Monday, 28 February 2011

Korean mochi buns

These lovely Korean mochi bread buns came right out of my oven on a late Sunday afternoon.  I wanted to bake something badly, but I didn't have too much time or even the energy to lift up a manual whisk.

To quench my thirst for baking, I turn to this box of premix I received months ago. I emptied one of the two packets of the flour mixture into my mixing bowl, cracked an egg and added it into the bowl with some water. I mixed the mixture with my hand and I noticed that the dough was quite dry. I was tempted to add some more water but kept working away, and eventually I was able to gather up the mixture to form a nice smooth dough. The dough wasn't sticky or oily, it was so easy to work with. I divided the dough into nine equal portions and shaped them into little round balls. I let them rest, covered with cling wrap, while the oven is preheating. Just before I popped them into the oven, I sprinkled some water all over the dough. I suppose this is to make the crust crispy, just like making French breads.

35 minutes later, I was rewarded with a tray of crackly plump balls. Also known as black sesame tapioca rolls (tapioca flour is listed as one of the ingredients), these buns have got a hard but thin crispy crust and the inside was soft and very chewy.

It was the first time I have tasted a Korean mochi bread. The bread is not sweet at all and it doesn't have much flavour except for the black sesame. It is almost like eating a plain but chewy bread roll. They tasted really good when fresh out of the oven, and I would pair it with a cup of latte or something sweet such as hot chocolate or milo.

In case you ask, I have seen similar mochi bread premix ($9+ a box, comes with 2 packs) at the following Korean grocery shops here. To my delight,  I also happened to come across the Korean omija tea (read about it my earlier post here) at these two shops :)

S-Mart (Chinatown Point)
133 New Bridge Road
#01-01 A/B Chinatown Point

Lotte Mart (Bukit Timah)
17 Lorong Kilat
#01-02 Kilat Court

I have also included the recipe here as the instruction printed on the package is in Korean.

Korean mochi bread

(makes 9 bread buns)

250g (1 packet) mochi bread flour mix
1 egg
70ml water

- Mix flour, egg and water in a mixing bowl. Gather to form a soft dough.
- Divide dough into 8 ~ 10 equal portions. Shape into round balls.
- Place doughs on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth, leave to rest for about 15mins.
- Spray the doughs with some water.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180degC for 30~35mins or until golden brown.
Note: These rolls taste best on the day they are made.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

back to the trail head

I am gonna take a huge step back in time...

...that is, back to the trail head of my baking journey.

With a newly acquired oven and a short break from baking, I will have to go back to the beginning, following the trail that I have left behind since I last embarked on my baking journey. I will start from the very basic, moving one step at a time, hopefully by doing so, I am able to learn and re-learn some of the things that I have picked up over the past few years. I wish I could also move out of my comfort zone, be a little more adventurous in trying out new recipes; be brave enough to challenge more advanced techniques, especially those which make my knees wobble before I even got through reading the first three steps of the instructions.

As I move from one milestone to another...making quick breads, cookies before progressing to layered cakes and bread making, I am certain I would take side steps along the way. It is hard to fight off the temptation to replicate mouth-watering desserts that appeared on my screen each time I visit a food blog, it certainly doesn't help that I am a loyal follower to a long list of favourite food bloggers. Thanks to them, they are my daily sources of inspirations, my teachers :)

So here I am, back to the first batch of muffins right out of my oven.

Muffins are one of the first few 'cakes' I learned to bake from cookbooks and online baking sites.  I could still remember reading up on how to achieve the perfect high-domed muffins. Not only are muffins simple and quick to put together, they are also very forgiving and highly adaptable. As long as you stick to some of the fundamental baking rules, you can always play around with the ingredients.

These Mixed Berries Muffins are unique to my baking repertoire though. They are made using the 'creaming method' instead of the usual 'muffin method' which I am more comfortable with. The process of making these muffins is not very different from making cupcakes or butter cakes, where you beat butter and sugar together before adding eggs, milk and fold in the flour to form the batter. 

I baked them using the top and bottom heat function of my Bosch oven. The muffins were baked to a nice golden brown when the cooking time was up. It is great that my new oven comes with a digital timer. The oven will not turn off when the timer beeps. Which is what I prefer. Baking time stated in recipes serves as a guide only, everyone's oven works differently, so we may need to either remove the cake earlier from the oven or leave it to bake a minute or two longer. The oven function is not as limited as it seems. It actually allows you to set it in such a way that you could let it turn on or/and turn off automatically at a specific time, I find this very useful for heating up food or using if to cook food where cooking time is not that critical.

I must confess, although I very much prefer muffins that are made using the muffin method, these are by far the most flavorsome muffins I have ever made. The crumbs are soft, fluffy and buttery, if not for the berries, they taste just like their pretty cupcake cousins. I have lost my sweet tooth totally, even though I had taken the liberty to cut down on the sugar amount, I still find them a little on the sweet side. My children have no complains though.  These little cuppies will go very well with a cup of hot it on a late morning or a lazy afternoon.

