Mad about Bread

              White Bread Loaf

Bread making has never been a strength of mine, which is why I haven’t made it more often. Most times the bread either tastes too yeasty or just refuses to pass the window pane test, no matter how long I knead the dough. Fortunately, those days are now over, thanks to two recent discoveries.

              Chocolate Wassant

1. Water Roux Starter, otherwise known as 湯種.

I favour a softer, springier roll (although I do love focaccia and ciabatta) over the harder and drier rye bread variety that hubby loves. The 湯種 starter is supposed to be the key to a soft, springy loaf. The resulting loaves/buns reportedly stay soft for days.

2. Bread Making Machine

No, it’s not that I’ve only just discovered the existence of bread making machines. The revelation here is that my dad has two of these appliances sitting in his kitchen cabinets! I borrowed one of them and now no longer have to knead dough by hand, solving the problems of aching fingers and insufficient kneading. While one can actually bake a loaf in the bread maker, that is one thing I’m not about to try. All the rolls and loaves in this post were baked in an oven.

The verdict with regards to the water roux dough is not entirely out yet. The chocolate wassant was really soft, but only fresh out of the oven. Once they had cooled down, the rolls weren’t as soft any more. This was easily solved with a quick zap in the microwave. But compared to the chocolate wassants from Provence Bakery in Holland Village, which stay soft for 4 days without any microwave magic, the ones I made were disappointing in that sense.

White Bread Slices

The white bread loaf turned out better. Again, it was softer and springier fresh out of the oven. But this time, I really liked the taste and texture of the bread slices, even when the loaf was 2 days old. I was actually surprised that the loaf turned out that well since the dough didn’t quite pass the window pane test. Which was why I went on to make another loaf with raisins, pecans and a dash of cinnamon and used a longer kneading time in the bread maker.

Rasin Pecan Bread

The rasin-pecan bread dough passed the window pane test, but I was unhappy with the resulting texture of the bread. The crumb was not as tight as the white bread and tasted slightly yeasty. One of the most common reasons for yeasty bread is over-proofing, but I am certain that this was not what happened with this particular loaf. I’ll probably stick to the original kneading time and throw the thin membrane test out the window.

I’m planning to re-visit my old cinnamon buns with pecans recipe and maybe make my 1st focaccia, but probably only after Christmas; there’s a Christmas dinner party for 8 to be planned and cooked.

Happy holidays, everyone!

14 Responses to “Mad about Bread”

  1. Fina Says:

    Hi, eversince I stumbled upon your site a few weeks ago, I make it a point to visit everyday..! Everything looks so nice & pictures are extremely well taken..

    I’ve always failed with macarons.. Hehe

  2. Sarah McBride Says:

    WOW! I really love fresh bread. It is one of my favorite indulgences.
    especially cinnamon raisin bread.
    your bread looks amazing and fluffy and so delicious.
    I love your blog.

  3. FD Says:

    Your blog is amazing..!

  4. Gena Says:


    Heard from my bro that you used to sell your macron, we tried without success visiting your sites and did not manage to order from you, could we know how we can go about ordering?

    thanks and we look forward for your reply.


  5. Karen Says:

    Fina, Sarah and FD: Thank you very much!

    Gena: Thank you very much for your interest in my macarons. I don’t have any other websites except for this blog. I’m afraid I’m not taking orders at the moment due to other commitments. Sorry about that!

  6. Dee Says:

    Mad about your blog.
    Love your photos, green over your macarons.
    It’s time to dust off the breadmaker, I think.

    Happy 2009.

  7. Lily Tan Says:

    Dear Karen,

    Your breads certainly look lovely.

    However, I am not emailing you about the breads but as to whether you would be selling your pineapple tarts for CNY 2009.

    I would love to lay my hands on some of those tasty treats of yours.

    Please advise as to the price and as to where I can pick them up.

    Thanks and regards,
    Lily Tan

  8. Karen Says:

    Dee: Thank you!

    Lily: Thank you. I’m afraid I’m not taking any orders at the moment due to other commitments. I’m really sorry about that!

  9. Lily Tan Says:

    Dear Karen,

    I understand. It is a very back breaking and time consuming effort to make those treats.

    Thanks anyway.


  10. Charsiew Says:

    Your bread looks so pillowy and soft, makes one feel like sinking my teeth into it! i’ve always wondered why the chinese and jap bakery always have such soft buns! Also, i think your bread does not stay as soft as the ones in the provence bakery is coz yours doesn’t contain dough conditioners…but i’d prefer to go with your au naturel ones :)

  11. Paula Says:

    Great site and I LOVE the chocolate croissants

  12. Serene Kwok Says:

    Hi Karen,

    we are looking for a bread baking foodie to do some classes on sat for our customers who bought our ovens. In our premium showroom with live kitchen. If you are keen, kindly send me an email.

  13. Michelle Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I am really keen in learning to bake. Just wondering if you do conduct any lessons or is there any place that you could recommend to me?

    Would be looking forward for your reply. =)

  14. Joanne Tan Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I am really keen to try baking some bread at home after seeing the pictures of the bread you made. Just wondering if you are able to e-mail recipes of the bread to allow me to try them out?

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