Bread baking: a relearning journey

After baking my own bread at home for so many years, I am so used to removing pretty loaves like this and this out from the oven. When I saw my first finished bake from the bread machine, I can’t help feeling disappointed.  A shapeless loaf with a crust that looked too smooth/shiny/thick.  I didn’t know where to start slicing.

Yup.  I finally bought myself a breadmaker.  It’s so difficult to find an opportunity to make bread at home lately.  The bread-making process is not difficult; just plenty of watching and waiting.  15 minutes here, 60 minutes there, another 40 minutes of something, before finally bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Followed by the tedious job of cleaning the kitchen tools and utensils after cooking: measuring bowls and spoons, mixer bowls, dough hook, and kitchen board…

So I revisited my wish for a bread machine, looking forward to fresh, healthy, homemade bread every morning.   The decision process was pretty fast because  I have done my homework so many times in the past.  I chose a model that comes with a ceramic-coated pan, instead of a Teflon version.  The rest is then up to my relearning journey to convert past recipes into breadmaker-friendly versions.  My first two attempts were alright, edible but nothing close to the texture I have perfected with natural bread improver using root vegetables.

As with my past kitchen experiments, I am journalling it here so that I can refer to it and improve as I bake more often.  A third loaf is cooling on the rack as I type.

For my own reference only.  If you have the same breadmaker (it’s a Song-Cho) and a tried and tested recipe for it, share with me!

Experiment No.1 "Pumpkin Loaf"
//Ingredients:
Water 250ml
Butter 24g
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar  3 Tbs
Flour 420g
Pumpkin puree 100g
Milk powder 2 Tbs
Instant yeast 1 tsp

//Menu Selection: 
4.Sweet
Size@1.5lb 
Crust color@light

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities – Eco Edition

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + Co

Spent the first week of the year end school holidays in the malls and can’t wait to do something different?  How about activities with an Eco/Nature-theme?  I have compiled a list in a chronological order to share.

In case there is only time for just one Eco-event, taking part in a beach clean-up as a family is highly recommended.  Nowadays, we barely give a second thought every time we drink from plastic bottled water, clean hard to reach corners with Q-tips, pack take-away meals in styrofoam /plastic boxes or pick up a straw for our drink.  But these habits have generated most of the common trash we collected when my family joined Trash Hero Singapore in one of their monthly sessions to clean up a quiet part of the beach at East Coast Park.

Armed with a pair of gloves (a must, never pick up trash with bare hands, and tell the kids to always inform an adult when they find broken glass, fish hooks, syringes, needles, or any sharp objects) and a plastic bag, the instruction from the organizer was simple: pick up as much trash as possible in 2 hours.  After 10 minutes, I found myself squatting at the same spot sorting out items that shouldn’t belong there: cigarette butts, tiny plastic sticks from Q-tips (but my kids think that these are lollipop sticks, guess they look the same after the candy and cotton buds are gone,) candy wrappers, straws of different colors and sizes, and most annoying of all, styrofoam bits that have disintegrated into impossibly tiny pieces over time.  The task of picking out these bits looked impossible and I told myself I will bring along a sieve/colander next time to separate these styrofoam pieces from the fine sand.  I moved on to picking up larger trash items like plastic bottles, drink cans, used wet wipes, snack packaging, fish nets, and plastic bags.  Others found toothbrushes and plastic combs.

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + CoNov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + Co
Photo credit : Trash Hero Singapore

By the end of the session, 80kg of rubbish were collected, mostly plastic.  The single most important takeaway from this beach clean up: avoid the use of disposable plastic.  Trash Hero Singapore will be conducting another beach clean up session on 26 November (Sunday) at Sembawang Beach Park.  Check out the details here.

Can’t wait to start a greener way to spend the rest of the school holiday? Let’s start from this Saturday :

Nov 25 (Sat)

//Charismatic Primates of Malaysia – Living in Harmony with Nature and Wildlife
A second Jane Goodall Institute Singapore Lecture Series with primate experts from Malaysia.  Registration is required.
LINK

// Chek Jawa Boardwalk
Free guided nature walk at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin.  The one held later on 16th Dec has been fully booked.
When/ Where: 9.30am / Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Registation here.
LINK

// Bukit Brown – An Introductory Walk
Free guided walk.  Another afternoon walk is available on 26th.
When/ Where: 9am/ Bukit Brown Cemetery
Register here.

