Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Pretty Sleeve...

My trusted computer of many years has recently gone "poof" and I'm now the proud owner of a Asus Eee pad... which is so incredibly cool, I decided to dig out my sewing machine and make a fitting sleeve to keep it in when not in use... and it turned out so pretty, I decided to make another one and before I realised it, I was wondering if anyone else loved his tablet as much as me. I thought of putting one of them for sell on Ebay... here's how it looks!

Love the 70s candy fabric!

Cheers all!

Update: SOLD!

And we are 5 now...

...Adele is our new little pumpkin and it's almost hard to believe she will be 5 months in two days. She has been tasting a few things here and there, like cooked pear and carrot, but she's taking it slowly and still prefers the comfort of a warm bottle of milk...

The cold days are coming and I'm feeling that cooking vibe coming back. Nothing breaks a cold day like baking a big loaf of bread and having the oven warm up the kitchen. Oh and the smell! 
I have recently made the most amazing discovery and though it has been pretty much all over the web, I just have to share it with you all. It all started when searching for a good recipe for pillowy white bread, a bit like wonder-bread, without the bad stuff in it. I personally love crusty bread with a fair amount of rye, but lets be honest, my two toddlers don't agree with that when it comes to making sandwiches. After many loafs going straight to the bin and a month hiatus from baking altogether, I discovered it. 


Now that I got your full attention, let me tell you that it's the best method I ever found for making that illusive wonder-bread. The bread retains just enough moisture, the crumb melts in the mouth, the crust is thin and light golden, the taste is just right... and if that wasn't enough, it's super easy to make and keeps for days without any chemicals added to it (if it lasts that long!). 

Now, I don't know the exact science behind it, but I challenge you all to give it a try! The only problem you might encounter is that a bread box (Pullman) is absolutely necessary to pull this off. These might be found in speciality shops, but I also seen them on ebay and several websites. They are a bit costly, but completely worth it. 

The recipe is basically that of an enriched bread, with milk powder and butter added to the dough (no eggs). The trick that changes everything is the Tangzhong, which is a mixture of flour and water, cooked until it reaches 140F (60C).

The result? Take a look!

No inside pictures yet, the bread was so hot that I decided to wait and ended up falling asleep. Will be coming soon!

So here's the recipe! Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

TangZhong Bread

250 ml of water
50 g of all purpose flour

Bread Ingredients
500 g of all purpose flour
2 tbsp of skim milk powder
160 g of prepared tangzhong
210 ml of warm water
8 g of salt
50 of sugar
10 g of dry instant yeast
50 g of unsalted butter

Prepare the tangzhong, by whisking the flour and water together in a small pan. Cook on low heat without letting it boil (until 60C). It should thicken but still be quite runny. Set aside to cool. (you can keep any extra tangzhong in the fridge for a few days).
Now, mix all the dry ingredients for the bread, add the water, tangzhong and melted butter. Start working the dough until it becomes soft and elastic (about 10 minutes by hand). Let the dough rise in a well oiled and covered bowl for 1 hour (in a warm spot, like a barely heated oven). Punch down and let rest for 15 minutes. 
Pour the dough on a floured surface and punch it down gently, shaping it into a rectangle, the same length as the bread box. Roll it tightly and drop it into the pullman box with the seam down. 
Turn on the oven at 180C and let the dough rise in the box (without the lid) and just covered with plastic wrap (so you can see what's going on). That's about 25 minutes. 
When the top of the dough is just about to reach the top of the box, put the lid on (it shouldn't touch the dough yet. Now give it another 10 minutes to fill the box a bit more and bake for 40 minutes (35 if you like it whiter). Remove the bread from the box immediately after baking and let it cool on a rack.

This recipe is exactly the right amount to fill one pullman bread pan with the lid on.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It's been a while.
Though I'd love to say this is finally a new post on what's been cooking in my tiny kitchen, another matter is far more pressing. As many of you might know, I have a great interest in everything Japanese and lets face it, an overwhelming number of us do. What has happened lately is a tragedy... and it is still unfolding.
I wish them all courage and strength. I'd also like to send a call out for Hiro, my good friend in Sapporo, from whom I haven't got any news. I hope you are all safe!

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