Olive Sourdough Crackers

Crisps, chips, crostini, crackers, toasted bread… whatever you want to call these, I’m here for it. I made these out of a olive sourdough loaf that unfortunately didn’t turn out so attractive. It was too wet and slack for me to shape – overly-ambitious me went for 85% hydration – so I took a shortcut and put it in a loaf pan.

Too dense bread

Luckily, the flavors were still excellent. I used a mix of brine-cured green Halkidiki olives from Trader Joe’s (they call it Chalkidiki) and brine-cured black Kalamata olives, and the recipe called for Herbes de Provence and lemon zest, which I always keep a jar of in my freezer. My love affair with olives had been burgeoning over the last few years and it reached its zenith with these plump and briney Halkidiki olives. I’ve never even spent time in the south of France, but I’ve spent some time in Barcelona, and the whole concoction transports me to a world where I’m sipping on some Verdejo or Xarello, noshing on charcuterie in a four-seater bar with just one guy running the whole operation.

Anyway. I miss traveling.

Olive Sourdough Crackers

  • 188 g of water
  • 250 of all purpose flour
  • 50 g of leaven
  • 5 g of salt
  • 3/4 cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 tsp of lemon zest
  1. Mix water and flour with your hands and let rest for 30-45 minutes to autolyse. This allows the flour to fully absorb the water and develop strength – if you want lofty loaves instead of frisbee disc loaves, do as I say and not as I do.
  2. Mix in leaven and salt with your hands and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test. This will probably take 10-15 minutes of continuous kneading. Do Google any/all of the above terms if you want to go down the breadmaking rabbit hole, like I have. You can knead bread a dozen ways, I’ve learned.
  3. Mix in olives, herbs and lemon zest into the dough.
  4. Let the bulk fermentation begin. Depending on the strength of your leaven, and the ambient temperature, this can take anywhere between 3 or 12 hours. When the dough has increased in size by 20-30% and a knuckle in the dough leaves an impression that takes a few seconds to bounce back, you’re ready.
  5. Shape your loaf. A boule or a batard, whatever you like. Let it go through its second rise, or the proof; this will take several hours as well. The same impression test will tell you when it’s ready
  6. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 550 F with a lidded Dutch oven or a cast iron pan in it. Remove the Dutch oven/cast iron pan from your oven, sprinkle some cornmeal or rice flour or regular flour to prevent sticking and put your bread in it. Slash your bread so it’ll have room to rise. Put bread in the oven.
  7. Bake bread for about 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 450 F, remove the lid, and continue to bake until the bread is brown and crusty, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Or if the bread reaches an internal temperature of 212 F if you have a pen thermometer
  8. Leave bread to cool for an hour or two before slicing into it.
  9. To turn into crackers, slice it really thinly, perhaps 5 mm max, and lay on a single sheet on a baking tray.
  10. Bake at 375 F for 10-20 minutes, flipping and rotating and removing crackers as they each inevitably brown and crisp up at their own rate.

Kong Bak (Braised Pork Belly/扣肉)

This dish reminds me very much of home. Braised pork belly served between slices of steamed buns were a frequent fixture of casual Sunday lunches, and I’ve found it a bit silly that pork belly buns in New York City are such a gourmet foodie item. I’ve had pork belly buns at a few places: Ippudo, Baohaus, and Jum Mum, a new bun place opened by the creators of Spot Dessert bar.

After having made this dish myself, I can now understand why people pay for it. Because making tender meat just isn’t easy. My version tastes excellent – but the texture does not melt in your mouth like Ippudo’s pork belly buns would. Did I not devour my dinner because of that? No. This contains so much nostalgia for me, and I love it. The yard-long bean and egg omelet you see is another staple in my home.

Here’s how the marinade looked like. I’m so glad I had most of the obscure ingredients: cinnamon sticks, star anise, Chinese cooking wine… I didn’t have ketchup or oyster sauce like the original recipe called for, but I used some hoisin sauce instead and I thought it was a good substitute for both the ketchup and oyster sauce taste.

