August 15, 2009

Making Steamed Buns With the Pro

HONG KONG - This country may be the best place to eat dim sum, so I made a personal request to include steamed buns on my training in the Lesaffre baking center, Hong Kong. For people who enjoy eating 'man tao' or steamed buns, this one's for you.

Fa Juan

Fa Juan is a traditional Hong Kong steamed bun. Spring onions are placed inside the bun to infuse an aroma within the bread. Sometimes, chopped ham is also added to add a salty twist.

The sliced ham and spring onions are generously sprinkled on the sheeted dough

The dough is then folded and cut

There are two ways to shape the Fa Juan, first one is called the "Saddle Roll". The shape is made by simply applying pressure using a chopstick in the middle of the cut Fa Juan dough and putting both ends together.

Saddle Roll (after proofing)

After Steaming

The second shape I learned is called the "Orchid Roll". This shape requires stretching and twisting the dough to form a flower-like figure.

Orchid Roll

Another way to present the Fa Juan - In a small Hong Kong bakery which specializes in steamed buns, I saw a different way of presenting the Fa Juan, fried!

This Fa Juan is shaped round and flat like a pizza. The shop has a special equipment just for frying it.

It is fried only skin deep, which gives the bread a good crunch on the outside. Fried Fa Juan sells very cheap. Sometimes, it can even go as low as one Hong Kong dollar a piece.

Clam Shape Pastry

The clam shape pastry has no filling whatsoever, it is usually made as a garnish.

Mr. Dick Cheung shows how to make the clam shape pastry.

Porcupine Bun

My favorite! Not only does the porcupine bun have a unique appearance, its coconut custard filling gave it a delightful added taste.

Step one in making the porcupine bun, putting the filling and sealing

Step two, designing the bun

Porcupine Bun

Filipinos are used to having BBQ Pork or Bola-bola inside their siopao, I say we open our minds and mouths to the sweet crunchy filling of these types of steamed buns!

August 14, 2009

10 Breads from Hong Kong

HONG KONG - If you have visited this amazing country, then you will know that this is a place of great sights, heavy shopping, and of course, good food! Lesaffre, the head company of our product, Saf Instant Yeast, gave me the opportunity to have an intensive three day training on their breads with one of Hong Kong's premiere restaurant chefs, Mr. Dick Cheung, who is now associated with the company.

The following are ten sweet breads, all made from one dough. They are commonly found in regular bakeshops around the country. Notice how presentation plays a big part in their finished products.

#1: Tuna Bun

Before baking

#2: Raisin Twist

The Raisin Twist is quite challenging to make, you first have to roll the dough to form a letter 'C' shape and roll the two ends together. Warning, results may vary from the picture. :)

Raisin Twist

#3: Pineapple Bun

Nope, there is no pineapple in the recipe. The pineapple bun is called as such because its topping makes it look like one. It usually comes with different kinds of filling inside.

Pineapple Bun after proofing

The topping of the bun reacts to the heat of the oven right away

After Baking

#4: Cinnamon Walnut Roll

Applying Cinnamon Sugar and chopped walnuts

Before Proofing

After baking

#5: Ham and Cheese Bun

The Ham and Cheese Bun is very simple to make, yet looks very presentable.

Don't worry, there's still some cheese left inside the bun.

#6: Butter Sesame Roll

The Butter Sesame Roll is very inexpensive to make. Simply brushing the dough with butter and sprinkling with salt before rolling it helps keep the bread's moistness.

#7: Meat Floss Bun

In this recipe, we changed the typical presentation of the floss bun by putting it inside the dough.

Adding mayonnaise and sprinkling parsley over the proofed dough gives this bread a better presentation and added flavor after baking.

Meat Floss Bun

#8: Chocolate Custard Bear Claw

Traditional bear claws use danish pastry for its dough, giving it a rough texture. Since we are using a sweet dough for this recipe, then maybe the name Lady Bear's Claw would be more appropriate with its feminine look.

#9: Coconut Red Bean Bun

Hong Kong in a bun! The filling is made up of desiccated coconut made into a custard and red bean. Both ingredients (coconut and red bean) are widely used in many Cantonese desserts .

Cutting a design on top of the bun

Mexico paste and butter crumble is added as topping

#10: Salad Cheese Stick

My favorite! A ton of mozzarella cheese and mayo on this dough makes a melt-in-your-mouth bread.

My thanks to the members of Joesonway Company Limited and Lesaffre Far East for their warm welcome and wonderful hospitality during my training in their baking center!

August 8, 2009

Bake Like A Pro With Chef Reggie (Part Two)

This week is muffin and pies week. Another feast for me and my sweet tooth...

