Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sausage Buns, sweet and soft

Today is my last day of my precious June holidays. I have indeed enjoyed my Greece trip with my darling daughter. Waking up late, shopping and so on. Three and a half weeks passed light lightning and tomorrow I have to go back to work for the preparation of school reopening.

My hands are itching to bake before I get busy again. I did not manage to bake much this holiday. I have a long line up for many recipes and many ingredients waiting for me. Too much things to do but not enough time. That is my usual complain. Even I have time, I do procastinate and spend more time ploughing for recipes than baking or cooking.

Anyway, my last chance today, and I want to do it for my staff. My faithful teachers who are also ending their holidays and going back to work. I have chosen to bake sausage buns for their breakfast, hopefully to bring back smiles on their faces.

Sausage Buns

(makes around twenty buns)
Recipe adapted from Happy Home Baking

300g bread flour
300g cake/top flour
11g instant yeast
100g sugar
1 tsp salt
250ml fresh milk
2 egg
*Tangzhong 3 tbsp
100g butter
20 sausages
A little melted butter for brushing on the buns
Put all the dry ingredients (1st 5items) in a stand mixer using the dough hook. Mix well.

Add in the milk, eggs and tangzhong. Mix at medium speed for a good 5 minutes at least.
Now add in the butter, and mix until it is no longer sticky.
Testing now and then for the window pane stage.

Take a small piece of the dough and stretch it with your fingers. If it can be stretched into a thin layer without tearing easily, the dough is good. When it has reached that stage, transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let it double to twice the size. In tropical Singapore, it takes about one hour.

If doing by hand. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in milk, egg and butter. Mix into a dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the dough is elastic, smooth and non sticky. it will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes by hand.    
When it has doubled, take out the dough and punch it out. Let the dough rest for another 15mins.

Make sure the sausages are dry and not wet.

Divide the dough into 60g portions.

Flour the countertop and roll each portion into long round strips with your floured palms. Then roll
the dough tightly round the sausages without leaving any gaps and seal the edges by gently pressing it down. Gently roll the rolled sausages between he palms to bring it to a rounder shape.

Arrange the buns in a greased, lined or silpat pan. Cover with a tea towel or wrap. Rest them for about another 15 to 20 minutes at the max. I don't suggest you rest it longer because if it grows very fat and big, the strips will come apart and will not be pretty.

I did not brush with an egg wash, I prefer to brush with melted butter after baking because it gives a softer crust.

Bake in an 190C oven for about 15mins until golden brown. Brush melted butter on the buns.
*Tangzhong recipe
50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or half water and half milk)


Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring all the time.
The mixture becomes thick. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture, it is done. The tangzhong is ready. Remove from heat. You can store it in the fridge if you are not using immediately and can last a few days. The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into bread mixture.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cherry Jam (Homemade)

Cherry Jam (Homemade from Fresh Cherries)

This is my first blog in the June holidays. I am thrilled as I came back from my vacation in Sunny Greece. We went to Athens, Santorini and Naxos. It was a good trip, we planned it all ourselves, free & easy and managed to see one of the loveliest and beautiful, postcard worthy islands in the world. Santorini should be one of the places you must go before you die.

As it was in early June, Summer has just started not long. But the weather was HOT, we came back three shades darker (tan). Fruits were aplenty on the roadside stalls and the cherries and strawberries were calling out to me. As you know, cherries in Singapore are SO very expensive. It can go up to S$16 to S$20 a kilogram here in our supermarkets.

The roadside stalls in Athens were selling them for like 4 Euros (S$6.80) a kilogram. We were eating it for snacks every other day. But when we got to the Central Market in Monastiraki, Athens, they were selling it for 1 Euro per kilogram!!! What? S$1.70 for a whole kilogram? That is ridiculous I thought. Singapore is over charging us for everything! I made a plan to go to the market on the day we fly off just to get some cherries to bring home. So true enough, we flew home with 3 whole kilograms of fresh cherries, very happy and satisfied. Other cheap items to buy are saffron and olive oil of course.

Fresh cherries are delicate and on transit, even hand carried, there will be some slightly bruised ones that will not be exactly very pretty to look at but completely edible. What do I do with those bruised ones? Make jam of course! Who would buy cherries from our supermarkets to make your own jam in Singapore? Come on, you and I will never. But in this case, cherries came dirt cheap and I would take the opportunity to make a fresh cherry jam. Further more, I could either use the Thermomix machine or bread machine to make the jam without stirring. Very simple and the end result is a nice, delicious Mason jar of GREEK cherry jam !

Fresh Greek Cherry Jam

Makes 1 Mason Jar of jam

500g of fresh cherries, pitted but skin intact
200g sugar
Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of Nielson Massey rose water (optional)


Wash, remove the stalks and pits of the cherries, drain the water and pat dry.
Put cherries, sugar, zest and lemon juice in a non-metallic bowl and mix everything together.
Let it macerate for 1 hour in the fridge.
In a small or medium pot, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the mixture now and then.
Bring the the mixture to a boil and carefully skim the scum away from the mixture. Turn to low heat and make sure jam does not burn)
Stir gently until the jam is set. (approx half hour to 45 min )
Test for sweetness, if you want it sweeter, add a few tsp of sugar.
You can test by putting a small saucer in the freezer, make sure it is completely chilled and drop a teaspoonful of jam onto the cold plate and put it back into the freezer for 2 minutes. If the jam wrinkles, it means it is set, if not, cook for another 5 minutes.
Make sure you turn off the fire when you are testing, if not your whole pot might burn.
Store the cooled jam in a sterilised jar.

Take note that I never use pectin to make my homemade jam. Be it Strawberry. blueberry or kumquat jam.


By Thermomix  

Put all the ingredients and cook for 45 to 60 minutes at 100C, speed 1, with the Thermomix basket on the mixing bowl lid instead of the cup to allow steam to escape.
The last 5 to 10 minutes, I like to turn the heat to Varoma, speed 2.

Bread Machine

Put all the ingredients in the baking pan, press the JAM key.
It will take about 1 hour 20 min in my Zojirushi Home Baker Mini.

Enjoy with any kind of bread, homemade is the best of course!

This is one of the many orange trees in the middle of Syntagma Square, Athens, right in the middle of the city, opposite the Parliament House.

                                                                Rose Water (optional)

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