My First Breadmaking Class

July 19, 2010

I have always been fascinated by bread making, but every time I tried making the bread, it is always nice and soft in the beginning, but very hard the next day. So after procrastinating for a long time, I finally decided to take the breadmaking foundation class at Creative Culinaire. The 4 days, 5 hours each course doesn’t come cheap (which explains the procrastination), but what I was hoping to get from this class is to enhance what I already know on bread making and see how I can produce those bakery like soft breads!

The class started with Chef Judy, the ‘boss’ at Creative Culinaire explaining to us about the bread ingredients and how a lot of love and patience is needed when making bread. I was quite amazed by the passion that she had, considering that she has already done quite a lot of these classes. Her explanation is clear and she adds in her past experience as well. I liked the part she was talking about her work experience in Sri Lanka (I think) where the guys take off their shoes and start kneading bread with their bare feet. And of course no salt needs to be added to that bread.

So lessons learnt yesterday was two ways to make bread. The direct method and indirect method. The direct method is fast, but not so healthy, but the indirect method has lesser fats and sugar but requires making a sponge dough first before mixing it into the main dough. This means longer time to make bread!

During the class, there were four people to a table (and 8 tables) and we do the hands-on thing in pairs. For this class, we made Pandan an pan bread, cheese and herb twist and some bread with almonds and crystal sugars on top. We did make quite a lot of shapes with the bread and it was fun trying to make those shapes because it looks so easy when she does it, but not so when you do it yourself.

I felt so tired after the first class. And here is my take on the pros and cons of the class. On the pros, I think Chef Judy is really a passionate chef, and it reflects in her teaching as well! Its like she can feel the bread and she just love what she does so much! And of course its good that we get to be hands-on. I think that if a class is not hands-on, you just can’t get much out of it because you wouldn’t be able to remember all the steps. Also, in that one class, you really get to learn how to make a lot of breads (at least 3 methods) and about 5 kinds of shaping.

The cons, on the other hand, is that there are too many students in the class. This means that it is quite hard for Chef Judy to pay attention to everyone. Also, some tables are so way at the back that you can’t really see clearly what she does. Also, the class is slightly disorganized after a while because once some groups have finished, Judy will start teaching the next steps right away, so it was a bit hard to catch up at some point. Also, I think the utensils and tables are not extremely clean, so you will need to do a wash of the utensils and wiping of the table before each bake.

But overall, I will give the lesson a 4 out of 5 stars! I did learn a lot from Chef Judy and stay tuned for the details of the second lesson!

The Giant Kitchen Aid!

Pandan Anpan (Before)

Pandan Anpan (After)


Vegetarian Fried Beehoon (Spicy and Non-Spicy Version)

July 1, 2010

As I have mentioned before, apart from fried rice, fried beehoon is also one of my favourite one person dish. When I was doing some marketing at Tekka Market that day, I saw some really nice Tau Kua (Fried Tofu) and also Kai Lan. So I thought I will make fried beehoon with those two things. But since the Kai Lan came in such a huge bunch and I also bought 2 Tau Kua, I thought of making 2 different types of fried beehoon. Enjoy!

Normal Fried Beehoon

Ingredients:

1. Beehoon. I use the beehoon that a friend gave to me from Taiwan. Its called Shin Tzu Beehoon. It comes in the size like a maggi mee block. So if you are using other beehoon you can just use a handful of beehoon. Soak it in water.
2. 3 shallots sliced thinly.
3. Kai Lan. 2 big branches. Sliced into 1 inch portions.
4. Tau Kua. 1 piece. Cut into 1 inch portions.

Seasonings:

1. 3 tablespoons soya sauce
2. 1 teaspoon sugar
(You can add oyster sauce if it is not a vegetarian version).

Instructions:

1. Heat some oil in the wok. When the oil is really hot, drop the tau kua in and fry till golden brown. You may want to use the kitchen towel to dry the tau kua first since water and oil don’t exactly mix.
2. Take the tau kua out and put it on a piece of kitchen paper so that the oil will be absorbed.
3. With the remaining oil, put in the shallots. Fry till slightly brown.
4. Add in the stems of the kai lan, so that it will cook first. After frying for about 1 minute, add in the tau kua and the kai lan.
5. Mix the seasonings with about 6 tablespoons of water. Then pour into the wok.
6. Let the water dry up and until you can see that the beehoon is really dry. Some beehoon maybe a but harder so you may need more water. Do not worry if you have put too much water, because you can always let it dry up.
7. Time to serve!

Spicy Fried Beehoon (Or Mee Siam)

For this version, the seasoning is slightly different. Instead of the soya sauce, pound the following ingredients and add it in instead of the shallots in the previous recipe.

To be pounded:

1. 2 red chillies, deseeded.
2. 4 shallots.
3. 2 garlic.
4. a pinch of salt.

After pounding, incorporate the soy bean (or taucu) so that it still appears as a whole instead of being crushed. You can always add more of these as you fry if you prefer a more salty beehoon.