Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy mid-autumn festival day (and how to shape a baguette)

Yup, it's that time of year again.

When the green leaves are losing their chlorophyll.... and the air is just a bit chillier than the day before.....

And when in a few months, many of us in the northern hemisphere will be heavily insulated, donning thick winter boots, wielding a shovel and scraping their way slowly towards the damned driveway.....

And when those lucky ones on the other side of the world (or are about to move/travel to the other side of the world like sister Sandy soon) are chuckling at their TVs because we've made it on the news for the snowstorm of the decade: "heh heh,... suckers...." (well, that's what I would be thinking)

But despite the decrease in sunlight and the cooler air, I'm looking forward to being outdoors and enjoying the vibrant reds and oranges and yellows. And smells of cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and pumpkins and squashes. Sipping scalding hot hot chocolate (yes, I like beverages that cause me third degree burns) and a good book (Just finished Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits - very fun read)

We celebrated the Chinese Mid-autumn festival this past weekend strolling along the river and absorbing the good weather, cooking, baking, and eating greater volumes than usual. 

Salmon were swimming upstream to spawn and die and 2-2 discovered that the river is deeper than her height when she galloped right in (rudely disrupting the salmons' one chance to procreate) and sinking and being dragged downriver, realized that she could doggie-paddle after we desperately beckoned her and were just one hair short of plunging in after her. I believe that is a run-on sentence.

But you can hear how anxious I am from just recapping what could have happened to 2!

To add to the excitement, we bought some Taiwanese mooncakes and pineapple cakes on which to gorge after our very non-traditional moon festival meal of cashew curry and whole wheat baguette.

The white one is made with a flaky pastry that I wish I could describe in more detail but I have no idea how they made it. Pretty sure it involves some pork fat though....

The inside is a sweetened melt-in-mouth mung bean paste that's probably equivalent to eating a side of pork belly. And on moon day festival, let's embrace as much pork belly as we can!

The golden squares to the right have a fragrant and sticky pineapple filling and a traditional Cantonese style outer soft shell. Both were deeeelicieux.

The cashew curry was very good and unfortunately, another one of those recipes I cannot reproduce. (No measurements recorded, no ingredients jotted down - my notebook has been very empty lately).

However, the whole wheat baguette has been tried, tested, and true.

If you don't have specialized bread baking equipment, using stuff around the house is often just as good for producing a handsome looking baguette.

I used some bamboo sushi rolling mats to prop up the sides of the dough. You can also use long paper towel rolls or trimmed wrapping paper rolls as well. Tuck these under the aluminum foil and press the foil tight against them.

Roll out your dough after the second last proof and gently lay him in the groove. Let him have a final proof inside an oven (with a cup of warm water if the climate is dry and cold). 

Make sure to remove the bamboo mats/paper rolls before baking.

The chilly fall weather isn't so bad when there's these babies baking in the oven. Enjoy the beautiful fall everyone :)


  1. Your baguette bread looks perfect my friend :D
    And it's so cool that you can celebrate an autumn festival - who doesn't love the wonders of red leaves, and perfect temperatures!

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. That baguette is beautiful! Love your creativity too Jen! And Fall is so pretty in Michigan too!

  3. You're baguettes are so yummy., you, and Richin should open a cafe lol! A cafe that has a corner to sell my jewellery, and you bread :P

  4. mmm The wheat Baguette looks beautiful and I bet your house smelled wonderful too. I love baking bread, sometimes just so my house can smell like a bakery. :)

  5. Oh it's that time of the year already? Love moon cakes! And what a clever idea for shaping baguette buns! :D

  6. Congrats my friend, I have given you The Beautiful Blogger Award :)
    Check it out here:

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. CCU: Thanks Uru, the bread seems to disappear faster whenever it's rolled out into that baguette shape for some reason (perhaps subconsciously while cutting up the bread, my hands think that 4 baguette slices equals 1 loaf slice ;)
    And thanks so very much for the Award! Very honoured to be amongst the good company :)

    Abby: Michigan is only a short distance away from Toronto so I can imagine you are also experiencing the same seasonal changes - bring on the pictures!!! haha ;)

    Quirky Owl: Hi Vanessa! Thanks for dropping by my blog! Yes, let's open up a bread/jewellry duo shop - for me, it just makes perfect sense!

    Oishii: You said it girl! If only they made that kind of perfume..... haha :) Thanks for visiting!

    NQN: Midautumn festival just kind of snuck up on a lot of us this year! Happy (very) belated mid-autumn!

  8. Lovely pictures! The trees are so beautiful this time of year, aren't they? I can smell that bread baking. It looks perfect for dipping into soup!