Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hokkaido Milk Bread

I have noticed that majoring of my posts are on food. I did not intend to make this a food blog but looks like it is slowing turning into one. Lately, I have found that I need to make many copies of recipes (that I have tried) for my friends. My aunt (Amy Beh) is a celebrity chef and I often try out her recipes. So.. since I am blogging now, I will post those tested recipes and my favourite recipes to make it easier for anyone to access them.

One of my favourite bread recipe is Hokkaido Milk Bread. I made this bread every week and baked them plain or with fillings. Today, I made them into cream cheese buns.
Here is the recipe for the bread.

Hokkaido Milk Bread


540gm High Protein Flour (Bread Flour)
60 gm Low Protein Flour (Cake Flour)
10 gm instant yeast
30gm milk powder
60gm sugar
9gm salt
1 egg
250ml fresh milk
150ml whipping cream

Method :
  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Knead till gluten is fully developed and dough is elastic, smooth, non sticky and does not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.
  3. Cover with a damp towel and allow the dough to prove till double in size (about 60 minutes)
  4. Punch out the dough and divide it into 4 portions.
  5. Shape them into balls and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
  6. Flatten each dough and roll them up (like making a swiss roll).
  7. Place all the 4 pieces of dough into a 13 x 33 x 12cm loaf pan.
  8. Allow the dough to rise up to 80% full. (around 45minutes)
  9. Brush with egg wash and bake in a 180C oven for 40 minutes.
  10. Remove bread immediately from tin onto a cooling rack. Serve.

Since I have prepared my dough in advanced in the weekend. I simply pull out 1 packet from the freezer and proceed to defrosting and proving.

I marked the pack for better identification :
HMB = Hokkaido Milk Bread
397 = weight of dough in gm
25/09 = Date the dough was made.

Left the dough to prove for about 4 hours today.

When it has doubled in size, I punch it down.

Divided it into 8 portions and formed into balls. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Filled them with cream cheese filling* and shaped them.
Leave them to prove for 45 minutes.

Egg wash them and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 12 minutes.


*For cream cheese filling :
Cream 25gm Butter with 30gm icing sugar till well combined.
Add in 125gm cream cheese and a pinch of salt. Cream till well blended.
Add in 1 egg yolk. Cream till smooth.
Mix in 10gm cornflour and 25gm raisin.
Refrigerate until firm before use.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wonderfully soft bun (Pai Pau)

This is a wonderfully soft bun which is known as "Pai Pau" (a well known bread in Hong Kong). Seriously, I do not understand why it is called "Pai Pau" (which means white bun) as the bun is creamy yellow in colour. It is a sweet bread/bun which is very creamy and soft. I reduced the amount of sugar from the original recipe as the condensed milk is sweet already.

The dough is so pliable and nice to work with. I should have taken a photo of it. Luckily, I have another batch of this dough in my freezer. Will take a photo of it when I use it either end of this week or early next week.

This is how the buns looked before entering the oven

Look how delicious the buns are after coming out from the oven.

Pai Pau


250gm bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
40gm sugar
5 gm instant yeast
2 tbsp Horlicks (or skim powder milk)
1 egg yolk + milk = 120ml
75ml whipping cream
1 tbsp condensed milk
40gm butter (room temperature)
50gm pre-fremented dough *

  1. Mix all ingredients together (except the butter) in a mixer till a smooth dough is formed.
  2. Add in butter and knead till dough is elastic.
  3. Prove dough for 1 - 2 hours or till it doubles in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 portions.
  5. Shape into balls and rest the dough for 15 minutes
  6. Shape the dough and prove for an hour.
  7. Egg wash the buns and bake at 190C for 15 - 20 minutes

125gm bread flour
80ml water
2gm instant yeast
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together and prove for at least 2 hours before use.
Left overs can be divided into 50gm portions , wrapped with cling wrap and freeze for later use.
Frozen pre-fermented dough must be returned to room temperature before use.

