Ma Baker…

That night in Kuching, after our dinner with my cousin and my aunt at this restaurant, they took us to another cousin’s house…

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This cousin is very much into baking – big time…

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– baking bread, that is…and artisan bread at that, no less!

An artisan baker needs to have the highest ability to mix, ferment, shape and bake a hand-crafted loaf of bread. They understand the science behind the chemical reactions of the ingredients and know how to provide the best environment for the bread to develop…

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That is the beauty of artisan baking. It is an art…and on top of that, a special kind of love. Otherwise, one might just as well go and grab one of those bread makers from the stores and let it do everything.

That night, she was not free to go out for dinner as she had some friends’ orders that she had committed herself to earlier so she had to stay in and bake…

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Now! Now! Hands off, Yoong! Step back! Step aside! Sorry, this is NOT for your SM fetish indulgences, I’m afraid…

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This is actually called a peel, a baker’s peel…for loading and moving the buns in the oven…

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…like how they handle pizzas. Muahahahahaha!!!!!

Anyway, back to the bread, an artisan baker must know how to combine their materials to build something strong and at the same time, delicate or elegant. Combining the raw materials in different ways will create various shapes, textures or colours. When so much thought and creativity went into it, needless to say, the finished product is something to be proud of – like a mother upon the delivery of her new-born baby.

These were her sourdough bread loaves…

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…made with all natural ingredients, no commercial yeast and no dough conditioners, softeners or preservatives, and raised with her locally-cultured levain (starter) that she has named and copyrighted as BorneanSourDo’h©, fermented and proofed over 2½ days. She makes two types – the light wholemeal-atta and light rye in two shapes – oblong or round.

She had also made these ciabatta bread that night…

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…so we were able to try some of it. They enjoyed eating it dipped in balsamic vinegar but not me – I’d rather have it with a generously-thick spread of rich, creamy butter…

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…and if you stack layers of ham and bacon on it and throw in an egg and a couple of sausages, I’d be your slave for life. Hehehehehehehe!!!!

I loved her hot-crossed buns…

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…even though she forgot to cross them. It is the tradition in the west to eat these for Easter and if I remember correctly, she said that they took her three days to make – including all the time needed to get the dough ready and what not.

Thanks, Gerrie, for the buns and for allowing us to sample the rest of your labour of love. Maybe on my next trip, we can drop by one morning for a BIG English breakfast? I’ll bring the coffee – Mui Hock’s, no less! Wink! Wink! Muahahahaha!!!

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

47 thoughts on “Ma Baker…”

  1. I love making freshly baked bread, the house smells wonderful but I don’t eat too much of it.

    Interesting to read that she doesn’t use yeast but prepares her own. I’ve do that although sometimes I use store bought yeast too.

    I’d read about preparing your own “starter” was in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Little House. I’ve read those books numerous times. Simple living, family bonding, perseverance… all great for storytelling.

    Yes, the Little House on the Prairie – everyone’s favourite tv show here during those days of black and white television. Ya…we did not have colour here then. The star attraction – Mrs. Oleson, the typical Asian mum…. Muahahahahaha!!!!

  2. wow, your cousin is a fabulous baker! Not a lot of locals enjoy doing artisan baking like your cousin does. It would be wonderful if I could smell the fragrance of the hot bread early in the morning… heavenly weih!

    Takes a whole lot of interest and devotion – all the nitty-gritty details. Definitely not for people like me – always taking shortcuts. Hehehehehe!!!!

  3. I wish I can bake bread. I know it’s not easy to bake a bread. I even had thought of buying a bread maker machine (today’s generation… all want instant. :-p) one day. Love the smells of bread. Your cousin is really an expert!

    If you do not have the time and dedication, just go and get a bread maker – throw everything in and switch it on and you will wake up to the smell of freshly-baked bread in the morning. I’m a typical Chinese – Cina Foochow…more into noodles. Hehehehehehe!!!!!

  4. Ooohh…I love artisan bread! Especially sourdough. These are rather expensive and can only get from high end bakeries. Your cousin is very talented! I wish I could bake these but it takes a lot of practice to gain that experience and to get it right. On your next trip, you better order ahead of time hee..hee…:)

    She does it for friends upon orders at RM20 each, minimum order of 3. I’m ok with bread – not particular.

  5. All the breads looks so good…

    Ya, she’s very professional…the way she does it. In a way, she is – home-based, takes orders from/through friends.