// Singapore Really Really Free Market
Set up a free booth with family or friends, share pre-loved items, enjoy some time without spending any money.
When/Where: 3pm-7pm/ Blk 137 Bedok Reservoir Road S470137
LINK

Nov 26 (Sun)

// Trash Hero Beach Clean Up
When/ Where: 8am/ Sembawang Park Beach
LINK

// Repair Kopitiam
Have broken down items at home?  Say no to a throw away society, send them for repair and learn the how-to at the same time as volunteers share their repair knowledge and skills.
When/ Where: 10am – 2pm/ 2 locations ->Blk 897A Tampines St 81,Singapore,521897AND Block 423, Jurong West Ave 1,Singapore,640423
LINK

// Bukit Brown – An Introductory Walk
Free guided walk.
When/ Where: 4pm – 6.30pm/ Bukit Brown Cemetery
Register here

Dec 1 (Fri)

// Night Critter Watch at Rainforest Boardwalk
Guided walk. $13 per participant. Free for 6 years old and below. Registration required.
When/Where: 6.30pm-8.30pm/ Singapore Botanic Gardens
LINK

Dec 2 (Sat)

++ The UP Market ++
UP refers to upcycling, my favorite way to reuse glass bottles, plastic containers and old bamboo toothbrushes.
Join this upcycling-themed market “that aims to build a community of upcyclers to share upcycling ideas, products and to promote upcycling and other sustainable lifestyles.”
LINK

// Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market
Support local produce and locally made products at this fair held over 2 days.  While there, make some some time cover part of the Heritage Trail as well.
When/ Where: (Dec 2)12pm – 8pm/ (Dec 3)10am – 4pm/ D’Kranji Farm Resort
LINK

Dec 9 (Sat)

// Ecolife at Coney Island
Free guided walk. Registration required.
When/Where: 9am-11am/ Coney Island West Entrance
LINK

// Ecolife at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Free guided walk. Registration required.
When/ Where: 9am-11am/ Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Promenade
LINK

// Photography Talk by Mr Isak Pretorius
The speaker is a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s Bird Behaviour Category (2013) and will be sharing his passion for photography and nature during the free session.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 12.00pm/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
LINK

// A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of MacRitchie
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm – 6.30pm / MacRitchie Reservoir Park
LINK

Dec 10 (Sun)

//Tzu Chi Recycling Day
Every 2nd Sunday of the month, Tzu Chi set up recycling points around the island to receive recyclables.  Don’t just stop at dropping off your recyclables, try your hands at sort out them out and learn more about environmental conservation and the need to cut down on waste.
When/ Where: 9am – 12pm/ Various locations
LINK

//Forest Walk: Tengah Forest
Explore what’s still left untouched by the ongoing Tengah’s “Forest Town” development, set to be Singapore’s largest smart sustainable smart town with a car-free town center.
When: 8am
LINK

//Family Yoga In The Park
Children are welcome. Free.
When/ Where: 8am – 9am/ Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Tecoma Green
LINK

//Healthy Living with Navayugum
Free workshop to learn more about living a healthier lifestyle through a guided spice tour, healthy recipes, followed by a relaxing yoga session in the serene Fort Canning Park.  Registration required.
When/ Where: 10am – 12pm / Fort Canning Park
LINK

Dec 16 (Sat)

//What’s in my sky?
Learn to identify many amazing birds of different species that passes through or make Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve their home in this free guided walk.  Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
LINK

//A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of Lower Peirce
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm – 6.30pm
LINK

//Marine Mangroves cum Coastal Cleanup at Ubin
Another coastal clean up activity, this time to “remove abandoned drift nets and marine debris that chokes up Ubin’s coastline.”
Registration required.
When/ Where: 3pm – 6pm / Meet at Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
LINK

Dec 19 (Tues)

// Zero Waste Living with Bea Johnson
Hear from Bea Johnson, one of the earliest zero waste lifestyle adopter, on how she and her family stick to the 5R’s: “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and only in that order” and inspire the rest of the world to “live simply and take a stance against needless waste.”
When/ Where: 7pm – 9.30pm/The Metro @ thebridge, Ascent, #01-07, 2 Science Park Drive
LINK

Dec 23 (Sat)

//Learning Forest Tour, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Free tour of The Learning Forest that is located in the new Tyersall-Gallop Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes before session starts at Visitor Services, Tyersall Gate.
When/ Where: 9am – 10am / The Learning Forest, Singapore Botanical Gardens
LINK

//Heritage Tour, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Free guided tour. Highlights of the tour include the Bandstand, sculptures in the Gardens, the Heritage Trees, the Main Gate, the Saraca Stream Walk.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes for session starts at Visitor Services Desk, Tanglin Gate.
When/Where: 9am – 10am
LINK

