Pate a choux

Pate a choux

Pate a choux is the base for delicious desserts such as profiteroles and eclairs. The mark of a perfect choux bun is a hollow inside and a crisp, brown outside, both dependent on the oven temperature and timing. I didn’t do my research before making my choux buns which resulted in soft choux buns 🙁 But it’s okay because I’ve scoured through the internet and finally figured out how to do it right, all thanks to American Test Kitchen.

Pate a choux

Pate a choux

I followed Gordon Ramsay’s recipe after I watched him in this video. There’s going to be a lot of stirring of dough around so beware of aching arms the next day but it is worth it in the end!!! 🙂 Imagine popping a cream puff into your mouth. Heavenly.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, including some things to take note of.

Ingredients
125ml milk
200ml water
150g plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
100g unsalted butter
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. A very hot oven is necessary for the buns to rise.
2. Heat milk, water and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Once boiling, remove from heat and immediately tip all of the flour in. Stir with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough is formed.
5. Remove dough and place into another bowl to cool.
6. Once cooled, beat in eggs one at a time until a smooth paste is formed. Don’t worry when it looks like a mess, just have faith and continue beating using your wooden spoon.
7. Place in piping bag with a round tip and pipe out walnut sized mounts. (Refer to the video to see how it is done)
8. Place in oven and bake until golden brown.
9. Once the pastries are baked, cut a ¾-inch slit into the side of each puff to release the steam. Return the pastries to the oven, turn the oven off, and prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Let the pastries dry until the center is just moist (but not wet) and the surface is crisp, about 45 minutes.

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Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt

Yoghurt

Homemade yogurt is a cheaper alternative to store bought yogurt, and the best part is that it is way healthier. No preservatives, no unnecessary food colouring and no overload of sugar. Once you’ve tasted this yogurt, there’s no turning back. My mother absolutely detests commercial yogurt and loves our homemade yogurt. It’s not difficult to make yogurt at all, at least not as difficult as you think it is.

To make your own yogurt, you have to understand how it works first. The base ingredient is milk and milk contains lactose. You have to add in a starter which is a cup of commercial yogurt or a cup of yogurt from your previous batch because this starter contains the probiotic bacteria that will convert the lactose into lactic acid, the thing that makes yogurt tart and thick. Warming the milk and incubating the mixture provides the ideal environment for the bacteria to work.

Yogurt with thermometer

One important tool you need is a thermometer which you can buy for $13 at Phoon Huat. Temperature is key in making yogurt, you want to make sure you don’t kill the cultures. Another important tool is an incubator. My De Dietrich oven has a yogurt function that maintains the right temperature and I didn’t discover it until I made my first batch of yogurt and started playing with the oven functions. Go look at your oven closely and perhaps you might discover this amazing function! If you don’t have this function, you could just turn your oven light on and place the bottles in the oven or you could place the mixture in a flask.

One tip is to buy many mason jars to store your yogurt, I keep 7 at home. Remember to sterilize all your tools and the jars as you don’t want harmful bacteria to proliferate as well! Once you have all your materials, you are ready to make some yogurt! 🙂

Adding starter

Pouring into mason jars

Ingredients

1 litre of milk (full cream preferred)
1 cup of store-bought yogurt or previous batch of yogurt

Directions

1. In a pot, warm the milk to 82 degrees Celsius.
2. Prepare an ice bath.
3. Once it has reached 82 degrees Celsius, place pot in ice bath. Cool milk to 45 degrees Celsius.
4. Whisk in starter.
5. Pour mixture into mason jars.
6. Place in incubator for at least 6 hours, best results are seen when it is left overnight.
7. Place in refrigerator to chill.

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White Bread

Bread

Bread

Remember how I discovered the magical powers of my Kenwood mixer? I used them in making two loaves of white bread which turned out a bit too chewy for my liking perhaps because of over mixing. Making bread is an art to perfect although I don’t quite see how you can screw this recipe up that bad, so I can ensure you that you will get two edible crusty white loaves if you use this recipe. Have fun watching yeast, water and flour turn into breakfast 🙂

From joythebaker
Ingredients

4 cups bread flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water

Directions

1. In your electric mixer bowl, place 3 3/4 cup of bread flour. Place the yeast on one side and salt on the opposite side. Pour the water into the middle.
2. Using the paddle attachment, mix it until it appears just mixed.
3. Change to the dough attachment, mix on medium speed for 2 min.
4. Stop and rest the dough for 5 min.
5. Mix again for 3 min.
6. With the remaining 1/4 cup of bread flour, hand knead dough until it is smooth and satiny. Shape into ball.
7. Place into oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm area. Let it rest for 90 minutes until it doubles.
8. Remove from bowl, punch down and form a ball again. Return to bowl and cover for 30 minutes.
9. Remove from bowl onto well floured surface, cut into 2 pieces and shape each piece into balls. 10. Leave to rest under damp cloth for 30 to 45 minutes
11. In the last 20 minutes, preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Place two trays in the oven to preheat, one at the most bottom shelf.
12. Place bread onto tray and slash a ‘x’ onto the bread to let the bread rise.
13. Add water to the bottom tray so that steam is produced to create a crispy crust.
14. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy 🙂

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