Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bertinet’

Fougasse was one of my earliest breads – the shape being the first one taught in Richard Bertinet’s Dough.  It’s very quick to make with yeast, as it doesn’t require a second rise, although I’ve only had limited success making it with sourdough.  Like many flatbreads, it seems to rely on the speed of bakers’ yeast to give it a quick spring in the oven.


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Richard Bertinet’s Dough presents a very persuasive argument for baking bread at home.  Over a two-page spread, it describes the difference between a typical shop-bought loaf and one made at home.  Here’s what it says:

Shop-bought loaf typically contains:

  • wheatflour
  • water
  • yeast
  • wheat protein
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • dextrose
  • soya flour
  • vegetable fat
  • emulsifier E472e (mono- and diacetyle tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids)
  • flour treatment agent E300 (ascorbic acid)
  • preservative calcium propionate (to inhibit mould growth).

Home-made loaf contains:

  • flour
  • yeast
  • salt
  • water

That was enough to convince us to start baking our own bread in 2006.

Now, three years on, we know where every ingredient in our bread comes from – our flour is Australian grown and processed in Kevin Sherrie’s state of the art mill; our oil is extra virgin cold-pressed from cousin Andrew’s olives.  We buy Australian sea salt and control the exact amount we use, making our homemade bread about 30% less salty than supermarket loaves.  Our sourdough leaven is constantly being renewed, providing us with crusty, low GI loaves two to three times a week.  Additionally, baking bread satisfies my creative urges, and instills a rhythm and cadence in our lives that I find particularly comforting.

All this for a total outlay of 65c per loaf, about $4.50 a week.  Can you see why we just can’t bring ourselves to buy commercial bread anymore?

If you’d like try baking your own bread at home, you might find our Bread #101 Tutorial useful.  There are also lots of recipes on our Bread page. Have fun!

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Still playing with sweet dough, I baked these bacon slices from a recipe in Richard Bertinet’s Dough (have I convinced you to buy this book yet?  It’s bread-life changing..)

Step 1: Make up a batch of sweet dough.  You’ll only need half for this recipe, so use the remainder to make some pain viennois as I did, or fry it up into doughnuts. Or make a double batch of bacon slices…

Step 2: After the dough has risen for the first time, turn it onto a lightly floured bench and divide it into two.  Using just half the dough, roll it out to about 5mm (3/8″)  thick, then cut it into six 12cm (5″) squares.  Put the squares onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly square – mine were a bit wonky but they still turned out fine.

Step 3: Spoon a tablespoon of béchamel sauce into the centre of each square, then fold the opposite corners in to meet at the middle.  Lay a piece of bacon over the top of each slice, then cover with another sheet of parchment (to stop it sticking) and a tea towel.  Allow to prove another 45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 210C (with fan).


Step 4: Brush a beaten egg all over the dough, then sprinkle a generous pinch of grated cheese over the top (Bertinet recommends Gruyère or Emmenthal, I used Picasso sheep’s milk cheese).  Reduce the oven temperature to 200C (with fan) and bake for about 15 minutes until puffed and dark golden brown.


Note: Bertinet recommends making béchamel sauce with 25g unsalted butter, 20g plain flour and 150g full cream milk.  This makes enough sauce for six bacon slices.  The sauce doesn’t include any grated cheese, but it would have made a nice addition.  Season with salt and pepper before spooning it onto the dough.

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I hate wasting food (as I’m sure you know by now), so I was very chuffed with this recipe from Richard Bertinet’s latest book Crust.  He mentioned it in his first book, Dough:

“I love bread and butter pudding – such an English thing! However we do something similar in France, which we used to do in the bakery to use up all the leftovers at the end of the day: croissants, pain au chocolat, you name it, everything would go into a big mixer with sultanas, creme anglaise and some alcohol, until it became a thick paste, which we would bake for about 2 hours, cut up into portions and then dust with sugar.  It tasted fantastic.”

When the recipe appeared in his second book, how could I resist trying it?

Actually, it’s more a process than a recipe.

