Hey, there is a hippo in my soup! Pumpkin Challah…

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 4th Nov 2015




Suffering from tremendous jetlag after 2 over weeks of travel to the other part of the world. I crawled out of the bed rather awake in the wee hours of the morning and sat in front of my mac. My thoughts gravitated towards the city which I have visited and left. New York is such an enchanting and charming city. My time there coincides with the celebration of Halloween. There are pumpkin everywhere. You can see and taste pumpkin everywhere you go.

I watched the market for a while and research on pumpkin bread dough. I walked around this little small space of mine and get ready for the bake project which I have decided on. Pumpkin Challah bread will be the basic dough that I will use for the theme bake today.

It is called hippo in the soup! I got this concept from a soup store in one of the cities in Canada I visited. Honestly I cannot remember the name of that shop but this is too cute not to attempt a replicate! I can’t cook for nuts so the recipe for the soup will not be disclosed. My helper was kind enough to cook a pot of pumpkin soup for me. So lets get cracking!





4g Instant yeast
1/2 Tsp Sugar
130g Water
22g Brown Sugar
515g All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
25g Canola oil
120g Mashed Pumpkin
2g Salt

Egg wash
1 egg white


Mix the dry ingredient together in the mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and combine them well. Then pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix well before kneading them in the mixer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can leave it to proof once it passed the window pane test.

To shape the hippo:

Weight of each component for each hippo are as follow:

Body – 45g
Head – 14g
Nose – 6g
4 Sesame Seeds
Pinch of dough for the ears and legs – accordingly to the proportion of the hippo

Shape the body first into rough log shape


Roll out the head and the nose and flatten them


Stack the nose onto the head


Add in the eyes by positioning 2 sesame seeds onto the head


Add in 2 more sesame seeds as shown


Roll out 2 tiny doughs and position the ears


Position the head onto the main body


Round out 2 small doughs and attached them as hind legs


Weight of each component for the butt are as follow:

Main butt – 25g
Tail and legs accordingly to the proportion

Once done, let it proof for 30 minutes and give them an egg white wash before baking them in a preheated oven of 175 degree for 15 minutes.


I am at it again! This time its Beetroot Challah!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on: 17th Oct 2015



Beetroot is one of my all time favourite food. Detoxififcation is probably the main reason why I eat it regularly. Since I am on a braiding challah frenzy, I might as well incorporate this root into the bread recipe. I guess it is because I have been touching and meddling with challah, I am able to tell if the raw dough is the right texture for challah. The recipe which I first obtained seem very wrong, it took me twice to tweak it properly. So here goes:


820g All Purpose Flour
7g Instant Yeast
0g Salt
50g Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Beetroot Puree
50g Canola Oil
3 Eggs
1 York
6g Water

Mix all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Crack eggs into another bowl and mix puree into it until they are well combined. All in water and oil into the wet mixture. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix it up before kneading it using the mixer for 10 minutes. Then test to see if it pass the window pane test.

In this bake, I divided up the dough into 2 basically. I retard one portion in the fridge to bake the next day. The other half of the dough is left to proof until it is double in size.




Once that is done, divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll it out into strips. For this bake, I actually tried to copy this baker braiding method. It was tough initially but after watching it over and over again, I managed to get the rhythm. So good luck on this braiding. Otherwise, feel free to just shape into whatever shapes you like.







After braiding, I left it to proof a second time before giving it an egg white wash and sprinkled some chia seeds over it.



Bake it in a preheated oven of 180 degree for 20 minutes.


Finished product!

bake 1


slice 2

My first ever Challah Bread shaped into 2 ways!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked: 20th Sept 2015



I am surprised. Surprised that it did not occur to me that I should bake this until I saw a message from a girlfriend on what are usually eaten on Jewish holiday and Sabbath day.

This Challah is intended to be bake for Rosh Hashanah. Round Challah symbolised perfection and infinity, expressing the hope for a perfect year, free of troubles and tribulations, a year of unlimited blessings. Sometimes. this round challah is adorned with a crown made of a small plaited piece of dough. But I figured I can make it into a big crown instead. The crown commemorating the prayers of Rosh Hashanah proclaiming the our Father God over the universe! To me the crown is also the crown of thorns which Jesus wore during his torturous journey during crucifixion.

1-4 baked crown

braided top view close up sliced

I have shaped this dough into 2 different design. One as a 4 braided Challah and the other one as a crown! Whatever it is, the basic dough is key!


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Hot Water – 1 tbsp
6g Instant Yeast
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
5g Salt
56g Unsalted Butter
2 Eggs
2 Egg Yorks


Place all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Place cubed butter into a metal bowl and boil some water. Measure 1/2 Cup of this boiled water and pour it into the bowl containing the butter. Let it sit for a while. The butter will melt and stirred it to mix it well. Let it sit for a while because it will be too hot. Let it cool down for 20 minutes and add the eggs and yorks into it. Mix them well. Then pour this liquid into the dry mixture and combine it.

Knead it till it passed the window pane test and let it proof until it is doubled in size. Punch it down.

Weight of dough for the crown: 380g
Weight of dough for the braided challah: 400g

Direction for the shaping of the crown:

Basically,  it is the same concept of using a rose shaping method. Each rose will weigh 95g. Each petal will be around 19g. So you divide up each 95g into 5 pieces, round it up and flatten it. Then stack the flatten piece on top of each other. The overlapping petal will only cover half of the petal below. Then you will start to roll it up starting from the left. Once that is done, slice it by half and you can position each half onto the baking tray. Repeat and you will be able to position all halves into a circle.

