It was an exciting day today. Singapore's General Election 2011. Why is it exciting? Because it was one of the those GE where we had 82 seats in Parliament being contested out of 87 seats. Singapore was going through a major change.
During the day time, we had some of the kids over. Another historical moment, my son invited 2 girls and 1 boy for lunch. The last time he had girls invited over was when he was 7 years old, a bunch of kids on his birthday. Anyway, it was interesting to see how my son interacted with opposite sex, as he moves into his early teens.
We were anxiously waiting for 9.30pm when the news will start the GE2011 coverage. Therefore, since I have to be up till 2pm, I decided to bake a bread that can be completed within that time frame. Of course, none other than my favorite Italian Feather Bread.
At 8.30pm, I started mixing the ingredients. Throw all the dry ingredients together, create a hole, add in the oil and water. This dough is so easy that it comes together very easily. When I didn't have a handheld device, I had to knead for quite a while to get it together, but with my handheld device, I just had to stand there for about 5mins, the dough pulled together and tear away from the sides easily.
Still in the big bowl, did a few kneading, use a cloth to cover, set a aside for half hour. I went to watch my TV. 9pm. I went to look at the dough, it had relaxed, absorbed all water nicely, I gave it a few knead in the bowl again. Set it aside for another 1/2 hour. 9.30pm, my Channel News Asia started on the GE coverage. It's only the beginning. I gave the dough a few knead in the bowl again. Take it out, and tighten it into a ball. Put back into the bowl and cover with the cloth lightly. This is set aside for 1 hour. My kitchen was warm, and the dough rises more than double after 1 hour.
The GE 2011 was getting boring because nothing much was happening. The votes will only be released earliest 11pm.
Taking the dough out, I cut into half. Fold each piece of dough into oblong shaped. Set aside for 5 minutes. The dough relaxed a little. Taking each of the dough, flatten it lightly without bursting the bubbles. Fold 1/3 each like a baguette, and fold in again and roll to tighten the dough into oval shape.
I had two baskets that were floured well and put each of the dough into the basket. 11pm and quickly I set the dough aside, waiting for the voting news to be out.
While waiting for the news on TV, we were frustrated because the news was slow to come. We quickly went into the website, twitter, facebook to check for results. Indeed, they were faster in releasing the news. It is even more exciting because we get to hear from the ground the emotions. Channel News Asia needs to improve their ground coverage.
I think the first result was released at 11.30pm. At 11.45pm, I turned on my oven to preheat. I forgot that something was wrong with my oven. There was no light. It seems to heat up though. I decided to go ahead using the highest heat - 250 degree celsius. I put in the thermometer. After 1/2 hour, the thermometer read 150 degrees celsius. I don't have another oven. Had no choice but to go ahead. I had to wait for another 1/2 hour, I put the dough into the fridge.
After 1/2 hour, I had water boiling, in my oven there are 2 pieces of lava stones in a metal container being heated up. I poured the boiled water onto the stone to create steam. One of the dough was transferred onto my floured peel, score the dough and put into the oven immediately. I'm suppose to use 210 degrees at 35 minutes, but with my oven not well heated, at about 180degrees, I decided to go for 50 minutes.
The other dough was left in the fridge. As the GE results releases, I took a quick peek at my dough. Without the internal light, it was difficult to see whether things look ok. Anyway, trusted my instinct and my nose. There was fragrance. At 45 minutes, I decided to open and check the dough. It was a nice golden brown. Using the dough thermometer, the internal dough is slightly above 200 Fahrenheit. (I bought this from US, it uses different metrics). It's ready. I decided to remove it from the oven.
The 2nd dough went in after the same preparation as the 1st dough.
The results of the GE was getting exciting. Lots of twitter news, and facebook exchanges. The TV wasn't too exciting other than showing the statistics.
By 2am, my 2nd dough was ready. It was a nice golden brown. I set it aside to cool.
2.30am, the final announcement was made. My husband and I continue to discuss about the results till 3am. There were upsets and there were cheers for victory as the results. Just like my bread making, there are horrible moments and there are some good moments. I can only say, this is one of the good moments I had, at least the bread turns out well risen, soft and fluffly.
700g Bread Flour
66g Olive OIl