Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bag Patterns Sale Is On

My Bag Patterns are discounted at 30% at my Etsy shop. Until 1st Dec 2017.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


In my kitchen, buttermilk is one of those items I seldom use. I don't really understand its purpose. Recently I bought a small carton because I needed it to make a chocolate cake. Unfortunately the barely baked chocolate cake suffered a fatal death in the oven. (its head was decapitated when "someone" carelessly moved it)

So I had a lot of leftover buttermilk and I didn't want to throw it away. Can you drink buttermilk? I did a google and it seems buttermilk helps one to lose weight. Ridiculous right? Well, provided you use buttermilk to substitute snacks like potato chips which contains more calories. I see... Buttermilk is lower in fat than whole milk or butter but it contains saturated fats which is the bad kind of fats. Well, I still had to use it up somehow.

I suggested making blueberry muffins and my girl supported the idea. I remember I used buttermilk before when I made chocolate muffins. I got the blueberry muffin recipe from The Model Bakery. I reduced the amount of sugar but followed everything else.

The muffins smelled fantastic while they were baking.

Unfortunately, after eating 2 muffins (at one go), I realised I didn't want to eat anymore. My girl ate a couple and so did hubs. He liked that the muffins weren't sweet. My son ate one very reluctantly because he didn't like the blueberries. I suspect he didn't like the lack of sweetness as well. I had to force myself to eat a couple more the next day. You know the problem with baking? You need people other than yourself to eat the baked goods. Otherwise you'll end up putting on more and more weight.

I had more buttermilk to use up and my girl suggested pancakes. I found a recipe in The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook and to my delight, I had the exact amount of buttermilk for the recipe! But I had run out of all-purpose flour. I did have a whole bag of cake flour so I used that instead. Wow! Pancakes made with cake flour is so much better! Very light.

I made plain pancakes for my kids and banana pancakes for hubs and I. As always I reduced the amount of sugar but no one complained. We eat our pancakes plain without adding any syrup.

By the way, yesterday I was baking some bread on parchment paper and while moving the bread around to avoid the hot spot, the parchment paper touched the heating element on the top of the oven and caught fire again! This time I was very calm and sprayed water into the oven to put out the fire. I wonder if there's something wrong with my oven.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Blue Pea Flower Yeast Water Bread


If you weren't a baker and I were to tell you I could use these blue pea flower petals to leaven my bread, I'll bet you wouldn't believe me. How can a flower petal raise dough without adding instant yeast right? Right?

Apparently, it's a thing. It's called wild yeast water and you can use flowers, fruits, herbs, veggies and unripe grains. Recently I joined this facebook group (Fermenting and baking with wild yeast waters) and the members are super talented and generous. There are lots of resources under "Files". (I think you need to be a member to access the info. Send a request and I'm sure the administrator will accept it.) So I had been following what the members were baking and they use all kinds of stuff to leaven their dough - mango, parsley stems, tumeric and some people married their yeast water with kefir water. Yes, I know. It's quite "perverse".

Last week my sister Julie asked me if I wanted blue pea flowers and coincidentally a friend of mine was fermenting blue pea flower yeast water. So I immediately said yes! What a stroke of luck. I used a recipe posted on the wild yeast facebook. Recipe author is Piotr Lesnianski. It was written for orange peel but it should work for other stuff as well.

I fermented the petals for 5 days. It was fed with raw sugar on day one. You need to shake the bottle vigorously twice a day to prevent mould from growing. On day 5 I fed the yeast water more sugar, I think one tablespoon or so because I didn't see much activity in the water. I let it ferment a few hours more and I made the starter - equal parts yeast water with equal parts bread flour. Looking back, I should have fed it more sugar earlier, like on the 4th day.

My strained yeast water looked quite blue but as I discovered later, it needs to be waaay darker in colour. By the way, blue pea flower yeast water smells really pleasant.

My first starter. See the blue is barely visible. I let the starter sit on the table overnight and although it doubled in volume, it failed the float test. (it sank in water) So I gave it one more feeding - one extra tablespoon of yeast water and bread flour. I forgot how long I waited but once it passed the float test, I mixed in the rest of the recipe. I think I was supposed to use some plain water but I forgot and I only used yeast water.

During the bulk fermentation, I noticed my dough didn't behave as normal. The dough felt different. It was not easy to do any slap or fold. The dough almost felt developed already. Does that sound strange? Shaping was also quite hard because the dough wouldn't listen. So I let it sit in the proofing basket and put in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I took it out of the fridge, sat on the table for one hour and baked on baking stone.

To be honest, I thought the bread would fail horribly so I didn't take many photos. I wish I have a pic of the dough before it went into the oven. It was close to overproofing because I forgot to watch it. I think one hour on the table is a bit too long for Singapore weather. Anyway, I used a torch to shine into the oven after a few minutes (my oven has no light) and almost had a heart attack. What an oven spring! The bread almost hit the top of the oven.  I got so excited. I rarely get good oven spring. When I finally finished baking, I took it out of the oven and I knew the loaf would be okay because it felt so light. I almost forgot to mention, during the bake, the smell was heavenly. Very fragrant.

The crumb is not fantastic or anything - I did not get the holey moleys but the bread was soft and airy and good to eat. I had no complaints. I wish you can see the blue in the bread. It's very faint.

I forgot to take a pic of the whole loaf!

Hubs brought the bread to work to eat. He sent me a pic. I think you can see a hint of blue in the pic above.

I don't think I will be able to replicate this bread because I feel that I did something wrong somewhere but somehow it ended up not too bad. If everything had gone smoothly, I believe I would have gotten a better crumb. I baked this loaf on baking stone instead of a dutch oven because my oven is not tall enough and I don't have a dutch oven.

I remember I have baked with raisin yeast water before here. And I also remember the bread was just okaaay and the final loaf did not rise much. Kinda squat looking. I feel that I've improved quite a bit in my bread making. So pleased about that!  
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