Late night baking: Hot Water (Yudane) Plain Bread

I went shopping at Cold Storage after visiting Whiskey Live at Capella today.

There is a bakery in Plaza Singapura’s Cold Storage. I saw different types of bread, plain loaf, Ciabatta, baguette etc. I couldn’t stop looking at them, but I didn’t want to get them. I’ve stopped buying breads after I’ve learnt how to make them. Not that I wouldn’t buy anymore breads, but nothing too interesting has caught my eye yet.

But the plain loaf reminded me of the one that I’ve learnt in school. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided to make one for breakfast. Yes, I’ve decided it’s worth some late night baking for a delicious breakfast.

Before I had my dinner, I made Tangzhong (starter dough).

Tangzhong (Starter dough)

Tangzhong (Starter dough)

According to the recipe, I just need to let the tangzhong sit for 15 mins. However for better results, you can let it sit longer.

The plain loaf I did in ABC Cooking Studio used special flour, Kitano Kaori, and Shirakami Kodama dry yeast. I don’t have them at home, so I replaced it with normal bread flour and instant dry yeast. Kitano Kaori and Kodama dry yeast would give the bread an enhanced flavour. It is okay not to use them. These are rather hard to find ingredients, but you can always get them from Rakuten Global. They carry it in manageable sizes.

Because I had to work in a open kitchen which was quite humid, so I had to knead my dough for a longer period. For this dough, I took about an hour. The kneading time depends on your working environment and water added. I added more water today, because I was told it will make the bread softer.

Dough after first proofing

Dough after first proofing

If you do not have a bread proofer at home, you can always just leave your bread in a corner of your kitchen to let it ferment. For me, I find that fermentation takes place faster inside the microwave. DO NOT preheat your oven or anything. Just let your dough sit inside, and let it grow. I took about an hour for first fermentation. To check for your dough, the size would have at least doubled, and when you do the finger test, the hole remains but springs back partially, you know your dough is ready.

Second proofing

Second proofing

Each time my dough goes into proofing, I will make use of the time to do clean up, and to do some work. After about 40 mins, my bread has grown to at least 1.5 times.

After second proofing

After second proofing

I used the same recipe from school, and it’s meant for 1 loaf. However I realized my bread tin is too small, so I decided to make another smaller one. All you have to do is to split the dough after first fermentation.

After that it’s time to send the bread for baking. It can get a little tricky as different ovens have different temperatures. 2 ovens can be the same brand, same model, but the heat is different.

Hot Water (Yudane) Plain Bread

Hot Water (Yudane) Plain Bread

My loaves didn’t turn out as evenly baked as the one I baked in school. I will need to adjust the temperature of the oven accordingly. Initially I set it too high, so the top part browned too much, too quickly. I then lowered the temperature, which caused the side of the bread to be less brown.

Nonetheless, my bread still smells awesome. It’s now 1.10am, and it’s making me hungry. I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to have it for breakfast! I am sorry if you are waiting for me to share the recipe. I can’t because this is the recipe from ABC Cooking Studio. I will definitely share if it’s my own.

Now that I’ve done plain loaf at home, maybe I should move on to making sourdough next. I’ve been thinking about making sourdough at home for the past week. It’s my favourite bread, and it will be so awesome to make and eat. I am procrastinating because the whole process of making 1 bread can take up to a week, although the end result will be very worth the effort! I should sleep on this idea. I should go to bed now, and look forward to my breakfast!

 

From hello kitty, to little tiger

I was working on my script in the afternoon when an old friend messaged me. We were catching up and the topic of bread making came up.

I’ve recently tried to make Baymax bread for a friend, because that is her favorite character. I took the recipe off Little Miss Bento’s page. The bread ended up looking not too bad. 

The friend I talked to today saw the picture, and asked if I could make Hello Kitty ones. I thought to myself, it shouldn’t be too hard as I can use the same recipe. I just need to shape the bread differently. We joked about how she would buy from me if I could make them.

After dinner I decided I should try making it. I couldn’t wait. But instead of filling the bread with Nutella, I decided to use custard instead. I prefer custard over to Nutella. So I cooked some custard, and left it in the fridge while I knead my dough.

Everything was going according to plan until I had to draw the facial features. Disaster! I have the shape of a hello kitty, but facial features of a little tiger! 😓🙀 

As you can see, the first 2 pictures on the top look pretty decent. But the bottom ones just changed it completely! I guess I was being overly ambitious. I should have stuck to using edible colour ink to draw the features instead of using melted chocolate. I also wanted to add a little flavor to the bread with the chocolate.

