Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Galette des Rois. Three Kings Cake.

Galette des rois 2012
A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with Mardi Gras and Carnival. It is popular in Christmas season in France, BelgiumSwitzerland (galette or gâteau des Rois), Portugal (bolo rei), Spain and Spanish America (roscón or rosca de reyes and tortell in Catalonia), Greece and Cyprus (vasilopita) and Bulgaria (banitsa). In the United States, which celebrates Carnival in the Southeastern region, it is associated instead with Mardi Gras traditions.
The last 4 Galettes of the season.

Customer feedback..."Not I say wan" :   
"OMG! It taste like a french Lou Poh Peng!!!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The history of Stollen

Christstollen 2011
The Christstollen (Stollen - originally Striezel )

The history of the Dresden type Christmas Stollen goes back to the 15th century. The Stollen was designed to symbolize the Infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.
But the original Stollen sure was not the delicious masterpiece you will be able to taste today.

The Stollen is traditional baked during the advent, a holy season of the christian church – the days of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. The advent time is also a season of fasting and according to the prevailing church doctrine a Christstollen was to be made only from flour, yeast and water and oil. Butter and spices were banned from the bakery, due church restrictions.

Another reason for the plain ingredients in this time, is sure the fact that spices was one of the most luxurious products available in the late middle ages.

Imagine, how this cake must have tasted?

One chance - history had something good in mind for our Stollen.

Around 1430 the pope Nikolaus V, was asked by Elector Ernst of Saxony and his brother in a letter (“Butterbrief”) to be allowed to use butter instead of oil for baking. This request was granted by the pope himself, but the permission had only validation for the Elector's family.

It took many many years again till others were allowed to prepare their pastry with butter, during the fasting season. This authority by Pope Innozenz VIII however, was binded under the condition to pay a twentieth part of a gold every year towards the church.

Later this ban was abandoned with the evangelisms of Saxony (Germany). Slowly, but in steady the Christstollen, became tastier and tastier.
Christstollen 2010

Monday, December 12, 2011

Read Translate and Share : Celiac Disease

À tous ceux que cela peut intéresser voici mon expérience personnelle concernant les céréales:
To all those that may be of interest here is my personal experience on cereals:

J’ai régulièrement souffert toute ma vie de douleurs intestinales nocturnes sans en connaître l’origine. Avec l’âge (68 ans) le problème s’est aggravé et les insomnies sont devenues plus fréquentes. Le soir je ne mangeais plus que du potage et des fruits. Du fromage ou même une simple salade me causait des problèmes.
I regularly suffered all my life intestinal pain at night without knowing the cause. At age (68 years) the problem worsened and insomnia became more frequent. In the evening I ate only soup and fruit. Cheese or even a simple salad was causing me problems.

Il y a environ 6 mois des amis (qui ignoraient tout de mes problèmes de santé) m’ont offert du levain naturel avec lequel j’ai fait du pain. Le trouvant très bon j’ai continué à faire mon pain moi-même pendant une à deux semaines. J’ai alors constaté une nette amélioration de mon sommeil. J’ai réalisé que mes problèmes venaient en fait du pain que je mangeais avec le fromage et la salade mais pas avec le potage ou les fruits.
Around 6 months ago some friends (who knew nothing of my health problems) offered me the natural leaven with which I made bread. Finding it very good I continued to make my own bread for one to two weeks. I then noticed a remarkable improvement in my sleep. I realized that my problems were, in fact, I ate bread with cheese and salad but not with the soup or fruit.

Étant mis sur la voie, j’ai évité toutes céréales le soir et mes douleurs nocturnes ont disparu. Deux expériences me restent en mémoire. Un soir j’ai mangé des raviolis, un autre de la pizza. Ces deux soirs ont été suivis d’une nuit d’insomnie.
I realized that my problems were, in fact, I ate bread with cheese and salad but not with the soup or fruit.
Being placed on the path, I avoided all my cereals in the evening and my nocturnal pain disappeared. Two experiences stayed in memory. One night I ate ravioli, another pizza. Both nights were followed by a sleepless night.

