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Weekend Cooking: Khaliat Nahal (Beehive)

To me, cooking is a way to destress after a long week slogging at the office.  Making bread, however, is what I find most enjoyable.   When a bread recipe appeared in Saudi Food Eman’s Facebook feed, I knew I had to try it ASAP.  I mean, bread stuffed with cream cheese and drizzled with syrup? Sign me up!

Because I was adamant about using my breadmaker for this, I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe.  I didn’t notice that the recipe uses a lot more yeast relative to the flour (which was really silly in retrospect, but ah well that’s how we learn), so after letting the Dough cycle run its full course, my dough literally looked like foam.  While I managed to save the dough by adding more flour, the bread turned out heavy and had a strong yeasty taste.  At this point, I still didn’t realize that the cause was my overproofing the dough. I instead blamed it on the plain flour I used, and switched to bread flour for my second attempt.

While the dough was a lot less wet this time around, and the bread was a lot fluffier, the yeasty flavor remained.  Finally it dawned on me that I was using the same amount of yeast but a little more than half of the flour compared to my roti paung recipe.  Since the whole point of using a ton of yeast is to cut down prep time, I must have been letting the dough sit for far too long.  I then realized my normal breadmaker Dough cycle isn’t suitable for this recipe, so I used the Pasta Dough setting instead, letting the machine do just the kneading without resting the dough.  True enough, this dough rises so fast, the earlier rolls doubled in size by the time I finished working on the last few.

The results? Lovely rolls which were bite sized and fluffy, with no unpleasant yeasty taste.  I also loved the amazing combination of exotic flavors and textures.  Creamy cheese inside fluffy bread, topped with crunchy, herby black seeds (habbatus sauda) then drizzled with sweet syrup infused with the distinct flavor of saffron.  I just couldn’t stop eating this.

Try it out!

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Weekend Cooking: Roti Golok

I saw this recipe on Facebook some time back.  Apparently it was something that was going viral here in Malaysia.  Looking through the ingredients it did seem quite yummy, so I started writing this post, with some small adjustments and notes.

It took me two tries to get this right, using my trusty old Kenwood BM250 breadmaker.  One of the recipes I found online asked for a lot of yeast (3 tablespoons!), and even though I cut it down to 2 packages (slightly over 2 tablespoons), the dough doubled up really fast and practically exploded in my breadmaker by the end of the dough cycle.  The given oven temperature was also way too hot, and my first batch turned out too brown and really crusty.  Even after adjusting the temperature down by 20 degrees, the second batch still turned out quite brown.  I think because there was too much yeast and I left the dough to rise for too long, the yeast consumed all the sugar and the rolls turned out rather tasteless, and not to mention smelled really yeasty.  Even though they softened a bit after they were completely cool, the texture was really dry and rough.  So, in short, my first try was a bust.

For my second attempt, I halved the amount of yeast, and added some salt in hopes that the rolls retain their moisture better and stay soft.  I also reduced the oven temperature to 150 degrees and baked for only 20 minutes.  The results were wonderful! The bread was beautifully soft and moist, and the flavor was just nice.  Success!

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Weekend Cooking: Roti Paung

When I was younger, afternoon tea was pretty much a daily routine.  Mummy would drive out (practically every place in Kuala Terengganu was only a 5 minutes’ drive away) and buy cakes or snacks for our afternoon tea, such as banana fritters, traditional Malay kuih, and occasionally, freshly baked roti paung.  A favorite place for us to buy roti paung was a stall at a specific Shell station on the road towards Chendering from Batu Burok.  I can’t remember the exact address now.

Nowadays I very rarely return to my hometown, and sadly, I never see roti paung anywhere here.  So, I decided to try making my own.  I’ve experimented with several recipes, and finally came up with my own version here.   Soft and fluffy, I finally get to savor a taste of home.  Enjoy!

Update:  Although this may not be in keeping with tradition, you can make variations of this roti paung by using different fillings other than butter.  I’ve used Kiri cream cheese squares (each cut into 4 equal sized cubes) which turned out lovely, and my best combination so far was Kiri cream cheese plus an equal amount of Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread, which is my nod to Llaollao’s delicious frozen yoghurt and their amazing caramelized biscuit sauce.  Keep experimenting with your own favorite fillings!

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