Breads, breads and more breads

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard

Truth to be told, I have failed countless time in bread making BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP! Sometimes the result is good, sometimes using the same recipe it will be really really bad. When I say bad, it means really bad. Hard and taste weird. Is it too much to ask for a bread recipe that can yield soft-textured bread that can last 2 days, max?!?
I've tried tangzhong method - the dough turn out to be too sticky to be handled by hand so only loaf bread can be produced. Recently I am using a new bread recipe that uses bread flour with some cake flour. Surprisingly, the result was good. However, there could be problem with proofing because the bread turns out soft but taste weird. I could still taste yeast in them. Is it normal?
2 days ago, I tried a recipe from Carol's Book 1. Pretty similar to what I have been using but as usual with me, I added 30g of wholemeal flour that could be one of the factor my bread was super hard! Another factor was that the bread was done baking at 12am and I was very tired that night. I decided not to wait for them to cool down so I popped them right back to the oven, which is still hot and not cooled down yet. You've guessed it right..the bread came out hard as rock next morning! Regretted big time..give myself a kick at the back. Psshh..
Nevertheless, I will be trying again tonight. Am determine to succeed shaping buns.

Psst.. I have also recently read up on making sourdough bread. The need to cultivate my own started prompted me to start one last night. I can't wait to go back tonight to see if it is alive!

Deeply Dark Devil's Food Cake

I bought this book off Amazon some time ago and been flipping the pages on a daily basis, making mental bookmark on what I wanted to bake from this book. I have heard rave reviews on all Tish's cake and saw a few recipes that call for sour creams! That will be later.

Decided to go with a simple and quick chocolate cake so I chose Deeply Dark Devil's Food Cake as my maiden cake from Tish Boyle's The Cake Book! No regrets..the cake was extremely soft due to the amount of liquid used.

However, I made a boo boo when I converted the temperature wrongly and before I realise it, the cake 'exploded' on top. My heart sank and broke. I used my bought-long-time-never-used heart shaped pan for this cake. Ahh.. I shall attempt this cake again next time.

Note that the recipe below is for half portion as  the full recipe will yield a pretty tall cake - family of 2 adults and 2 kids cannot finish such big cake. =)

Deeply Dark Devil's Food Cake by Tish Boyle
(half recipe)

- 106g all-purpose flour*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp of salt
- 78g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 150g sugar (I reduced it to 120g)
- 31g cocoa powder (I used Valrhona cocoa powder)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 160ml warm water

* I do not have all-purpose flour, so I substituted it with self-raising flour and I omitted baking powder and salt.

- Grease the bottom and side of your cake pan generously and dust with flour.
- Preheat oven to 325F or 160C.
- Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda together and whisk till well blended. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture is pale and we; blended, about 3 minutes.
- Add cocoa powder and beat at medium speed for 1 minute. using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Beat in the egg followed by vanilla extract.
- Turn your mixer to low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with warm water in two additions. That is flour, water, flour, water and flour.
- Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix at low speed for 30 seconds.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Remove the side of the pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Let it cool completely.

Bon appetit!