Je me suis alors demandé pourquoi le levain naturel résolvait mes problèmes et je suis tombé sur un article (référence ci-dessous) qui m’a appris que le levain naturel contient des bacilles lactiques capables d’hydolyser l’alpha-gliadine, la protéine responsable des intolérances au gluten. Je souffrais donc d’une intolérance au gluten (maladie cœliaque frustre).
Both nights were followed by a sleepless night.
I then asked why the sourdough solve my problems and I came across an article (reference below) who taught me that the natural yeast contains lactobacilli able to hydolyser alpha-gliadin, the protein responsible for gluten intolerance. So I was suffering from a gluten intolerance (celiac disease frustrates).

Cela éclairait d’un nouveau jour tous mes problèmes de santé depuis ma plus tendre enfance: entérite sévère du nourrisson alimenté de farines lactées, scoliose de l’adolescent due à une mauvaise assimilation du calcium, ulcération du duodénum vers la fin de mes études, problèmes osseux et insomnies à l’âge adulte dûs au manque de calcium.
So I was suffering from a gluten intolerance (celiac disease frustrates).
It shone a new light to all my health problems since my early childhood: severe gastroenteritis in infants fed milk-flour, the adolescent scoliosis due to poor calcium absorption, duodenal ulcer at the end of my studies, bone problems and insomnia in adulthood due to lack of calcium.

C’est ainsi qu’à 68 ans j’ai découvert l’origine de la plupart de mes problèmes de santé. Mieux vaut tard que jamais! Depuis je fais mon pain et mon levain moi-même. Je peux communiquer mon expérience pratique à ceux que cela intéresse.
bone problems and insomnia in adulthood due to lack of calcium.
Thus, at age 68 I discovered the origin of most of my health problems. Better late than never! Since I make my bread and sourdough myself. I can communicate my experience to those interested.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Feb;70(2):1088-96. Sourdough bread made from wheat and nontoxic flours and started with selected lactobacilli is tolerated in celiac sprue patients. Di Cagno R, De Angelis M, Auricchio S, Greco L, Clarke C, De Vincenzi M,
Giovannini C, D'Archivio M, Landolfo F, Parrilli G, Minervini F, Arendt E, Gobbetti M. Department of Plant Protection and Applied Microbiology, University of Bari,
70126 Bari, Italy. 

Read Translate & Share : The issue of glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) is a tool to classify carbohydrates according to their rate of intestinal absorption after a meal. A low GI food decreases the secretion
insulin postprandial phase in healthy subjects and also improves the glycemic control both in healthy subjects than in diabetic subjects.
It has long been attributed to a very bad white bread glycemic index. In reality the bread has a glycemic index varies according to the techniques of baking. It is likely that the glycemic index of bread depends on its density. Thus the traditional French bread, less airy than white bread has a glycemic index current lowered. Organic breads of high density would therefore fall into the category of moderate glycemic index breads (under 70).
Sourdough fermentation could be a possible alternative to reduce the glycemic index of bread in that it leads to a less airy crumb production. In addition, organic acids may slow gastric emptying study showed that the addition of vinegar to white bread (in amounts similar to those produced by the yeast) acts at this level (Liljeberg & Bjorck, 1996). Thus, sourdough bread would have a better glycemic index than yeast breads more surveys and devoid of organic acids.
In theory, the rate of starch digestion is proportional to its degree of gelatinization and accessibility of the crumb to amylases. It is believed that bread baking results in a high gelatinization of its starch. Given the high cost of clinical studies to control the glycemic index, it seemed interesting to examine the preservation of starch grains in various types of breads. These observations were carried out scanning electron microscope.
Three factors are likely to spare the starch grains: a very moderate kneading, the lack of use of an exogenous amylase and the particle size of flour. Under these conditions, we found that the use of coarsely ground wholemeal flour or meal resulted in a good preservation of starch grains.
Nutritionally, it is highly desirable to encourage the industry to produce organic breads density too low to appeal to consumers. As against it is particularly important for organic breads have the best fermentation possible, for both organoleptic and nutritional goals. The need to reduce the salt is expected to be particularly taken into account by organic bakers to meet public health recommendations.

