Archive

Breads

NO more excuses. I haven’t had any new posts for the longest time and the procrastination has just got to stop. I figured I’d write a post that summarized the baking I did last month (August).. and yes, before this month ends. Ok, I give up. I do have excuses. Work. Stress. Laziness. And new projects. Ahh, I got you there, didn’t I? I have been working on a new project with a friend recently and of course a post on that will come a little later. You will see what I have been up to this whole month. Pretty exciting stuff. Just wait!

But for now.. this baking post! I actually made different types of goodies last month. Though I have my project on finding the best cupcake recipes, I still made sure to try out new recipes and experiment.

1. Red Velvet Cake
Made this for the newly weds of the family, my brother and my sister-in-law, Jaymee. Check out my post about the food from the reception and watch the cutest wedding video ever! For the cake, I wanted to make red velvet since it’s Jaymee’s favorite. I wanted to make it extra special since it was my wedding gift to them. After finding this recipe, I stumbled upon another blog that gave me the cutest idea: using stencils to put letters on the cake (oddly enough, the same initials). And fortunately, I had just those! Stencils, which I bought a while back at MUJI. I was given the perfect opportunity to use them. Soo as you can see, it wasn’t perfect but I do consider it a labor of love, literally since it is heart-shaped. Carving the cake to the shape of a heart wasn’t as bad as I expected. Crumb coating though, was somewhat tricky. The crumbs need to be fine, I wish I had a food processor (still saving up for this). And sticking it on the frosted cake is just a whole other challenge I’ve never encountered. Taste wise, people said this wasn’t too sweet but it did dry out after a couple of days in the fridge. Maybe more frosting would have been better, I do tend to skimp on frosting..

2. Mango Bread
I’ve made this several times before but have never blogged about it. We harvest our own mangoes here in the province and so I started looking for ways to use them in baking. I’ve also made mango muffins before but I particularly like making mango bread more. I always spice up this recipe by adding dried fruits (mangoes or pineapple) and just reduce the sugar by a bit. I learned my lesson to soak the dried fruits in warm water before mixing it in the batter to avoid having to bite into hard chewy chunks in the bread. I also use half whole wheat flour, half all purpose and that is why the color tends to be browner. People always ask about the color, how it turns out having that caramel color for a finish, and that is the secret! Plus, I think whole wheat flour adds a natural nuttiness to the overall flavor.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
If you guys were already readers of my blog from the beginning, you might remember that I already made something similar.. Pretty much the only difference with this one is the crust. With the cheesecake I made before, the crust is made with the same cookie dough found inside the cheesecake. These cheesecake bars are made with a graham cracker crust mixed with tiny chocolate chips. Cookie dough lovers are going to love these bars since each slice pretty much is cut with one ball of dough right smack in the center. That inside a cheesecake.. I mean, I just don’t know if I need to say more.

4. Cupcakes
Experimented with filled cupcakes. Made my own concoction for chocolate creme filling made with dark chocolate ganache and eggs to make somewhat of a pudding like consistency. Also played around with the chocolate cream cheese frosting.. I am actually somewhat depressed I didn’t take notes when I experimented with this one because it was just velvety smooth chocolatey goodness all found in this frosting. As for the lemon filling, I used the same old lemon curd for the lemon cupcakes.

Results? Dark chocolate: chocolate flavor was definitely there. Experimented whether use of cake flour made a big difference on texture. Not really. Save up and use regular all purpose if the recipe doesn’t specifically call for the use of cake flour. Tops cracked a bit but soon discovered it is because our oven needs to be calibrated, lucky me. Vanilla: filled it with the same chocolate filling. This had a dense texture which I didn’t particularly like along with the eggy taste that I got.. Tasted more like a yellow cake, which might not be necessarily bad but it wasn’t the vanilla cupcake taste I was looking for. Lemon: better texture than the first ones I made. Still dense but lighter. Lemon flavor was undeniably detectable, of course with the help of the tangy delicious curd. Again, if I could eat lemon curd everyday, I think I would. 🙂