Firstly, gather together all the bits of bread, cake and pastry floating around your kitchen.  I had chocolate sweet dough rolls, some pain viennois, a few slices of sourdough bread and a sliver of yoghurt cake.  Bertinet says that you need a good mix of pastry and bread to make this work well.  All up you should have about 500g of baked leftovers.  Break all of these up and put them into a large food processor, then blitz them until they’re broken up and grainy.

Tip the crumbled mix into a large bowl with 200g sultanas (I suspect any dried fruit would work), 5 tablespoons of rum and 300g pastry cream (if you’re making the pastry cream from scratch, make a half batch).  Stir well to combine.  Mine looked a little dry (I was a tad short on the pastry cream), so I added a splash of pouring cream as well.


Turn the mixture into a lined baking tin – I used an 8″/20cm square  that was probably a bit too large.  A smaller pan will give you a thicker pudding consistent with the photo in Bertinet’s book.


Bake in a preheated 175C fan assisted oven for 35 – 45 minutes, until the top is crisp and well browned.  Allow to cool, then dredge with icing sugar before serving.

Note: given that the original description mentioned “creme anglaise”, you might be able to substitute microwave custard for the pastry cream.


I absolutely adore the French mentality of never wasting anything!  Pete loved Le Pudding and I’m completely charmed by the idea that it will change every single time I make it, depending on the baked flotsam of the day.  This particular incarnation tasted like a cross between boiled fruit cake and bread and butter pudding!

Sigh. I think we might have a crush on the Frenchman. Even Pete commented, as he picked up his third piece of Le Pudding, “Richard has never let us down, has he?”

. . . . .

Since my first draft of this post, I’ve made this recipe again, this time in a 7″ square pan.  It was completely different (but equally as delicious), because my leftovers this time included the apricot danish I’d made on the weekend, some leftover pound cake and a rye sourdough loaf.  I love how flexible this recipe is!  I made a half batch of pastry cream as I didn’t have any on hand – but it took only a few minutes in the microwave.

pud 007

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Here’s what was waiting for Big Boy when he came home from school today.

I’d made pain viennois à la Richard Bertinet, using a recipe from his wonderful book Dough.  This after school treat is traditionally served with a stick of chocolate;  in this case a bar of tempered Callebaut 70%.  It was a surprisingly delicious combination.

If you haven’t tried this sweet dough recipe, I hope the photo will encourage you to give it a go.  It’s a very useful addition to your bread baking repertoire.  Our jam doughnuts were made from this dough, as were the hot cross buns we made at Easter.  Because it’s not overly sweet, the dough can also be used for savoury items – Bertinet’s book includes recipes for a bacon slice and croque monsieur, both based around this recipe.

Pain Viennois

  • 500g bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 7g fine sea salt
  • 40g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 2 large (59g) eggs
  • 250g full cream milk, at blood temperature, or UHT milk, unrefrigerated

Note: UHT milk has a long shelf life and is purchased in cartons from the supermarket shelf.

1. Whisk together the dried yeast and bread flour in a large, wide mixing bowl.  Add the salt and sugar and whisk in well.

2. Add the unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, then rub the butter into the flour mixture until well crumbled.

140609 006

3. Add the eggs and milk, then mix together with a spatula until it forms a shaggy dough.  Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Note that this recipe uses two eggs – the photo below was from a double batch.

140609 009

4. Knead the dough until smooth.

5. Oil the scraped-out mixing bowl, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).

6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently fold it onto itself. Divide the dough into five pieces, then shape each piece into a long roll.  Place the baguettes on a tray lined with parchment paper, allowing room to spread.  Brush each roll with two coats of beaten egg, before making several deep cuts diagonally across the top with a razor or sharp knife.  Preheat the oven to 200C (with fan).


7. Allow the dough to prove for second time until puffed up, then bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until dark golden brown.  The finished baguette has a brioche-like quality and can be used for a variety of sweet and savoury applications. Make sure you try one stuffed with a good quality chocolate bar!

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