Monday, November 24, 2014

The Less Fussy and No-Starter Five Thousand Dollars Bread

Five thousand dollars bread?

No doubt that this flashy name had caught my attention...

Since the beginning of 2014, baking this bread recipe seems to be a hit among Asian food bloggers. According to Victoria Bakes, the story begins when a sifu (master) paid ¥5000 (RMB) to buy this recipe. For the substantial amount of money that he paid, this recipe should never be seen in the internet or any public publications until the sifu shared the recipe with 爱和自由, who subsequently published the recipe on her blog. Ops! 

Why is this bread recipe so special?

(1) This original recipe requires a starter culture to kick start the proving of the bread. Thus, it requires three proving cycles with at least 4 hours to complete the baking of this bread. Ai yo! So lay-chay (meaning troublesome in Hokkien)!!!

(2) It uses a specific combination of low protein flour and high protein flour 1:2 ratio in both starter and main dough. Ai yo! So lay-chay again!!!

(3) The dough can be very sticky to handle! According to Vivian Pang Kitchen, the bread has a better texture when they are shaped into rosette shapes. Round buns won't be as good! Ai yo! So triple lay-chay!!!

The curious me thought of baking this bread in an easier way. Instead, this is how I baked my less fussy five thousand bread...

(1) ... with NO starter dough!!! I have combined all ingredients in a breadmaker as it kneaded into one dough. After proving the dough for one hour, I have punched it down and placed it in the fridge overnight.

(2) ... with NO combination of low protein flour and high protein flour! Yes that I did some maths calculation with the ratio of the combination and also the protein percentage of flour.

Assuming that the low protein flour has 7% protein and high protein flour has 12% protein, in 1:2 low protein flour to high protein flour ratio yields a finial 10% protein in the flour used. Then, why not use flour that has 10% protein which is all-purpose flour??? Hmmm....

(3) I did nothing to the no.3 lay-chay point. LOL! Despite that the dough is sticky, I'm sticking to the rosette shaping method as it gives the better texture. Still a little lay-chay here but it is definitely worthwhile doing this.

So, what is the outcome of my less fussy five thousand bread? Brilliant! ... Ops! Hope that I don't sound bragging too much here. Like what Victoria and Vivian has described in their bread, it is indeed a lovely sweet enriched bread. It is moist and soft as has great texture as it tears apart like fibers of tissue. Comparing to Victoria and Vivian, I reckon that I have under-baked mine slightly and would bake this bread with a deeper colour crust the next time.

Which is better? Original or this less fussy one? I can't really comment much on this because I have not baked this bread using the original starter-culture-requiring-4-hours method. All I can say is that this less-fussy method has worked well for me!

less fussy five thousand dollar bread
My less fussy five thousand dollar bread
No starter dough used - I have combined all ingredients and kneaded into just one dough.
See this texture! The bread dough can be very sticky to shape.

Sorry that I couldn't take pictures of the steps that I used to shape these bread as my hands were too messy with bit and pieces of sticky dough! For through rosette shaping instruction, please see this.

Like Vivian said, the dough is too sticky to handle.
After baking, the bread puff up very well and look better with smoother surfaces.
Happy to see that this less fussy bread has great tension too!
See! It tears apart like fibers of tissue!!!
Shaping the bread into rosettes is a must for this recipe :)

Here's the recipe that I have mostly adapted from Victoria Bakes and Vivian Pang Kitchen
Makes 9 small rolls in one 20cm square pan

300g all purpose flour with 10% protein content
65g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12g milk powder
1/2 cup (120ml) water, lukewarm
1 egg, small 60g
3/4 tsp instant yeast
35g butter, soften at room temperature

Using a breadmaker, mix all dough ingredients and knead into a smooth dough and allow it to prove for 1 hr.

As dough can be quite sticky to handle, kneading by hand can quite difficult. If breadmaker is not available, use an electric mixer with a dough hook to combine all ingredients except butter to form a dough. Add butter and knead for 15-20 mins or until dough is smooth and elastic. Allow dough to prove for 1 hr.

Punch down dough and place it in a container with cover and allow it to prove overnight in the fridge.

On the next day, remove dough from the fridge and allow it to adjust to room temperature for about 1 hr. Divide the dough into 9 portions. Shape into rosette as mentioned here.

Place the shaped dough into greased pan and allow the dough to prove for 1 hour or double in size. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for about 20 mins.

Baked at 180°C or 160°C fan forced for 20-30 mins*. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Allow the bread to cool completely before serving.