Would you care to join me on my baking trail?

Mixed Berries Muffins

(makes 8 muffins)

110g unsalted butter, soften @ room temperature
50g caster sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
50g light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
1 1/2 eggs (large), lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40ml milk
160g plain flour ((original recipe calls for 140g flour, 20g almond powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g blueberries
100g strawberries (optional)

  1. Wash and drain blueberries and strawberries. Cut strawberries into small chunks. Dry berries with paper towels and toss them in 1~2 teaspoons of flour(extra). Set aside.
  2. Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. With an electric whisk, cream butter with sugar till the mixture turns pale, light and fluffy.
  4. Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter.
  5. Add vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  6. Add milk followed by two tablespoons of the flour mixture in Step 2. (The flour mixture is added to prevent the batter from curdling when the milk is added.) Whisk to combine.
  7. Sieve over remaining flour mixture and add in the berries. With a spatula fold the mixture until the flour is just incorporate into the batter. DO NOT over mix. The batter should be thick and not thin and runny.
  8. Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180degC for 25~30 min until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Recipe source: adapted from 初试身手做甜点, 信太康代

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

1st bake of the year

I thought I have lost it....

but it came back...

I have taken a long break from blogging. It has been months since I last baked something. Even a brand new oven failed to tempt me. It was left cold, seating in the cabinet for 2 months since it was installed. It was left untouched most of the time, except for the occasional visitors...without fail, anyone who came to visit my newly renovated kitchen would open the oven door to take a peep ;)

Baking is the last thing I had in mind for the past few months. I was left alone to tackle the humongous task of packing, unpacking, shifting...not forgetting the endless 'cleaning sessions'. The entire process, has reunited me with every single corner of my house! I have also been taking my own sweet time to unpack the 30 over boxes of stuff. It could take me one whole morning to find the 'right home' for each single item in just one box. I spent quiet moments, looking through all the keepsakes which I have been keeping over the years. I am also suffering from the 'new house syndrome'...being over zealous in trying to keep the house pristine clean. I hope I am able to get over it really really soon!

All the cleaning, scrubbing, and endless chores has taken its toll on me. I was in no mood to bake anything and nothing seems to inspire me. I even harboured the idea of giving up blogging altogether. Leaving the blogosphere as quietly as I have entered it four years ago.

It was one of those spur-of-the-moment thingy when I gave the new comer a thorough clean up.  Once I turned on the oven for the first time, the 'sparks' that I have been waiting for has finally ignited my passion for baking.

My first bake of the year is this Strawberry Galette. It is nothing new to me. I tried making it when I first saw it over at Laurreen's blog, Eat and Be Happy, except that mine is a far cry from hers ;)

This strawberry galette(French free form tart) is the right choice for a first bake from a new oven. It is very simple to put together and I would say it is not that sensitive to the oven temperature as compared to a chiffon cake. I adapted the recipe from joyofbaking and replaced some of the plain flour with wholemeal ones. It is a delightful dessert, best served freshly baked over a cup of tea. You also get to enjoy the wonderful aroma when it is baking in the oven. My clueless kid came to ask me what our neighbour was cooking when he smelt something really nice from the living room. It has been so long that he has already forgotten the familiar buttery fragrance that used to fill our kitchen :')

The next time I were to make this again, I would use more strawberries, I only used slightly half a punnet, stingy me! See, there is always a 'next time'. I believe it is this exact 'next time' mentality that keeps me going. There is always something I could improve upon and done better the next time.

Strawberry Galette

125g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
113g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons ice water

1 punnet (250g) strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch

1 egg plus1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar

1. Mix plain flour, wholemeal flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. With finger tips rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (It is important that the butter be cold so when it is cut into the flour mixture it becomes small, flour-coated crumbs. I use a fork to work the butter into the dry ingredients. If the butter starts to melt away during this process, stop and place the mixture in the freezer for 10-15 mins to prevent the butter from melting further. Continue the process when the mixture is well chilled.)

2. Add the ice water and mix until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Pat the dough into a round disc, place in a plastic bag or cover with cling wrap and leave it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax.

3. Wash the strawberries, remove the stems and cut into halves or thick slices. Toss the sliced strawberries with the sugar and cornstarch.

4. To prevent the dough from sticking to work surface, roll out the chilled dough in between 2 plastic sheets or parchment papers to a 11" round. Transfer the pastry to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

5. Layer the strawberries, overlapping each other in a circle on the dough, leaving a 1"~2" border. Fold the edges over the strawberries. Brush the dough with egg wash. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake in preheated oven at 200degC for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden browned.

Recipe source: adapted from and very inspired by Eat and Be Happy.