Baguette training Part 2- Tips & Tricks


Baguette training part 2!  This time I want to write about baking tips I find useful and that work.  When I tried to bake baguettes for the first time, they didn’t look like baguettes. It was just a long bread. But after a few times, trying various tips and tricks, I finally got a descent look. Those tips and tricks made a huge difference.

As I was researching how to achieve the look of baguettes you see in shops, I found a few very important points.
1) Steam
2) Position in the oven
3) The first 5 minutes

So how do you do it?

1) Steam is very important for getting those lovely cuts (coupe) in the hard crust, as well as achieving a better oven spring.

To get steam, I use pie-stones and a roasting tray. When preheating the oven, I put a roasting tray with pie-stones on the bottom of the oven. When the oven is hot enough (280℃ or higher) just before putting in the bread, I pour 1/2 a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray.

I spray a very fine mist on the bread (4-5 squirts of the bottle) just before putting it in the oven.

2) In the previous post, ‘Baguette training“, I was baking my baguettes on the bottom of the oven to get maximum heat from below. I found that by putting the baguettes on the top shelf in the oven and keeping the pie stones on the bottom, you get steam evenly throughout the oven.  It’s also easier to pour the water in the pie stones tray.

With a better positioning of the bread, I got those lovely “ears” on the bread I’d been struggling to get.

3) I’m using a gas convection oven which has a very strong fan. When I first started making baguettes, I would just put the bread in and cook away. The first five minutes are very important as the bread opens up and this determines how successful your coupe will be. My fan would blow hot air and dry up the surface of the bread too quickly, preventing it from opening up.

Now, I pre-heat the oven to a higher temperature (280℃) and as soon as I put the bread in, I turn the oven off for 5 minutes. The temperature comes down to around 220℃ which is the ideal temperature for my bread. Then, I turn the oven back on at 210℃ for the last 15-20 minutes.

During those first 5 minutes, I am usually glued to the oven door, checking to see how the bread is coming along.

I hope these tips and tricks help you as much as they did me!




This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.


Gorgonzola and Pecan Maple Pancake.



I finally tried this combination, gorgonzola cheese with roast pecan nuts and maple syrup on yeast pancakes! (my yeast pancake recipe is here) It was even more yummy than I thought it might be.  Salty and sweet at the same time.  Happy gorgeous breakfast on the weekend.  😉


This post submitted to yeastspotting

Baking cocoa bread for Chocolate rusk!


I finally tried to make chocolate rusks from scratch. I baked cocoa bread in my slim pound cake tin. It turned out to be exactly how I wanted. I was so happy when I was slicing it as it made such cute mini bread-loaf shapes!

I didn’t put much sugar in the cocoa bread, so it wasn’t very sweet but that’s ok because I was going to make rusks and decorate them with chocolate.




Chocolate rusk

<cocoa bread>

250g of High grade/Strong flour

10g of Unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp of Instant dry Yeast + 1tsp of lukewarm water

10g of Milk powder

3g of Salt

25g of Sugar

15g of Butter

170g of Lukewarm water

<for the rusks>

some sugar and butter

some dark chocolate


<Making cocoa bread>

  • Mix all the ingredients for the cocoa bread except for butter in a bread maker or a stand mixer with dough attachment. Knead it for 10min. Then add butter and knead it again for another 5-10min until it becomes shiny and elastic.
  • Put the dough in a container and leave it in a warm place for 1-2h then put it in a fridge overnight (app.8-10h).
  • Knead the dough briefly to deflate it, then shape it into a ball. Let it rest for 20 min covered with cling film or a wet tea towel.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle, make the long side a bit longer than your pound cake tin. Roll it into a long log shape.
  • Put it in the pound cake tin and let it rise in a warm place (30℃) for 1h until the dough becomes a little bit bigger (taller) than the tin. Do not let the dough dry. (I spray water on top to prevent it from drying out.)
  • Preheat the oven at 200℃, 20 min before finishing the final rise.
  • Spray water (mist) on top of the dough and bake it in the preheated oven at 190℃ for about 25min-30min.* I am using a gas convection oven. I turned off the oven when I put the dough in for 5min. Then after 5min, I turned it back on at 190℃ so that the bread can have some “oven spring”, before the hot air from the the fan completely dries out the bread.