Never mind, there is a saying, every failure is a closer step to success. 失败乃成功之母 I will have to try again until I succeed!

I bet my friends will be laughing their heads off when they see the picture. Laugh all you want guys! It’s good to laugh and be happy. I’ll do anything to bring you joy.

Instead of hello kitty, I will have little tigers for breakfast. They are still soft and fluffy with a delicious custard filling. I’ve got some leftover dough so I made a round ball with the smiley face. I’ll tried that piece of bread and it’s very nice. (是好吃的咯!)

If you have any tips on how to make a GOOD hello kitty bread, please feel free to share with me okay? To see more of my baking, you can find them on Instagram at the following hashtag: #mavcbakes

All Progress Takes Place Outside the Comfort Zone

progress and comfort zone

Image source: Canva

It’s been a while since I last met my buddy. It’s always a discovery process to talk to her, I will learn more about myself through our conversations. And the following quote is the conclusion of our meeting today:

If you find yourself stagnant, maybe it’s time to take the leap. Embrace the certainty of uncertainty.

#mavcbakes: the joy of making breads

I’ve never had much experience in making breads until May 2015. I’ve just finished shopping at Kinokuniya Ngee Ann City, and I was on my way down the escalator. I saw this place “ABC Cooking Studio“, and I was drawn to it. At first glance, I saw well-organised cooking stations in a brightly lit environment.

I walked up to the counter and saw some brochures. I saw brochures for bread, cakes and cooking lessons. I stood there for a while, looked through the brochures over and over again. I remember they were running a promotion for their trial classes, and it was the last few days to the end of the promotion. I looked at the prices of the classes, and they were rather pricey. I thought I would just take the trial class for fun, because the package was just too expensive. Since it’s the trial, maybe I should try the bread, and see if I can pick up a skill or two from this lesson.

So the day came, and I had my first bread class. My first breads at ABC Cooking Studio turned out really well, and got me interested in taking a few more lessons.

Left: Cinnamon roll Right: Ham and Mayo bread

Left: Cinnamon roll
Right: Ham and Mayo bread

Me with ham and mayo bread

I first took up the bakers lover package. That consisted of 8 breads and 6 cakes lessons. As I moved on with the different lessons, I began to fall in love with making breads. I was curious in finding out the different ways on making breads. I asked a lot of questions in class, and thankfully I have had very patient instructors to explain to me. Overtime, these instructors became my friends. I am always so happy to be in the studio.

Honey Cinnamon Bread

Honey Cinnamon Bread

The curriculum is such that students must finish all the classes in the basic module, before progressing to the master module. After that, students can decide if they want to take a test to get a license.

Pari Pari Curry Bun I overloaded one of the bread with filling, so my instructor and I got creative. The pig is so cute!

Pari Pari Curry Bun
I overloaded one of the bread with filling, so my instructor and I got creative. The pig is so cute!

me with piggy pari pari

So far I have finished my basic bread classes, and I have just started on my master course. It’s been a wonderful journey with ABC Cooking Studio, although there were minor hiccups along the way. But I know the school is trying their best to meet the needs of all the students, and we need to give them a bit more time.

Practising at home: Earl Grey Bread

Practising at home: Earl Grey Bread

There are a total of 24 breads in the basic module, and it’s impossible for me to list all them here in this post. If you are interested to see what I have done, feel free to search for them on Instagram with the following hashtag: #mavcbakes. Besides bread, you can also find cakes that I’ve learnt with ABC Cooking Studio. I have also signed up for all their basic cakes, all 18 of them, however I still have a couple more to go before completion.

I am so thankful to have started on this bread making journey. I’ve not only picked up a new skill, (which I think I am quite good at!), I’ve also made many new friends.

First bread for master class; Plain Loaf

First bread for master class; Plain Loaf

I am now deeply in love with making breads, and constantly experimenting new recipes on my own. I am always looking for people to exchange recipes with, if you have a love for breads too, please connect with me! I would love to exchange tips and recipes with you!

I shall leave you with a picture to make you drool! 🙂

I made my own breakfast with the plain loaf I baked. :)

I made my own breakfast with the plain loaf I baked. 🙂

My Macbook Air got attacked by MALWARE!

