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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: Breakfast Biscuits

For the Breakfast Mac and Cheese I needed a quick and simple breakfast biscuit recipe, because I just wasn’t willing to fork out 20-plus ringgit to buy the frozen ones from some upmarket grocer.  There are probably other better recipes out there, but this one gets the job done.

I find rolling out the dough and cutting with a bisuit cutter to be quite tedious.  Gathering up the scraps and re-rolling them also makes the biscuits look unappealing.  Next time I’m going to roll the dough into a 3 inch thick log and cut them up into pieces, and see if that yields better results.

Based on the recipe by Paula Deen.

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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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Make Your Own: Basic Pan Pizza Base

When making my Pull-apart Stuffing Rolls, I originally just wanted to use ready-made pizza dough, and bought some from the store.  I thought nothing of it, but when I finally took the dough out from the fridge, to my horror the stuff I bought turned out to be pre-baked pizza crust, and was therefore unusable.  Trying to find other store-bought options led to more disappointment, and finally I caved in and decided to make my own pizza dough.  This small crisis disrupted my cooking schedule a bit for that day, but luckily I discovered this problem in the morning, and so had enough time to still make things happen.

I’ve used this recipe for all my home-made pizzas, based on the recipe from the book, 500 Pizzas & Flatbreads.  This makes about 450 grams/1 pound of dough, enough for two 9-inch round pizzas, or one 11 by 15-inch rectangle pizza.

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Weekend Cooking: Extra-Buttery Dinner Rolls

Lately I’ve been trying to make my own roti paung, and I searched through the net for different ideas to experiment with.  I still haven’t found the right recipe so far, but during one of my experiments I accidentally created these buttery dinner rolls which, I daresay, tasted better than the Parker House Rolls I made previously.  They’re a lot simpler to make, too.  Even though I considered the experiment a failure in my quest for the perfect roti paung recipe, I still think this recipe was worth keeping.

The addition of cream in this recipe was purely by chance, actually.  I made Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup recently, and had some cream leftover and needed to do something with it.  In any case, I think this is the reason why the rolls turned out so moist.

The next time I make these rolls, I plan to activate the yeast first, the same way I did with the Parker House Rolls.  I’ll also try kneading by hand to see if it makes any difference.  Sometimes using the mixer really just doesn’t cut it.

Serve these rolls warm, on their own or with jam.

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GobbleFest 2016: Pull-apart Stuffing Rolls

When having roast turkey, one usually would have it with stuffing.  Even though I butterfly my turkey and therefore there’s nothing I can stuff my stuffing into, I usually would still make stuffing on the side.  So far I haven’t found any stuffing recipe that Rudy actually liked, and dinner wouldn’t be complete without dinner rolls, so I decided to combine the two and make these stuffing-esque dinner rolls, based on the recipe by Serious Eats.

I hit a stumbling block when making this.  The store-bought pizza dough I had turned out to be pre-cooked, not raw, and was therefore unusable.  I had to make the dough from scratch and lost quite a bit of prep time, but all turned out well in the end.  The 9 by 13-inch tray was just slightly too big for the rolls even after they doubled in size, so I think I’ll use my round pie dish next time and let the rolls expand all the way to the edges.  Even though the rolls came out a bit too brown this time, Rudy and I really liked the flavor, and I couldn’t stop eating them!

I’ll definitely make this again, and try to get it right.

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GobbleFest 2015: Brown Butter Cornbread

When putting together the menu for this year’s GobbleFest, I asked the Round Knights for suggestions and Azuan pointed out that we were missing a bakery item.  Serious Eats had already put together an amazing classic Thanksgiving menu, and this cornbread recipe was on the list, so I decided to try it out.

I’ve tried other cornbread recipes, and while some were okay, Rudy liked none of them – too grainy, too dry, etc.  That was until he tried this one; moist and soft and buttery with yummy salty bits, this is definitely my new go-to cornbread recipe from now on.

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Dinner Club: Parker House Rolls

For last night’s Dinner Club session, I needed a few good sides to serve with my roast lamb shoulder, and while surfing around the Net I came upon this site which lists out some really good side dish suggestions.  Who can resist good dinner rolls, let alone rolls completely coated in butter before baking.  I just had to try this out, and they did not disappoint.  I don’t think I’ll be making dinner rolls any other way from now on.

Updated 25 Dec 2017 with new photos.   Made this again for this year’s TurkeyFest.  I was reminded the hard way how my Kenwood mixer really wasn’t for me when it comes to making bread dough, so I ended up going old school and kneaded the dough by hand.  The dough was still wet and I used a bit more than 5 cups of plain flour.  I’m going to try using bread flour next time to see if this yields better results.  I also decided to divide and shape the dough by hand instead of using a cookie cutter, which saved me a lot of time and avoided any wastage.  Delicious!

Based on the recipe by the Kitchn.

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Bread Maker Recipe: Banana and Cinnamon Tea Bread

So we forgot that we had a bunch of delicious pisang emas sitting in the fridge, and when they were finally discovered yesterday they were already beginning to turn black.  So, before they became completely inedible, and since I was having the Round Knights over for dinner tonight anyway, I decided to make banana bread.

I used my Kenwood BM 250 bread maker for the recipe below, and used the measuring cups and spoons provided with the machine.  The bread came out a little raw in the centre, so I transferred it to a baking pan and finished the baking in the oven at 190 degrees C (170 degrees C fan-forced) for another 15 minutes.  Despite that small setback, the bread was really soft and delicious, with just the right amount of sweetness.

The recipe below has been slightly modified to reduce the amount of liquid and avoid another case of undercooked bread.

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