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.
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.
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.
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!