The meat after being braised. Already it looks promising…

Adding the eggs was a bit of an impromptu decision – the standard would have been to boil the eggs first before marinating it, but I impulsively adding the eggs just before baking and when it was done cooking, it ended up such a beautifully coddled egg. The egg yolk was richly yellow but still a solid mass. Total mouth party.

Kong Bak (Chinese Braised Pork/扣肉包)
Adapted from Delicious Asian Food
Makes about 8 servings


1 kg of pork belly (approximately 1 feet long x 3 inches wide) – cut into 2 pieces for ease of blanching and frying)
3 eggs, lightly cracked so it’s still intact
Water for blanching
Oil for frying (semi-deep frying)


5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons white pepper powder
2 teaspoons five spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
3 to 5 cinnamon sticks
5 to 8 pieces of star anise
2 whole bulbs of garlic


Bring water to boil in wok or pot and blanch the pork belly for approximately 30 seconds. You will notice that the meat is slightly cooked and the skin is slightly toughened. Remove from water and drain. Prick the skin with the sharp end of a knife or sharp fork.

Next, heat up oil in wok and fry the pork belly 20 seconds on each side (skin side and meat side). Remove and place on a rack for to cool and to let excess oil drip. You will notice that the meat and skin is now slightly browned and the whole piece of pork belly is slightly firm.

Cut the pork belly into 1 to 1.5cm-width slices. Place the pork belly slices and eggs in a suitable container and marinade them with the marinate above for at least 2 hours or longer. Preheat the oven to 250 F 15 minutes before cooking.

After marinating, arrange the pork belly slices in a pan and pour all the marinade over it. Add some water to the pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for two hours, stirring occasionally. (Be careful not to break the eggs!)

Maple Rosemary Glazed Cashews

This is a super easy recipe for those days when you have an urge to make something but don’t necessarily want to spend all day slaving away in the kitchen. I whipped these up from raw, unsalted cashews very quickly, and I suspect that you can add whatever seasoning that catches your fancy. However, maple syrup and rosemary is a pretty winning flavor combination and you wouldn’t be disappointed to stick true to this recipe.

Maple Rosemary Glazed Cashews
Makes 8 ounces
From A Food Centric Life


6 tablespoons (90 ml) pure maple syrup
4 (about 120 grams) tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 teaspoons (about 25 grams) packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
½ teaspoon (a few big pinches) sharp paprika
1/4 ground chipotle powder or cayenne pepper, use more if you like things spicy (optional)
1 pound (454 grams) raw whole cashews (unsalted, un-roasted)
1 tablespoon (28 grams) kosher or sea salt


Heat the oven to 350 degrees (177 C). Cover a rimmed baking with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Note – what I have discovered works best is the Reynolds Release non-stick foil, even better than just spraying regular foil.
In a medium bowl, mix the maple syrup, rosemary, brown sugar, oil, and spice until smooth. Add cashews and mix to coat thoroughly.
Pour the nuts onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt. Start with the two teaspoons. Add more only if needed. Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until you begin to smell them and they are golden brown. Your timing will depend on your ovens. The nuts will crisp and harden as the cool.When they cool they will stick together. Carefully break them apart to package.

Package in an airtight container. They will keep for up to two weeks at room temperature.

Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Loin with Bacon Whiskey Gravy

Bacon. Whiskey. Chocolate. Based on my latest kitchen endeavors, I’ve found that these three ingredients are universally appealing to just about everyone, and especially when used together. I used to be a clear liquor sort of girl that scrunched her nose in the face of brown liquor, but then I started watching How I Met Your Mother and decided that Robin was the kind of girl I wanted to be and the rest is history. Simon suggested this dish to me, and I was like, fuck yeah! Let’s do this!

