June 12, 2010

Bloggers' Meet-Up, Cookbook Addiction and 100-Percent Whole-Wheat Rolls

A lot of times, things just happen when you least expect them to – including friendships.

Like I said, I never thought blogging would be part of me. I never even thought blogging would bring me friends. REAL friends. Friends who share similar interest and passion. We don’t just interact in the cyber world.

It was a last-minute decision, after an exchange of emails. Last Saturday, we converged at The Curve, a humongous shopping mall just outside of Kuala Lumpur (K.L.) The six of us, including me, were:
Pei-Lin has three two push buttons in her. The green one is the “Talk and Play” button; the red one is the “Hush and Observe” button. Depending on the situation, I can go yadda without stopping. Or, I have to forklift my mouth just to spit out a few words. Dang, the green button was pushed real hard that Saturday! I found myself having a hard time trying to shut up! (It’s my temperament. I still love how the Chinese saying goes, “沉默是金,” which literally means silence is gold.)

Too bad, Reese had to leave earlier as she needed to pick up her daughter elsewhere. It was very nice of her to spend time with us amid a busy life. It was also very nice of Wendy and her family to drive all the way down from Kuala Kangsar to meet us up in K.L.

Reese, thanks a lot for giving me this cute stamp!

Wendy, thank you for the dried sweet osmanthus! (Sorry for the poor shot ...)

We ate, chatted and shopped. It’s so cool to have people sharing the fun together! After Reese left, the four of us – plus little Lyanne – went to Daiso and IKEA. All of us, except Tracie, bagged home some stuff. Though I left Daiso empty-handed, I wound up with six beautiful tumblers and a double boiler from IKEA! More verrines to come! I’m a sucker for verrines. Any glassed dessert in fact!

(My parents’ fridge and freezer seem to have implemented this no-vacancy policy. *Sigh* Now that you know why I’ve been shying away from chilled desserts and whatnot. I miss home-made ice cream … *Sob* I want my own home someday, with a fully equipped kitchen and a giant fridge and freezer! Working, saving up money and progressing toward that goal …)

After our raid on IKEA, Swee San and Tracie left. So, it was just me, Wendy and Lyanne. I’m sorry for that Wendy lost her cell phone at a public restroom while changing Lyanne’s diaper. No worries, Wendy! I know you’re going to get a better phone eventually. Your hubby may change his mind … Haha! Anyhow, thanks for letting me play with Lyanne! She’s is one easy baby to handle, seriously! I usually suck at babysitting. But with Lyanne? I’m sure I can handle a babysitter’s exam and perform with flying colors. *LOL* I’m starting to miss her now. Oh, no!

Actually, I meant to visit the Kinokuniya (bookstore) at KLCC after the meet-up since it was on the way home. Alas, I never made it there. That itch, that uneasiness continued to haunt me till Wednesday evening, when I said to myself, “Pei-Lin, that’s it!”

These books kept pestering me, even when I was at work. It was mentally torturing. As soon as 6 clocked in that Wednesday evening, I ran and took a bus ride to Kinokuniya. Finally, I got a hold of “Baking: From My Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan and “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Phew, they were still in stock! Lucky me!

Image courtesy of Dorie Greenspan

I already have Greenspan’s “Paris Sweets,” which I purchased in the States over a year ago. I can tell you it’s one of the most utilized cookbooks out of my collection. I've tried and shared some of the recipes from the book, including this, this, this and this. So, I’m pretty confident that “Baking: From My Home to Yours” is just as good. Can’t wait to try out the recipes! The downside is that every ingredient is measured instead of weighed. *Sigh*

Image courtesy of Borders Australia

As for Beranbaum’s book, that wasn’t in my plan whatsoever till Monday evening, when I saw Faithy’s rendition of some of the Heavenly Cakes! I’d seen other Heavenly Cakes on quite a few blogs too, including Baking Library. I twat Faithy for advice on the book. (Money is hard to earn! *Sigh*) As long as the recipes are detailed and promising, I’m sold!

Image courtesy of Spruce TV

Nonetheless, I’m not going to talk about cakes this time around. Since I started working, baking cakes has been a luxury I only get to indulge in once every blue moon. Now, I cook and bake foods that are more “substantial” and “portable.” Bread is one of them.