<Making chocolate rusk>

  • Slice up the bread 1cm thick. Preheat the oven at 120℃.
  • Place the slices on a baking sheet and spread the butter/sugar mixture on top.
  • Bake them in the oven at 120℃ for about 20 min until completely dry and crispy.
  • Cool them on a wired rack.
  • Melt the chocolate gently and put some on top of each rusk, using a tea spoon.


Finger rolls / Anko-san no chigiri-pan


I made this “chigiri-pan” the other day because my favourite Japanese blogger, Anko-san, suggested to bake this bread to everyone reading her blog. ‘Chigiri-pan’ means ‘tearing bread’. These rolls are stuck to one another, so you need to tear it off when you eat. Because they are stuck together, the sides of the rolls don’t have a crust, you get soft and fluffy sides! It’s quite different when you bake rolls separately. Also when baking this way, you can put more rolls on a tray!

I realised that here in NZ you see many finger rolls stuck together at the super market bakery but I don’t think you see this so often in Japan. If my memory serves me right, bread rolls or table rolls are always individual, never stuck to each other. (I could be wrong as I have been living far away for quite a long time!)

Anyway, this bread was popular with my mesdemoiselles. So it’s good. 🙂





Finger Rolls (makes 8 )

400g of High grade/Strong flour

4g of Instant dry yeast

6g of Salt

8g of Milk powder

35g of Sugar

256g of  Lukewarm water + 1 egg yolk (Keep the egg white for brushing the dough)

40g of Unsalted butter

some Sesame seeds for sprinkle


  • Knead all the ingredients together except butter for 5 min.
  • Add butter and knead again for another 5-10 min until it becomes shiny and elastic.
  • Put the dough in a bowl and cover it with cling film or a wet tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. (1h-1.5h)
  • Divide the dough into 8 pieces and cover them and let them rest for 15-20 min.
  • Working on one at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle, fold it in three, length-ways. Fold it in half again length-ways. Seal it properly.
  • Place the shaped finger rolls on a baking sheet 1.5-2cm apart, sealed side down.
  • Cover them with a wet tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for about 1h.
  • Preheat the oven to 190℃,  20 min before finishing the final rise.
  • Brush some egg white on each roll and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
  • Bake them at 190℃ for 20-25 min.

Galette complete for sunday brunch


Sunday!!  Galettes are from Bretagne in France. A galette is a crepe made of buckwheat flour, usually savoury. When I first had galettes in France, I immediately fell in love. In Japan we say buckwheat is very good for you and I love the taste!  We eat lots of buckwheat noodles called “Soba” in Japan.

Galette is also very easy to make. You can put any left over food from your fridge as fillings. This time, I made very simple “galette complete” which has ham, cheese and egg normally but I added some spinach as well.


Galette Complete  (5-6 crepes)

125g of Buckwheat flour

3g of Salt

1 Egg

75cc of Milk*

250cc of Water (or Cider)*

*You can use only water or cider. (325cc)


140g of Ham

70g of  Emmental cheese (you can use other cheeses)

5-6 Eggs

Some baby spinach leaves (optional)


  • Mix the buckwheat flour and salt in a bowl.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl and add them slowly to the buckwheat mix.
  • Combine them well with a whisk until smooth.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight. (if you have no time, 1-2h is ok)
  • Heat a frying pan, add a little bit of oil and spread it evenly using kitchen paper.
  • Pour one ladle full of the batter in the frying pan and spread quickly to make a crepe. *
  • When the edge of the crepe gets dry, place spinach, ham and cheese on top. Make a well with the cheese and crack an egg in the middle.
  • Fold the 4 sides of the crepe to make a square shape. (as in the first picture)
  • Put a lid and cook the egg to your preference.

*Be careful not to get the frying pan too hot. If it’s too hot, the batter will harden too quickly and become chunky.

Poorman’s Orange Juice



The orange juice (I should say grapefruit?) I found in an organic shop called “Commonsense Organics” is my favourite juice ever! It tastes like a perfect mix of grapefruit and orange – as on the label, it is New Zealand grapefruit juice. The taste is strong and has a very distinctive tartness without being overpowering, still sweet. I love that bitterness you just don’t get with orange juice.

It’s not so much for kids as it’s a little bit bitter but oh boy! I LOVE it!! It’s great, as that also means no competition with the kids!!