I trawled the Internet and found this Food Network recipe, but decided to use pork instead of beef. The pork ended up tender and juicy because it was baked instead of pan-fried like the steak would have been. We also substituted cognac for whiskey because that’s all there was available, and cognac, being a spirit distilled from wine, gave the gravy a more delicate flavor than whiskey would have. The gravy is really, really tasty, and the copious amounts of heavy cream and bacon makes it better. It’s not a terribly complicated recipe, and it’s certainly restaurant-worthy. Try it!

Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Loin with Bacon Whiskey Gravy
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 6 servings

For the pork:

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
2 1-pound boneless pork loin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed

For the gravy:

4 strips bacon, diced
1 leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whiskey (I used cognac)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves (I omitted this)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Make the pork loin: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the cocoa powder, both paprikas, brown sugar, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt; rub on the pork loin and bring to room temperature, 30 minutes. Distribute butter on pork loin and bake in a pan for 30-40 minutes.

Make the gravy: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the leek to the drippings and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the whiskey, then return to medium heat; if the alcohol ignites, let the flames die out. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is reduced by one-quarter, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the gravy coats a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in the butter, reserved bacon and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

When pork loin is done, transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Season with salt. Slice and serve with the gravy.

Bacon Bourbon Cornbread

I have been baking, but the dearth in posts lately is because I haven’t baked anything worthy of a blog post. I was inspired to make some bacon cornbread recently, but it turned out too dry and bland for my liking. I was determined to make some kick-ass bacon cornbread, and I’m so glad this current version held up. I found a recipe on Allrecipes that has stood the test of user reviews, and decided to use it as my base for the cornbread.

This cornbread is moist and fluffy with a slight gritty texture from the cornmeal, and nuanced enough with flavors of applesmoked bacon and oaky bourbon to be eaten on its own. You’re also greeted with the occasional bit of crispy bacon as you chew each muffin down.

I made a few substitutions that I believe really elevated the original recipe. Firstly, I used bacon fat instead of vegetable oil, which adds an extra layer of smokiness to the cornbread. I’ve been saving all the bacon fat from my various bacon baking experiments, and it definitely came in handy. I also used water instead of milk because I didn’t have milk, but I am of the understanding that milk’s function in most cake recipes is just to add moisture so I felt comfortable subbing it out. I also made this in a muffin pan instead of a cake pan, which meant more crisp, browned edges. Greasing the muffin pan in bacon fat also added a savory crunch to the outside of it. The best alteration was probably the addition of whiskey. I had half a cup of bacon-infused bourbon (recipe) sitting around, and decided to throw it into the mix. I had thought the original batter looked a bit dry, and I’m glad the bourbon didn’t make the cornbread soggy.

Bacon Whiskey Cornbread
Makes 12 muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup yellow cornmeal (finely ground)
1 cup milk or water (I used water)
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, lightly beat
1/2 cup of bacon-infused bourbon or just plain bourbon
1/3 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil (I highly recommend using bacon fat)
3 slices of bacon cooked till crispy, then cut into small pieces, slightly larger than 1/4 inch squares

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin tins with bacon fat.
2. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal and milk (or water) and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine with flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, bourbon and bacon fat. Stir in bacon bits.
3. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool completely on cooling rack.

Sticky Blackberry Barbecued Pork Ribs

It’s summertime, and all manners of berries and stone fruit are flooding the supermarket shelves. Growing up I was never very fond of berries. Living in tropical Singapore, the only berries that made it to local grocery stores were usually sour and very expensive, and I never developed a taste for them. Come New York City, however, they were usually cheap and abundant (and so full of fiber and antioxidants!) that I never fail to keep some berries around in the summertime.

These blackberry ribs are kind of genius. The blackberry glaze imparts sticky sweetness along with some heat from the red pepper flakes and paprika, while the slow cooking ensures that the ribs are juicy and tender. The recipe is easy enough to do; it just takes a little bit of planning and preparation before you can actually sink your teeth into them. I didn’t have a food processor to chop up the berries, so I mashed it up with a fork as best as I can and ended up with a slightly chunky glaze.

Sticky Blackberry Barbequed Pork Ribs
From The Wall Street Journal
Serves 4


2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 2-2½ pounds each)

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika

1¼ cups honey

¾ pound (about 2½ cups) blackberries

½ cup blackberry preserves

¼ cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons bourbon (or whiskey)

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes

What To Do

1. Flip one rib rack over and insert the tip of a butter knife under tough membrane that covers back of rack. Wiggle knife to loosen membrane. Grab membrane with a paper towel and pull it off. Repeat with remaining rack.

2. At least 1 hour before cooking, mix 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Season ribs very generously on all sides with spice mixture. Let ribs come to room temperature, about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, set up a grill to cook with indirect heat: For a charcoal grill, light charcoal using a chimney starter. When coals have started to ash over on top, pour them all onto one side of lower grate. This creates a hot zone and a cooler zone. If using a gas grill, light burners on one side of grill, leaving others off to create a hot zone and a cooler zone. Or preheat an oven to 350 degrees to cook ribs indoors.

4. Place ribs meaty-side up on cooler side of the grill and close lid. (Make sure vents are partly open.) Or put ribs in a roasting pan and place in oven. Cook ribs 1 hour. If using a charcoal grill, light more charcoal briquettes in chimney starter and pour on top of coals to replenish the fire. Flip ribs meaty-side down. Cook until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, make blackberry glaze: In a blender, purée honey, blackberries, preserves, maple syrup, bourbon, vinegar, red-pepper flakes and remaining salt and pepper. Scrape into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced and syrupy.

6. Flip ribs meaty-side up, brush generously with glaze and close the lid. Cook 1 minute. Brush meaty side with glaze again. Move ribs to hot side of grill and flip over. Brush underside of racks with glaze. Close lid. Cook 1 minute or until glazed and caramelized on both sides. If cooking inside, brush ribs with glaze and place under broiler until glazed and caramelized, 1-2 minutes. Season generously with salt and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Bacon Bourbon Jam

I use bourbon like how a Chinese cook uses soy sauce – a dash of it never hurts. Indeed, bourbon is such a integral condiment in my dessert-baking repertoire that I’ve decided just to keep a handle of bourbon around. Why not, right? This bacon bourbon jam is another incarnation of my recent bacon obsession. I even went out to buy a baguette for the express purpose of taking a picture for this post.

And my, this spreadable bacon is quite heavenly. It’s a complex melding of flavors and textures – sweet and savory, sticky and crunchy, smokey and woody. I used apple-smoked bacon ends and pieces from Trader Joe’s – a much more cost-effective way since the bacon is going to be chopped up, anyway. It reminds a little bit like Bee Cheng Hiang’s bakkwa, a kind of Chinese pork jerky.

Bacon Bourbon Jam
Adapted from The Delicious Life
Makes a little over 1.5 cups

1 lb bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar and it was fine)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup brewed coffee
4 tablespoons bourbon

In a large pot, cook bacon until just starting to brown and crisp at edges. Remove cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate to cool and drain off grease. Pat with additional paper towels. When cool, cut bacon into 1-inch pieces.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pot. Turn heat down to medium low. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, and coffee. Bring to a boil. Add cooked chopped bacon.

If You Are Cooking on Stovetop:

Turn down heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and what is left is syrupy. Do not leave the pot unattended because 1) that’s just not safe no matter what and 2) there is a lot of sugar from the onions and well, the sugar, so it can burn easily.

If You Are Using a Crockpot/Slow Cooker:

Pour the contents of the pot into the crockpot. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

After Cooking:

Transfer the cooked bacon jam to a food processor. Pulse until you get the consistency of chunky jam. Alternatively, you can just chop it manually with a knife until it reaches your desired consistency.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

Ham, Brie and Apple Sandwich

This is not a dessert recipe but apart from my sweet tooth, I have a great weakness for cured meats. I am especially partial to cured meats between two slices of bread. I think ham, apple and brie is an amazing trio. Brie is arguably my favorite cheese, and ham is my second-most favorite type of deli meat, the first being prosciutto. A tart apple adds crunch. What ups the ante, however, is mustard and fig jam.

Here’s how the humble ham sandwich has evolved for me. As a child, I used to eat ham and processed cheese sandwiches a lot. They were a quick and easy snack that I could make for myself. As I grew older, I’d toast the bread and the cheese, so it’d get all melty and gooey. Next, I’d use brie instead of processed cheese. Slather on fig jam onto a slice. Then I encountered The Grey Dog‘s version of the ham/brie sandwich and I was blown away. They added apple slices and applied a raspberry/mustard spread. It was a wonderful meld of savory, sweet, tart, and spicy, not to mention the creamy texture of the brie along with the crunch of the apple and the crisp, toasted bread.

The following recipe is my tribute to The Grey Dog’s apple/brie sandwich. To amazing sandwiches.

Ham, Brie and Apple Sandwich

Two slices of your favorite bread, ideally a whole wheat one or a really hearty loaf
As much brie as you want
Fig jam
Thinly sliced ham
Thinly sliced apple (I used Golden Delicious; I thought Granny Smiths would be too tart for my own tastes)

Toast (or not) the bread. Slather on fig jam on one slice and mustard on another. Apply the brie on one side. Layer the ham on top of it. Cover with the other slice of bread. Done!

Duck Prosciutto

In the summer time, New York City is rife with green markets. I enjoy meandering around green markets, exploring the kind of foods that people take it upon themselves to impart an artisanal quality to, and eating the samples that vendors put out. One of the samples that stood out in my memory was Hudson Valley’s duck prosciutto. The creamy fat contrasted with the salty flesh tasted truly remarkable. However, at $22 per duck breast, I couldn’t bring myself to pay for it. Like all good DIY-ers, I decided to do it myself.

The process is remarkably simple. Acquire duck breast (which I procured from Ottomanelli’s & Sons Meat Market at $9.99/lb, which puts the homemade prosciutto at approximately less than half price than premade), salt it, and let it hang out in your fridge for about two weeks (or until it reduces to 70% of its original weight.) There isn’t a lot of hands-on work involved, but it does require some patience and some fridge real estate.

I let mine hang for 13 days, and its final weight was 70% of the original. (1.07 lbs before, 12 oz after) It tastes quite yummy, but I do think a more complicated spice rub would improve its flavor. I merely used some pepper because I didn’t have much else. Also, it’s impossible to get deli-thin slices without a meat slicer, so I had to settle for thick-cut bacon-esque strips. A local deli might agree to slice it up for you, though. Maybe be as charming as possible and hope they succumb to you?

Duck Prosciutto
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes 1 duck breast

1 duck breast, about 1 lb
400g of salt
200g of sugar
Whatever spices you want – maybe do some research to see what goes best with duck? (I used pepper, the original recipe used juniper berries, fennel seed, white and black peppercorns, bay leaves, and coriander seeds)

1. Wash and dry duck breast thoroughly. Score the skin in a cross-hatched fashion in order to allow the cure to penetrate it more thoroughly. Weigh the duck breast and record the start weight.
2. Mix salt and sugar to create the cure and pour about 1/3 of it into a container that would hold the duck breast, allowing for space between the duck breast and the perimeter of the container. I find that a 9×5 loaf pan works well. Pour the rest of the cure over the duck, making sure to submerge it completely in the cure. Feel free to make more of the cure in the same 2:1, salt to sugar ratio if you need more of it. Cling wrap the container and place it in your fridge for 4 days.
3. After 4 days, remove the duck breast from the cure and rinse off the cure. You will find that the cure might have become watery. That is normal. After rinsing off the cure, dry it well with paper towels and rub it down with your spices. Wrap it in cheese cloth with twine. Suspend the breast in your fridge so that its surface is not in contact with anything. Let it hang for two weeks or until the end weight is about 70% of the original weight.
4. Unwrap and eat!

Chinese Bakery Hot Dog Buns

Considering the dearth of posts lately, I don’t fault you if you think I have succumbed to the stresses of school and ceased to bake. I actually have been baking.  I don’t know why I have such a persistent obsession with Chinese breads lately. Perhaps I got burnt out on making American desserts? And bread is just so much harder to actually excel at. I’ve been baking the same recipe over and over again: this Chinese sweet bread recipe from Christine’s Recipes. However, I’ve found the bread exceedingly frustrating to perfect. It employs the tang zhong method, which is a starter roux that helps the bread stays soft. However, not owning a kitchen scale, stand mixer, a non-stick pastry mat OR a bench scraper has been very trying. For one, I can’t get my ingredients down to the precise weight, which is crucial in a proportion-sensitive endeavor like baking bread. Also, hand-kneading an extremely sticky dough is near impossible, since the dough just sticks to my hands stubbornly.

However, I recently acquired both a kitchen scale and a non-stick mat (I used Matfer Exopat) and I was determined to make this attempt the best. I did some research, and apparently Chinese-style breads benefit from more kneading than you think it needs. Besides, I’d probably get too tired before I end up overkneading the dough and breaking down the gluten chains. I spent at least 30 minutes wrestling with the extremely sticky dough, training my forearm and grip strength and eventually got it to reach an elastic, bouncy texture that none of my breads have reached before. And boy, was it rewarding. This bread has the finest crumb of all the breads I’ve ever made, and it’s also quite shreddable.

I did encounter some problems with the finished goods, though. But I’m going to tell you what I did wrong so you can avoid these mistakes.

  • Pat your hot dogs dry before wrapping it in the dough. My hot dogs slid out of the bun after baking. I did like how the hot dog juices had moistened the inside of the bread, imparting a salty dog flavor to it, though.
  • When rolling the bread dough into long tubes to wind around the hot dogs, try to make the tubes thicker in the middle, tapering narrower towards the ends. It will be more aesthetically appealing.

Chinese Bakery Hot Dog Buns
Adapted from Christine’s Recipes
Makes 8 buns


Tang Zhong

25 gm bread flour
125 ml water (feel free to use milk or 50:50 milk/water; I used all water)

Mix bread flour and water in a saucepan; continually stir over medium-low heat until your whisk/spoon leaves trails in the mixture. Take off heat and let cool.

350 gm bread flour
55 gm caster sugar
5 gm salt
56 gm egg (1 large egg)
7 gm milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional – I omitted)
125 ml milk (I used water instead)
120 gm tangzhong (refer to this recipe for making tanzhong)
5 to 6 gm instant yeast
30 gm butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
8 sausages (I used Sabrett’s skinless beef frankfurters)

Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tang zhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Mind you, it’d be quite messy at this stage. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. (Tip: you might like to test if the dough is ready. Stretch the dough with two hands. If it forms a thin “membrane” that’s very elastic in texture. Use a finger to poke a hole. If the hole is a circle, not an irregular tear-off. That means you have successfully kneaded the dough to a perfect stage. Yet, don’t over-knead the dough. Otherwise all the tissues inside would be broken apart.) The time of kneading all depends on how hard and fast you knead.

Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes (Note: the time will vary and depends on the weather. The best temperature for proofing is 28C.)

Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four to six equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.

Knead each part into a long tube, about 41cm in length (it depends on how long your sausage is). Roll to enclose the sausage, with seals facing down. Place rolls on a tray lined with baking paper, covered with cling wrap or a wet towel. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 45 to 60 minutes, until double in size.

Brush whisked egg on surface of rolls. (I omitted this) Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.