Tuesday, March 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS' MARCH 2012 CHALLENGE: Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!
This is the first time I've heard of this so I am sure, I am not the only one who is wondering what exactly is Dutch Crunch? According to Sara and Erica: "Technically...doesn't refer to the type of bread, but rather to the topping that is spread over the bread before baking. In Dutch is called Tijgerbrood or "tiger bread" after the tiger-like shell when it comes out of the oven. The final product has a delightful sweet crunch to it that makes it perfect for a sandwich roll. It's a coomon option all over the Bay Area, and is often one of its breads to run out. "
Ooooh...okay tiger stripes like what our beloved cat Hipster has?
Dutch Crunch Topping

Servings: This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9x5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls. If you make only 6 rolls in the first soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.

We’ve provided this recipe first because it is the mandatory aspect of the challenge. Note, however, that you should not prepare the topping until the bread you’ve selected to bake is almost finished rising (~15 minutes from baking).

2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Roll

Servings: Six sandwich rolls

1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).
2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together. (The photo to below is with the first 2 cups of flour added).

3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size (see photo comparison).

6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

We had to make sandwiches out of our Dutch Crunch bread and the first that I made is this new-ish (at least for me), healthier egg salad made with yogurt instead of mayonnaise and organic, free-range hardboiled eggs. I spread pesto on the inside and topped it with the egg salad and alfalfa sprouts...
(Healthy and Yummy!!--perfect for breakfast)
The second one was made of roasted peppers and pumpkin, and feta cheese, this one is my favorite! I put it in the microwave for a minute to melt the cheese...so good!
Maybe it was the time in the oven but for some reason my Dutch Crunch didn't brown as much as the other Daring Bakers. But thank you Erica and Sara, this challenge was both fun and delicious!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


So it's officially summer here in the Philippines...but the weather is very erratic, it could be a full week of sunny days and then without warning, we wake up to a gloomy rainy morning. But even when it rains, it's already scorching hot. Our hosts for Kulinarya Cooking Club's theme for this month Arnold of Inuyaki and Jun of Jun Blog decided to let us make frozen treats...popsicles, ice candies etc. But what could be more Filipino than ice candy? The kind you make with small plastic bags--memories of childhood!And what could be more summer-y than strawberries and mangoes, that are selling very cheap at the market nowadays--so I decided to make ice candies out of these two summer fruits. When I was little, these fruit purees would have added milk and/or sugar but now that I've become more health-conscious, pure fruit is the only option, aside from the fact that they are sweet and delicious as is.
I pureed 2 mangoes in the blender and a basket of strawberries, I was hoping I could combine them to make swirls in one bag but I ran out of time so maybe I will do it again. But they came out really pretty, and delicious!

Thank you Arnold and Jun for this month's theme, it was a nice way to remember my childhood summers!

Oh and don't forget to check out the other frozen treats of my fellow KCC members.
Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

If you're interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks' March 2012 Challenge - Brave the Braise!

The March 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Carol a/k/a Poisonive--and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman's technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book "Ruhlman's Twenty".

So what exactly is Braising? Carol gives us this definition: from the French word "braiser" offers us a combination of cooking method...typically the meat is seared in hot fat which adds flavor and aromas, improves color (browning) and texture (crust). It is then submerged in liquid and cooked slowly and gently at low heat.

Carol gave several recipes to follow, but she also encouraged us to be creative. I based my Braised Beef Shank in Red Wine and Tomato Sauce on one of those she gave.
This came out really delicious-- the sauce was rich and thick after I braised it for 2 hours, and the beef shank was tender and dripping with flavor.

Thank you Carol for hosting this challenge, it was fun. For the other Daring Cooks' versions of this month's challenge, click here.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smoked Salmon Waldorf

I'm so easy to please...just give me food and I'm a happy camper. This week, I received food gifts from my friends--talk about the gift of friendship! I will be making posts for the other stuff I received but this afternoon I chose to prepare half of the smoked salmon that I got. So I was thinking what to do with it, honestly speaking, I can eat smoked salmon on its own but my friend said, make something with it and give her the recipe...

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon and I didn't want to be bothered going to the supermarket so I looked in the chiller and decided that based on the ingredients on hand, I could make a Waldorf Salad. Except that I won't be using chicken...I will be using the smoked salmon.

I wanted to make this salad more healthy so instead of mayonnaise (aside from the fact, that I didn't have it at home) I used Greek yogurt. I sprinkled about a teaspoon of sugar to balance the tartness of the yogurt. This is how easy it is...I flaked the salmon, added some chopped celery, grapes, and fuji apples and topped it with my yogurt-sugar mixture....looking good so far...
...oops wait, I almost forgot to add walnuts and I also had some dried goji berries on hand so I added that as well. Mix it all together gently...

...and voila--Smoked Salmon Waldorf Salad! I love how easy it is to make and how perfect it is for lazy Saturday afternoons when the farthest thing from my mind is to slave over a hot stove!

So thank you gorjuschik for the Smoked Salmon and thank you for the gift of friendship! And stay tuned for the recipe of the other half :)