It's back to the normal routine again

It is the weekend and the short school break is almost over. By tomorrow everything will be back to normal as the kids will be back to school. That means daily bread baking for breakfast.

Since my weekday schedule is pretty tight with the ferrying of my children around, I have devised a method of preparing the bread dough in advance for my daily baking. YES, you heard it right! What I do is....on weekends I would make a few batches of bread dough. Divide them into the weight I want (for my daily use) and stashed them into my freezer. The dough will rise a little in the freezer before the yeast goes to sleep.

All I need to do now is every morning, I just have to pull out 1 piece of the frozen dough. Leave it in a bowl (covered with cling wrap) to defrost and prove. It will take about 3 hours (depending on the weather). Then I will work on the dough, shaping it followed by the 2nd proving before baking them. This method works perfectly and does not affect the quality of the bread. In fact, with this method I free myself from the daily kneading and cleaning up. I do not have to rush home just to knead the dough in order to bake a bread!!!! hehehe

This is so versatile and convenient. If you bake can give it a try.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Torture Chamber

I am quite health conscious and having been going to the gym religiously for the past 3 years. Apart from the normal cardio workouts, I am also into practicing yoga. In fact, I having been doing yoga for almost a decade. However, lately (for the past one year) I have opt to reduce my yoga sessions owing to a tennis elbow. Now that I have fully recovered from the tennis elbow, I am slowly getting back to yoga. (once a week).

My gym has given me 10 complimentary session of a different kind of yoga, BIKRAM's Hot Yoga.
It is supposed to be the ultimate yoga. Founded by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhary, it is a scientifically designed style of yoga guided by a specific dialogue. The session is 90 minutes encompassing a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise. This yoga is practised in a studio heated at 40C. This yoga is very popular in Hollywood with strong followers like Madonna, Julia Roberts, Jessica Simpson, Sharon Stone and Matthew Mc Conaughey.

The benefits of Birkam's Hot Yoga are
  • Weight loss and rapid body toning
  • Muscle toning and strengthening
  • Reduction of stress
  • Slowing of ageing process
  • Beneficial to all the internal organs by stimulating the heart to pump more oxygen to all parts of the body
  • Increase flexibility and balance
  • Better sleep
  • Energy and vitality improvement
  • Treats and improves chronic diseases, muscular and skeletal related problems.
With the long list of benefits above, I geared myself to give it a try. After all, those designated postures are pretty simple and should not weigh me down.

However.... I was WRONG. The heat of 40C can be quite intense. In less than 30 minutes, I was already feeling exhausted and light headed. I managed to sweat (though not much) which is good to cool me down a little. I looked to my right and there is this "old" uncle (in his 50's) still going strong despite sweat pouring out like a dripping tap. On my left, my friend was drenched with sweat but still look strong. I, on the other hand is looking very much like a grilled lobster. Struggling with every pose and having to take a breather in between. The Yogi said that I was breathing wrongly and am hyper-ventilating!! I did my best to keep up with the rest. The heat was really getting unbearable. By the time we came to the last few poses, I started to see stars and felt numbness creeping up to my fingertips. Shamelessly I looked at the yogi wanting to give up. The Yogi ignored my "plea" and encouraged us to continue. Finally, I survived the 90mins feeling drained, light headed and soaked in sweat. The Yogi commented that it is meant to be strenuous and common for beginners to experience what I felt. He encouraged us not to give up and to return tomorrow for the next session. So... will I continue??? (I was "half dead" in the torture chamber.)Yes & No..
No, I won't go tomorrow.
Yes, I will give it another try next week.

Interesting, despite feeling worn out, I was strong enough to drive home and mopped the whole house. In fact, I must admit, I feel pretty good now... rejuvenated.... Hopefully I can also have a very good sleep tonight!!!

