Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Repost and Edited: Our Daily Bread ~ Wholemeal

I am doing a repost on our wholemeal bread because I made some improvements to the original recipe. This is something that I will consistently do from time to time, especially when I can find ways of making the recipes better. It's sort of like a software upgrade.

I've noticed that I've been getting rather interesting readers lately which included those who really wanted to know if my recipes work. Much as I appreciate such straight-forwardness, ehmmm... I don't really know how to answer these questions with tact.

I have to say that I'm a self-professed perfectionist when it comes to my food. As Greg would attest, I get into a very lousy mood if my dishes do not turn out the way we/he/I like them. Then he would see me staring into space with the-world-is-so-lousy look on my face. My sweet hubby is always very patient with me and he would say "Hey, look. You are not a professional chef. That is homemade bah. You know, housewife standard. And you are not even a full-time housewife, you're working for goodness' sake. You are even barely a semi-housewife." Whether that made sense or not, but it does make me feel better.

So, you can be rest assured that the recipes on this blog have all been tested, tried, experimented, cooked & baked before by me personally, fully eaten, tasted, critic'd and digested into our tummies and we think they are nice at that point in time. Well, at the very least, whatever I put up had worked for both Greg & me in terms of what we thought was good.
There are actually many dishes in my draft folder which I think could be improved further and done better. And they will stay there till I am ready. I will also try to give as much detail as possible so that you don't have to go through the same pitfalls like I had too. All I can say is they are honest recipes. So if it doesn't work, there could be many reasons, some of which may be related to personal cooking skills, experience and availability of certain ingredients.

Of course, there may be recipes which we've already posted, but to later realise in my sleep that there's one or two more additional steps which can make it better. For example, the Red Bean Creme and the just edited Kaya, and now the wholemeal bread. But of course, we're doing the best that we feel we can. You may not necessarily agree with the standard of our recipes, but you can always use it as a guide and to improve them to your own taste and standards. Anyway, that is what cooking and eating is all about ~ personal pleasure, taste and touch.

Anyway, we hope that you've been enjoying the recipes that we've been putting up here. They're sincerely from the heart, & for sharing with all of you dear readers. I would also like to thank the many of you out there who has shared your successes from your attempt in using the recipes from this blog. I really appreciate your appreciation! You guys are the gems!

Original post:
I have finally gotten back to making bread for the past two weekends after feeling very guilty about buying wholemeal loaves for quite sometime. Commercial bread and buns tend to come with artificial agents such as bread improver and bun softener. Although I have no idea what they are but they sure don't sound very attractive to me. The commercial bread also uses shortening as fat because they are cheaper and they don't harden after the bread cools.

I love my own bread goodies even though it may not be so professionally done. Greg thinks that looking at my bread gives him the same comfort as looking at his own pillow. It's almost like a soft toy to him. Many times, he'd rather hug than eat them. I can understand that, cos homemade bread is just so nice because of its freshness.

Did you notice that bread and buns from shops tend to be fluffy, silky smooth and airy? I think this is the effect of the additional ingredients. My bread and buns are fluffy but they are slightly more compact. That's the way we like them - compact & country-like. We just realised that we could last longer on 2 pieces of our own bread than 4 pieces of the commercial ones.


Make 2 loaves
600 gm of bread flour or high protein flour
125 gm of wholemeal flour, wetted
50 gm of castor sugar
1 1/4 heaped tbsp (with proper measuring spoon) or 15-16 gm of instant active yeast
10 gm or 1 tsp of salt
300 to 350gm of cool water/water cum milk
60gm of corn oil/butter (you can use shortening if you want. It makes the bread silky or butter)

1) Sift bread flour into the mixing bowl. Rinse wet the wholemeal flour by running water over the flour on a sift. Squeeze up the water off the wholemeal flour. Add wetted wholemeal flour, instant yeast, salt and sugar. Turn to Speed 1 to gently mix all ingredients even.

2) Slowly add about 80% of your liquid (water/water+ milk) followed by fat (the oil/shortening or butter). Turn to speed 2 (med-hi) and beat till all ingredients come together into a dough.

If it's too dry, add a little more from the last 10% of the liquid. Remember: Don't pour the whole amount of liquid all at once, as depending on your flour water absorption level, you may end up with a very wet dough. Add liquid a little at a time. The dough must be able to leave the side of the mixing bowl and it should not stick to your hand.

3) Continue beating on high for 10 to 15 min. Do the thin film/membrane test to check for readiness.

4) If dough is not quite developed yet, & the mixing bowl is already warm, take the dough out and hand knead it rigourously for a little while before shaping into a round, tight dough. Cover with clean cloth to rest for 20 min or until dough double in size. Resting at this stage makes it easier for shaping later. Divide into 2 and rest for another 10 min.

5) Shape the dough into a long (width wise) rectangle and roll towards you into a log/swiss roll shape. Place in well greased baking tin (19cm X 11 cm X 11 cm) and rest for another 1 hour 30 min to 1 hour 40 min (depending on heat and humidity) or til it rises about 90% of the tin height. Do the finger poke test.

6) Preheat oven to 165 deg cel fan forced. Bake for 25 to 30min till golden brown. Take out loaf and let it cool before cutting.


Philip's Dream Team said...

The bread looks so good. I have copied the recipe. Thank you Sim Nee.

Greg Wee said...

No problemo! enjoy making your own homemade bread. will post other bread things soon.

Roger said...

I know what you need to do...You need a research lab with Greg as the hamster..Oooo my poor bro in law

NEE said...

hmmmm now that you mentioned it, what a fantastic idea. him poor?!!!! he is sooooo pampered!!! you want to be hamster 2!

terri@adailyobsession said...

homemade bread is the best! i love tt bite tt only home made (n hotel)breads give. my friend has an old sanyo bread machine tt makes the world's best bread, swear. i don't like fluffy soft bread, unless it's roti kahwin.

and nee, u r one person i always trust when it comes to cooking. if i need a reference, n u have the recipe, i always check ur blog. :)

marlene said...

looks so good! So healthy!

NEE said...

A terrri: yeah i had some commercial ones leftover yest. I was hungry by 1130 cant believe it. really have no substance.

thanks for your encouragement. what a coincidence. i will go to you when i need something honest.

Marlene: hi hi..where are you now?

Baby Sam said...

I am a manic bread eater and that bread there looks really FINE! If only the bakeries can come up with something like this (for less than an arm and a leg) rather than the watered down loaves they claim to be wholemeal!

NEE said...

heay rodney. make your own. with baby sam..can be afamily project hehehe...heard about bonding with children through cooking and baking. but the mess after hehehe...is a considereation.

gerrie said...

Hi, I find that using the sponge dough method enhances the flavour of the loaf. Have been making my own bread for a couple of years already. I just read about using pate fermente, but I keep forgetting to keep some.
Bread making is rather therapeutic for me, and honestly, after one is used to eating home made bread, the ones in the bakery really suck!

gerrie said...

Forgot to mention...you may also try to "autolyse", so add salt after the dough has been left to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.

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