Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Roundup

Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season! One big meal down, many more to go! Thanks to everyone for participating in our bread challenge. They all look delicious!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

Posted by Lena

My first focaccia. I got this recipe from a chinese baking book, 手工面包the same book that i got  to make my Chocolate Cherry Bread. All breads in this book are actually handmade, no machine used but as usual knowing myself, i prefer to delegate all these hand work to the word..lazy. I havent eaten a focaccia before..they are sold here but just that i havent tasted them before. My focaccia looks alright to me..afterall it's still a bread..ha! the crumbs ok, maybe the surface a little pale but overall still good to me. Perhaps the next time i should put a little more rosemary onto the holes instead. Actually there are a few versions of focaccia i would like to make but as at now..just this first.

hi protein flour 300gm
salt 5 gm
instant yeast 4 gm
caster sugar 1/2 tbsp
warm water 200ml
olive oil 1 tbsp
some pitted olives and fresh rosemary

Here's how i did using my machine:
1. Combine flour  and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. In another small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water, stir them together and pour into the flour and salt mixture. On the machine and put in that 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let it knead for about 10-15 minutes on medium speed until you get a fairly smooth dough. Remove from machine, shape them into a big  ball and let it proof in lightly greased bowl until double its size.
3.After proofing, remove from bowl, lightly pat the dough into a square shape and shape them into round again ( by folding the square into 3 parts vertically , turn 90C and fold into 3 parts again and shape them into round) . Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
4. Flatten each dough with a rolling pin, with a thickness of 1 cm and transfer the dough into a lined baking tin for 2nd proof until almost 1.5 or double its size.
5. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough and top them with pitted black olives . Brush the dough all over with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes .

I'm sharing this with the Have the Cake  with their bread challenge for this month.

Monday, November 14, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Rolls

Hi I'm Kyleen, the girl behind sixteenbeans. For the November Challenge, I made whole wheat rolls. 

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I’m a voracious reader, the kind of person who uses reading to procrastinate. I figure that reading since reading is actually educational,  I can feel a lot less guilty about "educating" myself about nineteenth century courtship (courtesy of Jane Eyre) while I'm really supposed to be doing my homework. I will readily admit that a portion of my allowance goes towards expanding my admirable collection of books and that Chapters is my favourite store, ever. Currently, I’m trying to work through the College Board’s 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers. So far, I’ve read about four, but hey, I’ve got two more years to read the rest of the books on the list.

Besides trying to slug my way through the long list of impressive classics deemed “great” by the College Board, I also borrow heaps and heaps of cookbooks from the library. I rarely buy cookbooks because I can’t justify spending $40 on recipes that I could just google. But when I won the Culinary Arts Award at my school last year and received a $25 giftcard to Chapters, it seemed only fitting that I use the giftcard to buy a cookbook.

I ended up buying Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. I’ve tried making bread before, using random internet recipes, but with no avail. Each failed attempt further cemented in my mind that there was a complicated science behind breadmaking which internet recipes were not explaining thoroughly enough. 

The first recipe I tried from ABED was Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. Not only did the end product taste amazing, but prepping the dough was relatively simple and quick. Encouraged by the success, I endeavoured to make 100% Whole Wheat Bread for the November Have the Cake Challenge. Whole wheat bread had been the source of many frustrations (why is the dough so tough? Why isn’t my loaf rising? Why does the bread look like a brick?) in the past, but I was determined to master it.

Following Peter’s overnight rise method, I produced light and airy bread, even though I had deviated slightly from the recipe. I forgot to dissolve the yeast with the wet ingredients as instructed in the recipe; instead I had mixed it with the dry. I also used whole wheat bread flour instead of regular whole wheat flour as called for in the recipe so I had to add more flour to the dough to achieve the correct consistency.

My older brother commented that the bread had tasted the same as store-bought, which I took as the ultimate compliment considering my past history of dense brick-like loaves. Sometimes the clarity and thoroughness of instruction in a cookbook written by a pro really does make a difference. Not all cookbooks are worth buying in my opinion, but this one definitely was.

