My First Homemade Ciabatta Bread

My hubby love ciabatta bread, so I've been wanting to make it for a long time. I've watched numerous videos and recipes in the past and it seems to be a little more complicated than any normal dough. I remember making it is not easy, and it requires a good oven. Hence, I've been delaying my intention to bake one.

...the high hydration in this bread gives it a lovely chewy center...
But I was wrong! Lucky for me that I decided to bake it few days ago. Yes, the dough was a little tacky to handle but it's not anything too complicated for me. The dough needs to be wet and sticky. The high hydration in this bread gives it a lovely chewy center with tons of irregular holes.


I've make this bread with a bread flour and instant yeast which are a few months passed their 'best used by' date, and it still yields a good ciabatta bread. I can't wait to bake this again using fresh ingredients.

Okay, here's the recipe. I've halved the recipe from Baked by An Introvert because I don't have a big oven. This recipe make a two 6" loaves or a 12" loaf. Happy baking!


CIABATTA BREAD
(Recipe adapted from Baked by An Introvert)
Prep Time  : 182 mins (+ 24 hours refrigerate)
Cook Time : 27 mins
Total Time : 3 hours 29 mins (+ 24 hours refrigerate)
Makes       : Two 6" loaves or One 12" loaf

Ingredients:
Sponge
100g bread flour
120g water
1/8 tsp instant yeast

Dough
177g bread flour
120g water
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oil (for greasing)

Directions:
Sponge
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, water and yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon until it is free of lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.


Sponge: After 24 hours

Dough
2. Remove your sponge from the fridge and add water to it. Using a rubber spatula, run around the inner wall of the bowl to release the sponge from the bowl.

3. Transfer the sponge mixture into a mixer bowl, fitted with paddle attachment. Add the flour and salt, beat low speed for a minute.

4. Increase the speed up a notch and continue to beat for another minute. Then increase the speed up a notch and continue to beat until the dough starts to release from the sides of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Evenly coat the inner of a large bowl with a thin layer of oil. With wet hands, gently scoop the dough into the greased bowl, Cover and let it rest for 45 minutes.

6. Using a well greased scraper, gently fold the dough over on itself. Cover and let rest for another 45 minutes. Repeat this step once more.

7. After your 3rd 45 minutes rest, cut a big piece of non-stick baking parchment paper to be used as your work surface. Generously floured your work surface and let the dough slide out from the bowl onto your work surface. At this point, your dough is full of the wonderful air bubbles. Be careful not to knock all the air out of the dough. The dough will be very sticky, so you need to dust the top of the dough with generous amount of flour.

Two Mini Loaves
8a. Using two well-floured scrapers, shape the dough into a square, take note not to put pressure on top of the dough. Cut down in the middle and gently shape them into 2 loaves. Move one of the loaf away from the other so that there is enough space in between to create a divider/ wall. To do so, fold up the parchment paper in between these two loaves. Cover with a cloth and rest for 20 minutes.

One Loaf
8b. Using two well-floured scrapers, shape the dough into a loaf, take note not to put pressure on top of the dough. Cover with a cloth and rest for 20 minutes.

9. Preheat oven at 230°c, with a baking sheet at lowest rack.

10. Cut your work surface (the non-stick parchment paper) to the size of the baking sheet. Dust off any excess flour on the parchment paper. Spray the loaf/ loaves lightly with water. Transfer the whole parchment paper and loaf/ loaves on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 22 - 27 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown .

11. For the first 5 minutes of baking, spray the loaf/ loaves twice more. This will give the breast a nice rustic crust.

12. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. This bread is good for dipping in soup or sauces. Enjoy!

Notes:
● The longer you let your sponge to sit in the fridge, the more flavor and structure your bread will have.

● I find that using a non-stick parchment paper as work surface is so much easier to handle than working on a countetop surface.

● Make sure to use a lint-free cloth to cover the dough.


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Chicken Rice Malay Style / Nasi Ayam Yang Lazat



Would you believe me if I told you that I cooked all these just because i wanted to drink the soup? Haha, yes, I have a weak spot for malay soup! But that was all before I tasted all these!

Now, I've fallen in love with the whole set ~ the succulent chicken, the fragrant rice, the savoury sweet gravy, the spicy sweet chilli sauce and the aromatic soup! Oh so yumm!



