Friday, 15 January 2010

做面包真简单, Really?!!

One thing leads to another.

During our stay at the service apartment in Beijing, we had our complimentary breakfast at the lobby every morning. The spread was not fantastic but I was quite happy with it since my usual breakfast at home is nothing more than 2 slices of bread and a cup of coffee. Two weeks down the road, I got tired of the ham, sausages, hard boil eggs and porridge. So I went for the cereals. I have never liked cereals, especially muesli. But those available at the breakfast counter were quite 'kids-friendly', ie cereals for kids. Since I have not had any corn flakes for ages, it was a nice surprise to find them so crunchy and tasty! I like it so much that I had to get a box of corn flakes right after we got back to Singapore.

Since it is the start of the school term, I found myself wondering into the local get some assessment books for the kids. As usual, before heading to the assessment book section, I spent some time browsing the cookbooks on the shelves. There were quite a number of new books, and I was able to pick up 4 books within a few minutes. One was on bread making, one on sushi making, one on Chinese buns and dim sum, and another on everyday simple meals. I wanted to buy all four, but in the end, I bought only one...and it is no surprise that I chose the one on bread making. Every single recipe in this book, 做面包真简单  (making bread is easy), looks good to me!

By the time I got home, I have already decided that the first recipe I would try from this cookbook would be the loaf bread covered with corn flakes! However, after reading through the ingredients, I realised that it is made with this drink "Calpico". I googled and learned that it is quite similar to Yakult or Vitagen. Since I hardly see this product on the local supermarket shelves,  I would made do with Vitagen.

Just when I was almost ready to give the recipe a go, I received an email with links to video clips showing how iron powder can be extracted from fortified corn flakes (see here). It certainly makes me think twice about having corn flakes! Nevertheless, I still went ahead with my bread making ;)

Little did I know that it took me three attempts to get the bread right! On my first attempt, I used my bread machine to do the kneading, the dough was still very sticky after 30mins of kneading. I made a 'clever' decision to add a tablespoon of flour to the dough and let the machine run for another 10mins. The dough was still sticky and very soft. Since I was rushing to get my other chores done, I took the dough out and left it to proof. After 30mins there was still no 'activity'. The dough didn't rise and it became a sticky, slacken mess. It was then that I realised I could have let the machine over-knead the dough. I was left with no choice but to dump it into the thrash bin. Undeterred by the failure, I went on to prepare another portion right after. I placed all the necessary ingredients into the bread machine, but the kneading blade couldn't move. The machine must have been over-heated and it had refused to start work again. The only way to get around was to knead it by hand. My next half an hour was then spent working hard on the dough. It was quite a wet dough indeed, but soon it became smooth and elastic and no long sticks to my hand. My hard work didn't really paid off though :( The yeast didn't work this time! The first rise took more than 2hrs, and the second proofing took another 2hrs, and yet the dough didn't even come up near the rim. Despite a 'shorter' loaf, the bread tasted quite good.

Two days later, I made another attempt. I bought a fresh bottle of yeast and I made the dough by hand again. This time, the yeast was working so well that within 30mins, the dough had already doubled in size.

The second proofing took no longer than 30mins as well. While waiting for the oven to preheat, the dough had rose over the rim!

Here's a comparison of the two loaves...the one on the left didn't proof well...

look at the vast difference in height between the two!

Although this bread does not have super soft and cottony texture, it is very delicious and smells good especially when it was baking in the oven, I could smell corn flakes! My kids love the bread, it has a slight sweet taste and the corn flakes gave an interesting texture to the crust.

I am sharing the recipe with all of you who loves making and eating bread. I hope this recipe will not disappoint anyone of you who are keen to give it a try. Happy baking!

Corn Flakes Bread Loaf
(makes one 7" x 4" x 4" loaf)

300g bread flour
6g instant yeast
18g caster sugar
6g salt
9g milk powder
150g lukewarm water
35g vitagen
20g egg
30g unsalted butter
some corn flakes, crushed
egg wash (mix 1 tbs egg with 1 tbs water)

  1. Stir bread flour, caster sugar, salt, milk powder and instant yeast in a mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add in water, egg and vitagen. Mix the ingredients with hand and slowly form into a dough.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until the dough comes together and becomes smooth, about 10mins. (The dough will be quite wet and sticky initially.)
  4. Knead the butter into the dough. The dough will become greasy, wet and sticky again. Continue to knead for about 10 - 20 mins until the dough no longer sticks to your hand, becomes smooth and elastic. Do the window pane test: pinch a small portion of the dough, pull and stretch it. It should be elastic, and can be pulled away into a thin membrane without tearing/breaking apart.
  5. Place dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide into 2 equal portion, about 290g each. Roll into rounds. Cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let the doughs rest for 10mins.
  7. Flatten each dough into a small disc and roll each into a rectangular shape, about 12" x 7". Roll up from the shorter side (7') swiss-roll style to form a log, pinch and seal the seam.
  8. Place crushed corn flakes on a tray. Brush the top of the doughs with the egg wash and roll it over the crushed corn flakes.
  9. Place doughs in a greased loaf pan (7" x 4" x 4"). Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 30mins, or until the doughs almost reach the rim of the loaf pan.
  10. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 deg C for 35 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Let cool completely before slicing. To help the bread stay fresh store in airtight container.
Recipe source: adapted from 做面包真简单, 太 田ひとみ


Pei-Lin said...