Herbal Tea Eggs

Every time my family and I walk by a shop selling Herbal Tea Eggs, we would most certainly slow down our pace and enjoy those aromatic scent of the tea eggs boiling in the electrical pots. It's so fragrant and the eggs looks like they are screaming "come get one, your tummy needs it".

Last evening, I made some tea eggs. The minute the spices are being boiled the whole house was enveloped by the aromatic scent of those tea eggs. In fact, the first question Dear Hubby asked when he entered the house was whether we will be having herbal soup or Bak Kut Teh for dinner. Had to disappoint him as that was not in last night dinner menu. Those tea eggs are for breakfast this morning (not ready for consumption during dinner!!!)

The herbal tea eggs tasted delicious.... the long wait last night was worth it. Could see my children grinning from ear to ear while feasting themselves with those eggs.

To make them, I used a store bought pre-packed herbal tea eggs mixture (recommended by a friend).
Following the instruction on the pack, I hard-boiled 15 eggs (I used Size C). After letting them cool for a while, those eggs are cracked to give them a marbled effect. In a separate pot boil 200ml light soy sauce, 180gm sugar, 1 tsp dark soy sauce and a pinch of salt together with a sachet of the mixture (in 1 pack there are 2 sachets) . Add in those cracked eggs and fill the pot with some water (enough to cover those eggs).

According to the instruction....boil it for 2 hours and serve.
However, I tweaked it a little. Boiled the eggs for 5 mins and then left them in the thermal pot (to continue cooking) till the next morning. In this way, I save on gas!!!!

This is how the eggs looked after removing the shell. Marbled .

See how the spices and flavour had been absorbed into the eggs. Taste......YUMMY!!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Raspberry Yogurt Chiffon Cake

It is the Hari Raya Puasa celebration now in Malaysia and the schools are closed for a week. I have decided to take a break from bread making this week. Have not touched the oven for the past 4 days. However, today I had this sudden urge to BAKE!!!! Ransacked my fridge and found some dried raspberry. So.... gathered the rest of the ingredients and baked this :p

Yogurt Raspberry Chiffon Cake

Ingredients :

3 egg yolks (Size A)
90gm plain yogurt
80gm superfine flour
20ml corn oil
4egg whites (Size A)
50gm sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Method :

  1. Preheat oven at 170C.
  2. Combine egg yolk, flour, yogurt and corn oil till well blended.
  3. Whisk egg whites in a mixer at medium speed till frothy.
  4. Gradually add in sugar and lemon juice.
  5. Whisk at high speed till a stiff peak is formed.
  6. Whisk in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter till well combined.
  7. Fold in another 1/3 of the egg white mixture followed by the balanced. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fold into the raspberry (coat the raspberry with some flour to prevent them from sinking).
  9. Pour the batter into a chiffon cake tin (18cm) and bake in oven for 25 -30 minutes or till top is golden brown,
  10. Take out the cake and invert it while cooling for 30 mins.

After baking the raspberry chiffon cake, baked a coffee chiffon cake. See how high it rose. Took this picture just before inverting it. Gave this cake to mommy dearest. This is one of her favourite cakes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cream Cheese Butter Roll

I bake bread/bun/rolls for my family every weekday. Recently, I made some cream cheese butter rolls for breakfast. It was an instant hit! The bread was very soft (even after a day) and flavourful.

Cream Cheese Butter Rolls

Ingredients :

500gm Bread flour (High Protein Flour)
100gm Cake flour (Low Protein Flour)
10gm instant yeast
30gm Horlicks (Malt)
60gm sugar
9gm salt
1 egg
250ml fresh milk
150ml whipping cream

For Cream Cheese filling :
Mix together,
80gm salted butter (room temperature)
40gm cream cheese (room temperature)

Method :

