4 Bread-Baking Secrets on the Road to Bread Perfection

 

You’re preparing for your child to be born, and you’re craving something delicious. Bread is on your mind day and night, and if food is on your mind, you can start baking the perfect loaf of bread today. But I am not going to give you a recipe to follow.

Nope.

I’m going to do something even better: help you fix all of those baking errors that you’re making. You’ll be able to use a lot of these secrets to make fruit cakes, cookies, pastries or any other type of cooking when baking is involved.

Bread Baking Secret #1: Warm Butter

You follow a recipe exactly, and what happens? Your bread turns out horrible. I have had this happen countless times, and the problem was something so simple that I am almost embarrassed to even mention it: butter.

I added the butter into the mix.

But I didn’t let the butter warm up first. The recipe never really said what to do with the butter, so I left it out for a minute or two before adding it into my dough.

Big mistake.

Room temperature ingredients trap the air through emulsion and this air will expand and allow the bread to get nice and fluffy. If your bread hasn’t been getting the fluff you want, this may be why.

Bread Baking Secret #2: Knead on an Oiled Surface

This corrective technique seems so obvious, but it’s a technique most people don’t even think about. If your bread and dough is just dry, you’ll want to knead it on an oiled surface. If you knead your dough on a floured surface, you’re going to add to the dryness of the bread.

And this should be evident during your last dough rise.

If you just have dough that’s always too dry, this trick will help – a lot.

Bread Baking Secret #3: Temperatures Aren’t What They Seem

I started to notice that my bread never came out just right after a few recipe failures, but it wasn’t just bread. A lot of baked goods didn’t come out right. I knew I followed the recipes exactly, so the next logical step was to look at my main equipment.

The utensils have little to do with the problem. When I was using a new bread maker, the problem went away, too. But any time I put my dough into the oven, or any baked good for that matter, instant problems.

The problem?

My oven. The temperature wasn’t right. I put it on 350 degrees, but the calibration was off, and the oven’s temperature was off. I used a separate oven thermometer, and the oven was off by 25 degrees

You can calibrate some ovens, but I just used the thermometer to tell the difference in temperature and I was back to the grind making delicious bread once again.

If your oven is off, and a lot of them are, it’s going to be problematic.

Another mistake I learned from my grandmother, and it’s so simple, too: stop opening the oven door. You let a lot of the hot air escape the oven when you open the door, which causes the bread to bake improperly and causes the oven to work in overdrive.

Bread Baking Secret #4: Use a Digital Scale

Baking with confidence requires you to use a digital scale. The best bakers in the world know that even a slight variation in an ingredient’s quantity can lead to a major difference in the chemical reaction in the bread.

And if you just “eye” your ingredients, it’s no wonder that they never come out right.

You need to measure your ingredients using a scale. And I am sorry, but you need to also measure in grams. Trust me, it’s so much easier and it makes an immediate impact on your baking.

Scales are the difference between consistency and chaos.

If you measure all of your ingredients by weight, you’ll be able to make sure that the same recipe tastes the same the next time you follow it.

Bread making is an art, and it’s all a matter of taste. Something I learned on my travels to Italy is that the way Italians make bread is a lot different than the way Americans make bread. The sweetness isn’t part of the Italian bread making ritual. Not at all.

And the taste is much earthier in Italy than it is in the U.S.

But it’s all a matter of taste. Experiment, add ingredients and find the bread taste that makes your mouth water.

 

Why Do Men Cheat?

Happy Monday my loves…

Society tells us that men are superior compared to women. But I beg to disagree. Men are weak and this is the very reason why they cheat. Come to think of it, if they are as strong as they think they are, why would they need a number of women to make them feel better about themselves? Whereas, women are strong. We don’t need other men to make us feel that we are strong – one man in our lives is enough.

Men are insecure beings. They are not contented with what they have and so they seek for more. If a man is happy with his wife and his family, there is no reason to look for anyone else. Cheating is a result of insecurity. They want to feel secured. They want to re-assure themselves that they are superior and that they can do anything they want. This gives them a false sense of security.

Given the chance, men will always grab the opportunity to cheat. This is not something that most women will take advantage of. Why do you think there are a lot of magazines and websites that promote obscenity? Because publishers know that men are not strong enough to resist looking – and in most cases, turning page after page. Apparently, one page is not enough. And no matter how hard I try to convince myself that this is part of being a man, I still firmly believe that this is already a form of cheating.

I may come across to you as a sexist but I am not. I am merely telling you what is obvious that we seem to overlook. I understand that not all men are the same. There are those who remain loyal to their wives no matter how strong the temptation may be. And I truly admire these men. I give a shout out to all men who have stood up for what they believe in and who have fought temptations to preserve the love.

And let me also correct myself for generalizing. I should have used “some men” instead of “men” for the sake of being fair. I’m sorry.

So where are all these thoughts coming from? Since it’s women’s day last Friday, I just happened to feel empathy for the plight of women who have been cheated on by their husbands. There are many articles online that we can all relate to as women. And although it may not have personally happened to us, we still can’t help but feel the sincerest empathy for these women.