Tips for Making Bread:

Use the fresh yeast; many of my brick-like loaves were a result of old yeast which didn’t rise properly.

If you use a machine to knead the dough, be careful not to over-knead; if you are kneading by hand, make sure you knead the dough enough.

The temperature of the water or milk is very important. Anything too cool and the yeast will not be activated; anything too hot and the yeast will die.

A small kitchen scale is particularly useful in the breadmaking venture. Volume and weight are two completely different things and depending on how packed your flour is, the actually amount that you measure out using a volume cup could be different from the weight of flour that is called for in the recipe. My kitchen scale is almost at antique status by now and mostly retired, so I borrowed my friend Jenny’s electronic scale. According to her, kitchen scales are pretty cheap these days, so if you are into baking, you may want to consider investing in one.

Click below for the recipe.


Posted by - Ayse

If you are a bread-monster like me, I have a surprise for you: Simit!

yeah... it is me - the new member of HTC :)

Simit is a good companion to afternoon teas, sine qua non for Turkish breakfasts, a quick lunch, snack for any time in the day, ...

In Turkey, some varieties of simit changes from city to city. For instance, Gevrek (literally it means crisp) - also known as Izmir simit - is boiled in grape pekmez-water mixture for a while before baking; Manisa simit and Kumru are prepared with ground chickpeas; Laz simit - also known as Kerkeli - is prepared without sesame; ... And of course, two of the most popular ones: Istanbul simit and Ankara simit.  There are also "patisserie style" simits.

Also, Koulouri in Greece; đevrek in Serbia; Gjevrek in Macedonia; Gevrek in Bulgaria; Covrig in Romania; Ka'ak in Arab countries; Bubrik in Russia and Bagel in America are other varieties. 

Baking time!
I got the following recipe from this website. And the website owner had got it from the bakery Simit Center in Cankaya, Ankara

1 kg "flour for simit purpose" (But you can also use bread flour whose protein content is 12% - 13%)
5 gr dry yeast
15 gr salt
Warm water, as necessary
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine the yeast and warm water in a glass, and wait for some minutes. Place the flour and the salt in a container. Open a hole in the middle of the flour and place the yeast-water mixture there. Mix it with your hands, while adding necessary warm water. Knead the dough for about 15-20 minutes.

Rest the dough for about 30 minutes if it is summer, 60 minutes if it is winter.

Then work as follows:

Add equal amount of water and grape pekmez in a container. Rest the simits in this mixture for about 2 minutes.

Then toss the simits in sesame seeds, gently. 

 Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the simits on baking sheets and bake until they become rich brown. But be careful in the baking process. If you over bake them, then they would become dry. So you should balance the cooking time well and shouldn't leave the kitchen during the baking. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Butter Flake Rolls

Posted by - Nancy

My husband LOVES bbq. Plain and simple. And while we have tried a number of barbecue restaurants, we certainly don't have a smoker at home, which is the goal eventually. So tonight my husband decided to try some slow cooked ribs in the oven with a savory rub. 

Which was my chance to try a new roll recipe. A recipe I have wanted to try, but as with all yeast breads, you have to make sure you have time and cooperative kids to make them work. And the stars must be aligned or something because I had both this afternoon. 


  • Nonstick spray
  • 8 ounces warm whole milk (100 degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 ounces sugar (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 15 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature


Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.
Place the milk, sugar, yeast, flour, egg yolks, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on low speed for 1 minute. Change the paddle attachment to the dough hook and rest the dough for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 2 ounces of the butter and mix on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and you are able to gently pull the dough into a thin sheet that light will pass through, about 8 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll and shape with your hands to form a large ball. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a 12 by 12-inch square, about 1/2-inch thick. Melt the remaining 1/2 ounce butter and brush onto the top of the dough.
Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 (12 by 1-inch) strips. Stack the strips into 2 stacks of 6 strips each. Lay the stacks on their sides and cut each stack into 6 (2-inch) wide pieces. Lay each piece on its side into a prepared muffin tin cup. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
Remove the muffin tin to a cooling rack and cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Ready to mix