La problématique de l’index glycémique

L’index glycémique (IG) est un outil permettant de classer les glucides selon leur vitesse d’absorption intestinale après un repas. Un aliment de faible IG diminue la sécrétion
d’insuline en phase post-prandiale des sujets sains et permet également d’améliorer le contrôle de la glycémie tant chez les sujets sains que chez les sujets diabétiques.
On a longtemps attribué au pain blanc un très mauvais index glycémique. En réalité le pain présente un index glycémique très variable en fonction des techniques de panification. Il est probable que l’index glycémique du pain varie en fonction de sa masse volumique. Ainsi le pain de tradition française, moins aéré qu’un pain blanc courant a un index glycémique abaissé. Les pains bio de masse volumique élevée seraient donc à ranger dans la catégorie des pains à index glycémique modéré (inférieur à 70).
La fermentation au levain pourrait être une alternative possible pour diminuer l’index glycémique du pain dans la mesure où elle aboutit à une production de mie moins aérée. De plus, les acides organiques pourraient ralentir la vidange gastrique ; une étude a montré que l’addition de vinaigre à du pain blanc (à des quantités similaires à celles produites par le levain) agit à ce niveau (Liljeberg & Bjorck, 1996). Ainsi les pains au levain auraient un meilleur index glycémique que des pains à la levure beaucoup plus levés et dépourvus d’acides organiques.
En théorie, la vitesse de digestion de l’amidon est proportionnelle à son degré de gélatinisation et à l’accessibilité de la mie aux amylases. On considère que la cuisson du pain aboutit à une forte gélatinisation de son amidon. Compte tenu du coût très élevé des études cliniques pour contrôler l’index glycémique, il nous a semblé intéressant d’examiner la préservation des grains d’amidon dans divers type de pains. Ces observations ont été réalisées au microscope à balayage électronique.
Trois facteurs sont susceptibles de ménager les grains d’amidon : un pétrissage très modéré, l’absence d’utilisation d’une amylase exogène et la taille des particules de farines . dans ces conditions, nous avons trouvé que l’utilisation de farines intégrales broyées grossièrement ou de semoules aboutissait à une bonne conservation des grains d’amidon.
Sur le plan nutritionnel, il est peu souhaitable d’encourager la filière bio à produire des pains de trop faible masse volumique pour plaire aux consommateurs. Par contre il est particulièrement important que les pains bios bénéficient de la meilleure fermentation possible, à la fois pour des objectifs organoleptiques et nutritionnels. La nécessité de réduire le sel soit devrait être particulièrement pris en compte par les boulangers bio pour répondre aux recommandations de santé publique.

Christian Rémésy et Fanny Leenhardt Unité de Nutrition Humaine, INRA Theix 63122 Saint Genès Champanelle

Read Translate & Share : Sourdough bread for celiacs

1er mars 2002 - Un nouveau type de pain sans danger pour les personnes allergiques au blé pourrait bientôt sortir du four grâce à la découverte de chercheurs italiens dont l'étude a paru dans le numéro de février de la revue Applied and Environmental Microbiology1. Ils se sont penchés sur l'activité de certaines bactéries responsables de la fermentation du pain au levain.
1st March 2002 - A new type of bread is safe for people allergic to wheat may soon be out of the oven with the discovery of Italian researchers whose study appeared in the February issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. They have studied the activity of certain bacteria responsible for fermentation of sourdough bread.

Les auteurs de la recherche ont constaté que, pendant la fermentation du levain, certaines bactéries lactiques produisaient une enzyme capable de dégrader une protéine, la gliadine (prolamine du blé). Cette dernière semble impliquée dans l'intolérance au gluten caractéristique de la maladie coeliaque et peut endommager l'intestin grêle. En améliorant le procédé, il serait donc possible de proposer des pains à base de levain qui permettraient de réduire, voire supprimer le problème d'intolérance au gluten.
The authors of the research found that during the fermentation of leaven, lactic acid bacteria produce an enzyme capable of degrading a protein called gliadin (wheat prolamin). This seems to be involved in gluten intolerance characteristic of celiac disease and can damage the small intestine. By improving the process, it would be possible to offer bread made ​​from leaven that would reduce or eliminate the problem of intolerance to gluten.