At where I was born and bred raised, people are used to plain white bread that’s made with refined, bleached flour. Very unhealthy. People here seem to have a palate for super-soft and -fluffy bread. But ever since the encounter with my American family 3 years ago, my eating habits changed. My bread has to be home-made – and for the most part, whole-wheat.

My American mom Bonnie's home-made whole-wheat bread. She buys wheat from the wheat growers nearby and grinds the wheat to get her own fresh flour.

My American family and I advocate anything home-made and whole wheat. I love those fibers and brown specks. I adore that deeper brown tone. I like that sweet nutty whiff given out by freshly baked whole-wheat bread! Whole-wheat bread is wholesome and deliciously plain on its own!

Of course, I’d also bake white bread. Sometimes, it’s because I run out of whole-wheat flour. Sometimes, I just want to give my food a little change. (Crazy!?) But, rarely do I put myself in such position. I don’t fancy the feeling of having white bread literally melting in my mouth. (Neither do I like additives-loaded store-bought bread. Just skim through my Flickr photostream, you’ll know what I mean.)

As per Tracie’s request, here’s the recipe for that 100-percent whole-wheat rolls I posted onto Flickr a month ago. (She loves whole-wheat bread, too.)

One hundred-percent whole-wheat!? You bet! I won’t say they were tender. But these rolls were sure soft, a quality I wouldn’t expect much out of home-made whole-wheat bread, especially when it’s 100-percent whole wheat. And, the softness stayed for 3 days! I guess we can attribute this moisture retention to the whole-wheat sponge (全麥中種), which is part of the recipe. The oats topping gave the rolls a finishing touch by adding more texture, too! Yum!

Just like me, if you’re looking for wholesome, fibrous home-made bread … a bread that’s soft enough but still has that something for you to chew on, this recipe is for you. After all, how can one go wrong with the sweet nutty aroma of whole-wheat bread!

100-Percent Whole-Wheat Rolls With Oats Topping 麥片麵包
Makes 5 rolls
Adapted from "100 Bread Recipes by Madam Meng," by Meng Zhaoqing    摘自《孟老師的100道麵包》。孟兆慶 著

190 g whole-wheat bread flour
4 g instant (dry) yeast
125 g water -- at room temperature will do since we're using instant yeast here, but be sure that the yeast is fresh

110 g whole-wheat bread flour
25 g caster sugar
2/3 tsp salt
15 g milk powder
65 g water -- at room temperature

10 g unsalted butter -- cubed and kept cold till use

15 g egg white -- at room temperature
* I used slightly beaten whole egg. Couldn't be bothered about separating the egg. *
100 g quick oats
  1. For the whole-wheat sponge (全麥中種): mix (A) together till a dough forms, then cover the dough will cling wrap and set it side to proof for about 2 hours.
  2. Knead (B) altogether into the whole-wheat sponge, keep kneading till everything is incorporated and till you've gotten a smooth dough.
  3. Now, knead the cold butter cubes into the dough till everything is incorporated. Continue kneading the dough till it's smooth, supple and elastic.
    Place the dough into an oiled bowl, then cover with cling wrap and set aside to proof till it's doubled in size.
  4. Deflate the dough and divide it into five equal portions. (I weighed mine.) Round up each portion of the dough, be sure to pinch them up to seal well. Then, cover them with cling wrap and set aside to let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Take each portion of the dough, roll it into a 15 centimeter-long oval shape. Then starting from one end, lengthwise, roll the dough up tightly to get a cigar-like shape. Fold in both the narrow ends for a bit, then pinch the seams to seal the dough up real well. Place the shaped dough on a greased/parchment-lined baking sheet.
    Repeat the same to the remaining dough. When you're done with the shaping process, cover the shaped dough with cling wrap and set it aside to proof till almost doubled in size.
  6. Prior to baking, brush each of the rolls with egg white and then sprinkle some quick oats over it. Now, take a pair of scissors, position it 45° above the surface of the dough, and make three snips across the dough. Repeat the same to the remaining dough. Then, cover the dough up with cling wrap and let proof for another 8~10 minutes.
  7. Bake the rolls at 170°C for about 20 minutes till cooked through and look golden brown.
  8. Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately transfer them to cooling rack(s); let cool completely before serving and/or storing.


Quinn said...