Got attacked by MALWARE!!!

Got attacked by MALWARE!!!

I nearly died from a heart attack. I was doing some research for my work, and realised weird popups in my browsers, and having issues to access some websites.

I knew it was malware, but on my Mac??? Anyway I told myself there must be a way. I need my laptop to function properly so that I can work. I quickly googled for Apple’s helpdesk number, called them up.

I kept praying this call will help me fix my problem. I can’t remember the name of the lady who helped me, but she has been most patient and helpful. My machine is quite old, although running on SSD, but it’s still quite slow.

She guided me through each step, to restarting my Mac in safe mode, downloading the malware removal software, and ultimately solving my problem. Although the call was around 15 minutes, but it felt like forever to me!

I’ve always taken Mac’s stability for granted. “Aiyah, you don’t get attacked by viruses on Mac.”, but it happened. No matter how reliable one product is, it will always welcome detractors. Before my MacbookAir, I have had 2 other laptops, fully loaded with different types of antivirus softwares. However there were still attacked from time to time. Each operation to remove the bugs and rebooting the machine was a NIGHTMARE. Sometimes I even had to send my laptop to the shop for repair, and I would be handicapped for a few days. So when I tried to use my Mac after removing the malware, and it worked, it was a HUGE relief! I would have given her a BEAR HUG if she was next to me!

This is my first heart attack incident with Mac, and I hope it won’t happen again.

I am curious about how Mac gets attacked by malware, can anyone enlighten me?

 

#GlennChelseaWedding: Wedding of the year

This is one of the happiest things that happened to me this year, or maybe even lifetime, to attend Glenn and Chelsea’s wedding in Jakarta.

Both Glenn and Chelsea are well known celebrity couple in Indonesia. They dated for 8 years before tying the knot.

I’ve known Glenn and his family for 17 years. Glenn was still a primary school student when I knew him. I have always been close with his family in one way or another, though there was a period that we lost touch. His family used to be based in Singapore, but they have gone back to Jakarta, while Glenn’s sister is now in Australia!

One day by chance I caught up with him and his mum (Auntie Linda) again. I was so happy for this reunion, we had so much to catch up. Since then, I have flown to Jakarta a couple of times to spend time with Auntie Linda. I’ve grown very close to Auntie Linda, so much so that she’s my Indonesian mama.

Earlier this year, Auntie Linda told me Glenn was (finally) getting married. I was shameless and asked for an invite! Everyday I was counting down to 1 Oct. His church wedding was on 1 Oct, and wedding reception on 3 Oct. However due to work commitments, I had to give the church wedding a miss.

Wedding invite!

Wedding invite!

Wedding invite

I flew in to Jakarta on 1 Oct evening, straight from the office to the airport. On the way from office to the airport, I was scrolling through Instagram for their wedding photos. There were so many of them with the hashtag #GlennChelseaWedding. I had to control my tears in the cab, I was so happy for them.

Auntie Linda was so sweet, she arranged for a makeup artist to come to the hotel and help me do my makeup and hair for the wedding reception. I stayed at Hotel Century this time because it was near the wedding hotel. Room rates in Mulia were too crazy for me to afford.

Ibu Mavis!

Ibu Mavis! Dressed in my favourite Ong Shunmugam cheongsam

I was told by the makeup artist Alvania that Hotel Mulia has a huge ballroom, and the makeup can’t be too light, or I will look too pale. It’s definitely the heaviest makeup I’ve had in my life, with 2 layers of fake eyelashes!

The whole wedding was carefully planned. Everything was so fairytale like! No wonder Singapore newspapers lollipop picked up Glenn’s wedding to compare it with AngelaBaby’s one! White roses, sparkling crystals, unicorns, swans soft music, you can feel the love and romance everywhere!

Large TV screen showing their prewedding photos

Large TV screen showing their prewedding photos

Glenn Alinskie

A selfie against the romantic backdrop

A selfie against the romantic backdrop

Inside the ballroom, everything else was spectacular too. It was my first time attending a wedding in Indonesia, and I’ve learnt that it’s a buffet standing fashion. I quite like it actually, you are free to go around the place, and pick the food you like! Food stations are set up everywhere, each time you meet someone and you like to mingle, you
can just stop anywhere, grab a bite, and chat.