//Race Against Time – Science behind a Botanic Garden Tour
This 45-minute tour suitable for participants 9 years old and above introduces the research facilities at the Singapore Botanic Gardens such as the Library of Botany & Horticulture, Orchid & Micro-propagation laboratory and the Herbarium.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes for session starts at Visitor Services Desk, Tanglin Gate.
LINK

// What’s in my mangrove?
Free guided tour that lets you learn about the mangrove trees and plants of the forest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve,
LINK

//A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of Bukit Timah
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm-6.30pm/ Bt Timah Nature Reserve
LINK

// What’s in my water?
Free guided tour that lets you learn about the creatures and plants that lives in and around the water edges of Sungei Buloh.
Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am
LINK

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Adapted from this recipe from almost a year ago, I have since made 2 changes to this recipe.
– using plain flour sold in bulk from the wet market
– substituting fresh milk with milk powder

With these alterations, I have done away with the need to recycle the plastic bags from bread flour as well as plastic bottles and paper cartons from fresh milk purchase.  Less time spent on rinsing and sorting recyclables, more time for a longer breakfast.


Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

300g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
135g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg **
130g water
25g cold unsalted butter, cubed

** I use egg that weighs 55g with shell

In a mixer bowl, mix well the dry ingredients: plain flour, yeast, sea salt, raw sugar, and milk powder with a hand whisk.  Add cooled mashed taro, egg, and half of the water to the dry ingredients, and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add in the remaining of the water, with the mixer running, until the ingredients come into a ball.  You might need more or less water stated in the recipe, depending on the moisture content of the taro.  Let the dough stand for 15 minutes, covered.

Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again, and knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should have expanded, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.   Let this sit in a draft free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + CoOat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

The dry goods store ran out of plain flour so I went home looking for a wholemeal flour recipe to bake instead.

I ended up baking with this oat and wheat sandwich bread recipe but not before tweaking it with homemade oat flour instead of rolled oats.  Simply run the rolled oats/instant oats/oatmeal in food processor for a while until they become oat flour.  Instant, quick-cooking version or not, all works.  If you want them really fine, sift before using.  If not, simply dump everything like me into the recipe that calls for oat flour, I consider those larger bits as “additional fibre”.  I have been doing this for years, saving money and storage space for yet another pantry item.  Since it is so easy to make, I only make what I need to use up, nothing more.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

Back to the bread.  Another interesting thing I find about this recipe is that I can leave the dough to ferment in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Sounds like a good idea for Sunday breakfast.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I knead the dough until window pane stage although the original recipe didn’t mention.  It’s my ticket to fluffy soft bread.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I proof all my loaves in a 10 inch diameter pot with a glass cover, so I can see how much the dough has risen.  Before baking, I brushed the top with water and sprinkled some rolled oats for decoration.  But…..

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

… the rolled oats topping seemed unnecessary afterall as they fell off while I sliced cooked bread.  I won’t mention this step in the recipe below.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

For some reason (low gluten flour as this article stated?) the bread slice was crumbly, but held together better significantly after popping it inside toaster for 2 minutes.  Come to think of it, I have never baked a bread without plain flour, most of my homebaked wholemeal bread is a 50/50 flour mix.  5-day fermentation is the next thing to try with this bread recipe.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co


Oat and Wholewheat bread loaf

adapted from here

315g wholemeal flour
80g oat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 egg
1 1/4 cup water
25g chilled butter, cubed

In a mixer bowl, place these ingredients: wholemeal flour, oat flour, sea salt, raw sugar, instant yeast, egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin. If the dough is sticky, flour hands and worktop to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the crumbly loaf from further drying out.

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September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

The school will be closed for 1 week, but there seemed to be enough activities with environmental focus to carry through the entire month that allow one to be inspired and pick up some green habits.

// Catch an eco film
++ Don’t just catch the commerical blockbusters, choose from an array of eco films that will be screened from 1-3 Sep at the annual Eco Film Festival Singapore. Check out the film and programme schedule here. Free event.

// Host an eco-themed film private screening
++ The kind people at Eco Film Festival has obtained private screening license for the following films to choose from:
– The True Cost
– Cowspiracy
– A Plastic Ocean
– Guardians of Raja Ampat
– Disobedience
– Project Wild Thing
– Captain Planet Summit to Save The Planet
Cost : Free, register by 8 Sept here, & host the private screening from 15th-24th Sept.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// BYO Singapore Campaign
++ Ditch the disposables habit and start bringing your own shopping bags, drinking cups and lunch boxes.  Details here.

