Seri Wada only got an oven space in late October. But the baguettes of the self-taught baker are already the talk of the town and sell like hot cake. Fans include Christa de Carouge, the doyenne of Swiss fashion. For the photo-shoot and interview, the dapper 43- year-old half-Japanese put on his signature bow tie and crisp white shirt.
Call me Mr Baguette My mission is to bake the best artisanal baguettes in town. My credo is information, intuition, preparation and perfection. My key ingredient is time: it takes me 36 hours from starter-dough to baguette.
My routine: I get up at 3 am and cycle to Milchbar where I can use their oven and sell my baguettes in the Kaffeelabor coffee bar upstairs. At the moment, my life is very dough-centric. But I must admit kneading the dough first thing in the morning always makes me feel instantly relaxed and at ease. It’s almost a kind of meditation. By 7 o’clock, the baguettes are ready and tomorrow’s dough and starter for the day after tomorrow are prepared. Next up, I do hand deliveries. The other night at party, a friend of mine caught me asleep in a chair.
How it all started My stomach was rumbling. I went to buy a small loaf of bread at the supermarket. It was warm and crunchy. It looked and smelled like perfect bread. But I didn’t feel like eating it. Something was wrong with the bread. It didn’t have any taste whatsoever. This was the turning point. I decided to bake my own bread from now on. That was four years ago. Around the same time, I grew unhappy with my job in finance, looking for something more fulfilling, but without much success. This March, I started doing catering for friends from the tiny kitchen of my flatshare and joined Annabelle magazine as one of their “gourmista” bloggers. Feedback was so good the penny finally dropped that my future was in baking, not banking. By the end of summer, I had the idée fixe to give it a shot as Monsieur Baguette.
My fifteen minutes of fame happened when 20 Minuten newspaper ran an article on November 25, resulting in over 10’000 clicks on my Facebook-page and interview requests from Tages-Anzeiger and NZZ newspapers. This morning, a radio station called. You can say that the baguettes have made my social life much more interesting – you get invited to parties and everyone wants to talk to you. Things just happen. No more cold-calls and hard-sells, thank goodness.
Why this passion for flour, water, salt and yeast? In the end, it means giving things more time. We tend to speed up everything. But we need to learn how to wait again. Take whiskey. Everyone is proud of owning a thirty years old bottle. For me, slow and steady wins the baking race.
How to spot the perfect baguette Not every tubular-shaped bread is a baguette. It is important the inside is light and porous. The crust should have thickness and elasticity indicating that the bread has a been given enough time to rest. The crust also packs a great variety of flavours. In Switzerland, most baguettes are made from white flour. The traditional way would be to use a French Type 65 “Halbweissmehl”.
What’s up next? My dream is to win the 2017 Concours de la meilleure baguette de Paris. You have to think big. The past months have been absolutely incredible. The baguettes have opened up so many doors and opportunities I couldn’t possibly have dreamed of half a year ago. It’s a huge motivation boost. But I want to grow organically. In January and February, I’ll focus on perfecting my baguettes. Ok, I wouldn’t turn down Tyler Brûlé from Monocle.
Order Seri Wada’s baguettes via his Facebook-page or buy at
Der Hofladen in Seefeld (Saturdays)