Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I was wondering why the serving sizes on challah recipes had a minimum of 2. A number of convenience? Or perhaps its more economical to make 2 loaves at a go. Wrong.

According to Jewish tradition, Sabbath and holiday meals begin with a blessing over four loaves of bread (two Friday night and two Saturday afternoon). This "double loaf" commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40yrs after the Exodus from Egypt. Manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion fell before the Sabbath and holidays. Thus, the serving size of 2 is symbolic of this.

Unlike the brioche and other enriched european breads which contain butter or milk, challah is usually parve. Parve is a hebrew term that describes foods which do not contain dairy and/or meat. And if you do ask, yes, eggs go into making challah. But hey guess what, eggs are not dairy products - I just learnt that. So yeah, eggs are allowed in challah.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Petite Brioche a Tete

I set my internet homepage to, but really it's just a facade. I read all of one news article - currently its on the fiat/chrysler takeover, and my mind starts wandering. And as I wait for the online video on china's inflation data to load, I'm opening up another tab on the explorer window, googling for new recipes to try. This time a brioche recipe caught my eye.

Brioche is THE bread to which all rich breads are compared. At least 20% flour to butter ratio is used when making brioche, but normally 50% or higher is used making it decadent and devilishly delicious. According to Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, there are three versions of a basic brioche: rich man’s brioche, middle class brioche, and poor man’s brioche. Since butter is the most expensive ingredient in this bread, it stands to reason that the rich man’s brioche contains the most amount of butter.

There are several ways to make brioche but the cutest looking ones are petite brioche a tete, small fluted rolls with "heads". So excitedly, I run into the kitchen and pulled out my fluted moulds from the drawer. Some guy from Moody's had begun speaking on the inflation data, but by then my mind had entered a different world altogether.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bagelry Chronicles

I have a dream - To make the perfect bagel.
I plan to expend every bagel recipe, test ever possible variation there is til my bagels surpass satisfaction.

The last time I had these wonderful morsels of bread was during a work stint in NY 3 years ago. Since coming back to singapore, I've yet to find a bagel that comes anywhere near. I've received many well-meaning suggestions: various coffee and supermarket chains, bakeries in district 9,10, 11 etc. But none have matched up and so I somewhat forgot about them.

On my recent trip to US for my brother's graduation, I once again had the chance to eat them. Oh sweet bread! Okay, bagels aren't exactly sweet, just an expression. But I'll tell you what the perfect bagel is - Crispy on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside. The best bagels are so flavourful, you can eat them as is.

So here, I begin my quest for the perfect bagel. The recipe I used is adapted from I didn't have malt syrup, its not your average cold storage item and I wasn't about to add horlicks (yes, horlicks is a malted milk drink) into the flour mixture so honey had to do this time.

Verdict? dense and chewy. But the crisp isn't quite there yet. Think I really need to look for malt syrup too. could taste the honey on the outer layer. Was alright...but I think malt would have tasted better.