Le levain, en plus d'être mieux digéré par l'organisme, confère au pain une saveur acidulée subtile et allonge sa durée de conservation (une semaine ou plus) en comparaison de la levure. Cependant, il n'est pas toujours apprécié des boulangers car il s'avère plus difficile à utiliser, une température de cuisson insuffisante risquant de rendre le pain trop acide.
The leaven, in addition to being better digested by the body, gives the bread a subtle tangy flavor and extends shelf life (a week or more) compared to yeast. However, it is not always popular with bakers because it is more difficult to use, inadequate cooking temperature that might make the bread too acidic.

Élisabeth Mercader - PasseportSanté.net

Du pain au levain pour les allergiques au gluten

1er mars 2002 - Un nouveau type de pain sans danger pour les personnes allergiques au blé pourrait bientôt sortir du four grâce à la découverte de chercheurs italiens dont l'étude a paru dans le numéro de février de la revue Applied and Environmental Microbiology1. Ils se sont penchés sur l'activité de certaines bactéries responsables de la fermentation du pain au levain.
Les auteurs de la recherche ont constaté que, pendant la fermentation du levain, certaines bactéries lactiques produisaient une enzyme capable de dégrader une protéine, la gliadine (prolamine du blé). Cette dernière semble impliquée dans l'intolérance au gluten caractéristique de la maladie coeliaque et peut endommager l'intestin grêle. En améliorant le procédé, il serait donc possible de proposer des pains à base de levain qui permettraient de réduire, voire supprimer le problème d'intolérance au gluten.
Le levain, en plus d'être mieux digéré par l'organisme, confère au pain une saveur acidulée subtile et allonge sa durée de conservation (une semaine ou plus) en comparaison de la levure. Cependant, il n'est pas toujours apprécié des boulangers car il s'avère plus difficile à utiliser, une température de cuisson insuffisante risquant de rendre le pain trop acide.

Élisabeth Mercader - PasseportSanté.net

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Research And Readings

I am a baker who successfully cultured my sourdough starter with our local milled atta flour in Jalan Ipoh (Indians use it to make their chapati). The reason why I want to make a sourdough bread in Kuala Lumpur because I have been enjoying this kind of bread when I was living in France, with ppl who don't eat rice and noodles! So I was eating bread all the time. However, did every bite reminds me of the bread I have eaten? Non. I remembered every piece of meat I ate, every slice of cheese I nibbled and every sip of wine I took. This insignificant piece of bread on my table elevated my gastronomical experience without stamping its how fine service should be. One day, I located a job working under the roof of Eric Kayser in rue Monge, Paris. I was an apprentice Patissier there and for lunch everyday was to go collect a handful of sourdough breads garnished with butter, crudité (salades) and dry sausages or cold-cuts or tuna for the whole patisserie team.  
>.......................ok ok ok too much of my own story!!! The reason I am writing this post is to bring up a little finding about my customer's reaction to my bread and some relevance reading I have been doing.
A regular french lady customer has been here buying bread on a regular basis. Initially, she didn't uttered a day, she told me : "YOu know what?" I said : "Yes?" "I am allergy to the bread I buy from the regular pre-packed & I don't have any reaction with your bread" she said. "Oh is it?! But I not doctor" and this sends me all over the net to look for answers.  
SO I start to read up and do some findings in the internet. Here are some relevant articles and reports I find in the internet :

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A little history of the Croissant

The making of the Croissants lead us back to the year 1683, a time the Turks invaded the "Holy Roman Empire of German Nation" and the siege of Vienna was under way.