I love my soup with loads of cilantro and fried shallots! Normally, when I order this outside, they don't put alot of these 2 ingredients. And I always have to ask them for more. So, cooking this at home is so much satisfying, I get to put as much as I wanted!


CHICKEN RICE MALAY STYLE / NASI AYAM YANG LAZAT
(Recipe adapted from Azie Kitchen)

Prep Time  : 30 mins (+1 hour 30 mins marinade & drying)
Cook Time : 1 hour 30 mins
Total Time : 2 hours (+1 hour 30 mins marinade & drying)
Makes       : 1/2 chicken

Ingredients:
Chicken
1/2 chicken (approx. 800g)
1 inch ginger
3 shallots
2 cloves garlic

(Marinade for Chicken) - combined in small bowl
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sweet soy sauce/ kicap manis
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper powder

1 Tbsp honey (for glazing)

Chicken Rice
2 cups rice, washed & drained
2 Tbsp margarine
5 shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 inch ginger
2 pcs pandan leaves
1 pc lemongrass, cut into 5-6 cm length & bruised
1 pc bay leave
1 pc star anise
2 pcs cardamon
1 pc cinnamon stick
1 tsp salt
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 chicken cube

Chilli Sauce
5 pcs red chillies, deseeded
1-2 pcs bird's eyes chillies, desseeded
5 cloves garlic
2 inch ginger
2 tomatoes, deseeded
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp ketchup
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste

Gravy
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce/ kicap manis
Chicken marinade liquid
1 Tbsp soy sauce (optional)

Soup
1 pouch sup bunjut
1 chicken cube
1 stalk cilantro/ chinese celery/ daun sup
1 Tbsp fried shallots
800ml water
Chicken stock
Salt to taste
Handful chopped cilantro
Handful fried shallots

Directions:
Chicken
1. Clean chicken thoroughly, exfoliating the skin with coarse salt to remove all impurities (slimes & small feathers). This is an essential step to ensure that your chicken is clean and does not has any unwanted odour.

2. With a mortar and pestle, crush ginger, shallots and garlic into a rough paste. Rub the paste onto chicken and leave it for at least 30 minutes. Bring a pot of water to boil and poach the chicken till is it half cooked. Remove chicken from water, marinade with the marinade seasoning for 1-2 hours, or overnight. (*) See notes below

3. Place chicken on a rack or hang it to dry, for at least an hour before deep frying it. (If marinade overnight, make sure the chicken is not cold. If it's cold, let it rest on tabletop for another 30 minutes or more.) (**) See notes below

4. Immediately after deep frying the chicken, glaze chicken with honey. Leave aside until it is cool to touch, then cut into desired sizes.

Chicken Rice
5. Add rice and chicken stock into rice cooker.

6. Blend garlic, shallots and ginger into a rough paste.

7. Heat 2 tablespoon of margarine on a wok or saucepan, sauté the blended paste and lemongrass until fragrant. Follow with pandan leave, bay leave, star anise, cardamon and cinnamon stick, continue to sauté until you can smell the aromatic spices. Add water, salt and chicken cube. Let it comes to a boil or until chicken cube dissolve. Off the heat. Pour everything into the rice cooker. Cook rice as usual.

Chilli Sauce
8. Add chillies, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and chicken stock into a blender and blend to desired texture. Cook the blended chillies mixture in a wok until it becomes viscous. Season accordingly.

Gravy
9. Add the reserved liquid from chicken marinade and sweet soy sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and season accordingly.

Soup
10. Add water, chicken cube, sup bunjut pouch and cilantro to the remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the fire and let it simmer for 30 mins. Add chopped cilantro and fried shallots. Serve hot!

Notes:
(*) Keep the chicken stock for the soup, rice and chili sauce.
(**) Reserve the liquid from chicken marinade for the gravy.

● When cooking the rice, use the rice cup measurement for both rice and liquid.


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HK Style Soy Sauce Chicken/ Si Yau Gai (豉油鸡)


...is a slow-braised chicken in a stew of chinese spices and supreme soy
sauce concoction...
Soy Sauce Chicken or more known as Si Yau Gai (豉油鸡) is a slow-braised chicken in a stew of aromatic chinese spices and supreme soy sauce concoction. It is a Cantonese dish and often eat as one of the main dishes over dinner.

