Monday, 31 August 2015

brioche

I remember the first time I discovered just how much butter a loaf of brioche contains. I kind of wished I had remained ignorant. However, butter really is what makes this bread brilliant. So, as long as you don't eat an entire loaf in one go, I think it's ok to indulge in this delicious sweet bread every now and then. I made this loaf for a Saturday brunch with friends a few months back, and it turned out beautifully. If I were to make it again, I think I would add chocolate chips, then it would be the perfect cross between bread and pain au chocolat. We served this with jam and homemade lemon curd.

If you are planning on making this for breakfast, it's helpful to bear in mind that you will need to make the dough the night before so it can have adequate chilling time, and that you will need to give the dough a second prove before baking, so you will want to start this process fairly early if you want to eat at a respectable time!

Brioche
ingredients (recipe by Paul Hollywood)
500g strong white bread flour
7g table salt
50g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
140ml warm full fat milk
5 free range eggs
250g unsalted butter at room temperature

method
1) Put the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the dough hook attachment fitted.
2) Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until it is warm to the touch. This takes very little time - perhaps a minute on the stove and less in the microwave.
3) Add the milk and eggs to the flour mixture and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes. Continue to mix but increase the speed to medium for a further 6-8 minutes.
4) Once you have a soft, glossy and elastic dough, add the softened butter and continue to mix for 5 minutes. This is a very sticky dough, so you will need to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the mixture is being kneaded.
5) Grease a large plastic mixing bowl with a little oil, then tip the dough into the bowl, cover with cling film (glad wrap) and chill in the fridge for at least 7 hours. The easiest thing to do is chill overnight.
6) Grease a 25cm round loose bottomed cake tin.
7) Once the dough has chilled overnight, remove it from the fridge and tip it onto a floured surface. Knock the air out of the dough by folding it in on itself a few times.
8) Weigh the dough and divide the weight by nine to determine the weight of each piece. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place 8 balls around the outside of the greased cake tin, and 1 in the centre.
9) Place the cake tin in a plastic bag, or plastic lidded container and leave to prove for 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
10) Half an hour before your brioche is ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190C / gas mark 5 / 375F.
11) Once the brioche has proved, bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the brioche from the tin and leave to cool slightly. Serve warm if possible, as this is delicious! 

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