Hot out of the oven

Today started off in a mixed fashion – I was very excited about making brioche. The dough was in the fridge and I’d had a sneaky peak at 2am which confirmed it was looking good. I figured that having special milk and butter in the house meant that some form of dough or pastry was a must. And, I’ve never made brioche before so decided now was the time.

What wasn’t so good was the ‘gift’ the cat bought in. I have the biggest bird phobia in the world. Husband was not happy about getting out of bed early to sort it out but it was that or leave the house for me. And the dough was waiting! No more words needed on this topic, I shudder even thinking about it.

I’ve gone with Little and Friday’s recipe, very slightly adapted (for convenience and to halve it, as opposed to any other reason). The recipe is possible without a mixer, but Kenny will make it so much easier.

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What you’ll need

250ml milk (I used full cream LRC)

40g caster sugar

1½ tsp active dried yeast (or instant yeast)

500g plain flour

2 eggs, very lightly beaten

70g butter (if using unsalted, add a tsp of salt to the flour), cut into cubes (I used LRC salted butter)

To make it

Warm the milk and sugar to lukewarm temperature (if it gets too hot, pop the pot into cold water to cool down before proceeding further).

Sprinkle in the yeast and give it a quick mix (three or four ‘shakes’ with a fork). If using active dried yeast, set aside for five minutes. If using instant yeast, you can use straight away.

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Put the flour in the mixer bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk/yeast mix and eggs.

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Put the bowl onto the beater and, using a dough hook, turn on medium speed to combine the ingredients. Keep it mixing for 5-10 minutes until a very elastic dough has formed. Then, with mixer still beating, add a cube of butter at a time and keep mixing until well combined. I beat mine for about another five or so minutes. It will be quite tacky and looser than most doughs.

Cover the bowl and leave the dough to prove until it has doubled in size. I popped mine in the fridge to prove slowly overnight. This is probably the easiest way to do it if you want fresh brioche in the morning.

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Knock back the dough and roll out into a large rectangle. Spread with a filling of your choice. I used brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, and very finely sliced apples. You could use a chocolate spread, citrus curd, go savoury, or just about anything. Experiment, it’s fun.

Roll into a ‘sausage’ along the long side. Cut into even size slices. I got 8 from half of this recipe and have the other half in the fridge for tomorrow morning.

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Spray a ring cake tin or texas muffin tins and put the slices in.

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Set aside to double in size again. The time will depend on the warmth in your home. I often pop onto a hot window sill and cover to reflect the heat further.

Heat oven to 190°C. Before putting into the oven, brush the top with beaten egg. (I’ve kept the egg wash in the fridge for tomorrow as well).

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Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine took 15. These are best warm, fresh from the oven.

Yes, brioche does take some planning, but it is definitely worth the effort. The reality is, with a mixer, the effort is minimal.

There you have it, Day Five and only two to go. I’m thinking butter might be the hero tomorrow, let’s see what I can come up with (check out FB for tomorrow’s posting).

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