Because of the tender loving care in slow braising, the chicken meat is moist and succulent, and has ample time to soaked up all the aromatic flavors. Even the skin is flavorful and soft from all the soaking and slow braising.

My hubby was shock that I was able to serve him this dish on a weekday dinner. What thought to be a complicated dish that looks like it needed a few hours to complete is actually a very simple one. This one took me about an hour plus only, including marinade time. Fast, right!

If you are making this dish, may i suggest that you try to make our favourite dipping too? It goes very well with this dish.

Just chop some spring onions, ginger and coriander finely. Marinade with a dash of salt, then sear them with a splash of hot garlic oil. Then add in sugar and soy sauce, mix well and that's it. (I don't have the exact measurement, as I always agak-agak only and adjust accordingly. Maybe i'll come out with the recipe in near future.)

Happy Cooking!

HK STYLE SOY SAUCE CHICKEN/ SI YAU GAI (豉油鸡)
(Recipe adapted from Burning Kitchen)

Prep Time  : 30 mins
Cook Time : 35 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 5 mins
Makes       : 1/2 chicken

Ingredients:
1/2 chicken, with the neck intact (approx. 800g)

1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 bay leave
3 whole garlic (lightly crushed)
3 whole shallots (lightly crushed)
3 slices ginger
50g rock sugar
2-3 stalks spring onion (tied knot)
1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
550ml water
150ml dark soy sauce
100ml soy sauce

Marinade
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce

Glaze (Combine}
1 Tbsp maltose
1/2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:
1. Clean chicken thoroughly, exfoliating the skin with coarse salt to remove all impurities (slimes & small feathers). This is an essential step to ensure that your chicken is clean and does not has any unwanted odour. After washing, marinade chicken with salt and dark soy sauce. Leave for 20-30 minutes.

2. In a thick-bottomed pot, sauté garlic, shallot, ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leave until fragrant. Pour shaoxing wine around the inner pot and add in water, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, spring onion and rock sugar. Bring to a boil on high heat.

3. Once boiling, lower the chicken into the sauce mixture, holding by its neck and then lift it back up. Repeat 3 times.

4. On the fourth time, submerge the chicken into the sauce mixture, ensuring that the sauce mixture is covering 3/4 of the chicken (add more liquid if needed). Cover the pot and cook the chicken under low fire for 20 minutes, turning it every 10 minutes.

5. After the 20 minutes, turn up the heat to high and simmer for 10 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Check the chicken doneness by inserting a chopstick through the thigh. If pinkish juices oozes out, it means it's not done. Cook for another 5 minutes or more. If clear juices oozes out, it means it's done. Off the heat and leave the chicken to soak in the aromatic sauce mixture for 10 minutes.

6. Brush the chicken with the diluted maltose while it is still hot. Let it rest to cool before cutting.

Notes:
● I used a 3ℓ pot and the sauce measurement is just the perfect amount to cover 3/4 of the chicken. Choose a pot that has a small width rather than large, so that you don't have to use too much liquid.

● Remember to clean under the chicken wing (armpit). This part tend to have little attention from seller, hence more small feathers.

● If you couldn't get fresh chicken, a frozen chicken will do too (like in my case). It did not really sabotage the texture. The meat were still juicy and succulent. Just make sure that you thawed the chicken completely. And take the chicken out from the fridge at least 30 - 40 minutes before cook.


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Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Tofu


I've been wanting to cook this dish for a long time. This dish was inspired by a similar dish that I had in Guangzhou many yeas ago. Back then, we had this dish with cold beers. It was a chilly night and we were sitting outside by the roadside. Ohh.. those were great experience!

This dish has now become my hubby's new favourite dish! He loves it so much and commented that it is even better than restaurant.


These tofu were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you haven't had this dish before, you may think that these tofu will be bland, but you are wrong! (Well, Ive been wrong before.) It's packed with flavors and it's so addictive, you just can't stop munching on it!

SALT AND PEPPER DEEP FRIED TOFU
Prep Time  : 10 mins
Cook Time : 20 mins
Total Time : 30 mins
Serves       : 3 - 4 pax

Ingredients:
1 block japanese firm tofu (400g), or any firm tofu
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Thai chillies, chopped finely
1-2 stalks spring onions, chopped (separate the white part and green part)

Seasonings (Mix in a bowl)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper

Directions:
1. Remove cold tofu from package and place on a deep plate. Let it comes to room temperature on the kitchen countertop for at least an hour. After 1 hour, discard the excess water on the deep plate and place tofu on the kitchen paper towel. Carefully cut the tofu into cubes around 2cm x 2cm and drain on kitchen paper towel again.

