Friday, July 07, 2006

Home-made & Healthy

This article came out in The Star (Star Two) on Monday, 26 June 2006.

Home-made and healthy

Malaysian roti was once something like the Ford Model-T which, said car-maker Henry Ford, was available in every colour, as long as it’s black. Similarly, there was just one variety of bread: fluffy white with crusty brown top (also known as roti Bengali), best savoured as toast with a slab of butter and kaya, at a kopitiam.

But today’s bread is no longer just a filling way to start the day. It has become a gourmet experience, with specialty breads being created by chefs in fancy bakeries and patisseries. Bread-making has also been embraced by many households in the quest for that home-made loaf, especially with convenient breadmakers in the market.

EVER since Chan Hui Min purchased a breadmaker last year, she has not bought bread from the stores.

“Once you’ve tasted home-made bread, you won’t go for other breads. My son Adam does not eat any store-bought bread,” says the 38-year-old mother of two.

Chan has two favourite recipes – oatmeal and wholemeal honey bread. She also swaps recipes and ideas with her good friend Angelia Ong.

Ong, 33, first started baking her own bread six years ago when she bought a breadmaker from Australia.

Then she stopped after giving birth to twin boys, James and Joshua, now aged four. However, after her third son Kieran was born, she took it up again.

“We’ve put in more effort to have home-cooked food for the kids. I try to give them wholemeal bread, sometimes with raisins.

“They like the flaxseed variety because it has a nice balance between white bread and wholemeal in terms of texture,” says Ong, who keeps store-bought bread in the freezer for emergencies.

Both Ong and Chan buy pre-mixed flour from their regular baking shops.

“I’ve tried mixing different flours on my own but just couldn’t get the right combination,” says Ong, a freelance writer.

Nutrition is obviously a priority for these two mothers.

“What’s important is what goes into the bread, plus the great smell that fills the house after baking,” says Chan, who works part-time for the Instant Café Theatre Company.

However, Chan indulges in the traditional roti bakar (or roti “Bengali”) once in a while. “But it’s hard to find that nowadays. When I do see them, I tend to buy a loaf for the sake of nostalgia.”

Baking and cooking are also important family activities for Ong and Chan.

“Both my twin boys help with the baking and cooking, which is good for their fine motor skills.

“Also, if it’s raining, the kids get cranky when they cannot go out, and it’s great to bake together even if all they do is just pour water in,” says Ong.

“Cooking together gives us many wonderful moments to treasure. The children love to eat the bread in the morning because they had a part in making it,” she adds.

I do not claim to be a breadmaking expert. Only with the help of a breadmaking machine that I'm able to make decent bread! Here are my family's favourite recipes for homemade bread. The recipes were adapted from recipes I found on

Oatmeal Bread
Original recipe yield: 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours
Ready In: 3 Hours 5 Minutes
Servings: 12


* 1 1/4 cups fresh milk
* 3 cups bread flour
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon active dry yeast


1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select White Bread setting, and Start.

NOTE: On my Kenwood breadmaker, the setting is No. 2 (Large white)

Whole Wheat Honey Bread
Original recipe yield: 1 - 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours
Ready In: 3 Hours 5 Minutes
Servings: 12


* 1 1/8 cups fresh milk
* 2 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 cup bread flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
* 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


1. Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat setting, and then press Start.

NOTE: On my Kenwood breadmaker, the setting is No. 4 (Regular Wholewheat)

Adam and Laura will tell you the bread made with those recipes are fluffy and yummy. There is a secret ingredient which I will not post. Email me if you want to know...


Blogger me said...

hey, the post after your diet one, you talk about food again *grins*. i'll try your receipe cos i have this bread machine that i have not "hoi cheong". but what is the secret receipe. so secret one ah? keeping for when you intend to open a bakery, is it? LOL.

10:29 am  
Blogger XMOCHA! said...

the secret recipe is a big spoonful of motherly kisses right?

11:37 am  
Blogger Min said...

me aka lenglui and xmocha, baked with love is one of the secrets lah LOL However, in this case, it's the flour to use. I find the bread made with bread flour/high protein flour from the supermarket - Cap Wau or something like that in gold packaging - isn't so fluffy. Try buying high protein flour from the market. I found a good one in Pudu Market.

1:26 pm  
Blogger chih said...

Thanks for sharing the recipes.They look really healthy and no fuss. I will give one of them a go one of these days... my bread machine has been sitiing too long in the pantry!

4:30 pm  

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