On July 14. of this same year, the great Turkish Vizier tried to penetrate in the city, but was not able to succeed. In order to occupy the Turkish armee planned to enter the Vienna by a trick, a great plan, except one variable they could not have expected - a baker by the name of Peter Wender.

In the night of August 26, 1683 the baker, who began his work heard suspect noises coming from the ground. He gave alarm and alerted the city army and soon they discovered that turk soldiers were occupied digging mines under the city walls and placing explosives within their tunnels. Once the city was alerted there plan failed and the turks had to flee.

In the honour of this rescue, the bakers Viennese decided to make a bread having the shape of the emblem of the Turkish flag (the crescent). On this time the croissant was made from a rich bread dough.

Actually the Croissant was not really known in France. This changed during the World Fair of 1889, where Viennese bakers took part.

Today, the typically Viennese Croissant disappeared, except in Austria. It was replaced since 1920 by the laminated* Croissant and begun its victory across all borders - now known as the French Croissant. 

* A process of incorporating interval-layers of butter and the bread dough. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Naturally Leavened Bread?

The fermented quality of naturally leavened bread has several healthful advantages over yeasted breads. Yeasted breads are risen very quickly by a refined yeast strain which has been isolated in a laboratory under controlled conditions, using a process we could never duplicate in our kitchens.
In the process of making sourdough bread, during the rising time (called proofing), bran in the flour is broken down, releasing nutrients into the dough. In particular, the phytic acid (phytin) in grains needs to be 90% neutralized in order for the minerals, concentrated in the bran, to be absorbed by the human body. According to the experiments done in Belgium, phytin can be neutralized by natural bacterial action and to a lesser extent, by baking. In naturally leavened bread, the combination eliminates all phytin, while in yeasted bread about 90% remains.
Furthermore, with sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during proofing which are not lost in baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust.
It’s the fermentation, partly from lactobacillus, that makes eating good quality bread an aid to digestion of all complex carbohydrate foods including other grains, beans, and vegetables. It helps restore the functioning of the digestive tract, resulting in proper assimilation and elimination. These beneficial bacteria help control candida albicans, whereas baker’s yeast is a pro-candida organism. This is a brown bread which truly is “the staff of life” as it enhances the whole immune system.

By Principle

In baking as in all natural processes, the laws of life must be respected; it is vital for the fermented bread to retain the dynamic character that originally develops within the wheat berry as it evolves toward its germination. Just as the breathing cycle consists of an oxidation, followed by a reduction, the same cycle is reproduced in the five day cycle of the germination of wheat. Natural leavened bread (seeded with wild yeast or natural leaven) also duplicates this cycle: The rising of the dough corresponds to an oxidation (like wheat germ growth), followed by a reduction (during the baking of the loaf) identical to the development of the miniature sprout of wheat. We readily see that of the two methods available for leavening bread, only natural leaven faithfully follows the laws of the universe.

Natural Leaven or Commercial Baker's Yeast?

There are two methods for leavening bread and they differ totally in the way they act on the flour, as well as on the taste and nutritional effect of the resulting bread and, in the end, on the health of the consumer. The aim of bread fermentation is to transform the various nutrients freed by the milling of the grain and to modify them for optimum assimilation during digestion.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Impact of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in sourdough fermentation

The application of sourdough has a long tradition in the production of wheat and rye breads. Sourdough plays a crucial role in the development of the sensorial, nutritional, and safety quality of fermented products. The metabolic activity of LAB during sourdough fermentation may contribute to the improvement of cereal products in different ways, such as lengthening their shelf-life; hydrolyzing proline-rich allergenic fragments; improving the texture and palatability of whole grain, fiber-rich, or gluten-free products; stabilizing / increasing levels of bioactive compounds and enhancing mineral bioavailability.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A vital force of the "ancienne"