You got Heavenly Cakes just when we were talking about it previously!!!! That was quick and yeah...you do spend a lot of money on books. It's okay Pei-Lin, everyone works to pay for their hobby. If you're doing what you like, then do it!!!! You have my full support.

Angie's Recipes said...

The baking books! Wow..just the covers themselves already look fascinating...I am not sure I should get more cookbooks...no room for them anymore.
the wholewheat bread...:-) you read my mind.

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Pei Lin, it must b wonderful to able to meet up with bloggers with same interest and become buddies, hope I will be able to meet u gals soon as well :). but I am a 慢热kind of person cos of shy which I need times to bcome more chatty :P.

I ve same issue with me, my fridge and freezer always full loaded by mil esp freezer which I hardly can store my baking stuff, hubby asked me to buy another fridge which I am considering too.

For wholemeal bread, I ever tried to change my family's habbit from white bread to wholemeal/grains bread but not successful. My pil wil stil go for white bread so if I buy wholemeal/grain bread, end up will have a lot leftover after expiry date. :( but luckily I am able to let my daughter eat brown rice instead of white.

I am thinking of getting “Baking: From My Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan" as well. I saw Devil’s White out Chocolate cake (the cake at front cover) from HHB's blog and I baked b4 but only followed the recipe for cake not frosting, the cake is yummy, do try it :).

oh I am getting a bit losoh, I shall stop here :P. Have a nice wkend.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

I have the same weakness for cookbook and Baking from my home to yours is definitely a must buy on my list. The gathering sounds really fun! It is great that you gals initiated this.

Elin said...

Hi Pei Lin,
Sorry I din read your comment your left on my post till today :p

Anyway thanks for your comforting words...haha just that I miss Jo :p She has arrived safely and enjoying herself there. But it was very cold the last one week. And she just found out the garlic is the expensive there. 5 cloves for 1 pound . She loves lots of garlic in her pasta :(

So I told her to use sparingly lo. And fish and chips cost 6.95pound for 2 pieces of fish..hugh portion though :) Our friend is enjoying herself. And here I am worried about her ;p

You too take care. Wa..those books you have I want them too but quite pricey so have to wait till the pocket is filled up :))

Yup, hopefully get to meet up again. Gret to hear about your recent meet-up with Reese , Swee San and Tracie :)

Thanks for sharing the recipe . Love that wholemeal bread...looks delish.


ReeseKitchen said...

Hey Pei-Lin, nice meeting up with you gals that day...:) How I wish I don't have to leave that soon..;p
I'll try to stay longer next time..heehee! And I love shopping, I used to shop from morning 10am till the shop close at 9pm at Sungei Wang! But that was loooong time ago la..haha!
Lovely bread you got here, and it reminds me that it has been quite sometime I didn't bake breads..;p

tracieMoo said...

owh this is lovely! this is at the top of my to-do-list!
Thanks for posting this up first, my dear. I know you have lots of goodies left in the bag for us :)

pigpigscorner said...

That's so fun! I'm refraining myself from buying more cookbooks because I'm still moving around a lot =(

Passionate About Baking said...

Oh wow! Meeting up with people of the interest can never be a bored! Just like what I done lately too! I just wish some of you could make a trip to Sgp (or vice versa) so that we can all meet together.
You've got the "Rose Heavenly Cakes"! That's good. You'll love the recipes. I've not gotten the Dorie Greenspan book. Still hesitating to get it or not as I know it's a very good book.
Thanks for sharing your whole wheat rolls. It looks really healthy and delicious. Yum yum!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Sorry for not able to attend this time, look like your had fun there, next time I will try to make it. I just bought whole wheat flour and thinking to do my 1st ww bread, this recipe just come on the right time, I checked thru your recipe but I dont know when you add the 全麥中種 with the normal dough?

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Thank you so much for dropping by! Your words have made my day!

@Quinn: Haha! Thanks for the "compliment." Haha! I know I'm quick and can be very generous when it comes to cookbooks. You're so right! Everyone works to pay for his/her own hobbies! The same goes to you, and you've got my full support here! We both "add oil!"