2. Crack an egg into a bowl and beat until there is no more translucent stringy stuff, leave aside until needed. In a shallow dish, mix flour and black pepper together, leave aside until needed. And in another shallow dish, add breadcrumbs.

3. Toss tofu in flour mixture, then drop it in the egg bowl. Make sure to coat the tofu all around with the eggs. Carefully lift up the tofu and let the excess egg drips back into the bowl. Then roll the tofu in the breadcrumbs, making sure to cover every spot. Place on a dry plate while you work on the rest. (Refer to notes below)

4. Heat enough oil in a wok to deep fried the tofu. Fry the tofu under medium heat for a minute or until golden brown. Dish up and drain on kitchen paper towel.

5. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Sauté the garlic, chopped spring onions (white part) and chopped chillies until fragrant. Off the heat, add the fried tofu, seasonings and chopped spring onions (green part), and toss to mix evenly. Serve immediately. (Refer to notes below)

Notes:
Step 3 : To avoid messy hand, use your right hand for dry ingredients and left hand for wet ingredients, or vice versa.

Step 5 : To get crispy tofu, make sure not to get any liquid into the mixing. Make sure that the chopped spring onions (green part) is completely dry.


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Homemade Tofu with Minced Meat Choy Poh (Preserved Radish)

This is a perfect dish for the whole family! Everyone will love it! It will taste even better if you are uses fresh soy milk. I am using the packet type but it still taste good.

My 6 years-old daughter whom was not pleased with the appearance in the beginning, is claiming this dish as her next favourite dish!




Hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we did!


HOMEMADE TOFU WITH MINCED MEAT CHOY POH (PRESERVED RADISH)
Prep Time  : 15 mins
Cook Time : 30 + 15 mins
Total Time : 1 hour
(+ 1 hour cooling)
Serves       : 3 - 4 pax

Ingredients:
Tofu
4 eggs
350ml soy milk (without sugar)
1 tsp corn starch

100g minced meat of your choice (chicken or pork)
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp chopped shallot
1 Tbsp chopped red chilli
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped capsicum (green)
1 Tbsp choy poh/ preserved radish
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Thickening (Combined)
1 tsp tapioca starch
1 Tbsp water

Directions:
You will need a steam-proof bowl approx. 14cm diameter and 6cm height, lightly oiled on all sides.

1. Soak choy poh/ preserved radish in water for 10 - 15 mins. Strain and squeeze out all the water. Leave aside until needed.

2. In a bowl, whisk eggs lightly with a fork, breaking off any translucent stringy in egg white. Add in soy milk and combine both ingredients. Then mix in corn starch and strain the mixture into the prepared dishware. Cover with an aluminium foil and steam for 30 - 40 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Start checking at 30 mins and every 5 mins after.

3. Let cool for 1 - 2 hour. When it is cool to touch, loosen the sides of the tofu from the dishware with the tip of a knife. Do this by gliding the knife quarter way down all around. Then place a plate on top of the dishware and invert both dishware and the plate. Now, the dishware is on top of the plate, gently tap the dishware to loosen the tofu. The tofu should be able to separate from the dishware easily. (Refer to notes below)

4. Coat tofu with corn starch and deep fried until golden brown, using medium-high heat. Drain on paper towel.

5. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add in the minced meat of your choice. When the meat is halfway cooked, sprinkle some white pepper powder and continue to cook until the meat is fully cooked. (Refer to notes below)

6. Push the cooked meat to the sides of the wok. In the center of the wok, dry fry the choy poh/ preserved radish for 30 sec to remove moisture. Then add 2 tablespoon of oil and sauté the choy poh, garlic and shallot until fragrant, follow by red chilli and green capsicum. Stir-fry everything, including the meat for another minute or two. Add in water and the rest of the seasonings.

7. Bring gravy to a boil and let it simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Then thicken with starch slurry and pour onto the deep fried tofu.

Notes:
Step 3 : If you are having trouble removing the tofu from the dishware, you may cut the tofu into few smaller sections and use a silicone spatula to gently scoop it out.

Step 5 : If your meat is releasing liquid, cook until most of the liquid evaporated.


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