Seeking to strike the right balance, big-scale bakeries today would portray the baker as a "guardian of traditions" but insisted that he "is nonetheless an artisan of today." The symbolic power of (good)will bridged the chasm between theory and practice. Central bread factories awash in wistfulness for "the rediscovered bakery [la boulangerie retrouvée]", placed its ambitions in the same tradition of sensible marriage, evoking "a happy balance between the utilization of perfected matériel and a perpetuation of certain gestures of autrefois". The evocation of l'ancienne was more often a "coup du décor" - a decorative ploy -  than the harbinger of better bread. The original bread does not exist.... The fashion for the authentic is governed by the authentoc" - gaudy imitation. Yet our confidence in the past as a guide to primal virtues seems boundless.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Croquembouche, A Wedding Pièce Montée

Croquembouche, A Wedding Pièce Montée
Stuck together with caramel this is traditionally served at parties celebrating weddings, birthdays and baptisms in France.  
This is a montage that symbolizes alliance of a lovely couple, fertility, health and wealth :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Natural leaven Bread. Pain Au Levain

"Pain au Levain" in French. Bread made from a sourdough starter. It is a dense bread, usually round or oblong, with a very delicate tang to it. The sour tang -- or the acidity ("acidité", as the French refer to it), helps to hold moisture in the bread, which makes it stay fresh longer than breads made with yeast.

 TLB's sourdough starter culture.
Whole wheat stone milled flour that I bought from Jln Ipoh's Indian Flour Mill, Manuka Propolis Honey.

The Indian Flour Mill in Jln Ipoh.

 Milling in progress.

 Stone milled whole wheat flour.

If soda makes a quick bread, then this recipe, using a natural leaven is a very, very slow bread. The wild yeast I have cultured has multiplied slowly, together with lactic bacteria, to create a distinctive, sour taste to the crumb. The extended kneading during the initial fermentation will help to stretch the air bubbles released by the yeast, enlarging them to create a web of exaggerated holes throughout the crumb.  

Some health benefits you can read up about Sourdough Bread:


Why are sourdoughs better for you?

Sourdough or wild yeast bread is leavened by natural fermentation. This requires the presence of natural yeasts from the air or the grain, combined with enzyme enhancing bacteria. These cultures grow slowly given the right temperature, digesting the starches and changing the pH, allowing the wild yeasts to feed and the dough to rise.

Sourdough baking is a long process, due to the absence (or very minimum) of added yeast. From start to finish, the baking process takes up to 36 hours, compared to the 90 minutes of commercial yeasted bread. During this time, wild yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria (the same found in yoghurt) get to work, fermenting the dough slowly but surely, pre-digesting the flour so that the bread becomes far more digestible. And in the process, the nutritional properties of the bread change dramatically.

For a start, the glycaemic index of sourdough bread is 68 compared to 100 for non-sourdough bread. This means that sourdough will help you hold your blood glucose in check, according to research at Lund University in Sweden. The lacto-fermentation process actually uses carbohydrates in the food, converts it to lactic acid, and lowers the carbohydrate content.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fraisier with Strawberry Chutney

Fraisier au Strawberry Chutney
Mounted like a Fraisier with biscuit joconde instead of a regular genoise, Strawberry chutney is reduced with Vinaigre de Xeres and Sucre Roux. Intercoller with fresh cut strawberries resting on a leger mousseline.

Saturday, August 27, 2011



bukan...bukan ...nope..nope! this is not a Tiramisu. Is another composition my apprentices and I put together! We made a pistachio paste for a Joconde au Pistache, cooked an appareil to infuse with coffee to make a Crème Bavarois. Interpose with sauce chocolat. Lastly, we roasted some walnut and spin it with cacao en poudre and sucre glace for the sommet.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ciabatta, Focaccia

(Please bare with the long long description I found from WiKi...which I find very concise)

