recipes

Bread baking journey & starters

Baking is a lot of fun, tasty and rewarding, started in my teenage years experimenting with my first buttery dough for mini-croissants. Hard work paid off in folding and rolling the dough delivering the first batch of mini-croissants.

Over the years I collected, tried and tested favourite baking recipes, but sadly lost that first pastry book. Next to books, through the Internet, I’ve found new resources to follow.

Always interested how others use, re-invent or share their new adaptations on classics, creative ideas or find new inspiration. Here I am sharing my go-to resources, tried and tested recipes, bloggers and favourite reads.

Bread baking

 

 

While my original recipe disappeared here’s a good Croissant recipe with a step-by-step guide, have a look at Izzy Hossack “How to make Croissants“. I really like the use of animated.

GIF feature delivering a hands-on look in her blog post, the moving frames draw immediate attention following her actions. Another choice is Classic Croissant article posted on Fine Cooking, which resembles very much the recipe I used for the very first time preparing the buttery dough.

Making the buttery dough gave me a buzz, but heaven knows what I did next with the Dutch recipe for soft buns. After proofing and rolling, the buns didn’t rise as it should have according to the recipe instructions. The end result after baking was disastrous, even a bit warm it was hard to chew.

Once cooled down the texture changed the buns into stones, two dozen of cobblestones bread even the dog couldn’t bite through. We had a big laugh and the mishap only made me more persistent to keep trying, learn more techniques and secrets to better eats.

The best is actually food talk; coffee chats, swapping of recipes, sharing potlucks and dinner stories :-). You will notice, food talk is a common thread running through al my conversations and postings.

The real bread making started seriously when we moved to Asia, once settled and fully adjusted we still were missing the taste of crusty European bread loaves.

Come to think of it, travelling brings forth a longing to comfort food, thinking of food can make you salivate and the craving sparks a quest to recreate that particular dish or flavour.

Depending on where we were living it meant going on the hunt to find the ingredients, sources or find substitutions which at times were even better than the original. The exchange of information brings a whole circle of communication around, joining into a new network of the circle of friends.

Bread baking journey & starters

Baking Equipment

Back to bread. By chance, we received a bread baking machine in Taiwan from friends who were leaving the island returning back home. At the time these baking machines were not widely available yet in The Netherlands.

A huge square box, but after our first bread bake trial it was a done deal. The bread machine is a keeper. The smell of fresh baked bread is so seducing it makes your mouth water and a good belly rumble. We grew up close to a bread bakery literally down the street in our hometown.

Until the bread baking machine sound whistled after the kneading and 2nd rise, signalling the baking phase entered. Precise from that moment slowly emanating the olfactory aromas of baked bread changing the house in a tiny bakery. The tempting smell literally draws the whole family into the kitchen anticipating for a fresh slice of fresh bread.

For more on my favourite power hub and tools read my “Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series post.  For the heavy duty kneading cycles and baking with the  Panasonic Inverter microwave oven both did a fine job.

At present, I am using a Miele oven for artisan bread and volume, the bread baking machine mostly during the week since it only can produce one loaf per baking cycle. The Breville BBM300 still works like a charm but newer and far more advanced models are now on the market.

Lastly, a Magimix food processor 3200XL for all other pastries and food recipes. Along the way, I will mention other versatile suitable gadgets for certain tasks or just making it more fun.

If you are contemplating the purchase of a bread machine, I’ve listed a few sources for general information.

Making bread and pastries you can use wet fresh yeast or dry yeast in active dry yeast and instant yeast type forms. The purpose of yeast:

Rising the dough – yeast fermentation makes carbon dioxide, a gas responsible for stretching and expanding the dough like a balloon.

Dough development – other compounds formed during yeast fermentation make the flour stronger so it can capture and hold the carbon dioxide gas that the yeast produces.

Flavour, aroma and texture – yeast fermentation also provides these wonderful sensory and physical attributes that you expect from yeast-raised products.

You need yeast to make bread, but you can also make your own bread starters and use both for a sourdough bread. Our next topic coming up:

Bread baking journey & starters continued:

Miracle Loaf & bread starters

My bread baking journey started off, by collecting bread recipes on the internet for the baking machine as well as traditional oven baked artisan loaves. One thing led to another, thus the stocking of different types of flour began for the preparation of various bread. Even combining of various pre-mix flour jars (e.g. cheaper than buying pre-mix brands) for pancakes batters, waffles, muffins as well as bread to keep at hand.

Searching for premix recipes, I stumbled upon the famed low-calorie, high protein bread flour recipe here.

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.