Wednesday, 14 May 2008


I made mantou. O_O OMG it turned out quite nicely!! Only thing is that it's too yeasty, so it tastes kinda off. Also, I made aLOT of it, because I'd absentmindedly done everything according to the recipe rather than halving it all. *screams in frustration* Thanks to THAT, I ended up making 22 buns. It doesn't really sound like much, coming from someone who bakes 100 cookies in a go, but when you actually put them on a plate, they look overwhelming.

At least they keep well for a day or two, so maybe I'll have them for breakfast tomorrow. I'll try to convince James to eat some lol. But I kinda don't want anyone else to eat them because of its yeasty taste.. Ugh. It isn't really all that bad once you get used to them, but... Come on, YEAST! It's disgusting! The smell's disgusting! Too bad we have to use it to get beautiful breads. And I'll admit that they made my mantou turn out really good. They're so soft and fluffy.... Not the pure white you see in shops, but I don't want to know what the heck they do to the mantou in restaurants to make it that white!

I took a picture of the dough with my phone. That was when it was rising. The bowl I used for the rising was too small, so it ended up puffing waaay over the top! And it was soooo cuuute XD *hearts* I did forget to oil the bowl and the dough, unfortunately, so the dough stuck to the bowl and developed a crust. I don't think it made all that much of a difference, but oh well.

The recipe I used was from this site and is as follows:

1 tbsp yeast (I think this ought to be reduced a little)
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups plain flour (I used bread flour just 'cos I had it)
tiny bit of oil, preferably vegetable

1) In a small bowl, pour in 4 tbsp of the warm water, then sprinkle with the sugar and yeast and leave for 15 minutes. Actually, just follow the instructions on the yeast packaging. Mine said to whisk thoroughly before leaving it and while adding it to the flour, so I did.
2) Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water.
3) Mix into a dough, then turn it onto a floured board and knead till smooth. Because my bowl was too small (not intentional), I just mixed it till it was more solid, then dumped the sticky dough and the unmixed flour onto the board and kneaded in the flour that way. It was tiring, but fun :D Oh, to tell if the dough has been kneaded enough, press it with a finger. If it springs back, it's done. I'm usually good at kneading dough (always manage to knead it till it is right before I test it) so I don't know what it looks like if it hasn't been kneaded enough. Besides, more is better :P
4) Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, then brush the top with oil. Cover, then leave it to stand in a warm place for an hour or until size of dough is doubled.
5) Punch the dough down, cover it again, and let stand for 20 more minutes.
6) Knead the dough on a surface once more (I floured the surface, but it didn't seem to need it), then shape into buns. I divided them equally into two balls, then rolled them into a large sausage and used a large knife to cut them into pieces evenly. I hadn't intended to, but I ended up rolling all of them to look like char siew pau. No need for it, really. Also, at this point, if you don't want so many buns, you can continue from here to make bread. I nearly baked the last batch of dough, but decided I wasn't confident enough to bake bread yet.
7) Place them 1 inch apart on the steamer and cook for 10 minutes. If you're using an electric steamer, oil the base of the steamer compartment slightly or the bottom of the mantou will stick. If using a bamboo steamer... I'm not sure, but some recipes I've seen call for a cheesecloth to be put on the base before you put the dough on the steamer. *shrugs* Really not sure about that one.

The recipe said it will yield 32 buns, but I made big buns, so I got 22 instead. Also, 10 minutes may sound like it's a little too short, but trust me, it's absolutely perfect and makes the fluffiest buns ever.

Oh, this reminds me! I found this website that has the best basic white bread recipe ever! And it's the best simply because it has details on what to do, when, for how long and the most important of all: why. It's seriously helped me understand alot about why we leave the bread to rise and how it can go wrong!

I cooked a minced beef, chilli and french bean dish to go with the mantou for my dinner. Unfortunately, because I only started making the mantou at about 8pm, I'm only eating my dinner now, which is about 12.30am o_O Then again, this might be considered supper, especially since I haven't been hungry the whole day apart from this afternoon, just before I went to the post office to collect my parcel. I sated that with a bottle of juice. Not sure what kind of juice, but the label said "Multivitamin" *shrugs* Whatever it was, it staved off my hunger till now lol.

I noticed I've been getting hungry less and less. As a result, I've been eating less and less. Not sure if I have some sort of problem, but *shrugs* oh well. When I do eat, I try to get in as much fiber (fibre?) as I can, as well as protein, but I don't know if it's the correct thing to do. I've tried eating at least 2 meals a day (lunch and dinner) as well as a snack time, just like I used to in secondary school, but so far, all I'm managing to eat is dinner and a biscuit. Sometimes a piece of fruit as a snack. The only time I ever eat two proper meals a day is when I go out with Mel for both lunch and dinner! And that doesn't happen very often either.

I need to fix myself and get healthier before I go home and before Pa notices. Otherwise, I'll get nagged at alot and Pa and Ma will worry alot = not good for their health or my sanity. *sighs* I kinda miss home now. I really really really want to drink Chinese tea with my dad :( You know, the bitter tea that's really dark brown and brewed in a tea set, drunk like shots in small sake-cup-like cups?

Mel told me it's a very Hakka thing to do, and yeah I suppose it is (after all, we are Hakka) but it just reminds me of my dad and when the family used to sit and drink tea while watching TV ehehehehe. I remember I used to hate the bitter tea, but just kept on drinking and drinking and drinking it till I got addicted to it. Hehehehe...

*sigh* I want to drink Pa's tea and eat mooncakes... ;_;


Petrina said...

Okay you can come home and make mantou for me for breakfast each morning. Bread is good too. I've bought good, expensive organic break flour and yeast already..

I'll drink the tea on your behalf tonight... :P

Petrina said...

Ya and you better start eating properly...