And my advice? Men who cheat are not worth our love 🙂 Happy women’s day my loves 🙂

How To Be A Good Wife – In Celebration Of Women’s Day

Happy Tuesday my loves..

Women’s day is just around the corner. One of the exciting roles of a woman is to be a wife. I’ve been married for many years already.I have lived half of my life with my husband. Our marriage is not a walk in the park. It is not something that came out straight from a romantic fairy tale story. Our marriage is just like everybody else’s. We have our ups and downs. We have our little arguments. We struggle many times. But God has continually sustained what we have.

So as part of the upcoming women’s day, let me share to you some of the ways to be a good wife. Some are clichés that we often times forget about so please take them as reminders.

1. Women’s way is not always the right way. Let’s admit it. Sometimes our way is so different from our husband’s way. In a relationship, there should always be respect. Even if we think that we are certain with our way, we should not miss the opportunity to listen to our husbands’ ideas. They may have a different way of taking things but it doesn’t mean that they are already wrong. Listen first before deciding on whose way to follow.

2. Be your husband’s constant companion. We all need intimate companionships. Genesis 2:18 says that “It is not good that the man should be alone.” We need company and unless we want our husbands to look for company somewhere else, let us keep our intimate companionship alive.

3. Don’t assume that your husband is a mind reader. Women are vague. We don’t usually say what we want to say in a direct way. We beat around the bush and yet expect our husbands to fully understand us. They are not mind readers. Say what you mean and then communication will not be that difficult at all.

4. Your husband is not Prince Charming. Don’t expect too much and you will not be disappointed. Women are so fond of fairy tale love stories. As young girls, we always dream of having our own prince charmings. But have we asked ourselves this: we are looking for Prince Charming but are we Cinderella material? Expectations can ruin a relationship. Accept who your husband is. Forget Prince Charming.

5. Before you talk to other people about your relationship concerns, talk to your husband first. Anything about the relationship should be discussed between the two of you. Other people will just create a wider barrier between you and your husband. Asking for people’s advice is an option only if you can’t resolve the issue between the two of you.

So there you go my loves, my five tips on how to be a good wife. I am not a good wife yet but I’m trying to be one 🙂

Mine Site Tour

Happy Wordless Wednesday my loves…

So I had the privilege to visit one of the largest mine sites in Western Australia. I was in awe of how huge their heavy equipments are. The mining manager, who is also my brother in law, toured us. What an awesome day to see how things work around this mine. We were asked to wear hard hats, vest, and steel toe shoes as part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirement. We were also given Visitor IDs. I didn’t realize that it was a very cold day. My shirt was not thick enough. Good thing my friend let me borrowed her extra vest so I had two vests over my shirt. Anyway, I’ll keep the words short because it’s wordless Wednesday. But today is different from all my other Wordless Wednesday posts because I’ll be sharing with you more pictures. Hope you enjoy 🙂

I always wanted to work in a mine site so imagine how happy I was to be part of this tour.

Look at how big this tire is?

This is one muddy tire, isn’t it?

Now let me go check what’s inside this equipment.

I had to take my picture taken. I just had to.

Here with my discipleship mentor, Sis. Liway 🙂

A better view of us inside this heavy equipment.

Now, let’s try driving this thing.

View from the front.

A little break is a good excuse for a selfie 🙂

Is it obvious that I am so amazed by the size of this tire?

I can work here and drive this thing.

Desalination plant of the mine site.

Looks like an unfinished pyramind, isn’t it?

More of the desalination plant.

I was in awe of how huge this structure is.

More heavy equipments.

And more pipes.

This mine site is a joint project of these countries 🙂 Can you name the flags?

They’ve got plenty of mine equipments.

Here’s another one.

Let’s take a closer look.

Huge rock, isn’t it?

There you go my loves. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I had a good time in the tour.

John 16:33 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Weight Loss – Juice Or Smoothie?

Happy Tuesday my loves…

(Photo credit – pinkcakeplate.com)

I don’t think motherhood is an excuse to be unhealthy. I am one of those women who are blessed with more body fats than most women I know. Although I am not against curves, I am convinced that women, including mommies, have the right to feel healthy and look better. After all, our kids need us to be alive longer. So weight loss may just be a great parenting technique after all 🙂

My journey to weight loss has been very tough. For years, I have battled and guess I have never won. Everyday is a struggle especially when my mind wants to exercise but my body says it’s better to lie down and play on the iPad or watch a movie. It is a struggle when my mind wants to control what I am putting inside my body but my mouth and my tummy cheer me to continue binging. It’s like I am in a stadium and people are cheering me to go on. One mind against what every part of my body wants. Can you imagine the torment?

Anyway, I am again on the lookout for ways to lose the extra pounds. So I have heard about the latest craze in weight loss which is juicing. You take your healthy fruits and vegetables, throw them in the juicer, and voila, healthy drink for a healthy you! Well, this sounds promising.

There is also the smoothie diet. You throw in your favourite fruits and vegetables on your blender and instant delicious goodness that will help trim down your body.