// Take part in energy saving challenge
++ Get the entire family to reduce household electricity use and win some prizes. Details here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Volunteer for a coastal clean up
++  Coney Island with Trash Hero Singapore on 3 Sep
++  Lim Chu Kang East with Little Green Men on 9 Sep
++  Mandai Mudflats with Nature Society on 9 Sep. Register here.
++  Ponggol Beach with on 23 Sep. Register here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Balik Kampung
++ Enjoy kampung lifestyle? Now that there is a week of school holiday, volunteer on a weekday to help out with “landscape and farm maintenance” at Kampung Kampus. Details here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Start a recycling corner at home
++ Watch your trash trail closely and do good by dropping off the recyclables at one of these Tzu-Chi recycling points on 10 Sep.

// Nature Sketching
++ At Botanic Gardens on 16 Sep.  Details here.

// Picnic events
While these are not eco-themed events, I love the challenge of having a picnic with no disposables and instead, serving food on proper crockery.  Enjoy the events nicely plan out by various organizers, but keep the trash at bay.  I listed them according to locations.
++ Safra Ponggol on 3 Sep here
++ Marina Barrage on 3 Sep here
++ Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park on 2 Sep here
++ Concerts at Botanic Gardens always pull a picnic loving crowd, a check on the website shows concert event to be held on 2 Sep, 3 Sep, 9 Sep, 23 Sep, 30 Sep.

// Nature Tour
Guided walks are always popular with families during the school holiday, get the kids in touch with nature.
++ Pasir Ris Magrove Boardwalk Tour on 3 Sep. Sign up here.
++ Learning Forest Tour at Botanic Gardens 30 Sep. Details here.

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Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

I like how oatmeal porridge in this recipe made the sourdough bread really soft, so I added 135g of it to my bake today.  I probably need to add more if I want it to be as soft and fluffy as the ones I bake with steamed taro or steamed white rice.

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

 


Oatmeal Porridge Pullman Loaf

for oatmeal porridge:
100g boiling hot water
35g instant oatmeal

290g bread flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 large egg **
80g water
25g cold butter, cubed
topping: 2 tablespoons rolled oats

** I use a large egg weighing 70g.

To prepare oat porridge, mix hot water to instant oatmeal and stir until a thick consistency is formed. Leave it aside to cool completely.

In mixer bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar well with a hand whisk.  After the dry ingredients are mixed, add cooled  oatmeal porridge, beaten egg and half of the water.  Start the mixer and knead on its lowest speed (KA 1) .  If the ingredients do not come together into a ball, slowly add more water, once a ball dough starts to form, stop adding water.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough sit for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again and knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead this until the dough reaches window pane stage; when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic.  Remove bowl from mixer and bulk rise this for 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and transfer it to a clean work top.  Shape the loaf and place in greased pullman bread tin, seams side facing downwards.  Let it rise in a draft-free place for 50-60 mins.  Before baking, spray the bread top with a fine mist of water and sprinkle rolled oats on top evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

I save bread packaging from going to landfills by baking my own rustic bread loaves baked with plain flour bought in bulk.  Currently into natural starter and Tartine’s recipes seem to be on everyone’s must-bake list.

There is nothing different about the recipe I used to bake this classic Tartine sourdough except that I have halved it, based on the size of my Dutch Oven and my refrigerator’s capacity.  Why bake the full recipe when it takes me a few mornings to finish one loaf?  What helped a lot is that this dough recipe is a breeze to mix.  Simply mix another batch when the loaf is about to finish.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

An active starter is a critical ingredient here.  I continue to be awed endlessly by my natural starter that produces the most dramatic oven spring in my short sourdough baking history.  Coating the surface of the bread with rice flour before slashing is also a must, to make the “split” more obvious and help it look more ‘pro’ and rustic.  My heart skips a beat every time I uncover the pot after the first 40 minutes in the oven.

To ensure that the starter is active, I make sure that I feed my starter at regular interval until it can double within 3 hours at room temperature which is 30C here.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

While the original recipe stated 20 minutes with the lid and 20-25 minutes with the lid off, this is for bakers who are experienced or willing to risk a scalding arm with a preheated hot dutch oven pot at 230C.  I bake my dough cold, straight from the chiller and in an unheated pot, but I still manage to get a perfect oven spring and a crust that caramalize to a beautiful brown.  I have to bake the bread longer though: 40 minutes in the oven with the lid on and another 40minutes without the lid.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Made for myself a step by step pictorial guide with 1/2 the ingredients of this recipe.  Hope you will find it useful too.


Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf

Start with an active starter, pour 125g into a mixer bowl, and add 370g water.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Stir around with a wooden spoon until the starter is mixed well with the water.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Add 350g plain flour and 150g wholemeal flour to the diluted starter.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Stir and mix with the wooden spoon.  Let this sit aside for at least 30 minutes, covered.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 30 minutes, sprinkle 10g sea salt on top of the dough and another 25g water, and

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

gently stir to mix the salt and water into the autolysed dough, which will appear smoother at this point.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Mix until all the water has been absorbed by the dough.  Then, with a clean wet hand, do a few round of  “stretch and pull” actions.  Let dough sit for another 30 minutes.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 30 minutes, repeat the “stretch and pull” action, then let it sit for 30 minutes again.  This will be “Turn #1”.  Repeat this for another 3 times.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After “Turn #4”, transfer the dough to a container with cover, or simply cover the mixer bowl (if your fridge has ample space for it) with a pot lid of the right size, and let it bulk ferment inside the fridge overnight.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Next morning, when ready to bake, preheat oven to 250C.  Flour the base of a Dutch Oven with rice flour, to prevent the bread from sticking to the pot when baking.  I do this to save on parchment paper.  Retrieve the dough from fridge and shape the dough gently into a ball, place it inside the pot, seam side downwards.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Sprinkle rice flour on top and make a score on the surface of the dough.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After 40 minutes, Remove cover, and bake for another 40 minutes at 220C.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

After baking, remove the bread from the Dutch Oven immediately, and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.  Store unfinished bread in an airtight container to prevent crumbs from drying out.

Tartine Sourdough Country Loaf // Mono + Co

Enjoy!

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Origami Bookmark With Tray Liner

Origami Bookmark With Tray Liner // Mono + Co

These origami papers are not what they seem.  The Minion themed tray liners from a popular fast food restaurant are too pretty to be recycled into paper pulp.

After trimming them to square sheets, I proceed to turn them into bookmarks.  Catching up with a novel or two is a great luxury during the school holiday, so these will definitely come in handy when left on the coffee or bedside table.

Origami Bookmark With Tray Liner // Mono + Co

I folded these bookmarks with instructions here, here, and here.

Origami Bookmark With Tray Liner // Mono + Co Origami Bookmark With Tray Liner // Mono + Co

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Green Monday : DIY Bath/Foot Soak

Green Monday : DIY Bath/Foot Soak // Mono + Co

After a while, the habit of reading food ingredient label will automatically extend to the body care product section.  With more beauty trends focusing on naturally derived ingredients, I also started making some for my own use with very basic recipes starting with bath and body products.  It’s tempting to stock up on a variety of ingredients to keep up with the huge range of diy bath product recipes available online, but I am determined to stick to what I already have.  Apart from a few types of essential oils, sweet almond oil, and castile soap that I bought last year (Yes! All these lasted me that long!), I got the rest from my kitchen pantry: honey, baking soda, raw sugar, sea salt, coconut oil, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, etc.  I am very tempted to buy some bentonite clay, but that will probably have to wait until I finish up my jar of store-bought clay mask.

I always tell my friends that they will get a lot more bang for their buck if they make home spa products at home.  Since I am making these products for my own use, chance are I will be super generous with the key ingredients such as honey or olive oil, food grade, no less and sometimes even organic.

I made this “Rosebuds + Himalayan Pink Salt + Epsom Salt” bath soak for a recent vacation and like it so much that I made more back home as a foot soak since I don’t have a bathtub. For this soak, I used a mix of Epsom salt and Himalayan salt, with more of the latter since it is the cheaper of the two.  The rose buds from floral tea section were honestly more for aesthetics purpose, to have an entire bathtub of water smell like rose tea, I will need way more than the 30+ buds that I have added here.  If you have a favorite essential oil that you like, add a few drops of that instead.  The addition of rosebuds is a nice touch if this is put together as a gift.

Green Monday : DIY Bath/Foot Soak // Mono + Co

This 300g bottle of bath/foot soak took me less than 5 minute to diy and cost less me than $2.  Make one for your regular home spa treat, or pack this in your luggage to soothe your aching muscles at the end of the day!

Here are some interesting links that I referred to when I decided on the Epsom and Himalayan salt mix, with some common precaution to note when taking bath soak:

// 2-salt combo mentioned here, here and here as a detox bath

// a pretty gift idea

// Epsom salt with baking soda, also for detox

// precautionary notes here state that Epsom salt are not recommended for patients with high blood pressure or severe varicose veins

// benefits of Epsom salt, and Epsom salt baths here

// or detox with just Himalayan salt

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