Raw version:





For the braided challah, simply divide it into 2 and roll it up into long strings. I think you can find  a lot of youtube video on how to braid such a challah!

Raw version:

braided challah

side challah w seeds

This dough is very easy to handle so you can always undo the plaits if you lost track of the time!

Once done, let is proof for another 30 minutes before giving it an egg white wash. For the braided version, I sprinkled some seeds on it. Usually it is poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

side challah w seeds

Bake it in a preheated oven of 180 degree for 25 minutes. I tent it 5 minutes into the baking process to prevent excessive browning!





Low Fat Wholemeal Bread Rosettes. Tales of 2 seeds.

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 16th Aug 2015

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I have not made wholemeal bread for a while and decided that it is probably high time to do so. My bag of organic wholemeal flour has gone bad. So I dragged myself out to the supermarket and buy myself another small bag. I raided through my pantry and found 2 of my favourite seeds.  They made a good addition in today’s healthy low fat bake. I have bought both seeds from envysg.com recently and think its apt to use that today!

This bread is not the fluffy soft bread that we are used to. It is a very sturdy chewy type and it is definitely more filling! Because of the lack of fats, it is not breadtalkish soft. So do manage your own expectations if you are keen to bake this. However, it definitely has flavour. The longer you chew on it, the more fragrant and delicious it become. Hence. do not attempt this if you are looking for those breadtalk kinda of bread as you will be disappointed!


142g Bread Flour
98g Wholemeal Bread Flour
4g Instant Yeast
28g Granulated Sugar
4g Salt
10g Milk Powder
160ml Water
1 Tbsp Organic Chia Seeds
2 Tsp Black Sesame Seeds


Mix all ingredients into the mixing bowl except for the sesame seeds. Knead it for 8 to 10 minutes and do a window pane test. If you passed that, take out 100g of the dough. Mix the sesame seeds into the 100g of dough until it is well combined. Let the 2 doughs proof for 1 hr or until both are double in sizes.

Main dough

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The other dough with sesame seeds

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The results that makes me very happy. I think looking at these will made most bakers happy!

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Strand 2

Once that is done, deflate both doughs. Divide the main dough into 4 portion with each weighing 85g. Then divide up the smaller dough into 4 portion of 25g each.

I shaped these into roses. Below are the steps of how you can shape the doughs into small roses.

Round it up and flatten it

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Make 4 cuts

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Position the bud

Position the buds

The 1st Petal

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The 2nd Petal

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The 3rd Petal

3rd Petal

The final One

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Once the shaping is done, let it proof until double in size before baking it in a preheated oven of 180 degree for 17 minutes.

The raw rosettes

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The final products

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Sometimes its good to be simple. Plain old Hainanese Bread.

Freshly and Lovingly baked on : the ninth day of August in the year two thousand and fifteen


Hainan Bread 1

You must be thinking I am so weird to have wrote the date this way. However, this is what Mr Lee Kuan Yew spoke out during his proclamation 50 years ago. He is already such a “statement” back then. And he is still making wave with a nation that he has built even when he is physically not around. I always feel proud to be part of this nation. I am proud of my heritage, my language and my identity. Today, I wept as I saw the whole nation transformed and united as We continued to forge on and carry on his legacy.

It might not have been easy to start out but it requires equal mental strength and willpower to sustain. Not to mention that He has given us such a high starting point for those who has been left behind. As I watched the pride of the nation, I crave for bread (okie, I know its anticlimax and why am I thinking of food when the whole of Singapore is engrossed with the NDP). However, it is not just any bread, but good old fashion kopitiam bread. The smell of freshly toasted bread from the kopitiam, slathered with butter and a good dose of kaya and a cup of strong kopi-o (local black coffee) are such memories that I will always hold dearly to regardless of where I will be in the world. This is home truly and such food memories will always mean that it is never possible to take the Singaporean out of a citizen!

I jumped out of my comfortable sofa and get on with it. Those Singaporean who are abroad and misses the smell of such local bread can now bake them on your own. It is really simple! I cannot help you with the kaya because that will really take quite some time and some ingredients might not be easily available in your country. However, the ingredients require in this bake can be what are alreadily available in your own pantry.

Hainan Bread 2

Hainan Bread 3

Ingredients: (3 tiny loaves)

119g Milk
20g Unsalted Butter
200g Bread Flour
3g Instant Yeast
4g Salt
20g Sugar


Mix all ingredients in a mixer except for the butter. Knead it well for about 10 minutes before adding the butter. Once the butter is incorporated into the dough, knead it for another 10 minutes. To see if its ready, take a small piece of the dough and see if you can stretch it without breaking it. If it passed the window pane test, then you are ready to go.

Let it proof for an hour or until it doubled in size. Once that 1st proofing is done, punch the dough down and divide it into 3 pieces of 120g dough each. Round it up and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then roll it flat out into an oval shape before rolling it up like a swiss roll. Place it in the baking ware and let it do its second round of proofing for another 40 minutes. Bake it in a preheated oven of 185 degree for 20 minutes. However, if you like to bake it in a loaf pan, increase the baking time to 35 to 40 minutes and double the recipe.

After baking, I realised that this bread is best bake in a loaf pan and enjoy it in slice up form (the usual way the kopitiam serve it them). I have baked it into individual tiny loaves so that it facilities me to package and give it away.