Both look very effective. But I wonder, which one is actually better? I have read somewhere in the vast cyber space that juicing is really good because your body can absorb the nutrients right away. You will also feel lighter. Your skin will have that special kind of glow. But then I have also read that smoothies are better because aside from the juice, you can also take in the fibres of the fruits and vegetables. This way, you will feel fuller for a longer period of time.

I am trying smoothie now. Although I don’t really call it a smoothie diet because I still eat solid foods. I just include a fruit smoothie every now and then for snacks. Instead of eating white bread or something sweet for snack, I drown myself in smoothie. By the way, I don’t add milk to my smoothie. I just use fresh fruits and a little water to make it easy for my blender to do its job.

I hope this works. I badly wanted to remove my oversized love handles.

I will also be trying the detox juicing diet as my mom, who will be leaving for the US again, has left me her prized juicer. I have already filled my fridge with veggies like cucumber and carrots so I might be trying veggie juice in the next few days.

I’ll share with you my loves if I see any result. Right now, I’m still the same big me.

What do you think – which one is better in terms of weight loss – Juice Or Smoothie? Share your thoughts and leave me a comment. Also, if you can send me some love over here Top Mommy Blog, I’ll be so happy 🙂

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

So I started in Genesis…

Happy Thursday my loves….

Where do you suppose to start reading the Bible? Some people told me to start in John as it is about the life and ministry of Jesus. I did read John. But then again, I always have this urge to start from first page to the last page of the Bible. I just find it hard sometimes to follow some chapters if I don’t know what happened prior to that. I read the New Testament because it’s the life of Jesus. But there are always quotes from the Old Testament so I really feel the need to read the Old Testament as well.

And so I started in Genesis. For the past month, I have been reading in Genesis and I am just amazed how God has moved in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. From generation to generation, God has been so faithful. I’d like to share with you the spiritual enlightenments that I’ve gained from this book. But I’d do that in another post so I’ll have more space.

So why Genesis? It is the beginning. It is the record of what happened since the start of everything. The story of creation is just amazing. And I wonder how there are people who have a hard time believing in the beauty of creation. Not that I am against anyone but I’d rather believe I am God’s masterpiece created in His own image than a by product of a spinning dust in the outer space. I’d rather believe God has designed me with HIS perfect plan in mind than I am a modified version of an ape.

The story of Abraham is beauty beyond words. He is a friend of God. His story proves how God treasures HIS friends. Jacob is also a man of God. I have yet to research more because I have questions regarding the incident when he wrestled with GOD. Joseph is an evidence that all things work together for good to those who love the LORD.

Oh how I love the book of Genesis. I have read it before but I haven’t really read it by heart. So all of the verses still seem new to me. Or is it just the reality that no matter how many times we read the Bible, everything seems to be fresh because GOD reveals something new to us?

I feel I am obliged to leave you with a verse from Genesis:

Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

What makes a woman happy?

Happy Thursday my loves….

My sister once received a book titled “how to understand women”. It was a thick book and it was I think given to her by her boss. Now when you open the book, there is really nothing on it. So what does this mean? Nobody can understand what goes into our minds ;p.

Is it really hard to understand women? To be able to make a woman happy, you need to understand her first. Without understanding, you can try and try yet you can’t just do it. From a woman’s point of view, I am attempting to reveal the things that make a woman, like me (yes, I’m not gay…I’m a real woman ;p)  happy.

So brace yourselves as we delve into the inner realms of womanhood and explore the mysteries that put a smile on our lovely faces.

Are you ready? 100 percent sure? There’s no turning back once you get past this line…

Enter the mystical mind and heart of a woman!

  • Romanticism is not a thing of the past for women. No matter what age and status we are in, we love a bit of romance. Simple “i love you’s” do the trick all the time. Perhaps random flowers and spontaneous kiss will make a woman’s day. This is what people don’t understand about women. While women stick to a routine, they love a bit of romantic surprises once in a while. It wouldn’t hurt to drop by a flower shop on your way home right?

  • Remembering special days will make a woman happy. How many times have you forgotten about anniversaries? birthdays? or even the time when she said yes? Dates are not just for women to remember. It is for men to keep in mind as well.

  • Spending quality time with her. Women are attention seekers. Come on now, let’s admit this. We love attention. If you really want to make a woman happy, you should spend time with her. Do something memorable with her. By time, I mean quality time. It is not enough that you are at home and doing what you do. There is a difference with being physically present and emotionally present.

  • Compliment her. Yes, we are compliment hungry creatures 🙂 Even if we’ve gained weight over time, we still want to be complimented as sexy. After all, sexiness is not just the size of the waistline, isn’t it? It is how you compose yourself.

  • Be proud when you are with her. There is nothing else more demeaning than the feeling of someone whom other people can’t be proud of. If you are with friends, make her feel that you are happy she is with you and that you are proud of her.

So here you go my loves…let women feel the love 🙂

Proverbs 30:18-19
There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.

Disclaimer: Pictures are not mine but I have linked them to the sites where I got them from. If you feel like the image should not be here, send me a mail kikssimplelife@gmail.com and I’ll take it down 🙂