Dear HHB,

The bread looks so good!! The corn flakes gave it such a nice golden tone! Definitely a bread that kids will go for ... CORN FLAKES!!

I've gotta say, I find myself lurking around the cookbook section each time I visit bookstore! Arrggghh ... That's made me broke, LOL!


Irene's Footprints said...

How long was the whole process? The bread looks good ....plain or toasted shd be nice.

: )

Khadija El Mary (Mamatkamal) said...

Very nice bread! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Photographer Leia said...

This looks delicious and your photographs make it even more appetizing. I will try making this tomorrow :) Thankfully I know of a substitute for vitagent that I can find locally.

Pity said...

delicious and beautiful, it looks spongy and tasty, cheers

Blessed Homemaker said...

Interesting bread but the video kinda deters me from buying more cornflakes for my kids (they love cornflakes) hahaha! I've shortlisted a few bread recipes from your blog but haven't gotten my motor started on bread making again.

tracieMoo said...

the bread looks lovely! I've never had cornflakes bread. It looks so good. Absolutely perfect for breakfast!

Quinn said...

Oh My God!!!!! The iron in cornflakes is scary to me. We don't usually buy store bought cereals anyway so I hope I'm safe.... Anyway, it's the yeast playing trick on you apparently. I admire your diligence and preserverance. Three freaking times!!!! Not everyone would be that diligent, especially me. I'd just tried another time and if it fail, I'll just blame it on the recipe. Bad bad me!

Anonymous said...

It looks like the third time was indeed the charm for you! This loaf looks well worth your effort and perseverance though- I imagine it'll be perfect with Nutella. Mmm.

MaMely said...

The loaves look so good. The cornflakes toppings made the crusts so beautiful! BTW, can you tell me what vitagent is?
Thank you!!

Aimei said...

Looks like the problem lies with the yeast? Really admire your perserverance. ;)

Oh no I'm planning to make cornflake cookies this cny leh! hehe...

Oh would like to ask you non-baking related. How did you make your banner on your blog so big? I tried making the banner but can't get it so big.

MH said...

I was in shock after viewing the video! Luckily, my kids are not corn flakes lovers, but honey star & KoKo Crunch. But, I wonder whether these 2 cereals also contain the same thing....!!! Got to try and see what happen!

Hey, using vitagen in bread making is something new! Thanks for your recipe! BTW, I won't have the heart and patience to try 2 attempt in a day! ;)

For yeast, may I suggest you keep it in the "freezer door" compartment? That's what I do most of the time and so far, I don't face the problem of "dying" yeast in any of my bread making! [Touchwood! ;)]

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Irene, it took me from afternoon to night to get the 2nd loaf out of the oven :'(

Hi MaMely, vitagen is a kind of cultured milk drink, you can hop over here for details (

Hi Aimei, I find my banner too big, I am trying to reduce it, but so far have yet to find a suitable image! The reason why you can't increase the size of your header image is because of the blogger template you are using. You will have to tweak the html code in the template. You will need to change the height of the header, refer this site ( to see how you can make the changes. Hope it works :)

Hi MH, yes, it is very disturbing! you never know what goes into the food we eat!

I have not stored my yeast in the freezer compartment, thanks for the tip, will move it there right away! Tell u what, I am going to try making some Chinese red bean buns soon, wish me luck!

Harry said...

Hi, I was looking for interesting cakes for my 21st birthday on the internet and I came across your blog. I'm really impressed by your culinary skills and thought if I am fortunate enough get to purchase a cake from you. If you are willing to help me, please kindly send me an email. Thank you so much.

Cosy Bake said...


Nice to see you blogging your bake again! I have never been a corn flakes eater.... Neither I ever use it for baking. Thanks for sharing the video! 2 days ago, I was in the same bread making experience like you. I was making the Animal An Pan dough and it didn't rise a bit! So I suspected it's my yeast that's died. So I open up my newly bought organic yeast. The result was just like yours after using the lively yeast. I'll keep the yeast in the fridge....

Anonymous said...


really admire your perseverance in baking! for me, i tend to give up after i failed in my first attempt unless i really like the recipe.

