Sunday, 22 July 2012

back to work

It took me a while to get back to making bread. I thought I would be churning out loaf after loaf of bread when I bought my new bread machine, instead I have been making simple stir and bake cakes more regularly that ever. Even though making a batch of bread buns is not as difficult as it seems, it does take up a fair bit of least 3 hrs from gathering the ingredients to retrieving a tray of freshly baked buns from the oven. It needs proper time management and planning ahead, so that I won't end up in a situation that I need to get out of the house to run errands or to go fetch my child from school while the dough is ready for shaping into rounds.

I finally got down to make some bread buns last week, and that was when 'suddenly' the reality hit me that I may have to spend less time on baking in the future...

I have been keeping my digital to-do list on my phone diligently, whenever I am at a lost or couldn''t make up my mind what to bake it will come in very handy. First on my list is none other than Coffee Buns or better known as Roti Boy or Mexican Bread Buns. While the usual roti boy bread buns come with a buttery filling, I decided to skip it since I have yet to find a recipe that uses much lesser fat. We could do without the filling extra fat as I was very confident that the tangzhong bread buns would taste great even when eaten plain.

I love how these coffee buns or coffee cookies buns (as they were covered with a layer of cookie dough) turned out. These buns were delicious even without the filling. They were not as greasy as the ones I bought from the bakery, but it would be better if the coffee flavour was stronger. They smell really good though especially when they were baking in the oven.

As usual, the tangzhong dough didn't disappoint me, the texture of the bread was very soft. After taking the first bite...for the first time...I felt proud of myself that I have come 'so far'. I can still remember the very first batch of bread buns I made several years ago, they looked so horribly out of shape that I could feel my stomach cringe every time I was reminded of them whenever someone left me a comment on that particular post. Everything is self taught, from baking to taking pictures. Even though I have not moved beyond baking simple cakes and buns, at least my shaping skills have improved and I am able to take slightly better pictures compared to six years ago. Yes, my learning curve is definitely much longer than most who started their baking journey even much later than me. Yet, I truly enjoyed this slow learning process, taking my own sweet time to explore the world of baking and doing what I like.

I hardly buy cut-flowers but when I saw these lovely flowers looking so fresh at the florist stall, I couldn't help but to part away a couple of dollars for a stalk. That single stalk has enough flowers to fill up my tiny vase :) I have bread to feed my body and I have flowers to feed my soul, what more could I ask...

Back to the title of this post...

I will be going back to work. It is not a full time job and I get to work from home. No, the job I have been offered has got nothing to do with baking. It is a 'regular' freelance, home-based job and I'll get to earn some pocket money which I could spend on baking ingredients :) I will probably not be able to update my blog as regularly but I will still continue to bake, at least once a week, I hope...

Coffee Cookie Buns
(makes 10)

tang zhong (water-roux):
25g bread flour
125ml water

bread dough:
210g bread flour
56g cake flour
20g milk powder
42g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g instant yeast

30g egg, lightly beaten
85g water
84g tang zhong (water-roux)*

22g unsalted butter

50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
50g egg, lightly beaten
50g cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon warm water


to make topping:
* Dissolve instant coffee powder with the warm water, mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.
* Beat the butter with caster sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg one teaspoon at a time, beat well after each addition (add in egg gradually to prevent the mixture from curdling). Add in the coffee mixture gradually, beat well after each addition. Sieve over the cake flour. Mix with a spatula until just combined. Transfer topping into piping bag fixed with pipping nozzle (round tip). Let the topping chill in the fridge until needed. Remove from fridge about 5~10mins earlier before use to allow the topping to soften a little.

to make tang zhong:
* Place 25g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 125ml water, mix till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with a hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 mins, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. The 65degC tang zhong is ready. Immediately transfer the hot tang zhong into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.

to knead dough by bread machine:
* Place water, egg, tang zhong (use 84g), sugar, salt, bread flour, cake flour, milk powder in the pan of the bread machine (according to the sequence as stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine). Make an indentation on the flour and add in the instant yeast. Select the Dough function of the bread machine and press start. Leave the lid of the machine open (this is to prevent over heating). After about 10mins of kneading, add in the 22g of butter. Let the machine continue to knead the dough. After the kneading cycle has stopped (20mins), Stop and Restart the machine. Continue to let the machine knead for another 20mins. Remove dough from the bread pan. (Note: refer this post for instructions on how to knead dough by hand.)

* Grease hands with some vegetable oil (this helps to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands). Remove dough from bread machine. Shape into a smooth round. Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.

* Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions (about 55g each). Roll each dough into smooth rounds and place on a greased (or lined with parchment paper) baking tray. Space doughs two inches apart to allow them to expand. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 30~40mins, or until double in size.

* Pipe topping onto each dough. Make sure to cover the entire surface with the topping.

* Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 15 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to wire track to let cool. Once cool, store immediately in an airtight container. Best served warm (re-heat in oven if necessary before serving).

Recipe source: 65度C汤种面包, 陈郁芬 and 我的幸福手作面包,李成实


Kimmy said...

Congrats you found a new job. Will miss your posting which I look forward to read. Enjoy your new endeavour. BTW, I bake roti boy before but the crust doesn't stay crispy on the next day. Why?

The Experimental Cook said...

whew! I thought you'd leave blogging forever. I like your posts, all of them!

MH said...

Glad to hear you've found a part-time job :)

Your lst bake of sweet buns looked ok to me. Don't be disheartened. Your skills and photo-taking have improved so much over the years,继续加油!

Simply bakes said...

