Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I had a dream. A dream of a beautiful domed loaf of home made, hand-kneaded bread; squatting on my kitchen table. And that dream is squatting in front of me right now. Big, bulky, bronzed and beautiful.

This is the largest loaf I have made since I overcame the challenges and fear of yeast several years ago. And since I fought off the aghast and horror of all that kneading.

The aroma that wafted through the house as the bread was baking in the oven, the aroma that permeated every dust filled nook, crack and cranny in our home was almost as good as the aroma of toasted belacan. Heady, with the power of making you agreeable to almost anything that was asked of you - in exchange for the source of that aroma of course. The aroma of toasting belacan over an open flame, however, would have been a more intoxicating, heart-melting, finger gripping bargain but bread comes as a pretty close second.

...ummm......well.....maybe third...after the pungent aroma of salty fish in sizzling hot oil. An aroma that would make your knees buckle and detach your eyeballs at the same time. If you're Malaysian of course.

But there is nothing that can beat the warm glowing feeling that grows inside of you at the sight of a loaf of bread, freshly baked, wrapped in a tea towel and sitting on the kitchen table basking in the morning light. Love the sight!

So I thought that this would be a good post even though there is nothing mysterious or exotic in a bread recipe. This recipe yields one ultra huge loaf and one French loaf and is very soft without the use of any bread softeners. So enjoy!

1 kg bread flour, plain or wholemeal
15 gm dried yeast
1/4 cup oil
3 tsp salt
1/4 sugar
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 water

Mix yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 cup of lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the yeast dissolves and leave to rest, covered until the mixture froths.

Meanwhile sift flour and add to the frothed yeast mixture. Add sugar and salt. Add oil and then the remaining water, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups. Mix with a wooden spoon at first and finally with your hand when the mixture begins to come together.

Turn out onto a floured board or table and knead for 3 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in a lightly greased large bowl and let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth until doubled in size or when an indentation made by your finger remains.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead again for 5 minutes. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes and then knead again for 3 minutes, shape or place in mould after which you let rest again for the dough to rise for about 1 hour, brush the tops with milk and then bake at 190 C.

A large loaf would take about 1 to 1/1/4 hours and the French loaf would take 45 minutes. A good test would be when the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

How to shape a regular loaf :

Roll out the dough into a rectangle then roll like a swiss roll. Place in the mould, let rise for about 1 hour, brush top with milk then bake.

How to shape a French loaf :

Roll into a sausage shape and make 1 cm scores on the surface before letting it rise the last time for about 1 hour. Brush top with milk. Bake.

French loaf, sliced....

I made garlic bread with it and ate it with pineapple salsa...YUM

TIP : Don't forget to brush top with milk. The milk gives the top a beautiful shine when baked.

TIP : When putting into the oven be gentle and don't shake or bang the risen dough otherwise it will just deflate and you will have to knead and let rise again.


Nadia said...

Heavenly!!! eh nicela you used natural light for the photo time you have to prop all your food by the window like this la mummy LOL..that's what i told hala too!
oh guess what the kidsmade that cheese bread...i will put up nnt on learning to write proper my posts have been somewhat sparse...i'm reading up on food writing :P currently reading curry; a tale of cooks and conquerors (food history..written by a's about india's history told through food..well the focus is india's food, how it evolved throughout india's history, the influence of the mughal, the portugueus, the british (there's mention of eliza acton too), and the establishment of indian restaurants by the benggalis in the UK...very interesting!
oh, fahzy's thing..we're still waiting..if wait too long ni ..mcm tak you might have to wait another 6mths LOL

Zurin said...

Yes i know the natural light thing but I always cook and by the time ready its night already. I always stay in late in the mornings so by the time Im up tu ni tu ni I start cooking late afternoon. That was one of the few times I mnaged to catch pics in the morning. afternoon too glaring pulak kena diffuse the light frm the window la macam macam la mite as well use flash! lol save me all the headache...but it is nice with natural light esp that I can play wth the aperture and exposure settings on my dslr...

oh writing recipes properly? susah ke? got rules ke? heh who cares!lol

sounds interesting what ur reading..I spend so much time on the computer tak larat already to read all that..u read for me and tell me AFC channel is much easier! LOLOL

Chef E said...

I like this post-how you start with a a dream...thanks for visiting my site...I loved those biscuits, and have been afraid to try stuff like that due to importing and old dates. Indian food stores are notorious for that. I also like the comment on here from Juli about Indian passion is learning about foodways throughout history!

Love you blog and beatiful pics...

Bint Aadam said...

wow!!! This looks fantastic, for some reason I'm afraid to make bread!!

The lighting is really nice too, it makes a great difference... but I have the same problem, by the time I'm done cooking, it's dark out :)

I hope to try this soon!

ganache-ganache said...

U knead the dough by hand ?? Good for exercising that arm muscle :) I can't, rely on my mixer a lot !!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

wow zurin, i can almost smell it frm here! high 5!!

Zurin said...

Bint Adam, Yes I was afraid too until I JUST DID IT. :) the kneading and yeast thing can be quite intimidating if you have never done it b4 but when u have tries it once it is one of the easiest thing to do...easier than cakes..honestly unless the yeast has expired of do try ok :) n thanks for visiting.

Ganache : yep by hand! :D its not as hard as it sounds...good to relieve the days frustrations too :D its almost therapeutic..swear to god...I feel so much better after! lol

Terri : belacan smells better.tho...heheh..high 5!

Zurin said...

Chef E : thanks for the compliments and 4 visiting...I love history anything. Juli's my eldest daughter living in Ohio...she takes a lot after me...cookin, writing, reading baking, many that we end up not knowing what we really want! LOL

Nadia said...

LOL.....that's right...i was just thinking to myself....i keep flitting here and there in between hobbies and interests and can'tquite make up my mind as to what it is i want LOL....

Nat said...

Omigod......mummy the 2nd in the making..........Kakak Juli is your clone mummy....

Zurin said...



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