  1. Mix all dough ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Knead till gluten is fully developed and dough is elastic and smooth.
  3. Cover dough with a damp cloth / clear film.
  4. Let it prove for about 60 minutes, or till the dough doubles its size.
  5. Punch out the air and roll the dough into 2 balls.
  6. Let them rest for about 15mins.
  7. Take one of the balls and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15cm x 30cm rectangular shape.
  8. Spread some of the cream cheese mixture onto the dough, leaving 1" at the edges.
  9. Fold the dough into half and seal the edges tightly by pressing on them.
  10. Chill the dough (in the fridge) for 15 minutes.
  11. Roll out the dough again to the shape of 15cm x 30cm and spread some of the cream cheese mixture onto the dough, leaving 1" at the edges.
  12. Fold the dough into half and roll out to 10cm x 20cm
  13. Cut the dough into 1cm x 10cm stripes and twirl the it into a roll.
  14. Repeat (7-13) with the other portion of the dough.
  15. Place them into a greased baking sheet.
  16. Let them proof for 45 - 60 mins (till it doubles in size)
  17. Preheat the oven to 180C
  18. Egg wash the dough before putting them into the oven.
  19. Bake @ 180C for 15 - 20mins (till top is golden brown)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Chiffon Cake

This is one of my children's favourite cake (especially with lots of chocolate chips)

Double Chocolate Chip Chiffon Cake (18cm chiffon cake tin)
Ingredients :
  1. 4 nos. egg yolk (size : grade A)
  2. 40ml corn oil
  3. 100gm superfine flour
  4. 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  5. a dash of cinnamon powder
  6. 50gm chocolate chips
  7. 70ml warm water /milk (I used milk)
  8. 5 nos egg white (size : grade A)
  9. 45gm sugar (add more if you prefer)
  10. 0.5 tsp lemon juice)

Method :
  1. Preheat oven at 170 C.
  2. Combine egg yolks, oil, flour, cocoa, cinnamon powder and water/milk. Mix till well blended and set aside.
  3. Whisk egg whites till frothy.
  4. Gradually add in sugar and lemon juice. Continue whisking till stiff peak is formed.
  5. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter with a whisk.
  6. Fold in the remaining egg yolk batter.
  7. Gradually add in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour batter into a chiffon cake tin and bang the tin a couple of times to release the trappedbubbles.
  9. Bake in the oven at 170C for 30- 35 mins or till cooked.
  10. Remove cake from oven and invert it immediately to cool for 30 mins before slicing.

They survived !! - Garden Snails

The weather in Malaysia has been pretty wet lately. We have been experiencing intermittent rainfall daily, especially in the evening. Despite the fact that the rain brought abundance of moisture to my garden (Minimized watering - save water/environment), it also brought along some visitors/resident to my garden.

One evening I noticed some strange looking things in my garden. Upon switching on my spot lights, I realised that there was an army of snails crawling in my garden. So, this is what is eating my plants lately.

The first thing that crossed my mind was, I MUST get rid of them. Remembered that in my childhood days my late grandmother would always ask us to put salt onto any garden snails to kill them. So... got my daughter to bring me the salt and start my crusade on sprinkling salt onto those garden snails. In less than 1o minutes, I "killed" 11 snails. Since it had started drizzling again, I declared victory and happily left the garden.

In the morning, I went to the garden to claim my casualties. But to my horror....I could not find any. They were all gone. Disappeared from the surface of the earth!!! Where have they gone to? Nobody would have picked them up and discarded them as it was still early in the morning. Then it hit me that I might not have killed them instantly last night. Since I just sprinkle a little bit of salt on them and it had started raining, maybe the rain managed to wash the salt away and saved their lives!!! Feeling frustrated, I embark into a journey of hunting them down. Managed to find 3 of them. This time around I made sure that I increase my dosage and rid them once and for all (sounds so cruel). See... the one below is dead.

I know some people believe garden snails are harmless. So why are we declaring war with these scavengers who are terrorising our garden? Well... they eat our plants and vegetables!!!
Garden snails are nocturnal animals, so they will attack our garden at night (when we are not there to fend for our helpless plants). They are hermaphrodites. (meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs). Since they can produce 100 eggs each time and they mate once a month, you can imagine how fast they can multiply if not controlled. These snail have a lifespan of more than 2 years!!!

