Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bacon Epi Bears Recipe

I had so much fun making these Epi bear buns filled with bacon and cheese.  It is play dough time for me :)  This is my lastest addiction besides making plain bread for breakfast and our tea snack.  Shaping animal characters with the bread dough is so fun and I can't wait for the next play dough time.  There are many more characters that can be shaped with the bread dough and I feel like a kid again :p  And once again I say...practice makes perfect...these bear are not so beautiful as the one made by the original baker , a far cry in fact if compared with the original ones.  I did not have mini sausages at home when making the bears , thus I used the extra dough to make the ears and nose :p  .  Hubby said I am creative enough and he chomped down the row of bears in one sitting...LOL!  I am happy that he likes the taste of the buns ...of course, it is filled with bacon and cheese..his favourites ! Though the bears don't look cute but they taste good :)  Practice makes perfect...this is my first try anyway LOL!

I love kneading the dough because it gives me satisfaction
when it turned out nice :)  leave to proof for 1 hour

after 1 hour , poke a finger into the dough and if the dent remains
then it is then ready for use

visual steps

my epi bears are ready for baking :)

when they were taken out from the oven 
was " oh gosh ! they looked too cute to be eaten !"

they dont look like epi bears but more like grizzly bears
just the same, the taste delicious !

Bacon Epi Bears Recipe - adapted from


250 gm bread flour
155 gm lukewarm water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp instant dry yeast

4 slices of bacon
some grated cheddar cheese ( or cheese of your choice )

For eyes
toasted nori seaweed * I use chocolate - melted

For ears
sausage  * I replaced with dough
dry spaghetti - to attach the ear

For noses
toasted nori seaweed, sausage * I replaced with dough

1.  Measure the ingredients . Sieve the bread flour into a mixing bowl.  Add water, salt, black pepper and dry yeast into the flour.  Stir till well combined and knead a little. Take the mixture out and knead on a floured counter surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes just enough for the dough to become smooth.

2. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cling wrap and place in a warm place and let it proof till double its size.

3. Floured a surface.  Gently take out the dough onto the floured surface and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

4. Take one portion , roll out the dough and fold the dough, so that the top and bottom to meet at center of it.  Close it firmly as if you were pasting it together. Place the seam facing the bottom. Do the same with the other portion.

5. Leave the two pieces of dough to proof for another 15 to 20 mins . Cover with a damp cloth.

6. Roll out the dough into a 10cm X 24cm rectangular.  Make sure that both horizonally and vertically the size allows for two strips of bacon to be placed on it.  Wipe off water from the bacon and place 2 strips of bacon on top of the dough.  Place grated cheese on the strip of bacon closer to you.

7. Start rolling the dough beginning with the side that is closer to you towards the other side, as if you were pasting it together.  Place the roll with the seam facing the bottom on lined baking pan. Repeat same with the second dough.

8. Leave the rolls to proof a second time till it doubles in size. ( cover with damp cloth )Right before baking, mark the dough at 6 different spots with your fingers. Then cut the dough on those spots using scissors and pull them lto the sides alternating left and right. Preheat oven to 230 C and bake for 18 minutes.

Cut the sausages in round slices of about 0,4 inches and fry in a frying pan. While the bread is still hot, break the spaghetti in pieces of an appropriate length and use them to prick the sausage slices. These will become the bears' ears.
Please use the spaghetti without boiling them. If you prick the sausages when the bread is still hot, they will absorb some water, which will make them easier to eat.
let them cool down on a rack. 

Note: If using dough for the ear and nose, attach them to the bear face before baking. You can hop over here  for  clearer illustrations .

Enjoy !

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Homemade Extracts And Flavoring For Baking

When you have a bottle of Vodka and it has been sitting in your cupboard for sometime, what do you do with it? Yes, you can make your own extracts and flavorings for your baking. As for me, I bought a bottle of Absolut Vodka back from the duty free liquor shop at Changi Airport just for this purpose. I have been wanting to try making my own vanilla , lemon and orange extracts from the day I started baking, but never had the opportunity to do so until recently I was given some Madagascar vanilla beans from my brother who stays in the States and my dear friend Gertrude of My Kitchen's Snippets.  Homemade extracts taste much better than store bought ones and easy to make too. I just have to add a few drops of the extract into my cake batter and the aroma lingers .

Yesterday, I did a second batch of vanilla extract and I took the opportunity to also make some orange and lemon extracts  as I do not want to keep the already opened Vodka  for fear that the alcohol might evaporate or lost its taste if unused for a long period :)  A bottle of 1 liter Absolut Vodka ( Sweden made ) can made 4 bottles of extracts of these size as shown in the picture above.  To make good quality extracts, make sure to use good quality vanilla beans and a not too low grade alcohol as it will affect the taste of the end product. You can use Vodka, Rum or Bourbon.  Making your own extracts guaranteed quality extracts.  Not cheap as the price of vanilla beans and Vodka are expensive over here in this part of the world :p  So happy that I can make my own extracts and flavoring from home :) You can do it too !  Not hard to make and I will have a whole year supply of quality extracts for my baking !

 Soak and wash 2 Sunkist oranges (USA) and 3 lemons (Turkey)
to remove wax coating, wipe dry them with the kitchen towels
before using

Madagascar Vanilla Beans - split open extract more flavor
oranges/lemon- use the rind and try not avoid the pith

my measurement - I filled the bottles with 1/3 of rinds for fruit extracts
and 6 vanilla beans  and fill vodka to the neck of the bottle.

I bought the bottles from Daiso..just testing it out 
and see if they are air tight as claimed to be :)

I have 2 bottles of vanilla extracts and 1 bottle each of orange and lemon extracts
to last me a year or two :)

Some pointers when making your own extracts

Getting the Right Alcohol
 You don't have to buy the top shelf stuff, but it's important not to use low-quality alcohol as it affects the taste of the end product. For some extracts, you can choose from a few different types of alcohol based on your taste.

Steeping Your Extracts 
 hile your extracts are steeping, you need to store them in a cool, dark place and give them a good shake about once a week. After it's done, be sure to remove the ingredients and strain the extract before storing it so it doesn't keep getting stronger.

Vanilla Extract

Split 3 vanilla beans and cover them with about half a cup of vodka, bourbon, or rum. Let steep for about two months.

Orange And Lemon Extract 
Using the rind of the fruit, but it's important not to include any of the white pith because it's very bitter. Cover the rind of one large lemon or navel orange with half a cup of vodka and steep for 5 to 6 weeks. 

Enjoy and happy baking with your own homemade extracts
I know I will :)