Kitchen Corner said...

Your bread always looks very very good! Really admire all your good works! I should learn more from you. Thanks for sharing it!

Our Precious said...

Hi HHB, u've inspired me again :)
I'll try this out this evening... hopefully it will nt drag till midnite ;P

chun said...

Yum! I haven't made bread in a long while! Me and husband moved near the end of last year and we had just been busy settling in ^^; Wish you a great 2010 ahead, and I hope you keep baking and having fun with it :)

Anonymous said...

wow! your bread looks so yummy to eat! i give up making bread as most of the time it doesn't raise. may i know what type of yeast you use and where to get it?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Harry, thanks for your comment. Sorry, I am not a professional baker, I am not qualified to sell my bakes ^_^" There are many professional bakers who sell their homemade cakes, I am sure you can get someone who can help you.

Hi Honey Boy, I kept the yeast in the fridge but not in the freezer compartment, so maybe that is why it was died :(

Hi Octopusmum, this is the first recipe I tried from a book I bought (I usually borrow books from library), so I guess I had to make sure it really works if not I won't be able to proceed to try the other recipes from the book ;)

Hi Grace, I don't have the skills, I simply follow everything from cookbooks, I am just lucky to have a 'baking fairy' in my kitchen :')

Hi Our Precious, just make sure your yeast is active, good luck and happy baking!

Thanks Chun!

Hi Jo, I use the brand Bake King. You can get it at NTUC or cold storage outlets.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

It's interesting how you compare the 2 loaves using the "freshness" of the yeast. Somehow I like how the first loaf's crust all nicely browned outside. ;) But the 2nd loaf was really tall! I guess you prefer the latter. Was there a baking time difference in these 2 loaves? But anyway, just as life is, I guess you can't have it all....great looking bread loaves. I so miss baking bread now...since I'm staying with in-laws and they make it known to me no bread making....very messy! :P

Pei-Lin said...

Dear HHB,

I've passed an award on to you. Please hop over to my blog to get it.


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Honey Bee Sweets, you noticed the difference! I wanted to mention this in my post, but somehow forgot about it! It has got to do with my oven! For the first loaf, since it is not so tall (within the bread tin), it was nicely browned all over, For the 2nd loaf, it was so tall (over the rim) the top was just an inch below the heating element of my small oven. I had no choice but to cover the top with foil to prevent it from getting burnt, and I took it out when the top was golden brown, but apparently the sides are not as browned.
I don't find bread making messy, I only used up one quarter of my dinning table to knead the dough. You can line the table with cling wrap before kneading, maybe that way it won't look messy? and you only need a mixing bowl and your hands. I hope you can convince them that making bread is not as troublesome as what most people would think. You make very good breads, it will be a pity if you cannot continue to make them.

Hi Pei Lin dear, thanks for the award!!!

Bakericious said...

Hi HHB, i ve posted your recipes in my blog and linked to your blog as well, hope you are ok with it. thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hello HHB,

I am so lucky to stumble upon your blog. I have a question regarding baking muffins. When you mention muffin cups, are they the same as muffin tins? I have been trying to bake with those muffin liners, the sort you used for your banana and chocolate muffin but always fail!!!! It overflows and doesn't cook properly. I thought maybe it's my recipe so I thought I will try baking with those cups using a pre-mix muffin from the box and it still fail!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I do not have muffin tins, I use paper muffin cups, those that I have posted under the banana and chocolate muffins.
How much batter did you fill the paper cups? I usually fill it to slightly more than 3/4 full. So far I have not encountered any problem with over flow. May I ask what do you mean when you mention 'doesn't cook properly'? Were the muffins over bake or under bake? It could be due to the oven temperature, do ensure your oven is pre-heated to the recommended temperature before baking. Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

I was very inspired by your bread that i have tried a few such as Hokkaido bread and my hubby love the Cornflake the most. I make it with a little twist, since u said its not very soft. I adjust by combining cream, lukewarm water and fresh milk to replace the single 150gm lukewarm water and the add more vitagen:). It was very soft inside and crunchy outside. I didn't make bread loaf but just roll it into small bun with filling. It was very nice and aromatic because of vitagen...thanks for the recipe..

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for sharing! I am sure with the cream, the bread will be very soft, what a great idea! The other recipe that I like is the "Bacon & Cheese loaf", the dough is very easy to work with, yet it remains soft for more than 2 days, I like to play around with the ingredients, instead of Bacon & Cheese, I have tried it with raisins, sometimes, I will add mixed spice, or simply use it as a base to make a green tea loaf :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there, how long do these bread usually last? Can it last 2-3 days ? Or need to put I'm fridge? Thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, the bread can last for 2 nights kept in air tight container under room temp. Unless you freeze it, I think bread will dry up if left in fridge?