Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kneaded with love.....

I’m not a morning person. I like to wake up as late as I possibly can- in the holidays and on weekends, this usually means at least 10 or 11am in the morning. I am barely awake during my first few classes at school in the morning and on days when I don’t have lessons in the morning, I’d much rather sleep for an extra hour than get to school to do some ‘productive’ work. But on this particular day, I was awake (only just) and in the kitchen at 8am. It was mothers day. ♥

I’d spent come time considering what to make my mother for mothers day- perhaps a cake? Cookies? A tart? A dessert? Or even dinner? As much as I loved the idea of cooking dinner for my mother, I knew that it definitely would not work for one reason: I have close to no experience in cooking. This would then mean is would spend three hours or so in the kitchen, making a complete mess, which would ultimately result in my mum cleaning up- and definitely not feeling very happy. I guess my cooking adventures could wait for another day.

I wanted to make something different- not something I’d made before and not another cake so I settled on something simple which I know she would like, and something which I’d been itching to try for a while now: raisin bread. But more than that, I wanted to keep it a secret, I wanted her to wake up to the smell of fresh, sweet bread baking in the oven and to serve hot, fluffy, soft bread for breakfast. Which shouldn’t have been such a hard thing- she wakes up even later than I usually do!

But surprises in our family never quite work out. For example, once, I decided to make a card for mother’s day. I'd put glitter glue on it so I had to put it in my cupboard to dry- on the exact same day my mother decided to look for something in that cupboard! Then there was the time I tried to make crème caramel whilst my parents were out shopping (actually, I was supposed to be home, studying for a test the next day) only my caramel burnt and my parents came home to a house which smelt like burnt caramel. And had to help me clean up all the mess I’d made.

This time, I was determined to make it work- I’d left enough time for the bread to rise and to bake. My bread machine is awfully loud so to make the process quiet enough so my mum would not suspect anything (no, waking up at 8 is not sus at all......) I decided to try hand kneading, for the first time. Although I love kneading, my hands get tired and then I get lazy so I usually spend ten minutes kneading the dough and throw the dough in the bread machine to knead for the next 20 minutes or so. This probably has the same effect as letting the bread machine do all the work, but I can't let the machine have all the fun!

I'd also chosen a recipe which used a sponge dough- that is, a mixture of flour, water and yeast which is proved overnight. Apparently, this produces a softer bread than the straight method. I’d made the sponge dough night before, and didn’t bother putting it in the fridge, because of the cold weather- by the morning it had only doubled in size. I wasn’t sure of how long I needed to knead the dough since I'd never done it before, but I thought that 40 minutes should be enough. The dough was wet when I started kneading, but after about 15 minutes, it started to become dry and I kept on having to add water- I think I’m starting to understand the dough a little better! By 40 minutes, the dough didn’t feel quite stretchy enough, and didn’t pass the ‘window pane test’ but I was scared that I wouldn’t have enough time for the proving so I kneaded intensely for the next five minutes and then left it to prove. I hadn’t considered that the cold weather would slow the rate of rise so much, even when I put it in the sun light so I ended up needing an hour and a half for the second prove. By then, it was past 11. Much to my disappointment, my mother had woken up and dressed up ready for an early yum cha (to avoid the midday crowds) so I had to tell her not to leave yet, as the bread was about to go in the oven. I told you, surprises don’t work in our household!

We had to wait another half an hour for the bread to finish baking but the wait was definitely worth it! The bread turned out very soft and fluffy and the raisins in it were surprisingly delicious! The bread was slightly crumbly though, which I think may be because I didn’t knead it enough and I perhaps also because the sponge dough was stiff. It still turned out better than most straight dough breads I’d made, and was delicious straight out of the oven. We had no trouble finishing it straight away between the three of us (although I’m pretty sure I ate most of it….) since my sister hates raisin bread

Unfortunately, my parents ended up having to wait for more than an hour for yum cha, but I’m sure it was definitely worth it!!

Golden Crown Raisin Bread
From Baking Code by Alex Goh)via Smallsmallbaker
note: I actually halved the recipe, and it worked perfectly with a 20cm pan....

