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Favorite Meal Pizza and Gardening

If there is one single most favorite bread based meal request there is, nothing beats Pizza and its variations. And being a Pizza and flat bread lover that i am, i cannot wait for the morning to jump start my pizza making chores. Of course, with the assortments of toppings i can scavenge from the pantry and fridge.

If you think about it, Pizza and French dough is like a dough that cannot be described as hard and easy. I think both words can describe it because my pizza/french dough takes at least 3 days to make, day 1 for the sponge, day 2 first mix, day 3 final mix where you get to use the dough for your breads.

That makes it hard. Hard to understand why i have to spend 3 days to make it when you can buy a baguette and ready made pizza dough for 50 to 60 pesos right? Well you see, it's the flavor and aroma and texture and.... so on. I cannot tell you exactly, nor describe it to you point by point, to make it short, nothing beats freshly made slow rise baguette and pizza crust. No…
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Cutting Pandesal, Baston Style

So how do we really do the Baston style "singkit" cut? First start with a slightly stiff dough, if your dough does not have eggs or eggyolks, a hydration of around 55% is ideal.
I have seen bakers use less water, but that will make your Pandesal too dry and dense after 1 day or so so try to keep it slightly on the soft side, but not too sticky. Why?
If you use a sticky dough for the Baston style cut, the dough will spread and will have a flat look rather than a rounded shape we are all familiar with. In Tagalog, "lalapad" ang dough so medyo flat ung Pandesal.

So after you mix the dough, divide it into 2 to 4 portions if you are mixing  kilogram. Experienced bakers divide their dough into 500 gram portions, i do mine the same way. Flatten the dough, focusing more on the length and not on the height. The height of the dough should be around 2 to 3 inches only.

Next, fold the dough while pinching the edges making sure the dough surface is smooth on the outside. If yo…

Pita Breads and Flatbreads, Focaccia and Pizzas!!!

Flour, Water, Yeast and Salt
These are the only ingredients you need to bake a delightfully crusty, flavor packed flatbread or pizza. Call it as you like it, the flavor in this bread is in the technique and method you use to make the dough, not in the ingredient.
If you use the No time dough method to make the crust or focaccia, you will only taste the flour and salt, or some yeasty flavor of some sort, no deep hearty tones, something you cannot explain why you keep on munching on the bread even if there is nothing else there but the bread itself.
That's how good and excellent it is. What method? Simple. Fermentation. It builds flavor, extends the shelf life, speeds up the mixing and proofing times, etc., etc.,
If you haven't tried making your bread using this method, you have to try!!! There are so many recipes online that you can find or simply just take a portion of the flour in your recipe, be it 1 cup or 2 cups, it doesn't really matter for a beginner. Add a bit of y…

Dough Enrichment, Adding Nutrients and Enhancing your Breads

There are so many things that you can do with your plain dough such as a baguette or pandesal dough. I love enhancing the dough with all sorts of grains, herbs, spices, seeds, dried fruits, nuts, and so on. Nothing should stop you from creating another bread from the same Pandesal plain dough or the pizza dough you have stashed in your freezer. Even store bough doughs can be made into something more interesting and hearty.

I am sprinkling the dough with ground flax seed and chia seeds.  Fold and lightly knead the seeds into the dough, be careful not to put too much pressure because you will stiffen the dough and need to relax it back again to shape it.
 Pesto Baguette

Or smear your favorite chilli, garlic and onion oil on the dough for a spicier kick

Spicy Ciabatta Toast with Basil

of fill your favorite Loaf bread with the same pesto or garlic filling. I have tried spinach and cheese as well.
However way you want to dress your bread, try using a small amount first and then add more t…

Homemade, Personalized Breads Please

Times like this when you just can't get satisfied with the breads you buy in the groceries and you suddenly get the urge to eat something different? Well, good thing i know how to make my own bread. Not just any kind of bread, or bread recipe that i have to follow step by step from a baking book, but my version of a healthier and more satisfying loaf of bread.

So just what kind of breads do i bake? For my baking class, we bake all sorts, from the humble Pandesal to that glorious buttery sweet Ensaimadas. These are not the stuff my sister and i eat anymore. My breads are usually made from ingredients that i have in the kitchen, sweet potatoes, nuts, coconut, bananas, yams, fresh herbs and even chilis!

The past few weeks, i made several batches of Walnut studded loaves, half of which will go to my sister. Last week, she took me to Starbucks and made me taste the toasted fruit and nut so i did, but took only two bites and that was it. It tasted good, but just not my kind of bread, to…

Special Ensaimadas

The air pockets hold the extra butter during shaping so it kinda stayed there after the bake, notice how the bread did not collapse even if the texture is very much open. Proper technique, formula and baking.

Divide the icing evenly so you won't ran out and end up scraping icing off. If you notice i purposely bake my Ensaimadas this brown, the high sugar, yolks and butter of my dough will make browning inevitable, if i bake them PALE, like some Ensamaidas in the market, nahihilaw ang loob and then THEY COLLAPSE. Hindi po sunog yan, hindi rin dry, talagang if you're eggsyolks are in the 26 to 30% range, it will be hard to adjust the oven temperature. If i am using my mother's digital oven, i can do that but still i prefer a golden brown finish, much like what AUTHENTIC ENSAIMADAS SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

Take note of the height of the bread after the bake. They do not collapse, no wrinkles and shrinking. When i bake them pale at this size, they always collapse on me plus the tast…

One Dough Too Many

Creating a variety of breads using just one dough is not that hard. You just have to think and write them all on a paper and think of whether the kind of bread fits the dough that you have on hand.  If you do it right, you can create as many as 12 or even more different kinds of breads from just one dough.
A medium rich dough, one with eggs, milk, butter and sugar can work as you all in one dough and produce for you Pandesal, Buns, Dinner Rolls, Ensaimada, Doughnuts, Mongo, Coconut, Cinnamon Rolls, Loaf Bread, Braided Bread, Fruit and Nut Bread, Sandwich Bread, and many more as shown on the photos below.

If you want, you can use the same dough to make Spanish breads and Pan de coco, Hotdog and Hamburger Buns etc.,, Now that is real fun in a bun!!!

Top photo, one dough showing Cinnamon Rolls, Dinner Rolls, Cheese Rolls and a Fruit and Nut Braided Bread. You can use this dough to make a Loaf bread, Pandesal, Soft bun or hamburger bun and lots more. The only questions is whether you hav…