Inside the ballroomHot food stationFoodCakes

The tradition in Indonesia is the couple and their family will be standing on stage to receive well wishes from the guests. I queued for more than an hour to go up! Chelsea is soooo pretty!

A wefie with the couple!

A wefie with the couple!

It was a busy night for the couple and their family, however they provided good entertainment for the guests. The couple had their march in, first dance, video recap of their church wedding. Besides having a good band whom sang whole night, Chelsea sang that night too! Too bad it was in Bahasa Indonesian. I didn’t understand a single word of it.

Awesome band who sang whole night!

Awesome band who sang whole night!

Although I was in a foreign land, but I felt very much at ease. And I was really glad to find some time to catch up with the Alinskie family. I entered the family area to catch up with Quenby (Glenn’s elder sister).

Quenby and I

Quenby and I

A group shot with Quenby's family and relatives. And the little boy is Quenby's son!

A group shot with Quenby’s family and relatives. And the little boy is Quenby’s son!

Auntie Linda and I

Auntie Linda and I

Before I left, I managed to grab a photo with Auntie Linda. Although we didn’t get to talk much that night, but I am really thankful to Auntie Linda for inviting me. It’s such an honour to share their joy. Weeks later, Auntie Linda messaged me to apologise that she couldn’t talk much to me at the wedding because there were so much going on. She really didn’t have to. I am not sure when I will meet her again, but I know we always have each other in mind. Thank you for your love, my Indonesian mama.

Neurogenesis: Grow new brain cells

Just a couple of days ago, I came across this very interesting Ted talk:

Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret talked about how we can actually grow new brain cells. If we can grow new brain cells faster then the rate we use them up, it will improve our quality of life. It’s not just about becoming smarter, and cope better with greater challenges, it also makes us happier.

We are always under so much stress, that we produce so much cortisol. This is the hormone produced whenever we face stress, and they cause our fight or flight reaction. Overtime, these cortisol will damage the hippocamus part of our brain. I am not a doctor, neither am I a nurse. I just have a keen interest in finding out how our brain works, therefore I’ve read up quite abit on this area.

A little stress is good, but we feel overwhelmed when it gets too much. In worst case scenarios, we get eaten up by the stressful situation. We feel stress, and we produce cortisol. We try to fight and make the situation better, and if we failed, we produce even more cortisol. More and more cortisol gets produced, until they flood our brain. However deep down in our hearts we want to make ourselves feel better, and think of a solution to fix the problem, or even just to move on. When we see someone in distress, we will always tell the person to take it easy, go do something that makes them happy. I guess the whole reason to doing something that makes them happy is not just about producing endorphins. But it helps them to generate new brain cells, and they will help to combat the negative processes in our brains.

Sandrine has shared some very actionable advice on how we can improve on the rate of neurogenesis. If you only have time to watch 1 video this weekend, I strongly recommend that you watch this one.

 

Latest internet food sensation- Nissin chawanmushi

If you are a foodie and constantly looking for great food ideas on social media, I am pretty sure this would have shown up on your newsfeed:

The internet’s latest culinary masterpiece: Cup Noodle Steamed Egg【Taste Test】

Image credit: Rocket News24

Image credit: Rocket News24

I saw this on my newfeed a couple of days ago, and I’ve got friends sharing the link with me as well.

I love cooking, and I love Japanese food and culture! Of course I’ve tried making my own chawanmushi.

Mavis' homemade authentic chawanmushi

Mavis’ homemade authentic chawanmushi

I try to keep my cooking as authentic as possible. I will do everything from scratch, and take no shortcuts. For my version of chawanmushi, I made my own dashi, using dried kelps and bonito. As you can tell from the picture, my chawanmushi was loaded with lots of ingredients, Japanese fish cakes, thinly sliced Japanese mushrooms etc. And to get a nice smooth texture on the top, it takes patience to filter the egg mixture carefully so that you don’t get any trapped air bubbles.

It can take me half a day to cook chawanmushi. The actual cooking time is not long, but there is a lot of waiting time required. Such as to cook the dashi, wait for it cool down, soak the mushrooms in hot water etc. The water used to soak the mushrooms will also be used to cook your chawanmushi, it gives that extra flavour.

As you can tell, it is a lot of effort and time to do a good chawanmushi. So when I saw the article that you can easily make a steamed egg out of leftover Nissin cup noodles soup, I was VERY skeptical. However, it just showed up on my feed OVER  AND OVER AGAIN. And my friends spared no mercy in sending me the link.