@Angie: Hey! Sometimes I wonder the same to myself if I should get more cookbooks ... because not all of them are fully utilized, which doesn't justify the money I'd spent on them. Bad on me ... But I can't help it ... because I just love cookbooks! Haha! Well, for people like us, who doesn't! Glad that you're in the whole-wheat bread loop, too! ;)

@Jess: It's wonderful to be able to have friends who share similar passion and interest! Seriously, blogging has led to more and more exciting discoveries like this! I, too, do hope to be able to meet up with all you Singaporean bloggers when I visit there later this year, hopefully. Nah ... Ya know what, I'm almost like you. I'm actually kinda shy. It takes me a lil' more time to get familiarized and feel comfortable, especially around people whom I meet for the first time. Like I said, people who know me well know that I can be both talkative and quiet, depending on the situation. Haha! Hard to entertain someone like me. I'm serious about getting a furnished home and fully equipped kitchen of my own. Gradually, I think I'm switching to take organic and whole foods. However, I don't mind using refined foodstuffs every once in a while, should the situation arise e.g. because recipe requires. Well, you can always make meatloaf, meatballs or French toast with days-old bread mah ... Sure! I'll definitely give the gateau a shot! Thank you for the heads-up! Btw, you aren't losoh lah ... We have too many things to talk about ... Then, let it be loh ... Haha! I'm even more losoh then!? -_-"""

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Thank you so much for dropping by! Your words have made my day!

@Shirley: Haha! Glad that I'm not alone in this ... I know there are many others out there who share the weakness. Yes, "Baking: From My Home to Yours" is highly recommended! Recipes there are interesting! Well, I gotta thank Swee San (The Sweet Spot) for initiating this. ;)

@Elin: Great! Nice to hear that Jo is enjoying her life in U.K. Aiya ... back in where I was, garlic, ginger and shallots are also expensive lah ... But I could imagine how bland my food would be should there be no garlic/shallot! So, I still bought garlic/shallot/scallions/onion/ginger for cooking ... But be wise as you use them loh ... *Sigh* What to do when people of other culture eat so differently than we do! Wah ... Fish & chips ah? Jo should have as much of this as she can while still there, it's so part of the British experience leh ... Just like my American experience of eating chewy cookies and biscuits with gravy! I'm sure your hubby will fill up your pocket sooner than you think! Haha! I do hope to see you again too! Hopefully not too long till then ...

@Reese: It was nice talking to you too! How I wish you didn't have to leave that early ... Haha! But it's ok geh ... Family is the most important! I guess I can only fully understand this should I have my own family in the future ... But I doubt I'll ... Haha! Yea loh, that time hor only got Sungai Wang mah ... So, you had to stick yourself there loh ... So cham ... Wah, 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. are DARN long ... You having shopping marathon ar!? I can't, no money ... Hahaha! Eh, your fondant cakes are impressive btw!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

Oh... thanks for the so many links to my blog.....hahahah!!! It's was really lovely meeting all of you and I can't wait for the next meetup.

I have Rose's Heavenly Cakes, bought on Amazon for only USD18 plus, new!!! I've tried a few recipes from there, and they have yet to be posted.. wait wait, august or sept, maybe.

Oh.. I almost wanted to buy Dorie's Baking from My Home to yours, now I think I'll think twice about it, since it's measured in cups..


All the tangzhong recipes here, makes me really want to give this a try (I have frozen cha siew filling in the freezer), but I think I have to wait for 2 weeks, until all the dumpling craze is over. People will be giving us dumplings and *sigh* have to eat and eat... ahahha

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Thank you so much for dropping by! Your words have made my day!

@Tracie: You bet! You're most definitely welcome! Erm ... About my backlogs ... No guarantee ... Muahaha ... I like taking my own sweet time, love being a slow poke ... Still that country girl who once lived a laid-back life in rural America. Hahaha! =P

@Jane: Yes indeed! I can just talk and talk and talk nonstop if we all click! Seriously! I talked till I felt I was dehydrated that day ... Haha! I'm looking forward to my S'pore trip! Just that I haven't really set a date for that ... I haven't heard from Fiona lately though ... Wondering if she's doing OK ... Sorta worried ... =( I know you have Rose's book too! I think you should get Greenspan's book if possible because you're gonna love it seriously! I myself love it so much, the only downside is I have to convert everything from imperial units to metric. *Sigh*

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Thank you so much for dropping by! Your words have made my day!

@Anne & Jeff: Haha! I shared the same sentiment when I was living in the States. That's why my cookbook craze only started when I got back to KL. =_=""" But hey! You've got "Momofuku" ... When I asked the staff at Kinokuniya that day, they told it was sold out!

