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Home Made French Bread

Not many people actually know I can make bread :P.  But I do :).  I learnt it from my mum while I was a kid watching her making delicious bread for my family.

This is a variant of French bread that I stole a recipe from the net.  It's pretty easy.  Here are the ingredients:

Bread Flour 350gWarm
Water 175ml
Milk 35ml
Sugar 21g
Butter (Unsalted) 21g
Salt 6g
Dry Yeast 5g

Direction is simple.  Make sure all the ingredients are measured properly and you are more or lest successful in making our own bread.  Investing in a good kitchen scale is always a good idea if you plan to bake often :) 

Mix the warm water (around your body temp but not higher or you might kill off the yeast) with Sugar and Dry yeast in a bowl. Let it sit for 10 mins so you can check if the yeast is active.  If its ok and alive, bubbles will form on the top of the mixture and it will give off a strong yeasty gamey smell.

Then pour the measure flour into a mixing bowl with the salt.  Try to stir a bit with your finger to mix the salt with the flour.  Direct contact of salt with yeast will kill the yeast or make it less effective.  Then just throw in the milk and the mixed yeast solution.  Knead with your hands.  If its too sticky, relax and use some plastic knife or even a ruler to scrap off the sticky bits and keep kneading.  Eventually it will slowly become less sticky as the yeast and flour is absorbing all the moisture.  If it's still sticky after kneading for more than 5mins, then you must have placed too much water.  You can powder your hands with some bread flour and try kneading it again.  Vice versa, if its too powderly and won't form a dough, you have too much flour so just lightly spray some water to wet the dough.  Once the dough is not sticky, throw in the butter (soften it by leaving it in room tempreture) and knead again.  Continuce again until it stops feeling sticky and the butter all mixed into the dough.

Let the dough rest in a warm place for the 1st fermentation.  Cover it with a cloth or a kitchen towel and let is sit for at least an hour.  The dough will balloon and become at least twice the size of the original dough.  If it dosen't, just be patience and let it sit longer.

Then pick up the inflated dough and drop it down onto the table on mixing bowl (about 50cm will do) and you will see the dough deflates like a balloon (this is releasing the gas).  Now you can cut up the dough and shape it to whatever shape you like.  If you like to have more crust, then just make smaller buns so you have more crust.  Normally I could make 5 buns (Picture above) about the size of my palm out of it.  After shaping just let it rest again (2nd fermentation).   After an hour, the buns should rise to twice the size again like the previous process.  If you like, you could also place it in the fridge and let it rise for more than 24hrs.  This would make the bread taste better as the yeast taste will not be that strong.  If you like yeasty taste (like beer) then just leave it in a warm place and let it rise even quicker.  After that is just baking.  Conventional oven is 30mins at 200 degrees celcius.  Remember to preheat  the oven first to 200degrees!  If you have a UFO broiler or oven like mine.  The time is 20mins (less time needed).  After baking, let it sit in the oven for 5 mins and viola!  Freshly baked Bread!

If the crust becomes soft, just mist some water on the surface of the bread and bake it again in the oven for 5 to 10 mins at 200 degrees celcius.  It will taste like freshly baked bread.

Try it and have fun!  It's easy :)  Finally, here's a video of my boy eating my bread this morning.  Taken with my new phone :P

My new P(hone) D(igital) A(ssistant).

No thanks to some of my friends on FB informing me the "greatness" of the Galaxy Note.  

After we send the kids to schoo on last Thursdayl.  Wife accompanied me to Chiang Rai.  We need to do some grocery shopping in Chiang Rai's Big C because the local Maesai Tesco Lotus is still out of stock on certain basic necessities.  My son's diapers is on the 1st thing on the list. :P  Of course, this means I could take a peek at the new phone.. Big Mistake!

We reached Big C and immediately I went to look around at the mobile phone shops.  They have started selling it but there was no display set.  I asked for one but they said its all sold out!  They took in 10 sets on Tuesday and it was all out on Wednesday!  Wah... Thai people over here in CR a bit rich leh.... 

Anyway, after getting our groceries, we dropped by Central plaza (biggest shopping centre in Chiang Rai) and wife went on her own to look at some clothes while I immediately hit the mobile phone shops over here :P 

Asked around and all quote me the same price..  and didn't really managed to physically touch one as they say they don't have a display set :(.  Went to the Samsung shop and they too, did not have a display set.  But the lady at the Samsung shop very nice and was very sincere in  helping me out.  She took a brand new set out and opened it in front of me.  :S  Bad news liao.  Next thing I know, put battery.. play play and I paid for it! KNS.. a bit impulsive but the pen.... ooohhh the pen...

