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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Little Herman - Sweet Starter

Herman starter seems to be a very easy to cultivate and versatile type of natural yeast. It does not need daily feeding, and can be harvested on the 10th day after cultivation. I think the main difference between sourdough natural yeast and Herman starter is the high amount of sugar and milk used in feeding the natural yeast. During the cultivation period, only needs to keep the Herman Starter in room temperature (around 30°C).  I learned from other Herman cultivators that it can be used not only in bread, but also cakes, pancakes and even meat dishes.  The Herman starter helps to tenderize meat before cooking, and thickened soup or gravy. Sound interesting right?  That's why I'm jumping on the Herman Starter bandwagon too :)

Sharing with you the growing process of my Little Herman ...

Day 1 (15.10.17)

I used about 1 tbsp of natural yeast/ sourdough* 100% hydration, 1 tbsp each of plain flour, whole milk and fine fine sugar to start my Little Herman ;

* other cultivators used commercial yeasts to kick start the cultivation process.

Natural yeast 100% hydration: 21g
Unbleached plain flour: 9g
Cold Whole milk: 18g
Fine sugar: 17g
Total: 60g

Most importantly, do not use metal spoon to stir the Herman Starter!

Little Herman starting to grow ...
I think the Little Herman took about 6 hours to double itself on the first day.

18 hours after ...

Day 2 (16.10.17)

Only stirring was required. Lots of tiny air bubbles was observed throughout the day.

Day 3 (17.10.17)

Only stirring was needed.
Tiny bubbles appeared throughout the starter and day.

Just after stirring :)

Day 4 (18.10.17)

Add 2 tbsp each of all purpose flour and milk, and 1 tbsp of fine sugar to the Little Herman. To accommodate the growing Little Herman, I transfer them to a 600ml bigger container.

Herman starter transferred: 52g
Unbleached plain flour: 18g
Cold whole milk: 33g
Fine sugar: 17g
Total: 120g

Mixed all the feeds before adding to the Little Herman.

Little Herman doubled in volume after about 6 hours.

Little Herman at 17th hour after feeding.

Day 5 (19.10.17)

Only stirring was required. The Little Herman tasted sweet and a little tangy, plus a nice fruity alcoholic smell.  It is constantly very vibrant. I saw it rose and fell throughout the day. It is always filled with little air bubbles :)

Before stirring


After stirring :)

Day 6 (20.10.17)

Feeding day again for my growing Little Herman :)
Feeding these 3 ingredients to Little Herman:
Unbleached plain flour: 18g
Cold whole milk: 33g
Fine sugar: 17g

Stronger Little Herman took about 4 hours to double itself. In previous feeding, it took about 6 hours to double itself.

Before feeding

Getting all the feeding ingredients ready

After feeding

"Little Herman please grow faster, I want you to help me raise the dough" :)

7 hours after that morning feeding, I stirred the Little Herman to check whether it would double itself in two hours.

 After stirring

Little Herman doubled itself in two hours. I can use it to bake now :)

Little Herman in Bread Baking

I used 130g of Little Herman in my Sweet Bread and

Keep 32g to start another round of Herman cultivation.

After kneading with 250g unbleached bread flour, 105g water, 45g sugar, 1g salt, and 30g salted butter. Recipe in courtesy of Lily Lua.

Let the dough stood in room temperature (about 30C) for 90 minutes before keep in the fridge for 14 hours of overnight proofing.

Day 7 (21.10.17)

14 hours after refrigeration - unlike sourdough or commercial yeast, the Herman dough seemed like totally stop working. It looked the same as 14 hours ago :(

After 90 minutes of thawing, I divided the Herman dough into 9 portions, shaped and arranged in a 20cm square pan to proof in room temperature for about 3 hours 30 minutes.

3 hours 30 minutes later

Proof in a warm oven for 30 minutes.

Baked in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 17 minutes and lower to 150°C for 3 to 5 minutes, at lower rack of the oven.

That's wrap up my Little Herman chapter :)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Berries & Seeds Butter Cake

Moist and velvety butter with mixed dried berries and seeds :)

Pan size: 25x10x6.5 cm loaf pan, narrow base
Baking temperature: 150°C for 50~55 minutes, increase to 170°C for 5 minutes


All ingredients in room temperature.
Using 55g Omega 3&6 eggs

150g salted butter, softened but not glossy
90 g fine sugar

3 egg yolks

150g all purpose flour
3g baking powder, about 3/4 tsp

35g milk
10g lemon juice
15g organic rice malt/golden syrup/condensed milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg whites
pinch of salt
30g fine sugar

30g mixed berries
1/4 tsp rum essence, optional


1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Or, coat the interior of the loaf pan with butter and sprinkle some flour at the base of the pan.  Set aside.

2. Collect about 30g of mixed dried fruits and seeds. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them into smaller bits.
I bought this packet of organic dried fruits and seeds from Fairprice Finest Organic Food section.

Mix the dried fruits and seeds with 1/4 tsp of rum essence. This step is optional. Set aside.

3. Mix top flour with baking powder. Set aside.

4. Cream the softened butter with 90g of fine sugar till pale and fluffy.  
I whipped the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes using a hand whisk.

5. Blend in the egg yolks, one at a time.

6. Add in 1/2 of the sieved all purpose flour with baking powder flour mixture from Step 3.

7. Mix in the milk,

lemon juice,

 golden syrup,

as well as the vanilla extract.

Sieve in the balance flour mixture and mix well.

Cover with a lid and set aside.

8. In a clean and dry mixing bowl, add pinch of salt to the egg whites.

Beat the egg whites will frothy, and gradually add in the 30g fine sugar.

Beat the meringue till almost stiff peak.

9. Fold in the meringue to the butter batter from Step (7) in a few additions.

10. Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bang to level the top of the batter.

Mix the remaining 1/3 of the batter with the dried berries and seeds prepared at Step 2, Pour the batter over the top of the earlier batter

11. Bake at middle rack of a preheated oven at 150°C for 50~55 minutes, then increase to 170°C for 5 minutes or till an inserted cake tester came out clean.

12. Transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack and rest for about 10 minutes before lifting out the cake to cool down further.

13. Cut the cake and enjoy 😋