Soft Yoghurt Bread


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If you want to have at least one little piece from this loaf, take my advice and make a double batch. This is because after making a single batch, about 11 small rounds, half of it disappeared within 20 minutes of it coming out of the oven. Two hungry hippos came home and gobbled them up while I was busy cooking dinner!
They said it was delish and there was a dash this morning to breakfast for the rest of the loaf.

Crunchy outside and soft within, no wonder we almost had to fight for the last piece ;)

Ingredients
100g greek yogurt
60g milk, warmed
5g yeast (1 tsp)
30g egg (about half an egg)
30g oil
275g bread (high grade) flour
15g sugar
3g salt (1/2 tsp)

Directions
1. Place yeast in the warmed milk for 5 minutes.
2. Place milk and yeast into bowl of bread machine and add yoghurt, egg and oil.
3. Add dry ingredients.
4. Mix in bread machine in ‘dough’ mode for 20 minutes.
5. Tip the dough into a slightly greased larger bowl. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling-wrap and leave it to proof in a warm place till double its size (about 1 hour).
6. When doubled in size, punch down the dough to release the air.
7. On a floured board, divide the dough into small portions of about 50g. Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Roll the dough up from the bottom edge. Flatten the dough lightly. Roll the dough into thirds, like a snail. Shape each portion into a smooth ball and place them into a loaf pan.

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8. Cover the loaf pan with a cling wrap and allow the dough to go for a second proofing until double its size again. I sometimes leave it in a switched-off oven which had been heated to 50C, for about 20 minutes.
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9. Take the loaf pan out and turn the oven temperature up to 170-180C.

10. Egg wash the top of the buns.

11. Bake for 20 minutes until the top turns golden brown.

12. Remove bread from loaf pan to cool completely.

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See how soft and pillowy they are – simply gorgeous.

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Naan bread


Homemade naan bread
Homemade naan bread with chicken massaman curry in the background

J loves bread. Baguettes. Focaccia. Pizza bread. Chinese buns. Chinese pancake wraps. Naan bread is one of her favourite among this lot.
When she was younger, her tolerance to spices are not that great so when we went for Indian meals she would often just eat the bread and not the meat and the sauce, no matter now mild they were.

Seems though with age this is slowly changing and last week she managed to eat most of the sauce of a not-so-mild lamb madras! It was quite hilarious though as she was fanning herself and drinking copious amount of water while eating.

Hopefully she will be pleasantly surprised tonight when she discovers what is for dinner.

Ingredients:
1 cup warm milk
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp of active dry yeast
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp of oil
6 cups of sifted all purpose (plain) flour
butter

Directions:
Pour warm milk and water into a large bowl. Add yeast, sugar, salt, egg, 1 Tbsp of the oil and mix together.

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Add sifted flour and quickly work the mixture into a dough. The dough should be very soft and quite sticky. I used a fork to bring everything together before kneading with oiled hands. Pat remaining oil over the dough and cover the bowl with a loose lid.

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Place the bowl in a warm place until the dough has doubled its size (40 – 60 minutes).
Preheat the oven at 240c and place the baking sheets inside the oven while the oven is heating.

(The yeast was a little bit too excited!)
(The yeast was a little bit too excited!)

Once the dough is ready, turn it over to a floured surface and shape small ball-sized doughs out of it. You may find the dough is very soft and almost fall through your fingers – it is fine! Just be gentle.
The trick is to make sure your hands are dusted with flour frequently. I also use disposable gloves as a barrier between the soft dough and my warm hands. To avoid the dough from sticking to your fingers, frequently flour them and work faster. Let the balls rest for about 15 minutes.

Round naan bread dough
Round naan bread dough

Once the dough has rested and risen, place one on the floured board and push down the centre of the dough, taking care not to flatten it too much. Gently pick it up and literally toss it from your left hand to your right, making sure each time it lands on the palm of your hand.

Round naan bead dough risen
Round naan bead dough risen

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This tossing action will create a nice longish triangular or oval-shaped dough.
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You can spread some butter or even garlic on top of the flat dough and they are ready to cook. Taking care when opening the oven door as it is very hot, take the sheets out and quickly but gently place the dough on sheets. Bake for about 6 minutes and remove when the top has slightly golden-brown spots. Continue with the remaining dough balls.

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Stack and cover with a clean tea towel, they are ready to be devoured with any curry you fancy. Or, like me, the plumpest one was picked, torn into and chewed away while typing this post.

Enjoy!

Oreo Cheesecake Entremet

Oreos no bake cheesecake


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Time for another cheesecake. J and I flipped through cookbooks for cheesecake ideas and she spotted some pictures of cookies and cream cheesecakes. She begged for it but I wasn’t quite happy with the recipe as it called for a few more ingredients that I didn’t have and I thought there was way too much cream in the recipe.

What do you do when that happens? Create your own recipe!

I’ve used the base for my mango cheesecake, noted the need to add gelatine to help firm up the no-bake cheesecake, used thickened cream instead of whipped cream and threw in blitzed Oreos crumbs to create that cookies-and-cream effect.

