RECIPE: I’ve never eaten brioche before and had no idea how to eat it, but as it was a traditional french bread it was on my list to try. I followed the recipe but halved it, as I was only feeding two of us, and used dariole moulds instead of brioche moulds because that’s what I had available.
PREPARATION: When it came to beating the mix in the bowl with the dough hook, I found I had to mix it for about 15 minutes. The recipe didn’t give any advice about the speed of the mixer, so maybe I was mixing it too slow (on the lower side of medium speed). When the recipe says it pulls away from the edge of the bowl, this is not like with most bread or pastry doughs. The dough will still be quite sticky and soft; you certainly don’t end up with a neat ball of dough in your mixer. The same again with the butter – mix it in until combined and you’ll have a sticky dough. The dough also took longer to rise than predicted, as my kitchen was a bit cool. It didn’t hurt; after chilling the dough in the fridge, it had lovely bubbles throughout. You have to prepare the balls quickly, as the butter in the dough makes the dough get very soft and sticky once it warms up. My 100g balls of dough baked in 20 minutes, which was less than the advised time, so keep an eye on them in the oven.
IMPRESSION: I loved these little buns of lightness. They’re slightly sweet, very buttery, and were perfect with my home-made marmalade, but don’t let that stop you trying them with savoury accompaniments. They were just as good a couple of days later after warming in the oven.
Recipe from Pâtisserie by William and Suzue Curley
15g fresh yeast
70ml full-fat milk
500g strong flour
30g caster sugar
300g whole eggs
350g softened unsalted butter, cubed
Put the yeast in a small bowl and pour in the milk. Whisk together. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar and put into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs to the flour mixture with the yeast mixture and beat together. Continue beating for 10-12 minutes until the mixture is elastic and comes away from the sides. Add the softened butter to the dough and beat until the mixture comes away from the sides again. Cover with cling film and leave the mixture to prove in a warm area for about 45 minutes. Knock back, cover with cling film, then place in the fridge for at least one hour.
Brush the moulds with softened butter. Divide the chilled dough into pieces to suit the size of your mould (I used 100g). Gently roll the dough into a shape resembling a squat bowling pin, creating a small ball (the head of the brioche) that is about one-quarter the size of the main body. Lift the brioche by the head and lace in one of the buttered moulds. Press your fingers into the dough around the head to form an indentation, then gently push the small ball down into the centre. Repeat with the remaining brioche balls.
Place on a tray and leave to prove for one hour until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.