Friday, December 30, 2011

Wholewheat Cranberry Oat Scones


the very first thing i decided to bake with the new oven were scones. my parents love scones and i started making them after i picked up Okashi's cookbook. awesome recipe. simple, and can be prepared beforehand.

the original recipe states to first cube the butter, mix it with sifted flour and baking powder and leaving it in the fridge overnight before working on it the next day. that's what i usually do as well. but with my flu and having picked up a bag of wholewheat flour + oats recently, i decided to do my own alterations to the recipe and i still can't decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. instead of just preparing the flour and butter, i prepared everything such that all i needed to do this morning was roll out the dough and cut the scones out. this was an attempt to give my mom some freshly baked scones in the morning while secretly adding some oatmeal and whole grains into her diet (which she hates). and it didn't work anyway because she rushed off before the dough softened enough for me to handle. so much for waking up at 7ish am. i was REALLY tired but i woke up for her anyway. :<

the scones came out A LOT flatter than it should and i cannot figure out why. could it be the effect of oatmeal in the scone? being an avid eater of oatmeal, i am acutely aware that oatmeal has an amazing ability to absorb moisture and liquids. so i was afraid that it'll affect the texture of the scones, hence reducing the amount of flour used. or could it be BECAUSE of the reduction that led to the flat scones? or is it because i did everything before hand and left the dough overnight in the fridge? because this morning when i took it out, they were hard. the dough was hard. which was weird because it was really hard to handle last night. okay confusing.

point is, i think the butter, egg yolk and milk effectively solidified in the fridge such that i had to leave the wrapped dough out for almost 30 minutes before being able to handle it. in the process, did i over handle it? is that why?? (over handling scone-dough will cause gluten to develop which is undesirable because you'll get flat, hard scones) --> my scones were just flat, not hard.

ugh!! i'm more convinced it's because of the oatmeal. after reading a couple of oat scones recipe and analyzing the pictures, i realized most oat scones or oatmeal foods are flat.. okay not completely flat. just that they don't rise as well as normal scones, the scones i'm familiar with. perhaps it's because they're gooey and have the tendency to stick together, hindering the dough from rising.

maybe i was too ambitious by adding BOTH wholewheat flour and oatmeal. heck i even wanted to use both raisins and dried cranberrys.

OR was it the oven?? i used the traditional oven mode to play safe first before venturing into the pastry oven mode on the second batch - which rose slightly higher but still flat. i'm not that convinced it's the oven because of reasons stated above - the fact that most bakes with oatmeal seem flatter than normal.

ah whatever it is. here's the recipe.

Wholewheat Cranberry Oat Scones
adapted from Okashi's sweet treats made with love, with modifications.

150g Pastry flour (i used top flour + HK flour because i ran out of top flour)
50g Wholemeal flour
(original recipe calls for 220g pastry flour)
30g Oats
Milk + Egg Yolk to make 110g
80g Butter, cubed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
30g Castor Sugar
Cranberry (handful)

1. Sift flour and baking powder together. Place butter and flour together in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge overnight.

2. On day of baking, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Pulse butter-flour mixture together with sugar and salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
4. Add egg yolk and milk mixture and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

PhotobucketPhotobucket4. Add cranberry/raisins.

(i wrapped it at this stage) Photobucket

5. place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly. roll out to a thickness of about 1.5-2cm


6. Cut out as many rounds as possible and brush with milk. (when cutting rounds, make sure you don't twist to get it out as this will affect the scones from rising nicely.)

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until scones are golden brown. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack.
8. Serve warm.



sigh. so flat i sandwiched it with butter for my dad.

taste-wise was ok (actually i couldn't taste anything i could only feel the texture cos of my medication) and dad had 4 scones in one sitting while i had 3. ahh. at least they'll clear faster and i can experiment again.^

update 31/12: not buttery enough. think the oatmeal overpowered the butter. DON'T USE PASTRY OVEN MODE FOR THIS - turned out dry and browns slow.

