Sunday, September 20, 2009

another version of wholemeal ciabatta

aha! i'm getting a hang of mr bertinent's technique here.

stretch and fold, stretch and fold...

this time, used up to 70% wholemeal and 30% white flour. the crust is simply delicious!

Friday, September 18, 2009

build your own jewellery case

inspired by the designspongeonline's diy contest winner, i just got to build one for our own usage!

here's angie johnson's jewellery case.

this is done using ikea's fira chest.

cost only rm49 from ikea and if you need more drawers, just add to it!

when i purchased from ikea, i was surprised to see that the plywood is actually from russia.

now even though i'm based in malaysia here, it's extremely difficult to purchase good quality plywood. the good ones are usually exported! leaving only inferior grade plywood with lots of voids for local usage. grrrr!!!!!

so it's nice to know the plywood used here doesn't have any void.

so after 2 rounds of staining (used gel- based teakwood stain) and 2 coats of satin polyurethane finish, here's mine!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

wholemeal via mr bertinent's technique

in a previous blog, i mentioned about using richard bertinent's technique to "stretch and fold" the very wet dough rather than (trying to) knead it. i tried his recipe using a biga and made a ciabatta out of white flour. the crust was really good, as mr bertinent said it would. the bread was full of holes inside. there's a lot to like about this bread except that... it's made out of white flour!

so i redid this bread but this time with wholemeal. actualy the biga portion is wholemeal while the rest is white flour.

i made a slash on top but as it baked, it rosed so much the slash "made its way" to the left instead. that's why you see the "crack" there.

as you could see, there's lots of volume! this is from just 750gm of flour.

previously when i tried his cibatta, i made a mess out of all the wet dough. well mr bertinent did mention that if your environment is hot and humid, you should use less 20gm of water. hey! hot and humid, that's malaysia!

so i retried this method but with 20gm less water. it could be because of wholemeal or just less water as this time, the dough came together quite well. i was able to get a good handle on it and "worked" the dough via stretch-fold, stretch-fold, stretch-fold...

and the crust... awesome! smells good and tastes even better!

has less holes than using white flour but then this isn't surprising as there's about 40% wholemeal flour here.

can't wait to try with 70% wholemeal flour this weekend!

Monday, September 7, 2009

enjoyed 2 movies here

enjoyed 2 awesome movies lately.

the first, courtesy of my neighbour, The World's Fastest Indian.

now Indian here refers to the bike. we all know that Harley Davidson comes from the US of A but there's another bike manufacturer there, and that's the Indian motorbikes.

the movie is based on a real person though the story's dramatized but what really happened was Burt Munro did set a land speed record which still stands today!

played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie, Burt was 68 years old and riding a 47 year old modified Indian. No joke.

whenever i come across my peers complaining about their age (or imagined age related ailments), i want to ask them to watch this movie!

you are only as old as you feel.

the only movie is from japan and relates the "career" of a "encoffinment" job. the english title of the movie is "departure" while its japanese title is "okuribito".

as death is considered a taboo topic in japan, the career of the protagonist wasn't well received by his wife and friends but he persevered as i realized though it's a difficult job, it's satisfying for him as well.

watch the movie to see how beautiful this ceremony is. it shouldn't be surprising that rituals are big in japan and this movie shows how japanese places great emphasis on rituals.

as the movie progresses and people around the protagonist start to accept and respect him for his job, he finally had the chance to make peace with his estranged dad.

though the movie deals with the topic of preparing the dead for burial, there's so much more about life that you could learn from watching it.

so here you go. 2 movies we enjoyed tremendously here and these are, in essence, a celebration of life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

reached an impasse in bread baking so have to try new ground

i have reached an impasse in my bread baking. been baking for about a year now but have stopped experimenting with new stuffs. been using the same basic recipe over and over again.

so need to try new stuffs.

it so happened that i bought 2 books on bread baking recently during the book fair organized by popular about a week ago. kuala lumpur bookworms have been having one hell of a time as there have been so many book fairs etc. i have acquired more than ten books in the past few months and have had hell of a journey devouring them!

one of the bread book i bought and just finished reading is richard bertinent's crust.

this book was sold at half price (hardcover!). it comes with a dvd too as no amount of text written could describe better the techniques used by mr bertinent than watching him in action.

and so, i tried one of the recipes in his book.

baked the ciabatta...

of course, this is all done with white flour, not my favourite at all, as i'm for wholemeal bread.

followed the recipe to a tee, as i wanted to see how it would turn out in the end.

mr bertinent recommends to weigh all ingredients (even water) rather than use spoons or cups as this is far more accurate. but he also acknowledged that some adjustments have to be made to cater for your local environment, say it's a hot sunny day or a cool rainy day etc.

now this ciabatta consists of 2 parts, a biga and then the real thing. this biga is unlike previous biga i did before, as it's a lot drier and consists more than 1/3 of the flour.

instead of the usual kneading, mr bertinent recommends the "stretch and fold" technique. it's quite interesting but could be very very messy as we are dealing with a very wet dough here. i do agree him that wet doughs still turn out better bread than dry doughs even dry doughs are easier to handle/knead.

needless to say, i made a mess on my kitchen top. got wet gooey dough all over the place!

the other difference in technique is that mr bertinent prefers to preheat the loaf pan to 250c and sprays mists of water into the oven to create steam. something which i never tried before! he suggests to preheat the oven to 250c, then once you place the dough in, let it bake for 5 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 220c for an additional 20 minutes.

compare to my tried and tested 180c over 40 minutes, this is interesting!

well... after all the work... i can say the result is worthwhile!

please forgive the pics. took with my phone as can't resist taking a bite! 
look at the holes! look at the beautiful holes!
look at the crust! look at the beautiful crust!
even wifey agrees this is a wonderful bread. smells lovely and the crust is just heavenly...
my only complaint is that white bread absolutely sucks! so will be trying the same recipe but with wholemeal bread this weekend.
stay tuned...