  6. Hi Art & Gerrie – what an artist we have there – looks great and I am sure tastes as wonderful – a couple of years back I had the good fortune of having tried one of her own home baked breads – yummicilious and more! 🙂

    You’re both in KK right now…but unfortunately, everything else is in Kuching. You can always place your orders when you get back to town. Edgar. Can always ask for a discount…or complimentary samples. Wink! Wink! LOL!!! 😀

  7. By the way with your title, the soundtrack to her baking should be Boney M’s famous ditty ya? 😀

    “I’m Ma Baker…Put your hands in the air…Give me all your money!!!!” Muahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! 😀

  8. No wonder you call her Ma Baker! Indeed the buns and bread look so yummylicious.. especially fresh from the oven…

    Not like the one in the Boney M song, thankfully…

  9. Thank you, truly an honour, dear cousin. Maid was asking why you were taking photos of the oven, that evening,
    And definitely breakfast/brunch, to be named The BIG STP Brunch, when you are next in town, Give a week’s notice so I can pre-order fresh button mushrooms. 😉

    No worries. You’ll have ample time to prepare for that. No plans right now unless those crazy people in the ministry decides to hop over to Kuching for an all-paid holiday and stock up on their terubok masin and kek lapis. Just imagine this – getting us over to hand over all the documents personally, certified true copes no less…and then they called two days ago, asked to scan those same documents and email to them in KL. Left them in Kuching, they said. Malaysia boleh, true and true!

  10. Very yummy bread. I believe she can have a bakery on her own if she wanted.

    Personally, if you’re in something for the money, something may go missing – it just isn’t the same. Just like blogging… 😉

    1. My sentiments exactly, Art!
      My only concern lies in whether it’s palatable for the discerning ones.

      Not me. I aim to please myself… Too bad if people don’t like. Shoo! Shoo! Scam! Go elsewhere…no love lost!

  11. Oh i LOVE sourdough!!! I will have at least 1 loaf every fortnightly when i was still in Perth, but it’s really uncommon to find a freshly baked one, but i do know an eatery in Penang bakes fresh sourdough, never tried before though

    Ahhhhh!!!! Maybe you can go and blog about it from start to finish and we can compare notes? 😉

    1. Ken, if you like, I do know of a very good home baker in Penang, and she has been baking SD since 2006. Her loaves look simply divine. Shall I hook you up?

      Hmmmm…so there is a community of artisan bakers in the country? I can imagine all getting together like bloggers.

      1. There is a small “purist” group of artisan bread bakers in the country. I know one who had a wood-fired oven built in her garden, but said getting enough firewood is a problem. I don’t see myself doing that, what with the heat, and maybe mosquitoes/flies…no thanks. As it is, I have to switch on AC for a few hours at mixing stage.

        Eyewwww!!!! That’s why I never bother about having outdoor barbecues these days – not in today’s heat, thank you very much.

  12. Wow! The way you described was like me watching the Korean TV drama series again – “Love, Bread & Dreams” where the son spent all his years perfecting breads!

    I love this type of breads by real professional bakers who treat baking business like a heart surgeon operating a patient. I remember I saw one shop in Osaka selling bomb over priced breads but many Japanese loved that shop. I think TM opened his The Loaf outlets with similar quality. Have you tried it?

    Eyewwwwww!!!!! You watch Korean dramas? No, thanks…. I wonder what has happened to The Loaf – still in business. Just the mere mention of the name and I instantly had many comments to make…but I refrain from doing so. Mine is not that kind of blog and I would refrain from name-dropping as well – especially those names.

  13. Your cousin has got the gifted talent in her and you have all the luck to taste the real thing. Oh boy!!!!..all looks awesome. 2 Thumbs Up for your cousin.

    Yes, indeed… Still haven’t had the chance to taste somebody’s kacang ma though. Hehehehehehe!!!!

    1. Paiseh!!!…Blush!!!…Blush!!!..My kacangma may not be up to your standard.

      Then I blog about it and criticise from top to bottom. Muahahahahahahaha!!!! Pressure! Pressure!

  14. Love fresh bread and the smell that fills the whole house! Wah.. this is one serious baker… and her sourdough looks to die for! bet is taste fabulous….

