Natural Yeast Starter – photos



Finally I took photos! There we go, this is how I make starter using my previous liquid yeast.

Day 1 :  Sterilise a glass jar (I use a coffee plunger glass) by slowly pouring some boiling water from the edge.  Mix 120g of whole meal four and 100g of liquid yeast in a bowl and put it in the jar.

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Cover with cling wrap and leave it in a warm place until it doubles up. (approximately 5-6h depending on the ambient temperature)

5-6 hours later ↓


Once it doubles in volume, put it in the fridge till the next day.

Day 2 : Take the starter into a clean bowl, add 150g of high grade/strong flour and 80g of lukewarm water and mix it by hand until just combined. (no need to knead. It’s ok if it’s still a little bit powdery and lumpy.)  Put the starter mixture back in the jar and leave it covered in a warm place until it doubles up.


5-6 hours later ↓


When it doubles in volume, put it in the fridge till the next day.

Day 3 : Put the starter into a clean bowl, add 50g of high grade/strong flour and 25g of lukewarm water (flour 2: water 1) and mix it by hand until just combined. (no need to knead. It’s ok if it’s still a little bit powdery and lumpy.) Put the starter mixture back in the jar and leave it covered in a warm place until it doubles up.

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5 hours later ↓


When it doubles up in volume, put it in the fridge till the next day.

Voila!! The starter develops more in the fridge and is ready to use!


You can keep feeding this starter and keep it going for a couple of months. Repeat the day 3 process every 2-3 days or when using the starter to make bread.

My little helper – I always use a whiteboard marker to mark the glass jar. It’s much easier to see how much the starter has developed. Very useful item for my bread making. 😀



Wild Raisins Yeast – photos


I made a new batch of wild yeast using raisins and this time I didn’t forget to take some photos! I wrote how to make wild yeast starter in a previous post “Organic Prune Yeast”  but I didn’t have pictures. I think the photos are really helpful for those of you who have never made wild yeast – I was really unsure when I made wild yeast for the first time.

Raisins are the easiest dry fruits to make wild yeast from. But make sure you have “non oil-coated” raisins. You can check at the back of your raisins package. If it says “sunflower oil” (or any kind of oil) on the ingredients list, that’s oil coated. If you can not find non-oil coated raisins, you can use other fruits. You can also use fresh fruit (ex. apple, pear etc) – it’s a bit more difficult but you can try. Just add a tea spoon of honey or sugar when you use fresh fruit.

Day 1  :  Add 240g of lukewarm water and 80g of raisins (without oil coating nor preservatives) [water 3: fruits 1]* in a sterilized glass jar. Leave it in a warm place for 3 to 10 days (it depends on ambient temperature), shaking it a little and opening the lid every day at the same time. I do it in the morning. (I check the smell as well.)

* I used to put (raisins 3: water 1) by mistake and now I correct it. I apologise to those of  you who tried to make this raisins yeast with old post!!


Day 2 :  Raisins start float a little. Smell hasn’t changed much.


Day 3 : Half of the raisins are floating. It smells sweet. (If it smells unpleasant, that’s bad. The smell should never be unpleasant.)


Day 4 : When you shake the jar and open it, it will pop or fizz as you let out some of the gas, like when you open a beer. Lots of small bubbles. Smell like sweet wine. Yeast has developed! I keep it out for one more day.

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Day 5 : Without shaking the jar, you can see all the rasins are floating on the water. It’s ready to use. You can keep this in the fridge for up to one or two months.

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Next time I will post lots of photos showing how to make the starter (leaven) from this liquid yeast.

I hope you find this helpful!

Apple raisin cinnamon rolls


The other day I had a raisin cinnamon roll at a cafe near our place. It was so fluffy and rich and tasty and sweet. That made me crave cinnamon rolls for a little while. I wanted to make them by myself and tried to copy their yummy rolls. I used my brioche dough for these rolls. Lots of butter and milk and eggs. Yeah, it’s rich. But don’t worry, I am not going to eat them all by myself and not going to make this that often. So it’s ok….

I also added diced apples with raisins just because I had a lot of apples left in the kitchen.

Oh, they turned out to be super yummy rolls! Rich but not too heavy and sweet but just sweet enough for my taste!


Apple raisin cinnamon rolls  (makes 9 rolls)

250g of High grade/ Strong flour

125g of Wild yeast starter (leaven) – recipe here

4g of Salt

25g of Brown sugar

162g of Milk plus 1 Egg

75g of Unsalted butter


1 Apple (chopped in small dice)

Some dry raisins (soaked in hot water for 10 min, drained)

some softened butter to spread

some Cinnamon powder and sugar to sprinkle

some sliced almonds


This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.

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.

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.

Sunday Brunch Pancakes


Sunday! We woke up later than usual as it’s the school holidays here in NZ. I was holding my medemoiselles off as long as I could so we could have brunch. I made wild yeast pancakes (recipe here) again as it’s super easy in the morning.

I made the pancake batter on Saturday night just before going to bed. Leave it at room temperature overnight. Then next morning, you have fluffy airy batter all ready to cook.



I made corn and silver beet saute and crispy bacon, green salad to go with it. Of course, we had home made chocolate sauce, cream cheese and some fruits for sweet teeth.  🙂  These pancakes are very fluffy inside but not too light. I highly recommend them to those who make their own yeast!