Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Home-baked brioche

Brioche. Is it bread or cake? Bread? Cake? Cakey-bread? Ok, so it's probably bread but it starts life as a cake-mix. Whatever it is, my kids can't get enough of it, their little middle-class requests of 'can I have brioche, please?' echoing around the house on a regular basis.

It's not ideal as a snack but better than cake and not too bad as an afternoon pick-me up occasionally. It's fair to say we go though it a fair amount.

So today I had a go at making it myself. Thing is, homemade bread is seen as this time-consuming, faffy persuit but the actual 'hands on' stuff probably only takes 20 minutes. The rest of the time is taken waiting. And waiting. Which is cool if you have a few hours at home, it's all good.

I turned to Richard Bertinet and adapted a recipe from his Dough book (which is excellent by the way) and it turned out pretty good. I'm pretending Max didn't say he prefers the shop version though. Rude.

You will need:

250ml whole milk, warmed to lukewarm
Sachet fast action yeast
500g Strong bread flour
60g Butter at room temperature
40g Caster sugar
Tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash

1. Mix the yeast into the flour and rub the butter in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (I just chucked it in a food processor. Sorry, Mr B)

2. Mix in the sugar and salt. You can also add chocolate chips or raisins at this stage-yum

3. Add the eggs and milk and stir well until it comes together in a wet dough

4. Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic (or if you have an elecric mixer, whack it in with the dough hook on a slow speed for 5 minutes). It's pretty sticky so if it's not coming together, add more flour

5. Mould into a ball by stretching the top around and tucking underneath then transfer to a lightly floured bowl

6. Leave for an hour to prove until roughly doubled in size

7. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equally-sized balls

8. Divide each ball into a further 5 equally-sized balls

9. Roll each ball into a short, fat sausage and brush with the egg wash

10. Place widely-spaced on a baking tray (or 2) and leave to prove again for an hour

11. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and bake for 8-10 mins until lighly coloured

12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and test your willpower by trying to wait until cool enough to eat. Yum.

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