Ciabatta bread is an Italian bread which is also popular in other parts of the world, thanks to its versatility and distinct flavor. Around Italy, numerous regions lay claim to the invention of the bread, and slightly different versions of it are baked in different areas. Many bakeries both inside and outside of Italy carry a version of the bread, since it is highly popular. It is also possible to make ciabatta bread at home, although it can be difficult to wade through warring recipes, and only experienced bakers should attempt it, with the aid of a good bread book.
There are a number of different ways to make ciabatta bread. The most simple uses a basic yeast and white flour recipe, although it tends to be lacking in complexity. Most bakers use a biga or sourdough starter to make a bread with an open crumb and slightly soured flavor. For cooks who are not familiar with making rustic or artisan breads, attempting ciabatta bread can be very frustrating, and it may take multiple tries. It is generally considered to be a poor choice of bread for beginners. When made well, ciabatta bread has a moist crumb and a crackly, crisp crust.
In Italian, ciabatta means “slipper,” leading some people to call the bread “slipper bread.” The name is a reference to the shape, which does sort of resemble a slipper. Ciabatta bread tends to be short, wide, and long, which makes it ideally suited to sandwiches. It is also offered with olive oils and other dips, since the crumb absorbs dips and liquids very well, and it may be toasted when served for this purpose. Dried ciabatta bread can also be turned into excellent croutons.
Some bakers add herbs, oil, or olives to their ciabatta bread before baking it, turning out a bread which slightly resembles focaccia, although it has a less dense crumb. Others may make it with milk, producing ciabatta al latte, and a whole wheat version is also available. Panini, the classic grilled Italian sandwiches on hearty breads, are often made with ciabatta bread.
Like many artisan breads, ciabatta bread tastes best when it is fresh. People should try and purchase it freshly baked on the day they intend to use it, although wrapping it in plastic can help it to last longer. However, plastic wrapping will tend to make the bread slightly soggy, which can be an undesirable or unacceptable trade-off. To refresh ciabatta bread which is slightly stale or soggy, it can be sprinkled with water and toasted in an oven immediately before serving. Otherwise, stale ciabbata bread can be allowed to go truly stale and turned into croutons.


Traditional Baguette

A baguette is a classically long, thin loaf of bread which is intimately associated with France and particularly Paris. The bread has been made in France since the 1800s, although it started to become truly popular in the early 1900s. Outside of France, baguettes are often found at bakeries and grocers since they make excellent sandwich and picnic loaves. Like other French breads, they are best when fresh, and will stale rapidly.
The word “baguette” is derived from the Latin baculum, for “rod” or “stick.” It is a diminutive, meaning “little rod,” just as other words in French which end in -ette are classified as diminutives. A traditional baguette does strongly resemble a rod, since it is long and classically narrow. Wider loaves are called flutes in French, and they are also very popular. Since baguettes cook quickly, they are often the first offering of the morning at French bakeries.
A true baguette contains only flour, water, salt, and yeast, by French law. Breads with other ingredients cannot carry the baguette name in France, and many bakers take their baguette making very seriously. Paris actually sponsors an annual competition for the best baguette made in city limits. Other artisan breads are also featured in this competition, although the winner of the baguette division is usually a topic of intense interest.
Several things set baguettes aside from other loaves of bread. The first is their dense, crusty exterior, which is typically slashed multiple times before baking to make a puffy, crusty top. The crust also tends to be slightly chewy and elastic. The crumb of the bread is white, with large irregular holes, and it is also rather chewy. This chewy texture is often accomplished with a starter, which will develop a more complex flavor in the finished bread.
Outside France, a baguette may be sold as a French stick or French loaf. The breads are ideally suited for taking on picnics, especially the shorter and more compact versions. Spreads such as cheese and pâté can be applied to baguettes, or they can be used as sandwich breads. A good crusty baguette can also be served with soup, salad, and other meals. If you must store a baguette for more than a day, wrap it in paper and then in plastic. This will allow the bread to breathe without drying out, although the texture and flavor will suffer slightly.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Casual French Speaking

Casual French Speaking

I realized many people want to improve, practice and refresh their conversational french. Therefore I decided to reach out to all levels of French (,want-to-be-French and native) speakers to my bakery cafe whereby I will serve and speak to you in french.

Check-in to this informal visit at my boulangerie/salon de thé to get back in the swing of the French language where no-stress conversations will take place.