The first impression in my hands is that its bloody huge!  Compare to phones or smartphones this day, its pretty big.  All because of the 5.3" screen.  But its just nice for writing.  If its smaller, maybe I won't buy it.  But the size is just like the little black notebook I used to have in the army.  (just a bit wider) but its nice.  The screen is gorgeous of course.   And the pen is just nice though I was hoping it was more metallic than plasticky though.  

I have been using it for about 2 days and so far its quite positive.  It was something I dreamt of and Samsung managed to pull it off with this product.   There are some quirky things that I find it can be improved on (nothing is perfect in this world :P).  One of the major dislike is the button on the stylus.. a bit tough sometimes to find it and press it.  And sometimes its a bit tough to take out the stylus too.  Battery life is a bit bad if I turn on Wi-fi with Edge the whole day.  Then the power button is also on the side (I am so used to the top).  Finally, the size of the phone... hahaha,.. I think it does look a bit funny if I used it for making a call.  I asked wife and she says it looks ok leh.... hmm..

Anyway, this is just a short entry on the initial impressions.  I still have my Nexus One but as Google is not going to update it with ICS. I guess the Note will be a great upgrade for me.  And this phone is my most expensive ever... :P  over $900 SGD.  Still if I cliam the 7% VAT, I will get back some money for a case and screen protector :P.  


This really really looks interesting. (Galaxy Note)

Picture taken from Samsung Galaxy Note mini-website.I bought my phone Nexus 1 about 2 years ago. Well actually 3 more months is will be its 2nd year anniversary and I was scouting around for a new phone.  You will be surprised that iphone 5 was actually in my list until Apple didn't release it.  They just updated another iPhone 4S which I think is not much of a difference from my wife's white iPhone 4.  So that's out.

Scouting around I saw this.  The galaxy note!  The real real thing that really get me hooked was the stylus.  Probing furthur its a dream come true!!  The stylus is finally back!  I think I have mentioned before I like to use a pen to jot things down and I missed using my Windows Mobile or Pocket PCs in the 90s.  It was my best working organiser. 

Morever, the size is also about the same as my old Compac IPAQ 3600!!  Yes, it's a bit big for a phone but the screen size will be great for writing (I find using a stylus on my Touch Cruise a big challenging sometimes nowadays as I was so used to my N1.  

The name was well chosen too.  Note!  Just like a note book.  Alas, it was not running the latest ICS like Galaxy Nexus but the stylus and with Android, this will be a good combo.  Price wise I heard it will be about 1k SGD... pretty expensive.  Arrgghh......


Can't help myself in writing something for such an interesting day.  Firstly is all the 1s in today's date.  Next is the missus and kids left this early morning to Keng Tung.  My brother-in-law has a new baby girl and she's having her full month celebration today.  Ah boy a bit reluctant to go at first until he saw the Tuk tuk that came to fetch them....

After that, I was all alone at home and bored.  I 've finished all the house chores before 11 and I decided to take a drive down to Chiang Rai Wat Rhon Kun (White temple).  Yes, its the same temple we visited last month but I wanted to take some photos of it on slides so I took my beast, some film and my tripod.  Dump all my gear in my car and drove all the way to the temple.

On the way saw a very bloody accident.  A man on his bike was hit by a bus and was killed on the spot.  Blood was everywhere....  (Who says today is a lucky day?)  It was at a near the 1st check point.  All the cars were forced to slow down and I took a slight peek (the police was covering the man's body with a black cloth.. and a few meters down the road, the bus that hit him was just parked beside the road, pinned under the front wheels was a bike.  Pretty sad to see this.  Which reminded me to drive safely.

I drove on and reached Big C Chiang Rai at noon to stop for lunch and get some groceries.  The flood situation in Bangkok means a lot of stuff was out of stock in Tesco Lotus in Maesai.  So I was trying my luck to see if its better over here.  And it was indeed much better over here.  I grabbed more boxes of milk powder and diapers for my boy before heading out again.  :P

I reached the temple around 2pm and took my time to load the film and prepare my gear in my car.  It was crowded today.  I actually didn't shoot much as it was a bit too crowded.  Moreover the sun was not in the best direction (should have came in the morning).  Anyway took 2 rolls and stopped.  Drove back to Chiang Rai Central shopping center at around 3.30pm and took a walk in the mall.  Didn't buy anything.  Just window shopping...

Ate my early dinner there at around 430pm.  Tried out the Japanese restaurant, food mediocre but at least its resonably cheap. Started to drive back home at around 5pm.  Traffic was a bit heavy at first but once I was out of Chiang Rai city, the roads where pretty empty.  Since I was all alone in the car, decided to test out the car and drove at 160km/h.  (I think I did more than that :P ).  A bit shiok but guess I won't be doing that anytime soon.

Reached home at around 5.30pm (1st time reach home so fast :P) .  Washed up and starting surfing the web and chatted with some old colleagues over Windows messenger.  Now typing this before switching off.  Guess I will go and read a book or watch some TV before hitting the bed.