Saturday, January 30, 2010

#216_Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat

I'm not usually a big fan of wheat bread,
but this
has become my favorite bread as well as my husband's.
We enjoy it specially when it is fresh and warm.
Although this recipe requires 3 risings, and takes 4 hours to make,
it is still considered easy to make because
the rising time is all wait
ing time.
The ingredients are simple, but they are healt
hy ingredients....
honey and whole wheat flour, what a fantastic combination!

Here's the recipe:
(a) Sponge:
1 cup warm water
3 tsp quick-rising yeast

1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 cups bread flour
1) Dissolve yeast in warm water in a bowl. You can use a wire whisk to do this.
2) Mix in the honey and canola oil, then gradually stir in the flour using a wooden spoon. Mix well.
3) Cover with a plastic wrap and let it proof or ferment for about 20 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
This is the
sponge, a very wet and sticky dough, which will be mixed in with the rest of the main dough ingredients in the bread machine pan or bucket.

(b) The main dough:
In the bread machine pan or bucket, pour in:
1-1/2 cups warm water,
then add:
the sponge
1 cup bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten (edited 3-3-10)
1 tsp. dough enhancer
Turn bread machine on to dough cycle and let the machine do the mixing and kneading. This takes exactly 30 minutes with my bread machine.
(bread machines vary so, it is a good idea to get to know your bread machine first)

When the dough cycle is finished, turn the machine off, but leave dough in the pan to rise, with lid closed.

When the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air, then take the dough out of the pan onto a floured or oiled surface. Divide dough into 4 pieces, shape each piece into loaf, and place them in 4 greased 4"x 8" loaf pans.(or you can use 3 bigger loaf pans)
(here's a link on how to fold and roll the dough for bread:)

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Brush top of dough with egg wash then bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 40-45 minutes.

Let bread cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes before slicing.
(I made 2 batches, 4 loaves from each batch. As you can see one was already gone as soon as they were out of the oven. This is the beauty of making your own bread at home, you can be the first one to eat and enjoy them while they are fresh out of the oven.)

Enjoy with butter and jam or with more honey!

A note from MaMely:
The dough can be made the night before then baked in the morning.
Or prep the dough in the morning and have some freshly baked bread for dinner. Allow about 1 hour for the first rising, and another 1 hour for the second rising. Rising time depends on the temperature of your kitchen.

To do this, I use regular active dry yeast instead of instant or quick-rising. Follow the steps up to the point where you have the dough in loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap, then put them in the fridge. In the morning (after 8 hours) take them out and set them on the counter for about an hour before baking them.


You can also use this recipe to make wheat rolls (picture on the left below)
or wheat Pan de Sal at right

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


For the love of Bibingka....

In the Philippines this type of bibingka (rice cake) is made and sold along the road sides specially at night. It is baked in makeshift ovens with embers from dried coconut shells with husks still intack. The embers are placed on top and at the bottom of a clay pan with the bibingka batter in it.

Just visualize a clay pan containing bibingka batter sandwiched between 2 burners! That's best way I can describe this method of baking the bibingka to somebody who hasn't been to the country and haven't seen it done.

I really wanted to make my bibingka that way, but I know it is impossible unless maybe I'd do it in a camp ground and would use charcoals.

What I'm going to post here is not a recipe but rather the method by which I baked the bibingka. Out of desperation, I came up with the following idea, and of course done indoor.

In an attempt to make an authentic bibingka just like the way they make it over there, I turned to this portable 5th burner ( electric burner) to use as the top embers. Am I being creative or insane?

First of all, I bought some terra cotta planter saucers, lined them with banana leaves, then ladled some bibingka batter into them. Talk about authenticity!

I placed the clay pan right on top of the stove (that's supposed to be red, not purple, bytheway). I then placed a tin pan over the clay pan containing bibingka batter....

.... then placed the "5th burner" upside down onto the tin pan, so the burner was sitting right on the tin pan.

Ten minutes later.....

Voila!! bibingka!!!

Although the bibingka might look good and authentic enough, unfortunately, I wasn't satisfied with the texture. I'm not too sure if this was due to the method I used or the recipe, whatever the case was, I will be doing some more experiments on this matter.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

#214_Masikoy: A Variant of Palitaw

(pronounced: mah-si-coi, rhymes with McCoy)

Like a plant that is indigenous to a certain region,
Masikoy is a kakanin that is a nativ
e to Pangasinan.
It is a variant of palitaw made with sesame sauce.

Masikoy is one of my favorite merienda items when I was growing up. The reason why it had become my favorite is perhaps I had aunts who made it every day to sell during merienda time and I had the privilege most of the time of being the first to buy a bowl of it from them before taking the freshly cooked masikoy to their stall. (buena mano daw!)
The only regret I have is that I didn't learn how to make it from them. Luckily, a few years ago a friend of mine was so nice to give me a recipe.

To make the masikoy easier and faster, we need to prep the sesame seeds first, even days ahead as this is the time-consuming part of the process.

Raw sesame seeds don't have much flavor until they are roasted.
Roasting the seeds is what releases their natural oil
resulting to their amazing aroma and nutty flavor.

