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!

 

#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! πŸ™‚

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

I made my own breakfast with the plain loaf I baked. πŸ™‚

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.

#Thrive: The #NYU race so far…

I signed up for the New York University School of Professional Studies online courses, and I thought to myself, it’s only 8 weeks, I can do it.

8 weeks, for 1 module.

Then, I signed up for another module, and it’s in the same period as the first module. This module lasts for 2 weeks. Very intensive one.

And then, I signed up for another 8 weeks module, and it overlaps with the other 2 modules. I thought to myself it’s only 3 modules, I used to do 5 in a semester back in NUS, and I had time to do my freelancing work. 3 is nothing.

When classes finally started, I had to adjust my daily schedule to Eastern Time. Singapore is 13 hours ahead of New York. In case you wonder, I do attend the lecture the same time with my classmates. Evening class for them, super early morning class before work for me. Not that I am not used to waking up at 5am in the morning. I used to work morning shifts, and I start work at 6am. That explains why I sleep early. It annoys me when people calls me after 10pm. Thank god for iphone’s sleep mode. I don’t get disturbed and sleep in peace.

A couple of weeks into the 1st module, Marketing Principles and Practices, another module starts, Search Marketing. Every week there are readings and assignments to do. Although we are free to listen to Search Marketing’s webcasts at our own pace, but we only have 2 weeks to finish the lessons, do the assignments and discussions. There are so much to read and do, on top of a day job. I really mean it when I say my weekends are gone, and although it was a 4 day break this Lunar New Year, I spent quite a bit of time on my books, apart from spending time with my family and relatives.

Looking at the load and amount of things to do, I know I cannot manage a 3rd module. NYU gives you the flexibility to cancel a course with full refund as long as the class hasn’t started. That is a bonus feature of NYU. It’s sad that I couldn’t do another module, but I know dropping it before it starts is the best option.

A lot of friends have been asking me to meet up, but I tell everyone they need to wait till April. I am done with Search Marketing, but I still have a final paper and presentation for my other marketing module. Although they are all online classes, but the quality is not compromised. I can assure you the lecturers are awesome people, and there’s so much to learn from them. There’s no discount in the knowledge you can get, and whatever is taught in class is fully applicable to the real world. They are not textbook knowledge. The adjunct teachers are professionals in the marketing industry, and have their day jobs as well, running their companies and servicing clients. There’s just so much that you can discuss with them and learn.

So, it’s really become a 8 weeks stint, with 2 modules, a day job, and my life. 6 weeks have gone by, but it felt like so long yet so fast. I’ve done so much in these 6 weeks, and time just passes by so quickly.

2 more weeks to go. I can do this.

Now, it’s back to writing my final paper.

#Thrive

 

A working student’s life

I finally have a taste of what it’s like to work and study at the same time. Life in advertising agency is crazy enough, but I wanted more madness. The adrenaline drives me to achieve even more.

Time passes by too quickly. I’m halfway through one of my modules, and the other module lasts for 2 weeks. It’s just started, but it will be over before I know it.

Never ruled out the fact that I will never have such an experience. Secretly it was something I want to try out.

What I’ve learnt in class has been really useful to my work.

4 more weeks to go.

Cheers!

#thrive

Experiment with #AdWords

I have started on a new experiment over the past few days- using AdWords to promote my blog.

Yes, I do want more pageviews and visitors to my blog, but I am not expecting to use paid search to gain 1,000,000 PV and UV overnight. The purpose of using AdWords to promote my blog, is to get hands-on experience in Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

In the past, paid search marketing falls in the same category as SEO, but now paid search has a more defined role. And now we have SEO and SEM.

Reading about digital and social media is one way to learn. But hands-on experience will help you get insights, and makes understanding easier. (Perhaps I am just someone who needs practice to learn better.)

There are so many aspects of digital marketing, and Performance Marketing is one of them. I am interested to find out more about Performance Marketing, but I don’t see myself going down in that career path, as my interest still lies with content creation, the creative production side of it. (I am not saying people doing Performance Marketing are not creative! They need to be very creative to think of good and effective media strategies! Creative here is a noun.)

So in case you reside in Singapore, and happen to see banner ads of my blog when you conduct a search, please don’t be alarmed. This is part of my experiment and learning process.

 

It’s a date!

Counting down to 415pm. I can’t help but feel excited.

Edgar Tang replied to my mail, and we have arranged to meet.

IMG_7033

How I feel now is a fraction of what Edgar felt about meeting Timothy Ray Brown- The Berlin Patient.