Sunday, December 20, 2009

current favourite bread recipe

have been baking over 30 loaves with this recipe and absolutely love it!

baked various types too, ranging from rosemary raisin to multi-seed to 100% whole wheat. and this recipe just works great. no wonder richard bertinent says it's his favourite bread recipe.

actual recipe is for a ciabatta but found that could be used for all types of breads. it's a very wet dough so you need a dough knife/scraper as well as the "stretch and fold" technique shown by mr bertinent in this video here.

350gm flour
180gm water
2gm instant yeast  (i use less than 1/4 teaspoon)

baking day
450gm flour 
360gm water
50gm olive oil  (okay to use less)
10gm instant yeast  (i use slightly less than 1 teaspoon)
15gm salt  (i use only 11gm)

mix all the ingredients of the ferment and let it sit for 17-24 hours. it's quite a dry ferment as it's only 50% hydration. if it's too dry, add a bit more water. try 2 tablespoon each time.

mix everything on baking day, then "stretch and fold". it's a very very wet dough so you definitely need a dough knife.

do not flour the work surface. the dough will stick somewhat to the surface but as you work on it, it slowly gains shape and less and less of it sticks to the table. [watch the video!]

let it prove for an hour, then divide and prepare to bake!

the oven should be pre-heated to 250c. before placing dough in, squirt at least 15-20 times of water into the oven to create enough steam.

place dough in and squirt another few times. 5 minutes later, reduce heat to 220c and bake for additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

note, no honey/sugar is used but bread still has a golden hue. this is due to the natural solutions developed during the fermentation process.

mr bertinent recommends 20gm less water for rainy days (humid weather) but his recipe is all white flour. if you use whole wheat, you may use same amount of water. when i bake with 100% whole wheat flour, the consistency feels a bit "dry". it's still a wet dough by any standards but after working with wet dough, this feels a little "dry"!

there you go. enjoy this recipe! enjoy the crust, the most delicious bread crust!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

japanese women don't get old or fat

read this book few months back. thought it's relevant to comment.

japanese women don't grow old or fat

if you are foreign to the asian diet, then you should read it. otherwise like all asian diets, the japanese diet is rich in rice, vegetables, bean proudcts and lean in meat.

what differs from other asian culture is that
  • the japanese do not view meat as the main dish. veggies are the main dish. meat is secondary. and when meat is consumed, it's usually sliced very thin, just for the flavour.
  • the japanese consumes lots of seafood due to the buddhist belief of not consuming land based animals, given a choice.
nothing new really. we know this already but the first point of treating veggies as the main dish is something new to me. i believe this is where many asian food culture is wrong to treat meat as the main dish. this thinking alone, i believe, contributes to the much lower cardiovascular related diseases in japan.

the other thing to notice is that the author also feels that despite the japanese diet is working well, some tweaking is still necessary. incidence of stomach and colon cancer is very high in japan and it is believed due to the high amount of salt intake. hey, shoyu (japanese soy sauce), miso etc are all high in salt.

and when you consume meat, naturally salt will be added. perhaps not directly but indirectly through seasoning, soy sauce, fish sauce etc.

so all in all, this book worked for me as it taught me not to regard meat as central during meal time and also go slow on salt intake.