    Very much in demand among true-blue bread lovers, that’s for sure…

  15. OH wow artisan bread… looks so good! Very impressed.

    Ya…I cannot imagine going through all that – me and my shortcuts and my hassle-free cooking. Hehehehehehe!!!!

  16. Ahah…this is why we called the artisan bread! Impressive. Such a wonderful experience when you get to witness the whole process. Nice nice!!!

    Indeed, an eye opener…seeing it first-hand.

  17. I love Gerrie’s sourdough loaves. Would love a sumptuous breakfast with freshly baked bread one of these days. Arthur, inky hope the timing is right.

    I think plans for something during GE13 are in the works – you can drop hints all over or just gatecrash! LOL!!!! 😀

  18. Love the freshly baked bread. I m fr kch so may i know can i order fr yr cousin? Tq

    I’ve emailed you her email address – you can contact her using that to get her contact details and all the rest. She did send me her flyer…but I think I’ve deleted it already. Can’t find it anywhere now.

    1. Hi, i have yet to receive any email? Appreciate if you could email again.

      dinlanai[at]yahoo.com…and [at] = @, that is.

  19. Am pretty familiar with it; my Church would always serve hot cross buns after the Easter Vigil Mass.

    No wonder, I thought I saw a baguette and a sourdough. =) I’ll definitely melt if I’m able to have bread for my meals (and snacks).

    A baguette? Where?

  20. those gorgeous breads!!! love the smell of breads baking in the kitchen! Happy smell! Yummy smell!

    I love the smell too but when it comes to eating them, I’m carnivorous… LOL!!!

  21. Wei!! Who is corrupting who?! Heh heh, I guess…….we’re never too old for ‘toys’ or (fetish) ‘indulgences’, hahahaaa!! You’re bad! This kind of bread, I like to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, very nice.

    You too? That’s what they were all doing that night…and enjoying it so much. I’m a meat guy – I miss my ham and bacon and sausages…and eggs too. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  22. 2nd picture, the one in the red bowl.

    Looks a little like baguette; not sure if it is, though.

    It definitely isn’t one – definitely nothing like those I’ve seen or eaten before.

    1. It’s not a baguette, just a longer sourdough loaf, as per the proofing basket.

      There! I was right! Not that jakun about bread, after all. Hehehehehehe!!! 😉

  23. There’s a lot of artisan bakeries and bread nowadays! It’s the demand for higher quality and better bread I think.

    I like the trend coz I love bread. 🙂

    Your cousin’s bread looks absolutely delicious! It’s baked the proper way, in an oven, instead of a shortcut breadmaker too.

    Like I said earlier, I’m a typical Sibu Foochow – more into noodles… Hehehehehehe!!!! I don’t mind a change once in a while though but I would go for the whole works – ham, bacon, eggs and all.

  24. oh my holy!! those are very delicious bread and buns!! i love them.. i am actually a very “bakery” person, anything bakery i will rarely say no to them~~ that is why i am so fat (still) 😀

    I’m not a bread person, more into noodles…and I’m fatter – so maybe, bread is better? Hehehehehehe!!!!

  25. I am hungry now and I see the breads here, how I wish I can sink my teeth on one of the buns.

    Ah well! As long as it’s not one of SK’s buns!!! Muahahahahahaha!!!!!

  26. Actually, “artisanal” breads, are really breads the way it used to be made, before it became “industrialised” and found its way on the assembly line.

    My students used to debate on this topic in competitions: “Modernisation destroys the quality of life.” I would say there is a whole lot of truth in that…

  27. now this is something new to me, artisan breads. Thanks for sharing, and yup I agree with comments above that this is “shop” material! Good yummy stuff

    Like blogging, when priorities change and people become too focussed on making money rather than doing it out of the love for it, the quality may be affected.

  28. I love it with balsamic vinegar. Makes me feel so ‘atas’. Hahahaha.. Pathetic life I have here right?

    Wah!!! You like? Memang ada class like that…not like me. Hehehehehehe!!!!!

  29. Yummy and beautiful bread, how lucky to be her neighbour!

    I dont mind to dip the bread in balsamic vinegar, it taste as good.

    Love the wall art, so pretty.

    Wah!!! You also high class one, eat bread with balsamic vinegar eh? Hehehehehehhe!

  30. MMMm…..freshly baked bread……nice. Just like the ones my friend made.

    Oh? Your friend’s an artisan baker too? Not many of them around, I’m sure…

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