Rowenta OC7891 Review - New Oven, New Adventure.

okay. after so long i'm back at blogger. the thought of starting an entirely baking-based blog had been lingering in my head for the longest time and with the new oven, i was inspired enough to start this. although the new semester's starting really soon and i'll probably not have enough time to commit completely here, but it's a good way to save recipes i really like and my experienceswith them since i don't really have a good memory. ^^

so this is my very first oven. a moulinex. this model doesn't exist anymore i should think. tried googling but seriously nothing came up. it has served me well for the past ten years or so (I'M NOT OLD I JUST STARTED BAKING YOUNG) and it STILL works fine but i need a better oven for some of my baking purposes. so mom, after much consideration and encouragement from my grandma, decided to get me a new oven.

so we headed down to Best Denki and was recommended Rowenta as 'producing the best ovens in the market right now'. it was strange because after much googling, there was close to zero information on Rowenta ovens and even the website itself didn't indicate that they produced ovens at all. -.- the few reviews on other webpages indicated that instructions and stuff came in French?? so honestly i didn't have a great impression. the saleslady however, told me that if i had any problems i could email this certain person who will forward me all the things in english, which eventually was unnecessary because the stuff did come in english after all. albeit the lack of a recipe book (because it was in French and i guess there's no translation for that).

okay so. Rowenta ovens come in three different models. the OC383, OC7868 and the OC7891, ranked from with OC383 being the least expensive and OC7891 being the most expensive. the difference between the first and the later two would be more distinct with an additional cooking mode for the later two and having 2 grids instead of one. the difference between the OC7868 and the OC7891 seems to be of lesser significance. the latter is white and has an additional steaming function which claims to retain moisture (i guess it's true) and allows for slow cooking, doesn't allow nutrients/moisture and whatnots to be lost and yada yada. initially i wasn't bought over by it. i mean, i already HAVE a steamer. why do i need an additional one? and the difference between this and the middle model is a whole hundred dollars. my parents were neutral and left the decision to me. as we enquired however, the saleslady successfully convinced my parents that the steaming function was awesome and talked them into getting this. i'm okay. i mean, i'm not the one paying and it does't hurt to have an additional function. i believe it does retain moisture considering that it doesn't have any gaps to let the steam evaporate so essentially the steam in the cocotte (or so they call it), the steaming tray thing, is just circulating within the glass tray. so it probably is better. remains unseen and untested as yet but should we start using it (i believe my dad will), i will update.

it wasn't a bad deal overall, we paid about $759 or so when the original price is $899, plus it came with freebies (which we had asked for). a baking tray and a dry/wet vacuum cleaner on top of a free fan because we paid using posb debit card. actually the freebies with an additional oven thermometer were only meant for the middle model. i think i looked super disappointed after we decided on the better model and found out it didn't come with anything so the lady said since there were spare stocks for those, she threw it in free for us as well ^^. so yup.

the comparison between the new and old oven. it is like HUGE. and i felt mildly deceived because it really is a whole lot bigger than it seems. there's this like additional back protruding brain thingy at the back of it so it's not really an oblong shape. but it's awesome because my previous oven was so small a lot of trays couldn't fit so i couldn't use certain trays and i always had to do many batches because it was only one level. so the capacity is definitely a couple times larger. (38L to be exact). and it's apparently really precise with variation of only 5 degrees. i mean it's digitalized so i guess it really is meant to be precise. looking forward to shortening my baking time with this hugeass oven. :)

one thing that makes me slightly uncomfortable is the various cooking modes. in my case there's 5. traditional oven, grill, bottom heat with fan, bottom top heat with fan, and i don'tt remember the last one. they also have pre designed cooking programs that has preset settings (28 programs for mine). for instance baking meringues. you can pick that particular program which is probably the optimal setting/baking environment for perfect meringues. there's the low temperature cooking and bread proofing, raise and bake auto function etc..

so it's quite confusing for someone who has always been using the traditional oven like me. and the temperatures. i've been using my traditional oven long enough to know what makes it tick. so i guess it's gonna take some trial (& errors :() in this case to get to know this new oven. 180degrees celsius for my previous oven may not have really been 180. but it worked fine for me. so now.. 180 degrees for the new oven.. HM.

and when to use the various cooking modes?? will it work the same way?? they say this is the pastry function but i used the normal traditional oven previously it worked fine. GOSH. okay. let's see how it goes.