Overnight sponge dough:

100g bread flour
60g water (room temperature)
1/4 tsp instant yeast

1. Mix the instant yeast with 20g of water until well-blended.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead to form a dough.
3. Let it proof for 30 minutes.
4. Wrap with cling film and keep in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours.

Golden Crown Raisin Bread

Ingredients A:
400g bread flour
100g plain flour
20g milk powder
65g sugar
6g salt
10g instant yeast

Ingredients B:
100g overnight sponge dough

Ingredients C:
2 cold eggs
180g cold water

Ingredients D:
90g butter

Ingredients E:
220g raisins

1. Mix ingredients A until well-blended. Add in ingredients B and ingredients C, mix to form a dough.
2. Add in ingredients D, mix to form a smooth and elastic dough.
3. Add in ingredients E, mix until well-blended.
4. Cover it with cling film. Allow it to proof for 50 minutes.
5. Divide it into 40g each. Mould it round. Place 8 pieces of dough around the side of a greased 20cm round pan, place a 60g dough in the centre. Allow it to proof for 50 minutes.
6. Egg wash the surface and bake it at 180 deg C for 20 minutes. (I also brushed honey over the buns 5 minutes before they were done)


MaryMoh said...

You are an inspiration! I never learned cooking in my school days. This bread looks perfect and very delicious. I'm sure your parents liked it very much. Best of all, there's so much love poured into it :D

OohLookBel said...

Oh gosh, the buns are so fluffy and gorgeous! I am definitely going to try this, maybe with some runny icing drizzled over the top; Thanks!

tigerfish said...

It looks really good! I have this feeling that the purple toy hanging on your cabinet under the sink is turning alive when you bake those bread - it is looking!

shaz said...

Awww, how sweet! What a lovely thing to do for mum, at least they didin't have to wait for yum cha on an empty stomach.

ann low said...

I would love this for my breakfast too! Nice job :)

Girl Foodie said...

Ah, now this is the sort of thing that I would bake 'for the family' and then end up eating it all myself.
This would be gorgeous toasted with a little butter with afternoon tea!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Your raisin bread looks beautiful! What a lovely surprise for Mother's Day. You are a great cook!

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

I have always wanted to make raisin bread at home. Although i am far too lazy to knead the bread by hands. Well done to the end product. I tlooks awesome!

My Little Space said...

Oh wow, such a lovely bake, Von! The bread looks really fluffy. Btw, I have an award for you. Please feel free to pick it up. Thanks & have a nice day!
Cheers, Kristy

tasteofbeirut said...

That brioche-like bread looks so soft and fluffy! I could eat several rolls with butter and be a very happy camper; how sweet of you to have made this for your mom~ Lovely daughter!

SteelCityFlan said...

It looks beautiful, as well as tasty :) I don't even bother with being sneaky anymore on my mum's birthday or mothers' day...I just tell her that I'm using the kitchen and that she had best not come in for an hour or so :D I'm glad the bread went so well this time; dough seems so hard to read, but it sounds like everything went smoothly!

sweetlife said...

how lovely to "try " to suprise your mom, I'm sure she enjoyed your bread, it looks so pretty in the first shot!!



This looks fabuolous! I love finding ways to use my spring-form pan. I also love your bio comment about relying on your awesome teenage metabolism! Very cute--mine is far gone now, so I have to rely on the TREADMILL to offset my cooking! Enjoy it while it lasts!

Judy said...

What a cool blog. I love your story and your bread looks fantastic! Thanks so much for visiting my blog.

grace said...

what a sweet mother's day surprise! it looks pillow-soft and completely delicious. good for you for investing the time and energy, even if it meant getting up early. :)

panda said...

it's like that in my household too - it's almost near impossible to give anyone a surprise without them finding out beforehand. but i think you've done a fantastic job and the bread looks very yummy!

Anonymous said...

Such scrumptious looking raisin bread! Beautiful!

Adriana from Bittersweet Baker said...

Hi Von!

I love your blog! You take such pretty pictures, and your recipes look so good. You have a new reader in me!


Anonymous said...

Looks beautiful, light and fluffy! 10 minutes should be enough hand kneading, I do mine all the time by hand although I do clock watch every minute!

Maria said...

This reminds me of Finnish coffee bread... :) Looks so yummy!

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