There are 2 ways to roast the seeds:

1) Oven method:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the seeds in a baking sheet and roast them for 5- 10 minutes.
2) Stove top Method:
Pour the seeds in a dry (no oil) heavy gauge pan (I use a regular Philippine kawali) and roast them over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the seeds turn brown or amber in color.(edited) This process takes me about 30 minutes of non-stop stirring.

The key to a good and flavorful Masikoy is in the roasted sesame seeds. If the seeds are not roasted right, the sauce will not turn out right. Make sure not to over roast the seeds, otherwise they will taste bitter. I'll say practice makes a perfectly roasted sesame seeds.

grind roasted sesame seeds in a coffee grinder
(sorry, this color is a lot darker in this picture than the actual color,
this may be due to poor lighting in my kitchen)

Unlike my aunts who used mortar and pestle to pulverized the roasted sesame seeds, I am grateful that I have a mini coffee grinder that I use only for grinding spices, otherwise it will take me all day to prepare this food.

Grind the seeds ahead of time
then put it in a jar with tight-fitting lid so you can have them ready to make the Masikoy.
The only down side of using this electric grinder is that it pulverizes only about 60 % of the seeds, unless maybe you process it over again.

Making the rice dough is exactly the same way as the Palitaw
except they are shaped into disks instead of oval.

Disks of rice doughs floating

Follow the steps of making the rice doughs (see previous post, recipe #213, click here.) up to the stage when the doughs start to float, leave the doughs in the pot, then gradually pour in the sesame sauce mix (below). Stir to blend all the ingredients. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes longer. That's it! Really easy!

Sesame Sauce Mix
In a bowl, mix together:
3/4 cup white sugar, (or more if desired)
1/3 cup ground sesame seeds
1/4 cup rice flour

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#213_Palitaw or Unday-Unday

Palitaw 1
Rolled in fresh grated coconut
then topped with Macapuno Balls

Palitaw 2
 Dredged in freshly grated coconut, then sprinkled with
toasted, ground sesame seeds with sugar.

Palitaw is a very popular snack item in the Philippines and I bet that most Filipinos know how to make it or have eaten at least a variety of it.

There are several variants of this type of kakanin, one of which is the Bilo-bilo, (glutinous rice balls) click here. Another one I know is the Pangasinan's Masikoy of which I'll be posting next. Actually this Palitaw post is a prelude to the masikoy recipe post, click here.

These three snack items,
palitaw, bilo-bilo and masikoy, are basically made with glutinous rice flour and water and are made the same way by dropping them in boiling water.

When first dropped into the boiling water, the shaped rice doughs will sink all the way to the bottom of the pot, but it won't take very long before they come up floating to the surface, thus the root word
litaw, a Tagalog word meaning to emerge or to surface, where Palitaw got its name. "Lulobog, lilitaw".....what goes down must come up!"

In the province of Pangasinan, where I am from we call this Unday-Unday. Unfortunately, I don't know what that means.

Palitaw is very easy and super simple to make with only 2 ingredients:
2 cups of glutinous rice flour
3/4 to 1 cup water

Mix well to form a soft dough, gradually adding some more water if the dough is too dry and hard. Pinch off little pieces at a time and roll into about 1 inch balls between the palms of your hands, flatten into oval shapes, then toss them in rice flour to prevent the formed doughs from sticking to each other.

In a pot bring about 8 cups of water to rolling boil then drop these rice doughs into the rapidly boiling water. When they start to float, they are cooked, but I like to simmer them uncovered for about 3-5 minutes longer, then take them out with a slotted spoon onto a platter. At this point, it is not a good idea to eat them because they are bland and it would be like eating spaghetti without the sauce or like eating rice without ulam or viand.
For toppings:
In order to put some good flavors into these rice doughs, you need to dredge them in freshly grated coconut after taking them out of the pot, then top them with anything you like such as macapuno strings; toasted, ground sesame seeds with white sugar; toasted black sesame seeds with white sugar or just plain sugar and grated coconut.
My father liked soft bucayo on top of his palitaw. This soft bucayo were made with young coconuts and white sugar and were sold every morning at the market.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

#212_Cheese Balls

One of the appetizers that I served both on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve was Cheese Balls.

On Christmas Day I served the ones from Hickory Farms (store-bought kind) which was a bit disappointing because they were hard as a rock even after microwaving them.

So for New year's Eve, I decided to make some from scratch.... custom made. One good thing about making them yourself is that you can put anything you like and anything you want to with the cream cheese.

I made 2 kinds of cheese balls from the same mixture. On one of the cheese balls I added some Sambal Oelek (chili paste) for the ones who like their food spicy.

Here's the recipe:

2 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature-soft
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 oz of Ranch Style Dressing mix (powder)
1/3 cup finely chopped cooked bacon
about 2 drops of worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tsp. chili paste, optional
2 cups chopped pecans or almonds

1) Toast nuts in 350 degrees oven for about 5 minutes. Let cool then chop. Set aside.

2) Stir the cream cheese first with a sturdy wooden spoon or electric hand mixer until smooth then add the rest of the ingredients except the nuts. Mix until well blended together.
Form into 2 balls, then roll each ball into the chopped pecans. Wrap in plastic wrap then
refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Take out of fridge 1/2 hour before serving.

Serve with your favorite crackers.