Wild yeast raisin mountain loaf with molasses


I haven’t had time to update my blog in a while as all my time was taken up with all the things happening back in Japan, with the elections, the Olympics and other bad news…

Now I need something to cheer me up so I am back to my blog and baking!

First, I wanted to share this recipe – it’s my favourite raisin bread.


I used molasses instead of sugar for this bread as it gives you a really nice dark colour, extra richness and depth of flavour.

A generous knob of cultured butter melting on top of a thick slice of this raisin bread is just heavenly. It smells gorgeous when toasted!

Raisin loaf with molasses

450g of high grade/strong flour

8g of salt

a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove powder

9g (1 tbsp) of powdered milk

180g of wild yeast starter  [40%]

37g of molasses [8.2%]

150g of milk *

100g of almond milk *

55g of water *

*liquid is 305g in total  [68%] you can replace almond milk with any kind of milk

45 g of unsalted butter [10%]

180g of raisins (soak in warm water for 10 min and drained)


  • Put all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the butter and the raisins. Knead for 15 min.
  • Add the butter. Knead again until the dough becomes shiny. (app. 5-10 min)
  • Add the raisins. Combine them well into the dough.
  • Cover the dough with cling film or a wet tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 4 hours. (until it doubles in size)
  • Divide the dough into three. Shape it into balls.  Rest the balls for 15 min covered with cling film or a wet tea towel.
  • Shape each ball and put it in a loaf tin. (I’m sorry I can’t explain well without the photos! Search “how to shape mountain loaf” and you can find a lot of web sites explaining.)
  • Let it rise in a warm place for 1.5- 2h until the dough fills 80% of the tin.
  • Preheat the oven to 200℃, 20 min before finishing the final rise.
  • Spray water on the dough generously and bake it in the oven at 190℃ for 30-35min. (In the last 15 min, you might need to put foil on top if the top starts to get too dark)

Bagels bagels bagels!!


Bagels! Yes I love them. I really do. But I haven’t made them in a while. Maybe it’s because of the many steps involved. But once you start it’s actually not that bad and I do enjoy it. And with bagels you can really enjoy experimenting, playing around with the dough and fillings and toppings.

This time I made simple ones for sandwiches. Whole meal bagels with LSA powder (Linseeds, Sunflower seeds, Almonds). I was going to put some linseeds on top but I completely forgot. I do this sometimes, completely forgetting to sprinkle the toppings.  After boiling the bagels, you need to be quick to put them in the oven. So after boiling them, all I am thinking about is putting them in the oven… quite literally! You could also say I am simply forgetful. 🙂


This time I made sandwiches with some prosciutto, avocado and carrot salad. The carrot salad gives you crunchiness and freshness and cheering colour to your sandwiches.


Also, I made chocolate bagels with cranberries! These are mini size so I could have two  for snacks. Maybe I should have rolled the chocolate chips inside, instead of mixing it with the dough. I was worried when I was boiling them that the chocolate might stick out and melt, but it was ok. The cranberries worked better than I expected. I love a bit of sourness in sweets. For these, I used the apple yeast which I blogged about in the previous post! It did a great job. I am not sure I could taste the apple though.



<Bagels with LSA>

210g of High grade/ Strong flour

30g of Whole meal flour

10g of LSA (linseeds, Sunflower seeds, Almond powder)

3g of Salt

8g of Honey

80g of  wild yeast starter   [30%]

50g of lukewarm water and 80g of soy milk  [52%]

Method :

  • Mix all the ingredients and knead well until it’s smooth.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm place until it nearly doubles. (You can skip this process if you wish to get firm bagels, I sometime skip this when I eat bagels straight from the oven)
  • Divide the dough in four (mini-size six) and rest them for 20 min under cover.
  • Shape the dough into bagel shapes. Let them rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours. Make sure they are covered to prevent them from drying up.
  • Preheat the oven at 190℃.
  • Boil 2L of water in a wide pan or frying pan with a teaspoon of sugar or honey. (once boiling, turn the fire down to medium heat, and bring the water down to a simmer)
  • Boil the bagels upside down for 30 seconds then turn them over, for another 30 seconds.
  • Quickly place them on the baking sheets and put them in the oven. (When you have topping, sprinkle on top)  Bake it for 18 min at 190℃.

<Chocolate and Cranberries bagels>

240g of High grade/ Strong flour

10g of unsweetened cocoa powder

15g of brown suger

50g of lukewarm water and 80g of soy milk  [52%]

80g of  wild yeast starter   [30%]

Method : the same as the bagels with LSA

This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.

Mini baguette sandwich for mini people.


I made these mini baguettes for my mesdemoselles’ school lunch. They love baguettes, especially my older one. I added a little bit of butter in the dough to make it a bit softer for them, but I didn’t find much difference to be honest. Maybe I didn’t add enough? I think my normal baguette recipe is better after all.

This time I made “Tandoori chicken with roast peppers sandwich”. This filling is great with hard (not soft) bread.



I like using a couple of different coloured capsicums, it’s so cheerful and delicious  for the eyes.


Tandoori chicken and roasted peppers sandwich

some baguettes (recipe is here!) for sandwiches

some green salad

for the tandoori chicken

4 chicken thigh fillets

2 tbsp of unsweetened natural yoghurt

1 or 2 tsp of curry powder

1 or 2 tsp of tomato paste (tomato sause)

1/2 tsp of salt

some cumin powder

some coriander powder

some cardamon powder

some chili powder or flakes (I didn’t use this as we have little people)

1 tsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of grated garlic

1 tsp of grated ginger

Method: Stab the chicken thigh fillets a few times with a fork. Put all the marinade ingredients together and marinate the chicken for a few hours. Grill the chicken until it’s cooked through.

for the roast peppers

1 capsicum or 1/2 of two different coloured capsicums (sliced)

1 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste

Method : Heat olive oil in a pan, add capsicum and saute them for a couple of minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.


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.