Apart from putting salt on them there are a number of organic ways to rid them. Some common ones are :
  1. Hand picking and disposing them (by stomping on, throwing in the street, dropping in a bucket of salt water).
  2. Beer traps. Place a small container (2-5 cm deep) into ground with beer. The following morning you will find that most of the snails in your garden wound have come around, has a sip, got drunk, fallen in and drowned. Death by inebriation (think I should try this method)
  3. Copper deterrent - Snails hates copper as it gives them a slight electrical shock. So place a band of copper on your beloved plants or pot to deter this pest.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Coffee Chiffon Cake

Last Tuesday morning my gym buddies and I had a breakfast potluck after our morning workout. So on Monday evening I baked a coffee chiffon cake to share with my dear friends. It is very easy to make. My cakes are normally less sweet (so for those sweet tooth, please increase the amount of sugar).

The ladies loved it as it is very soft and fluffy despite the fact that no baking powder or cream of tartar was added. For those interested to try, the recipe is below:

Coffee Chiffon Cake (18cm chiffon cake tin)

Ingredients :
  1. 4 nos. egg yolk (size : grade A)
  2. 40ml corn oil
  3. 100gm superfine flour
  4. 1 tbsp instant coffee (dissolved in warm water)
  5. 70ml warm water /milk (I used milk)
  6. 5 nos egg white (size : grade A)
  7. 45gm sugar (add more if you prefer)
  8. 0.5 tsp lemon juice)

Method :
  1. Preheat oven at 170 C.
  2. Combine egg yolks, oil, flour, coffee and water/milk. Mix till well blended and set aside.
  3. Whisk egg whites till frothy.
  4. Gradually add in sugar and lemon juice. Continue whisking till stiff peak is formed.
  5. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter with a whisk.
  6. Fold in the remaining egg yolk batter.
  7. Pour batter into a chiffon cake tin and bang the tin a couple of times to release the trapped bubbles.
  8. Bake in the oven at 170C for 30- 35 mins or till cooked.
  9. Remove cake from oven and invert it immediately to cool for 30 mins before slicing.
Note :
  • I added some chocolate chips (50gm) into the batter while pouring it into the cake tin.
  • Chiffon cakes must be inverted once it is out of the oven to prevent it from sinking.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lotus Plant

I love my garden.

Since I moved into my current resident 6 years ago, my garden has been a place for me to seek refuge for some peace and tranquility. I love gardening and over the years I have quite a collection of flora and fauna in this little patch of land.

Aquatic plants attract me as they are much easier to tend to (not much watering to do). In my garden has a variety of them, namely lotus, water lilies and water Hyacinth. Lately I am getting quite a bountiful blooms from my lotus plant. Look how beautiful they are.

The species I have in my garden is
Nelumbo nucifera, or commonly known as Lotus or Indian Lotus or Sacred Lotus. It comes in a variety of colours like pink, white and yellow. The one I have is pink. It is from the Nelumbonaceae family. This plant is an aquatic perennial.

The lotus is one of the most celebrated flower in the world. It has always been in folklore, religion and the arts in one form or another.

The Lotus plant thrive well in calm freshwater and blooms all year round in tropical country like Malaysia. Its leaves are circular in shape. Some will float on the water surface while others will rise above the water surface on a long stalk looking very majestic. These leaves are a beautiful glaucous green. Many a times there will be beads of water droplets on the surface of the leaf making it an attractive and intriguing display.