These are not too sweet at all and you can consider adding 200g melted dark chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, if you would like a richer chocolate taste to it.

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What I’ve also done, as I’m sure was what caught your eye in the first place, is that as well as assembling normally in a springform cake tin (which the recipe below shows), I’ve also gone creative and assembled them in little mini glasses. Aren’t they gorgeous?

The recipe was enough for me to make an 8″ cheesecake plus 6 mini desserts. J loved these, especially the little tiny crunchy balls of chocolate!

Ingredients

250g nice biscuits
100g melted butter

2 blocks (16 oz total) cream cheese
1 can caramel or condensed milk
600ml thickened cream (fat content >36%)
1 cup crushed Oreos
Extra Oreos for decoration
4 tsp gelatine dissolved in 150ml hot water

Optional:
Extra blitzed Oreos for decoration – these are my ‘edible dirt’
crunchy Valrhona pearls

Instructions

1. Smash biscuits into fine crumbs. Mix with melted butter and press onto the base of a lined springform tin. Chill in the fridge.

2. Beat the cream cheese and caramel/ condensed milk until smooth.

3. Add the gelatine to a bowl of hot water, mix vigorously. Add to the cream cheese mixture.

4. Add heavy cream and crushed Oreos to the mixture.

5. Pour into the crumb-lined tin.

6. Push Oreos randomly onto the surface and chill for at least 5 hours.

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Maisy mouse gingerbread cookies


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As school’s starting this week, we have been in full back-to-school mode: getting stationary sorted, uniforms ironed, new lunchboxes and water bottles – all sorted. One thing we couldn’t miss out on is preping for snacks for school. I don’t want to do what I did last year – baking too much at a time with the hopes that it will fill up all the lunchboxes for weeks. Turns out banana muffins can get boring pretty quickly, even with chocolate buttons in them (What do you mean you don’t like them any more? They have chocolate chips in them for goodness sake!). They don’t freeze that well and the taste deteriorates the longer they have been frozen.

This year, I’m going to try out a few different ideas for lunch and teas. First off, baking from pre-made, frozen dough.
This is hardly a new idea, just underestimated by me as a true time saver (I find it really hard to hold back and not bake the entire batch sometimes). By doubling the batch and keeping some reserve dough in the freezer, you can always bring it out the night before to let it thaw and very quickly you’ll have a fresh batch of baking for the week. Same idea as mise en place, you will be saving time spent on prep. You can build on your ‘baking bank’ with a variety of recipes and you’ll always have something on hand for parties too.

Here’s our recipe for gingerbread cookies, these have a nice light crunch, no teeth-breaking involved :)

Ingredients:
450g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp baking powder
115g melted butter
100g golden syrup
115g muscavado sugar
1.5 size 7 egg, beaten (about 60g)

Method:
Mix the flour, spices, baking powder in a large bowl.
Pour melted butter, syrup and sugar into mix, combine.
Add the eggs and combine.
Tip contents onto a large board, work the dough until everything comes together without being sticky.
Roll out to 3mm thickness and cut into shapes with cutters.

Fan bake for 18 minutes in a preheated oven at 160C, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

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Rainbow star-shaped birthday cake


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It’s impossible to avoid making a rainbow cake. It’s everywhere and at all the kids birthday parties we’ve been to. That itself could be the reason not to make one but I thought well, it is on my pinterest board and my food bucket list so decided to go ahead. I found the perfect recipe – Nigella’s one – and since the Guardian posted a pdf of it I’m assuming it’s ok to repost it. It lists buttermilk as one of the ingredients which I think leans towards a rather moist cake, which we prefer.

The twist to it is that the shape of the cake is a star! No I don’t have multiples of star pans so yes I baked the layers individually. I also doubled the recipe and made slight alterations to the original recipe.

The oohs and ahhs from the little ones as I lifted the slice out to reveal the coloured layers was one of the highlights of my day!

Rainbow cake

Cake Ingredients

500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp salt
400ml buttermilk (or 75g yogurt mixed with 125ml semi-skinned milk)
2 tsp almond extract
250g softened butter
400g caster sugar
7 large free-range eggs
ready-to-roll icing to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Spray the cake tin with cake release.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt together.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little of the flour with the last one.
Gradually add the rest of the flour with the buttermilk, one after the other, until thoroughly mixed. Add almond extract.
Divide into 6 bowls, adding a gel colouring into each. Pour one coloured mixture into the tin and bake for about 10 minutes or until the sides pull away from the tin. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Buttercream icing
500g butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
3-4 tbsp milk

Beat the butter till it is soft and add the icing sugar in. Pour in the milk tablespoon by  tablespoon, until the mixture achieves a spreading consistency.
Spread onto the cooled cakes layer by layer, and then onto the top and sides. Try to keep these layers thin and smooth.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on a clean and flat surface. Knead and roll out the fondant icing till it is quite thin and using a rolling pin to help, pick up the large piece of fondant and lay over the cake. Smooth all over.
Decorate as you wish =)
Here I gave some edible ink marker pens to my daughter and tasked her to decorate her own birthday cake. She was delighted!

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A blog about my kitchen adventures, photography, family and experiences

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