@Sonia: Oh, no ... I think you misinterpreted the recipe. That particular concern you raised is reflected in step #1, #2 and #3. After the sponge has been proofed only then we KNEAD IN the remaining ingredients and butter to the sponge. There's no "main" dough (主麵團) in this recipe. Buddy, it's OK! I'm sure you're gonna get to join us for future meet-ups!

@Wendy: You bet! Hahaha! Same also mah on your side ... I blushed you know when you mentioned about me ... =_="" Me can't wait either! I do hope we can have cooking/baking sessions together ... of course, just for fun lah ... competing for what ... =_="" Eh, safe to shop online in Malaysia meh? My father keeps lecturing me about not to shop things online ... 'coz not safe lah, people tipu my money lah ... I used to shop online a lot when in the States, even for the vanilla beans I lugged back to KL from the States. Maybe I should try once first to see how things go ... Thanks for giving me a lil' more confidence in the Malaysian government and way of handling things. *Sigh* Yea, we two have awful lot of backlogs ... But I'm not worried about them ... Haha! Actually, that very book by Greenspan is worth the investment. Though everything is measured rather than weighed, they can be converted. Like today, I made Chockablock Cookies from that book! Turned out nice! Hmmm ... But dunno when I'll blog about them ... Haha!

This very one isn't 湯種法. It uses 中種, also a good method. Yea loh ... Maybe after 端午節 and all those 粽 ... you can make bread again ... Gonna stuff myself with glutinous rice these coming 2 weeks too. Haha! So fat liao ... *Sob* Then I wait for your 湯種 bread posts lah ... maybe till 2011 lah ... Haha!

Su-yin said...

Loving the look of the whole wheat rolls. I love using wholemeal in my breads too, even if it's only half wholemeal. I've even added it to pizza bases before, lol.

I have the same problem with cookbooks, I have to refrain from buying or I'll run out of bookshelf space!

Swee San said...

I like the "push-and-talk" button and "be quiet-and-observe" button.. Haha just so you.. Well we can start planning on the #3 meet up already, Pei-Lin :)

Happy Belated Blog Birthday :)

faithy, the baker said...

Sounds like you had fun! I'm sure there will be more books at to your collection! ;) ENJOY and start baking soon!

Your bread looks yummy! Next time you visit Spore, have to bring some for me to try! :)

noobcook said...

sounds like a very happy gathering :) love the rolls ... very healthy... and I love the oats toppings

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

No la, I didn't buy at Malaysian sites, I buy at Amazon leh. They send my stuff to Houston, then my MIL brings them back for me.
But my hubby buys a lot of stuff from lelong, or Ebay Malaysia, so far so good.
You can get vanilla beans at
Bake With Yen, I got mine at RM23 for about 24 beans, I think.

Food For Tots said...

I must admit that I'm addicted to bread making lately but don't really have the luxury to pursue my interest esp during this 1-mth school holiday. Next time you can call Kino to reserve your books and collect them later. So you won't be disappointed when you go there. You can ask them to order for you too. We did that when we were in KL. I love all the breads you made including this one!! ;)

edith said...

I always call this wholesome bread. I think my courage in attempting bread is slowly creeping into my system.

How I wish we have a blogger's gathering in singapore too. Unfortunately I know very few. haiz. I always wanted to meet some of my favourite blog owners but don't know how to raise the question of meeting up without sounding so rude.

Jo said...

I have Dorie Greenspan's book but not the other 2. In fact I probably have only made 2 or 3 recipes from Dorie's even though I've had it for close to a year now. I tend to buy too many at one time .. bad habit. Sounds like a great meet-up and the rolls look so yummy!

tigerfish said...

What an interesting meet-up you all had :)

I don't think I will ever get addicted to baking but baking books maybe. Why? Cos they are just too pretty to look at.

Keren Ruth said...

Pei-Lin you must come and try another piece of our whole wheat bread. I have found that using maple syrup, whole wheat, yeast, potatoes, an egg, goat's milk. camola oil and lots and lots and lots of kneading seem to be the trick for me to get a very nice "stick together" "not crumbly" texture in my bread. I really appreciate my mixer to do the kneading! I made 9 loaves on Wednesday as we are having quite a lot of company this weekend. Bonnie

Related Posts with Thumbnails