Resting before butter

Ready to stack

Nestled for second rise

Flaky deliciousness

Overall these were very good. I am not sure I let the KitchenAid knead long enough, and my first rise wasn't quite doubled. But when I rolled out the dough it seemed "fluffy" enough. The only issue I encountered was the strips grew when I piled them up so I ended up with extra dough. Since I didn't want to dirty up a whole other cupcake pan for two rolls, I used my small muffin tin to make 6 small rolls. Which ended up being the perfect size for the little miss. I will definitely make these again!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread - for Bread Machine

Posted by - Michele

This month’s Have the Cake Challenge was bread. I like to call myself yeastfully challenged. The dough never rises the way it should. I was happy to be able to find a recipe I could use with my bread machine.

I chose the Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread from I do not like raisins in bread or cookies or any other baked good for that matter. I don’t know why. I like raisins by themselves. So no raisins for this bread.

It was SO easy to put together. You just toss all the ingredients in the bread maker and it does all the mixing and rising for you. The only thing you have to do is roll out the dough and sprinkle and roll. Next time I make this bread, I would divide the dough in half and use two bread pans. The bread came out a little doughy in the middle and I think it was because it was so big. But we all LOVED it!
If you would like to see this recipes with the raisins, here is the link to

Cinnamon Swirl Bread – For the bread maker


1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


1. Put milk and egg into measuring cup.

2. Add enough tepid water to make 1 cup.

3. Pour into bread machine pan.

4. Add the softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast.

5. Set bread machine to dough cycle.

6. Remove the dough at the end of the dough cycle.

7. Roll dough to 10×12 rectangle.

8. Brush egg white on surface of dough.

9. Brush with melted butter.

10. Combine cinnamon and sugar. (I doubled the amount)

11. Sprinkle over dough; leaving about 1 inch on each edge.

12. Roll from short side.

13. Pinch where it meets and roll ends under.

14. Place in loaf pan.

15. Cover with a cloth and let rise for about an hour.

16. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

17. Once the dough has risen, brush top with egg white and sprinkle with 1/1/2 teaspoon sugar. (I used more than that!)

18. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kings Hawaiian Bread

Posted by - Vivian at Let's try these
The Have the Cake Challenge for this month was bread. Making bread was not going to be a challenge since I've made plenty over the years. For me, the challenge was going to be finding a recipe I've not made before. One of hubby's favorite breads is Kings Hawaiian bread and there are several recipes out there for it. I chose one from The only change I made was baking it in two 9-inch round baking pans instead of three. I had to bake it for an additional five minutes, but other than that it was incredibly easy to make and quite yummy. I didn't have any pineapple juice so I opened up can of crushed pineapple and drained off the liquid.
Have the Cake Challenge: Hawaiian Bread
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 eggs
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat together the yeast mixture, eggs, pineapple juice, 1/2 cup water, sugar, ginger, vanilla, and melted butter. Gradually stir in flour until a stiff batter is formed. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a well floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form into round loaves. Place the loaves into three lightly greased round cake pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottom of a loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Challenge: Bread

Posted by - Rena

Happy November! This month's challenge is to make bread. You can make rolls, loaves, focaccia, croissants or any variation of bread you like.

I have tried many times to make bread and the consistency always seemed wrong but then I was at a friend's house and she made bread in a bread maker. It tasted the same and had a similar texture. I think I'm used to mass produced breads which is a bad thing. I've been dying to try this recipe I found on Steamy Kitchen. I have a weakness for garlic so I'm sure you'll be seeing garlic pop up in my bread.

Since Thanksgiving is this month, I thought it would be timely to make some sort of bread to go with the meal. Maybe pumpkin bread? Hmm...

Happy Kneading (or not)!