The Lotus flower is delightfully scented and will open in the morning. By noon it will a full bloom, showing off its vibrant pink petals with the bright yellow stamen. However, this spectacular sight does not last long. The flower will shut by the afternoon and as the petals are rather light they will fall off when there is a gust of wind. What a pity.... such a majestic and celebrated flower with a very short life!!!!
Anyway a blooming lotus in my garden also brighten up my day. So with the continuous blooming of lotus in my garden now, my days are just PERFECT!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scones for Breakfast

Instead of my normal bread baking for breakfast tomorrow, I have decided to try my hands on some scones. Bought some cranberries, blueberries and raspberries during the weekend. So... tomorrow's breakfast shall be scones.
Scones are pretty easy to make and delicious.

Butter Scones


250gm plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
100gm butter (cut into small cubes)
125gm cream (I used whipping cream)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
90gm berries of your choice (I used 30gm each of cranberries, blueberries and raspberries)
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk (for egg wash)
Walnuts as toppings

Method :
  • Preheat oven to 190C.
  • Sieve flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in sugar and salt. Mix it well combined.
  • Rub butter into the flour with finger tips till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in egg and cream with a knife
  • Toss the berries with some flour and mix into the dough (as I used 3 types of berries, I divided the dough into 3 portions and mixed in the berries separately)
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press it to about 2cm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut them into cute little circles.
  • Tranfer them to a baking tray (lined with baking sheet or lightly oiled).
  • Egg wash the scones and place a walnut on top of each scones.
  • Bake at 190C for 12 - 15mins or until golden.
  • Serve warm with butter if you like.

These scones are soft, fluffy and not too sweet while the berries give it a fruity taste. They do not have a strong buttery flavour but instead the walnuts gave it a nutty flavour (just what my family likes).

I shall warm them up and serve them for breakfast tomorrow. Yum....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Golden Egg Steamed Tofu

Normally I do not cook on weekends as this is the time for me to catch up with chores that I failed to do during the weekdays. However, today I have been inspired to cook dinner for the family after reading a post on a simple yet delicious dish. The new twist of adding salted duck egg and egg to the steamed tofu really made this dish special. Thanks Honey Bee Sweets for posting it.

Family loves it and it is definately a nice change from the normal steamed tofu or steamed silky eggs that I made.

Golden Egg Steamed Tofu

Ingredients :
1 salted egg yolk
1 egg
1 block of soft tofu
200g minced meat
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning A:
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp corn flour
dash of pepper
100ml water

Seasoning B:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
dash of pepper

Some fried shallots
Some chopped spring onion

Method :
  1. Hard boil the salted egg. Remove the egg yolk from the white. Mash the egg yolk while it is still warm. Mix it together with the egg and Seasoning A.
  2. In a wok, add cooking oil and stir fry garlic till fragrant. Add in minced meat and stir fry till almost cooked. Pour in Seasoning B to the meat and cook till done. Dish out and set aside.
  3. Place the soft tofu in a dish with at least 1" depth. Slit the tofu into cubes (to allow the other ingredients to incorporate into the tofu). Pour the egg mixture into the dish. Steam tofu & egg for 8 minutes at high fire or till cooked.
  4. Remove tofu from steamer and sprinkle with minced meat, fried shallots and spring onion all over. Serve hot with steam rice.

Blogsphere, here I come!

Being a career woman for almost 2 decades, I finally made one of the biggest decision in my life. 7 years ago, I said good bye to my job in senior management and became a full time homemaker. The transition was not easy and to top that I opt to forgo my domestic help and takeover the enormous responsibility of a homemaker single-handedly. Fortunately, Hubby has been very supportive and so are my children. Looking back, I must say that life as a home maker is not that bad or boring as one would perceived. In fact, I really love my life as a homemaker and the quality time that I get to spent with my loved ones.

I have been toying over the idea of starting a blog for quite a while. Never did have the guts to do so till lately when Hubby and one of my nieces suggested it to me. Guess it would be good to keep my mind active and at the same time it will relieve me from having to keep printing out my recipes for my friends. Can just get them to check out my blog as I intend to post some of my baking and cooking success here.

So.... blogsphere... here I come!!!! This will be a journal of what I do and also what I learn.