Authentic Brioche

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Brioche can be enjoyed any day of the week. But it tastes so much better freshly baked on a Sunday morning. While the loaves were baking in the oven, their buttery scent has a way of drifting upstairs and filling the house with warmth. So nice! I wanted to bake this bread weeks ago but time wouldn’t allow me to do it. Brioche demands patience. People often ask me how do I find the time to cook/ bake ? The simply response is day and night: first thing in the morning, last thing at night. So for the Brioche and Jelly this is how I squeezed it in: I got home late Saturday evening and mixed the dough as it needs a good 7 hours or more to rest.

Then I woke up early this morning after spending a few moments connecting with my Creator; and took the dough out the fridge for an hour for it to get to room temperature. I shaped the dough and then went to the park and did an hour run (as I knew the dough would need at least 3 hours to rise).

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When I came back I started on the grape jelly. Then I did some domestic tasks and  returned to the kitchen to put the loaves in the oven.  At the end of the day you just have to maximise the time that you have. And in the end the reward is great: crusty buttery bread with a fluffy texture served with sweet black grape jelly and spicy hot chocolate. Now to the park to catch up on some reading…

Recipe taken from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood published by Bloomsbury.

Brioche

  • Servings: Makes 2 medium loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 7g salt

50g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

140ml warm full-fatmilk

5 medium eggs

250g unsalted butter,softened, plus extra for greasing

1. Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for a further 6–8 minutes, until you have a soft, glossy, elastic dough. Add the softened butter and continue to mix for a further 4–5 minutes, scraping down the bowl periodically to ensure that the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The dough should be very soft.

2. Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover and chill overnight or for at least 7 hours, until it is firm and you are able to shape it.

3. Grease two loaf tins.

4. Take your brioche dough from the fridge and tip it onto a lightly floured surface and fold it in on itself a few times to knock out the air. Divide it into 2 equal pieces. Then divide each piece into three more pieces.

Take each piece of dough and roll into 12″ tubes. With three on the tubes, start plaiting the dough starting from the centre working your way to the end, sealing the end. When you have plaited one side, flip the plait over and plait the other side to the end. Then moisten along one side of the plait with water and join the ends together.

Then place the folded plait into the loaf tin. Repeat the process again with the other piece of dough.

5. Cover the loaf tins with a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 2–3 hours, or until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the tin.

6. Heat your oven to 190 c (gas mark 4-5)

7. When the brioche is proved, bake for 20–30 minutes (in the middle shelf) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough will make it take on colour before it is actually fully baked. Remove the brioche from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Copyright © Ranette Prime and Love Loretta’s Kitchen, 2014. All rights reserved.

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

IMG_4167This flat, round fougasse loaf is very popular all over France and is a very similar to the Italian focaccia. Here I decided to make a mustard/ garlic butter which I brushed over the bread once baked, if I’m honest I was trying to mimic the fougasse garlic bread I love so much which is served at the restaurant Cafe Rouge, which came drenched in this garlic butter sauce which tasted like none other.

But I digress, this bread is as enjoyable and fun to share and tear over some soup! I strongly recommend using a strong white bread flour for this recipe, it will make such a big difference to the to the texture: the bread turned out really nice and fluffy on the inside and with a light crust.

I also found it expanded in size quite a bit, so make sure you leave a lot of space in the pan between breads. This recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food website if you want to see other versions of the bread.

 

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

  • Servings: Makes 3 large loaves
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 red onion – finely sliced

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

coarse sea salt

For the Dough

7g sachet easy-blend yeast or 15g fresh yeast

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

For the Garlic Butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

50g butter

1 tsp english mustard

few fresh thyme sprigs – chopped

Tip the flour into a mixing bowl. For easy-blend dried yeast, stir this into the flour. For fresh yeast, crumble it and rub into the flour as you would with butter when making pastry. Add the salt and sugar. Boil the kettle and measure 100ml into a jug. Top up with cold water to the 300ml mark. Test the temperature with your finger – it should feel perfectly hand-hot. Add the oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid all at once. Mix quickly using your hands or a wooden fork to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Wipe the dough around the bowl to pick up any loose flour. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip out the dough.IMG_4159

Knead by stretching it away from you, then folding it in half towards you and pushing it away with the heel of your hand. Give it a quarter turn and repeat, developing a rhythm.

When the dough is smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1 hr (no need to find a warm place). The dough is ready when it springs back when you press it with your finger. Thinly slice the onion and gently cook in the oil until softened, about 5 mins. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead in the onion. IMG_4161

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll or press out one piece of dough to a rectangular shape about 20 x 25cm, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper.

Make a large diagonal cut across the centre of the dough almost to the ends. Make three smaller diagonal cuts either side of the large cut to make a leaf shape.

Then with your fingers, gently pull the bread where you have made the slits creating an inch gap. The bread should resemble branches at this point (see baked image above)

Repeat with the other piece of dough. then sprinkle with a little flour and sea salt.

IMG_4172Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. Leave the loaves to prove for 20 mins then bake for 13-15 mins until golden.

In the meantime melt the ingredients for the garlic butter in a pan gently.

When the loaves leave the oven, brush them with the butter a few times over and then leave to cool.