks good and tastes good! Never had enough to go around!

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • around 1.5-2 cups of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary. if using fresh, go for 2 tablespoons. 
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

i didn't add milk nor eggs. feel free to add them as this would result in a smoother dough.

if you use white flour, you'll get more of the olive oil taste and rosemary flavour. i however prefer wholemeal (i'm a wholegrain nut!) so used a combo of wholemeal plus white flour. this depends on your liking. if you want a lighter dough, go for 3:1 wholemeal to white. if you prefer a heavier dough, go for 2:2 wholemeal to white (as in 2 cups to 2 cups).

[since i wanted to give some to friends, 1 scaled the recipe to 6 cups of flour. used 1.5 cups of raisin. if you maintain the same amount of yeast, it'll just take longer to grow.]

the first few times we did this bread, i had lots of raisins on the surface of the dough and they got slightly burned. burned raisins don't taste good!

to improvise, i now do up the dough first. after kneading (it's much easier to knead without the raisins), wait for 1 hour for it to grow, then i take out the dough, spread out flat (but don't flatten), and put in the raisins. then roll them up like a swiss roll. this way, all the raisins will be inside the dough. when you bite into the bread, you'll bite into juicy plump raisins!

you could also cut up the doughs into smaller sizes then seal them up into rolls. either way you can't go wrong with this recipe.

as you bake, the smell of rosemaryy emanates into your whole house. god! this is awesome!

as this is a pretty rich dough, it won't rise much. from the pic you could see, it expanded more sideways than upwards. it's rich and heavy, brother.

i had it baked in 180 c (about 350 f) for about 30 minutes. until the crust turns into an even lovely golden brown.

it's very difficult to wait for it to cool down! it's truly a test of resolve!