Come alone or come with friends and meet others to practice. (take-away or sur place ;-)

Every Sunday @ Tommy le Baker, Kuala Lumpur

Chapelure Blanc and Noire

Chapelure Blanc
These are not cup CAKED!!! They are Chapelures :-)
Another innovated recipe with unsold bread! I reduce all my unsold breads to crumbs et voila : Chapelure Noire and Chapelure Blanc is invented ;-) A balanced recipe with dark Belgium couverture chocolate to make Chapelure Noire and white couverture to make Chapelure Blanc. 
Chapelure (fr) = Bread crumbs

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Millefeuille Caramelised Au Chocolat

Millefeuille Caramelise au Chocolat
Millefeuille = A thousand layers. A thousand layers of what? Of pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) alternance of butter and dough. A very straight forward and old traditional recipe. Between the feuilletage is rich confectioner's custard with melted dark Belgium couverture. To cut wastages, my Millefeuilles are feuillé vertically instead of horizontally :-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Regional recipe : tarte Normande au pomme

Tarte Normande
Is a region in France where I spent many years soaked in her best kept secrets of cream and apples, Calvados, Normandy. Where the local would say : "C'est une région où il pleut comme des vaches qui font pipi!" LOL 
Calvados is also the name for apple brandy. Where also I have drank many farm-distilled Calvados (in secret ;-)...Is illegal to distille private mabuk minumun...hehe :-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vitrine Showcase

Succès au chocolat

Succès au chocolat

Same kind of recipes as the so-very-the-famous Macaroons, Le Succes, is so versatile that it also carries many names like : almond fingers, Biscuit Champagne... The preparation is obtained by mixing beaten egg whites until stiff with almonds and sugar.  Excellent when sponged with espresso and introduced with sublime mascapone preparation...YESSS is the so sinful Tiramisu lah! :-P
L'appareil a succes est une preparation obtenue en melangeant a des blancs d'oeufs battus en neige ferme des amandes en poudre et du sucre.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Terrine de fromage de chèvre (Goat Cheese Terrine)

Goat Cheese Terrine /de fromage de chèvre
Goat cheese are very VERY smelly for anyone who cannot bare. Even more smelly when is very Old! The only way I would deal with it is to dilute the goodness in a flan preparation and baked it in a cake case which is also called the Terrine (earth ware) ...(mine is metal, no money buy ori! ;-PP)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gratin de pommes de terre à la crème

St Honoré

This Classic French dessert is a circle of puff pastry at its base with a ring of pate a choux piped on the outer edge. After the base is baked small cream puffs are dipped in caramelized sugar and attached side by side on top of the circle of the pate a choux. This base is traditionally filled with creme chiboust and finished with whipped cream using a special St' Honore piping nozzle.

RM 108.00

Monday, June 13, 2011

Millefeuille St'Honoré

2 traditional classic french dessert in one! 
This mille-feuille is made up of two layers of puff pastry (pate feuilletée), filled with a layer of dark chocolate creme diplomate. 
The top is crowned a St' Honore. Baked small cream puffs dipped in caramelized sugar are attached side by side. En-tour filled with creme chiboust and finished with 
creme chantilly. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to select, store and refresh preservative free breads

What’s the best way to keep preservative-free bread?

·      The freezer is the ideal place to store preservative-free bread when mold growth is a concern. 
·      Wrapped bread will keep for up to three months in the freezer.
·      Try to remove as much air as possible from the freezer-proofed bag.  
·      Pre-slice your loaf for easy portions. 

Once you bring your fresh loaf of Tommy’s bread home, you can use storage techniques to help it last longer. Keep the bread in a bread box and store in a cool place (in Malaysia, would be an air-con room J); alternatively, freezer bag and store it in your freezer (the refrigerator will dry it out). 

How To Refresh Your Bread


·      Defrosting a slice or a loaf at room temperature
can take a few hours; this can be speeded
up by placing it in a pre-heated oven or
toaster for a few minutes.

·      To ensure that crumb stays soft. Insert two
slices back to back in the toaster.

·      Once toasted, you can keep the slices warm by putting them in a cotton or linen cloth.

·      When crusty bread has lost its crispness it can be placed uncovered in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

Tommy le Baker in the press