I finally decided I shall give this a try, since I do eat quite a fair bit of Nissin cup noodles.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I felt hungry last night, so I decided to have supper- Chilli Crab Nissin cup noodles. Rocket News24 tried the recipe with Tomyum soup, I shall try with my favourite Chilli Crab flavour.

Chilli Crab Nissin Cup Noodles

My supper- Chilli crab Nissin cup noodles

Added hot water, waiting for the noodles to cook

Added hot water, waiting for the noodles to cook

I was watching my favourite TV series, Mad Men as I ate my supper. Yes, cup noodles and Don Draper. So romantic! <3

Left some soup for my experiment

Left some soup for my experiment

I usually would add an egg into my noodles and eat it together. But for last night, I decided to keep the egg for the experiment. And I had to control myself from finishing the soup.

So I poured the leftover soup into my glass, and added in 2 eggs. (I had quite alot of soup leftover.) Then I sent the glass into the microwave oven. I set the oven temperature to Medium High, and time at 3 mins.

Chilli crab chawanmushi cooking in the oven

Chilli crab chawanmushi cooking in the oven

According to Rocket News24, the time was set at 2 mins 40 secs, and the steamed egg turned out well. The temperature of each and every oven differs, cooking time will differ as well. I was afraid my glass will break under too high temperature, so I set it to Medium High. On the other hand, I was afraid my eggs will undercook, so I set it to 3 mins. However I think 3 mins could be too much time, the top of the eggs turned out rather browned.

Top view of the steamed eggs

Top view of the steamed eggs

You can see there are 2 distinct colours, brown on the top, and cream on the bottom.

Chilli crab flavour chawanmushiCloseup of chawanmushi

If I were to try it again, I might set my oven temperature to medium, and then cook at 3mins, and increase the time accordingly if the bottom of the eggs are not yet cooked. Alternatively, you can add a piece of aluminium foil on the top of the egg halfway through cooking, to prevent the top from browning. I’ve heard too many stories of microwave exploding because of aluminium foil, so I dare not try. I rather play with the cooking times.

So how does it taste like? No surprises. Chilli crab steamed eggs lor.

Close up of the steamed eggs

Close up of the steamed eggs

For someone who loves eggs, Nissin cup noodles, I do quite like this recipe. It’s a quick and easy fix for late night suppers. Minimal washing, and I can accept that. If you love eggs like me, this is one easy recipe you can try. However, this recipe is no way comparable to the REAL chawanmushi. So please lower your expectations!

I have some Indomie instant noodles which I brought back from my last trip to Jakarta. I will try this steam eggs recipe with my Indomie the next time!

Disclaimer: This post is inspired by Rocket News24. All pictures are taken by me unless otherwise stated.

 

Server Migration completed!

I am most grateful to my friend Peiyong for helping me migrate the server! (And also to allow me have my blog on his server! :p)

All the while I have been wanting to do more experiments with my blog. However due to WordPress limitations, there were much restrictions. But with this server migration, I can do much more things now! Previously I tried so hard to implement GA code on my blog, but I couldn’t do it. Unless I upgrade my WordPress account, which I refused paying for.

The downside of not using WordPress as a server anymore is you lose some of the features, such as social sharing functions etc. If you want it back on your blog, you got to insert them manually. For non techies, this can be quite a challenge. (I feel damn paiseh to ask my friend to help me on such small things, he’s done alot for me. I promise, I will bake him cakes and breads as rewards.)

Just want to say it again, THANK YOU Peiyong! 🙂

I GIVE UP!

It takes a lot of courage to say “I GIVE UP!” Sometimes it will mean that you have to open yourself up to many uncertainties. It is terrifying to think of the unknown. Have you ever come to the point of being so sick and tired of something, and you just want to give up? However you can’t bring yourself to make that decision, because you are not sure of what will happen, and you force yourself to press on? I think this is something that all of us can relate to.

As the saying goes, when one door closes, the other doors will open. When your hands are full, you cannot hold on to new things that you want. You got to let go of what’s in your hands, before you can pick other things up.

If you are feeling lost and fed up, maybe it’s time to say “I Give Up!” Give yourself a break, you will find it easier to take a step back and think through what is it that you want.

To thrive in life, you need to know when to let go of certain things. It’s tough and painful, but it’s a necessary evil. Once you let go, you can do the things YOU WANT.

Mark Twain