Advertisements

I appreciate a good quick bread. If you’ve read my other bread baking posts (please refer to my categories list), you already know that I have trouble making yeast breads. Not only is it time consuming to make, it is also very difficult and I just don’t have the required skills and background (yet) to create such artisan looking, great tasting breads. So to solve my bread making frustrations, I rely on what I know more of- quick breads. Unfortunately, even though I’ve made other types of quick breads, I haven’t been able to take pictures of them so I won’t be blogging about them for now. But make sure to keep an eye out when I make the following again: date walnut bread and mango bread. 🙂

The bread that I was able to take pictures of is a peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread that I made several weeks back. I know the pictures are horrible. I baked up a storm that night and was too tired to take pictures of everything. I promise to work on the photos! Anyway, this bread doesn’t need a lot of explaining to convince you that it’s delicious. There’s peanut butter, chocolate and banana in it. The peanut butter flavor was certainly detectable. The banana added some natural sweetness and moisture to the bread. And chocolate. Oh well, chocolate was just a default ingredient. You must have chocolate. Actually, this reminds me of my chocolate banana cupcakes minus the peanut butter (*gasp! idea for another cupcake*). Please forgive this next picture. I was baking something else and turned around to see my bread being attacked by my hungry brothers. Judging from this photo, nobody seemed to have taught my eldest one how to cut a clean slice of bread. :/

Blurred around to focus on attack on the bread

Buns. Yep, it’s another type of bread. Therefore, this is another bread making adventure post. But these aren’t your ordinary buns. These are stuffed buns and chicken curry stuffed ones at that. Bread with filling.. you definitely know you’re in for a wonderful surprise even just after the first bite. I got the recipe from a mini recipe book my mom bought me a while back. I’ve pretty much made all the recipes from this book but you guessed it, I avoided the breads..

Making the bread. DIFFICULT. Not much has changed. This was only the second time I tried making bread and it was not successful. The buns were tough and doughy. The filling was good though. I’m thinking it has something to do with the proofing. I don’t have the eye and feel to know how much ‘rise’ is good enough when the dough has risen. Maybe if the dough did rise more, these would’ve have been perfect. The light and flaky buns they were meant to be. They looked pretty though. And they were actually quite tasty. But I still have so much MORE to learn. Back to the drawing board it is!

Bread. MMmmm. There’s just something about the smell of freshly baked bread. You’ll definitely want to act like a dog, sniffing around just to find where that wonderful aroma is coming from.. Bread making, though, is a NIGHTMARE. I love bread. Carbs. Starch. But making it is just a whole different story.

I’ve never made bread before in my entire life. And for a couple reasons. 1) Yeast scares me. I don’t know why, but they are live organisms and they look just that, alive.. before even putting them into some water and sugar solution. 2) Kneading. I really don’t have any experience knowing how long I have to knead dough before it’s ready.. I’ve only ever made quick breads before because they’re a lot easier. Banana bread. Date Walnut bread. Yes, they were all easy and tasty. I think this is the perfect time to take some classes on bread making. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! Preferably ones that hold day classes on weekends 🙂

The focaccia. It is Italian. Flat, savory, light and fluffy. While going through one of my favorite blogs, Baking Bites, I found a number of posts on focaccia. I chose this recipe because it looked easy enough and I knew I had to get over my fear. So I just did it.

The result: pretty good for my first time making bread. It tasted like focaccia. But it was way TOO SALTY. I think I should’ve skipped the extra sprinkles of coarse salt on this one as you can see in the picture below… shiny, glistening salt. Click on it if you want a closer look! I had to remedy this so I actually used the focaccia to make pizza squares, check out the post for that too.

Thanks for reading my first post on bread making. I definitely won’t give up on this because this is the perfect example when I need to keep telling myself- practice makes perfect! Please do read up on my bread making adventures, I feel like I have more to say on this topic.

%d bloggers like this: