Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Brioche Loaves

Remember I said that I love to eat brioche?!

So, the other day, I decided to give it a try, making one.

The recipe that I used is from Joanne Chang - Flour cookbook.
pic: amazon
I am not sure whether this is how her recipe should be, but mine turned out more of a cake texture than the usual bread/cake sort of texture..

Anyway, if you're like me who loves eating brioche and want to give it a go! Here is the recipe.

All you need are:
(makes 2 loaves)
2 1/4 cups (315g) plain flour
2 1/4 cups (340g) bread flour
3 1/4 tsps dry yeast or 28g fresh cake yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (82g) sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (120g) cold water
6 eggs
1 cup plus 6 tbsp (310g) unsalted butter, room temperature (cut into 10-12 pieces)

All you need to do:
1 - In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the plain flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, cold water and 5 eggs. Beat on low speed for 3-4 minutes or until all comes together. (Stop mixer if needed to ensure it's mixed properly). Once it has come together, beat on low speed for another 3-4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

2 - On low speed, add butter one at a time, mixing each until it disappears into the dough. Then, continue mixing for another 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important to ensure all butter is mixed properly, if need be, break up dough to help butter incorporate.

3 - Once butter is incorporated, turn up speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes or until dough becomes sticky, soft and somewhat shiny. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start but will eventually turn smooth and silky. You should be able to hear the dough making a slap-sound. Test the dough by pulling at it, it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter then dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces, continue mixing it for another 2-3 minutes until more gluten develops. It is ready when you can gather it all and pick it up in one piece.

4 - place dough in a large bowl and cover with cling, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let it proof in the fridge for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. At this point, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

5 - To make 2 brioche loaves, line the bottom and sides of two 9x5inch loaf pans with parchment. Divide dough in half and press each piece into about a 9-inch square. The dough will feel like cold, clammy Play-Doh. Facing the square, fold down the top 1/3 towards you and then fold up the bottom 1/3, as if folding a letter. Press to join these layers. Turn the folded dough over and place it, seam-side down, in the prepared pan, repeat with the other.

6 - Cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for 4-5 hours or until the loaves have nearly doubled in size. They should have risen to the rim of the pan and be rounded on top. When you poke at the dough, it should feel soft, pillowy and light. 

7 - Pre-heat the oven to 180degrees C. 

8 - Whisk remaining eggs in a small bowl and gently brush the tops of the loaves.

9 - Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the tops and sides of the loves are completely golden brown. Let cool in the pan on wire racks for 30 minutes, then turn the loaves out of the pans and continue to cool.

* Don't halve the recipe, as there won't be enough dough to engage the dough hook. 
* Bread can be stored tightly wrapped in a plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Happy baking! :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sweet Findings


I can't believe that my puppy; Cooper is 19 weeks old already! I remember the time when we first brought him home. He was unwell, but he recovered really quickly! Cooper is a pure bred beagle, if you don't know. He is smart, cheeky, playful, naughty and such a darling! He loves SOCKS!

Ooops...sorry for going off topic... *grins*

Did you discover anything interesting this week? I have! Here are my sweet findings for the week!

1 - Oh NUTELLA! Want to make a Nutella Brownie with just 2 ingredients? It's SERIOUS! Or....if you prefer another way....
pic: thekitchn

pic: serious eats

3 - Looking for something to make for afternoon tea? Check these tiny palmiers! Aren't they cute?
pic: elephantineblog

pic: foodrepublic

5 - Love Waffles? Here's 10 waffle topping ideas for your Sunday brunch! 
pic: passionatemae waffles recipe

Sweet Findings (Before)
Sweet Findings (Next)

Happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to create a dessert?

Show of hands who loves desserts?!!

pic: veja.abril 
Want to know how to create a dessert?? Thanks to the experts from the book "Cooking with Chocolate - Essential Recipes and Techniques", here's how.

"Creating a dessert involves using your heart, your imagination and your senses. A successful dessert of your own creation might conjure up a childhood memory, evoke a flavour, emotion, aroma, colour or shape that is meaningful to you and that will convey something to others."

pic: valrhonaprofessionals

Give it a try, maybe if we follow these 7 tips, we can be our own Willy Wonka!

1 - Your priority must be delicious food
Your creation should not elicit more questioning than pleasure. A dessert may be intriguing and awaken the desire to discern its various flavours, but this should never overpower the simple pleasure of tasting it.

2 - Remember to stay simple
Remember the old adage of the importance of leaving well alone. Sometimes, one is tempted to accumulate the ingredients rather than work towards a harmonious, balanced creation. It's important not to confuse complexity with originality. Try to limit yourself to three different flavours or five, at most, so that each one can be clearly defined.

3 - Work on the architectural aspect
An architect would never construct a twenty-story building without a foundation. Bear in mind when you construct your desserts. Logic dictates that you work from the most solid layer, at the base to the lightest at the top.

4 - But why play by these "technical" rules
Our love for certain ingredients might tempt us to dream up a nut nougatine atop a creamy, melting chocolate mousse. But stop! Take into account the mechanical reality. When you cut your dessert, you'll crush the mousse completely. It's quite simple all you need to do is place the nougatine between the sponge base and the mousse.

5 - Try creating a surprise 
Be audacious! Combine unusual and unexpected flavours. Create surprises with complementary textures and flavours - a hot soufflé with a cold sorbet, or a sour passion fruit jelly accompanied by a milk chocolate mousse for a note of sweetness.

6 - If at first you don't succeed, try, try again
Another well-known adage, and true in the kitchen as well. If you don't get your dessert right the first time, it's not serious. Roll up your sleeves again, pick up your spatula and whisk and try again, rectifying an errors you might have made. It's not often that a professional manages to get it right the first time either.

7 - Combine technique and imagination
A successful dessert is the result of a fine balance between ideas and technique. When you have learned the basics, you can give free rein to your imagination. Technique is indispensable, but it provides only the foundation and the tools for your creativity.

pic: amazon

This book has so many beautiful recipes filled with AMAZING photos. These recipes - Homemade Pralines to a Bittersweet Chocolate Panna Cotta with Thai-style Lemongrass Foam to Manhattan Cappuccino sounds delicious! 

Seriously, even if at the end of the day, you don't make anything from the book, this book seriously makes a very good food porn coffee table book!

Happy creating! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweet Findings


Seriously, today was so windy, my hair was blown in all directions! Definitely not a very good day to wear a skirt or a dress. I hope you've been keeping warm too. 

Let's check out this week's sweet findings. Do you love to read? I enjoy reading novels, especially novels that has recipes or anything about food! Though I have not tried the recipes from the books below, I sure enjoy reading them.

1 - Have you read Jenny Colgan's collection? "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe" or "Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams" or "Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe" ? I love these books. Below you can see she has other titles too. You've got to check it out yourself.
 pic: jenniferjoycewrites

2 - How about Tracy Madison's "A Taste of Magic"? Seriously, I was hooked! 
pic: goodreads

3 - "If only everything in life was as simple as baking a cake...", written by Cathy Woodman; titled "The Sweetest Thing" is another one to read.
pic: floortoceilingbooks

4 - How nice it would be if you are part of "The Cookie Club"? Check out this number by Ann Pearlman.
pic: booktopia

5 - Don't forget to also add this novel to your list, called "The Saturday Supper Club" by Amy Bratley.
pic: chicklitchloe

You can get all these books from Book Depository. Free Shipping! :)

If you have novels that you've read or would recommend, please share in the comments section. 

Sweet Findings (Before)
Sweet Findings (Next)

Happy Reading! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Recipes to Stay Warm this Winter

It has been pretty cold the past few days. How have you been keeping warm?

I have compiled a short list of recipes that you can make this winter!

You can use any stale bread - croissants, brioche, bread, buns. That's the beauty of it.

Oh My...looking for something STICKY? Try this pudding! It has just the right amount of sweetness and it is oh so MOIST!

Chocolate always warms the soul, so why not make some puff pastry. Those flaky crispy pillows, still hot and filled with delicious-ness.

Soup is good for you too...let's go for a sweet dessert soup to finish off the meal, shall we!

Happy Hump Day! :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sweet Findings


Can't believe that it is already WINTER! July is here! Have you all been keeping warm? I sure am, but there are days where it is just so freaking cold! Just the other day, I was wearing flats..and I could feel that some of my toes were frozen, it was so cold! Bad move! Not too sure why I did that, as I normally wear boots in winter.

Ok, let's talk about this week's sweet findings...

pic: joythebaker

1 - Love bananas? Great! Love Peanut Butter? Great! How about some chocolate too? Yes! Joythebaker has done it again! Quick check out her Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons, this is surely on my to make list!


2 - I know it is winter, but let's still have ice cream anyway! This is such a great idea, to make your own ice cream drumsticks! Too cute! Emily from CupcakesandCashmere shows us how. 


3 - How pretty are those pictures from CallmeCupcake? Great food styling photographs, don't you think so? 


4 - Such a smart way to organise your junk by using an ice cube tray! Thekitchn has really good tips and tricks when it comes to the kitchen! 

5 - How do you tell it's good Chocolate?! While you're at it, why not try making these Totally Chocolate Chocolate chip Cookies

Sweet Findings (Before)
Sweet Findings (Next)

Have a good weekend! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Questions from dear readers: Part 1


I have been meaning to do this for a while now. I have been receiving lots of emails asking me questions about myself and my blog. Here are a short list of compiled ones. I will be answering more questions as we go on.

1) What is my favourite thing to bake?
I love eating cheesecakes, so that would be my GO-TO item to make, but I enjoy making cookies too.

2) Where do you usually get inspiration in your baking?
I wrote a post on a few of my favourite food blogs that I check out for inspiration. 

3) How often do you blog a week?
At this stage, just twice a week, every Wednesdays and Fridays. Recipes , randoms and Did you know? are usually posted on Wednesdays while Sweet Findings will be on Fridays.

4) Where have you done your field work as a pastry chef?
I have worked in La Renaissance and Adriano Zumbo. Now I am solely dedicated to Passionatemae. 

5) How often do you usually bake?
If I'm lucky and really in the mood, I may bake every second day...otherwise once a week :) When I first started my blog, I used to bake EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

6) Are you planning to post up any videos on recipes or bake-alongs on your blog?
Yes, once I get my nerves sorted out. I will surely do :) Meanwhile, I am figuring out how to film myself and which gadgets to use. 

7) There are a lot of yummy goodies on your blog and your social media (Facebook, Instagram), do you take orders at all? Can I actually order goodies that I find on your blog?
Yes, you can order any goodies found on my blog or social media, or if you have something else in mind, feel free to shoot me an email -

8) Where do you usually buy your books from?
Book depository is where I usually buy my books, they provide free shipping worldwide and the books are priced well. I use a tool online; Booko, which compares book prices from various online sources. 

9) What made you start Passionatemae?
It all started in 2008, I was bored with my job and needed to find another way to channel my energy. I started Passionatemae so that I am able to access my recipes or tips online anywhere and anytime, without having to bring my notebook with me everywhere I go.

10) Are you planning to branch out from your baking?
Indeed, besides baking, I love cooking, fashion and home decor! dogs. Have you seen my puppy?

11) What do you usually do during your free time besides baking?
Besides spending time with my husband and puppy, you will find me shopping online or looking at ideas on home decor.

12) Where are you based?
I am based in Sydney, Australia.

13) Was going to Pastry school worthwhile?
Yes, it was, as I got to learn about the science behind all things baking in pastry school. It helps me to understand better why things are done a certain way.

14) If you could eat anything everyday, what would it be?
Hmm...that's a tough one...but I know I love eating BRIOCHE! So, I would say that. It is so versatile, you can do so much with brioche!

15) Which is your favourite cookbook?
It is hard to pin-point one...but my current favourite is Flour by Joanne Chang. Otherwise usually I will look at Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart, Chewy, Gooey, Crispy and Crunchy Cookies by Alice Medrich and Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.

More questions to be answers next time! Thank you for sending in all your questions. So keep sending in your questions to me via my blog, social media (Facebook & Instagram) or email me at

Happy Hump Day! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies promised! Here is the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. This is one AWESOME cookie! And do you know WHY? uses "pretty much" a WHOLE JAR of PEANUT BUTTER! Yes, that's right! That's a lot of peanut butter! But hey, it is called peanut butter cookies, right?

I always come back to this recipe as I really like the texture and flavour of this cookie. It is really light, similar to a shortbread kind of texture and the flavour, YUM! it is just like eating peanut butter on its own, but in a COOKIE!

Okay, without wasting anymore of your precious time....I present to you my all time favourite Peanut Butter Cookies recipe....adapted from Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery!

p/s: this recipe requires at least 3-4 hours stand time or if you can wait, best results would be OVERNIGHT! :)

(makes about 50 cookies)
All you need are:
1 cup (228g) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (220g) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (454g) chunky peanut butter
2 2/3 cups (375g) plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

All you need to do:
1 - Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy on a stand mixer. (It would be good to scrap down a few times to make sure that everything is mixed properly, repeat this throughout the whole process)
2 - Beat in the eggs (I did mine one at a time) and add in the vanilla extract too. 
3 - Beat in the peanut butter until well combined. 
4 - Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Slowly add flour mixture into the batter, scraping down as you go.
5 - Rest the dough in the fridge overnight covered for best results (or at least for 3-4 hours).
6 - Next day, pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C. Scoop about 1 truffle size ball of dough (I used a small ice cream scoop) and place on baking tray. The recipe says to flatten the dough a little, I did not do this and it still turned out fine.
7 - Bake for 16 minutes or until it is slightly golden on the sides but still soft in the middle. Let it cool on cooling rack. Keep in air-tight container.

*this recipe makes a fair bit of cookies, so I kept the remaining unbaked scooped cookies in the freezer until future cravings. There is no need to thaw the cookies or add extra baking time.

Happy Peanut Buttering!! :)