Strawberry Scones

The strawberry scones will go perfect with any tea. Best enjoyed right out of the oven!

Portuguese Tarts

These tarts are presented the Macao way, which is slightly burnt on top. The Hong Kong way to present it is to underbake the pie, leaving only a bright yellow color on top.

Mud Pie

Presenting the mud pie in a more exciting way, through our Flexipan (Madeleine) molds! It has a rich chocolate flavor and a very dense texture. Served a la mode.

Apple Pie

I took home a slice of this apple pie for me to enjoy while writing this column. Unfortunately, I couldn't do both at the same time. The pie won the battle. It may look simple, but the inside is made up of mostly fresh apples, unlike the commercial ones which uses gelatin to add volume. The full flavor of the apples really stood out. The streusel topping not only gave it added sweetness, but also a good crunch, leaving you wanting more bite after bite.

Corn Muffins (Before Baking)

Corn Muffins

This week, the corn muffins topped with the butter-squash frosting really stood out.

Butter-Squash Frosting

For me, one of the most interesting creations of chef Reggie on day two is this butter-squash frosting. At first, I was curious how squash can be a good frosting for muffins, but by the end of the day, its unique taste paired with the corn muffins completely stood out from the rest. My favorite dish for the class.

Bake Like A Pro with Chef Reggie (Part One)

Chef Reggie Aspiras, a well known food writer, chef and consultant, gave me the opportunity to promote our products on her new baking class entitled Bake Like A Pro. It is a five day (Saturdays) series where she will work hand in hand with a coffee and tea expert company to guide the students to put up their own coffee shop, now isn't that neat?

She is also generous enough to share her best -and i mean BEST!- baked product recipes. Not only that, she also makes things look really simple, and that anyone can do it at home (like using only an electric hand mixer for everything).

Day one of class and cookies and cakes were the on the menu, good thing I came with an empty stomach...

Diego's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Diego, the son of chef Reggie only eats cookies from Mrs. Fields, until she made a batch of these chocolate chip cookies.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Bread

The banana bread was excellent. Its appearance was flawless as you can clearly see its details, thank you Flexipan! It also has a very light and airy texture which helps release the full flavor of the bread. My favorite recipe in this class.

August 6, 2009

Two Master Chefs Grace the Sonlie Building

On June 2, 2009, two talented chefs visited our humble home here in Pasay. They exhibited their talent using the products of Demarle, a company that manufactures non-stick baking mats (Silpat, Flexipan etc.) to hotel chefs, restaurant owners, caterers and the like. Both came all the way from France, where they are well-known people in their industry. Today, they are freelance consultants offering their services for people who wants to put up restaurants and bakeshops (for a very high price). Fortunately, i got the opportunity to work with both of them when preparing for the event.

First is Chef Pascal Tepper, he is a man with a few words, or at least that's what I think because he could hardly speak English. He was awarded as a Master of France or MOF in the Field of baking. It is an award given to a few chosen people once in every three years. His forte is on baking breads, sandwiches but his cakes are also worth a second look.

Chef Pascal Tepper

Working with Chef Pascal is like being in the iron chef stadium! You need to put your guard up all the time. Chopping, slicing, baking, everything must be done lightning quick. And watch out for kitchen knives flying straight at you! But at the end of the day, you will be surprised how many recipes he has accomplished. Truly, a talented man.

Some of Chef Pascal's Products:

Shortbread Pastry with Custard Topping

Herb and Salmon Quiche

Smoked Ham (top) and Salmon (bottom) Sandwiches

The Buffet Table

Before I met Chef Michael Rispe, I read in his biography that he used to be the executive pastry chef of Gordon Ramsay in all six of his Michelin-star restaurants. If you watched the series Hell's Kitchen or The F Word, you should know what kind of stress he must have gone through under Chef Ramsay. But when I met him, he seems like a cool, laid back person who gets along with people very well. To top it off, his skills in making pastries and cakes is breathtaking.

Chef Michael Rispe

Working with Chef Michael is just like hanging out with friends. He likes to talk, share stories, and of course, joke around. But the cool thing about him is that he remains calm, focused and humorous even in tough situations. And by the way, his hand-skills in making and decorating the desserts amazed the participants.

Some of Chef Michael's Desserts:

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Mango Puree Filling

Spring Delight

Coffee-Dark Chocolate Tartlet

This dessert is composed of three layers. The chocolate ganache (frozen) sits on top of a rich coffee cream sauce placed in a tart shell.

Barquette (Vanilla Bean Mousse on Tart Shells)

Passion & Dark Chocolate

Layers of decadent dark chocolate mousse, jaconde sponge and passion fruit puree make one mouth-watering dessert.

Chef Michael, Me and Chef Pascal