Hi HHB! Congrats on your new job!! Its always better to earn a few extra bucks yeah?:) And yes, i totally agree that through these baking journeys making different things each time, your skills do improve and such satisfaction is really great. It is so good of you to be able to explain your feelings to the readers so well! :D Thanks for the inspirations:D

CY said...

Good luck with your new work, I'm sure any extra penny helps, especially if it means you can shop at bakery shops more often! :)

Anonymous said...

Jia you, HHB! I love your blog alot! :)

Joyce @ Chunky Cooky said...

Congrats on ur new job ! A free lance job is always nice, having the luxury of working at ur comfort zone.. And yes, I do agree that the Roti Boy is very oily ... and yours definitely is a healthy variation of it !

Small Small Baker said...

When I read the title, I thought you will be back to working full-time. :) The coffee buns looks really soft. I must try tangzhong someday!

PiggyMummy said...

So happy for you!
And the buns look so yummy!

mj said...

Hi HHB, happy for you that that you hv found freelance work & earning extra income, but sad that we will be seeing less of you! Your blog is inspirational & therapeutic!

Kitchen Corner said...

Congrats! You've got something to do yet able to earn some pocket money. how I wish I could do so.
I still find tang zhong method is the best for me so far. it won't go wrong. Your coffee bun shows how good it is :) really temping to bake some one of these day. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your work!

Passionate About Baking said...

Oh wow! You're going back to work? It's good to be able to work from home, and manage the household chores and keep an eye on your children. It's the best of all worlds! Enjoy your new work!
Btw, I wasn't successfully with tangzhong method, so I've not tried it since then. Your coffee bun looked really good. :)

Edith said...

Nice buns! Going to miss your post.

Happy Homebaker said...

Kimmy, the crust softened probably due to the humidity. do you use any shortening for the topping? Some recipes use shortening, I believe it helps to keep the crust crisp.

Happy Homebaker said...

The Experimental Cook, thanks for reading :)

Thanks MH!

Simply bakes, actually my writing sucks, I am never good at writing ^^!

CY, at least I don't have to always use the cheapest ingredients!

SSB, do give it a try!

PiggyMummy, thanks, but it just means more work ;)

mj, thanks for your encouraging words, makes me feel that my effort to put together a post is really worth it :):)

Grace, thanks for taking time to drop me a note, I know how busy you are.

Jane, I wish I can feel as positive, but I think it means I have to work non-stop ;) Good luck on your next attempt in making tangzhong!

Edith, hope you have fully recovered, read your latest post, take care and try not to over work.

Anonymous said...

HHB, have been following your blog for years, just want to wish you the best in your new role :)


Cosy Bake said...

Yeh, nice to ean some pocket money..
I am doing freelance teaching too. Feeling good to do something I love and get to earn small money, like you said to buy our baking tools.

Janine said...

congrats on going back to part time work, and i do hope you still post often because i love reading your posts!

emma's mummy said...


I just picked up baking bread for my three girls. Saw your link at blessed homemaker's blog (her youngest girl is the same age as my oldest one).

Love your blog a lot. Read it daily, on breads making. Love all of your thoughts to perfect bread, especially a soft/durable/good crust bread. Hehe.....told my husband that I am in a technical full time job for almost 12 years and still doing, I got very much inspirations from reading your blog daily.

Btw, I didn't eat bread at young. Now I was much influenced by you and take one slice of bread at office pantry daily.

Enjoy !

Kimmy said...

Thanks HHB, can't remember if there is shortening used. May be I'll try yours to see if it stays crispy.

Happy Homebaker said...

Kimmy, mine also softened when the buns were left overnight. what I did was, I warm them in the oven, once heated, the crust becomes crispy again :)

sherlyn said...

My love - Roti Boy. Wait till I get my engine up. I am certain I need refresher course from you (on baking). You offer? :)
Congrats on your new homebased job. I wished for one for many years but now let me get my hands on the hobbies and my life back into routine first.
Your Roti looks like those selling outside, but has very soft fluffy inside. :)

Anonymous said...

hi, i am still beginner in baking but i luv to view ur blog so much!! can get some advice from u? izit bread flour same as high protein flour? want to try this recipe but getting confuse in preparing the ingredient... :) thanks in advance..


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sharon, yes, bread flour is same as high protein flour, usually about 13~14% protein level.

AgentShabbir said...

This looks soo great, and the coffee favor sounds delicious!

ginavi said...

thank you for being such an inspiration...

Kimmy said...

Hi HHB, I baked these buns upon request by my dear nephew. He likes it very much. Hope you wouldn't mind if I link your post to mine.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Kimmy, glad to hear that your nephew likes these :) It is my pleasure to have u link me up :)

Anonymous said...

Dear HHB..I tried your recipe. I followed closely recipe ingredients except the topping which I substitute margarine instead of unsalted butter. It taste good when fresh from oven but tbe topping turns damp the next day. Is it because I used maargarine that contains salt?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Rachel, I don't think it is the margarine...likely it is due to our humidity.
Did you store them in air tight container? If the topping turns damp, just warm them in the oven and it will become crisp again.

Unknown said...

Hi HHB, my love Rotiboy!! Can I leave the dough in the fridge overnight, the next morning then I pipe the cream and bake??

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi,I have not tried leaving the dough overnight as sucn I can't comment on this.

Unknown said...

Hello HHB, made this today cos my gal loves coffee Mexico bread at the bread ships. The smell's heavenly when the bread was baking in the oven. Just wanted to drop u a note to thank u for the recipe 4 years after u posted this!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Joy, happy to hear that your bread turned out well and thanks for taking time to leave your kind words :)