* Please note that I have under baked mine for 20 mins. I reckon that I should bake the bread for an extra 5-10 mins.

Happy Baking

Seeing the nice dark crusty hue of Ellena's 5 thousand dollar starter dough bread, I thought of baking my bread further to taste the effect of a more crusty bread...

I have baked my bread further to get a darker crusty finish.
Amazingly, the bread stay equally moist and soft!!!

Crusty or not crusty? Which is better? Being in its lower protein content, this bread tends to have lesser strength holding its shape and stay spongy and structured. It tends to collapse when they are squashed or bite. For this reason, I reckon that this bread is better if they are baked with darker crusts because the crust gives the bread more texture, structure and flavours.

This post is linked to the event, Best Recipes for Everyone November 2014, My Bread Story hosted by Fion from XuanHom's Mom Kitchen Diary.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jam-Doughnut Muffins (Nigella Lawson)

When I was a student, my friends and I used to indulge in hot jam doughnuts from the food truck at Queen Victoria Market. It is really nice to enjoy freshly fried doughnuts with warm oozing jam while wandering around the busy market.

When Lena from Frozen wings suggested this recipe, Jam Doughnut Muffins from the book, How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson or here for Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and me to bake along, I had this instant vision...

... of me and a bowl of doughnut balls with oozing strawberry jam to indulge!

... not in a busy market but at home.
... on my lazy couch
... with TV or music on?
... without my husband and kid??? LOL!

Ohhhh! I think I like this vision... Keep dreaming, Zoe!

Well, eventually I did have a bowl of perfectly shaped doughnut balls to enjoy but...

Jam-Doughnut muffins (Nigella Lawson)
Good that this recipe uses these wholesome ingredients
Plus, making the batter is ready easy!
Instead of using a muffin tin, I'm baking mine with a cake pop tin.
See these oozing batter, I was hoping that the muffins will look ok.
phew! They look great!
So, I dunk them into melted butter.
... and coat them with sugar.
... but some has no jam inside!

Disappointed? Yes, I am. These doughnuts are perfectly fine for consumption but just not the type that I had in my vision.

If I use a muffin tin to bake these doughnuts, I reckon that they should be looking as good as these that I have seen at

After this disappointment, I was thinking of baking this recipe again using a muffin tin but decided not as I'm not exactly a raving fan of oven-baked doughnuts after all. Based on what I have baked at here and here, I have noticed that these oven-baked doughnuts are in their best only when they are freshly baked as they become stale and tough on the next day.

Oh well, nevermind... I shall eat these kosong (meaning empty in Malay) doughnut balls...

... on my lazy couch
... with the TV on
... without my husband and kid??? Well, you think?

Here's the recipe from the book, the book, How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson or here  (with my modification or notes in blue)

Make 12 mini donuts 
125ml milk
85ml corn or other vegetable oil, plus more for greasing (I used rice bran oil)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
200g self-raising flour (I used 200g all purpose flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
100g caster sugar (I used 50g only)
12 tsp strawberry jam (homemade, recipe is at here)
100g unsalted butter
150g granulated sugar (I used the caster ones)

1 incredibly well-greased or silicon 12-bun mini-muffin tin - 
I used cake pop tin and can make 14 donuts balls with this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5 or 160°C fan forced

With a fork (or a hand whisk), beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract or paste. Stir this into the flour and the 100g (or 50g) caster sugar to combine (just): the lumps don't matter and if you overbeat the muffins will be tough.

Spoon the mixture into each muffin or cake pop cup so that it's just under a third full. Then with a teaspoon add a dollop of strawberry jam - about the size of a fat broad bean - then top with more muffin mix so that the cases are just about full.

Put them in the preheated oven and cook for about 20 mins or until the tops feel springy and resistant and the muffins have puffed up into little toadstools.

Meanwhile, melt the butter slowly in a thick-bottomed pan, and lay the sugar out in a wide, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffins are ready, remove them from their moulds, dip them in the butter and roll them in the granulated (or caster) sugar. Eat warm.

Happy Baking

Here are our friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Jam-Doughnut Muffin baking.

Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 20 to 29 Nov 2014.

For our next bake-along, we are baking BISCOTTI. It is a special Christmas event which is to be posted on 11 Dec 2014. Please bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake your favourite biscotti and blog hop with us until 22 Dec 2014.

To blog hop with us, simply copy and paste this linky HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML view/mode when you paste in the code. get the InLinkz code

Before using this linky tool, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!