Sunday 6 August 2006
[It’s hot! – Chocolate-hearted brioches]
Despite allowing you to go to the swimming pool/beach instead of doing the really-urgent-things-to-do, the heat wave that hit the south of France has few advantages.
Though, I try to remain as optimistic as possible.
OK it’s deadly hot. But yeast is active at high temperatures, isn’t it?
I really love to work with fresh yeast: its strong peppery smell; its lovely soft-rubber texture that’s transformed in an airy mousse with hydration-warming.
However I always find it a bit difficult to get dough to rise properly during cold winters. Thus summer is, for me, the perfect time for a bit of yeast action: from chocolate soft rolls to bread; from cinnamon rolls to foccacia.I do think that yeasted goods are highly rewarding for some reasons. One of them might be the scrumptious smell of freshly baked bread/rolls that fills the entire house or the delightful relation between the dough and you during the kneading-part of the job (once I start kneading the dough and feel it becoming warmer and softer it would be hard to stop me).
Brioches are the typical pastry French children are served for breakfast or for le goûter and I was no exception.
I remember waiting endlessly for my dad to bring me to the boulangerie les mercredis [Wednesdays] where I would always have une brioche au sucre s’il-vous-plait [a sugar brioche, please]. These brioches were special in two ways, the first one being the ritual and the second one being the hidden surprise inside the brioche.
Because surprise there was! The first bite wouldn’t tell you anything, but from the second bite you’d discover a melting chocolate heart.
Brioches au coeur de chocolat
makes 24 small brioches
500ml warm milk + extra milk
42g fresh yeast
200g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
160g melted butter
24 milk or dark chocolate squares
Combine the milk, yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar in a bowl. Stir once or twice and allow rising for at least 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture on top of it.
Add the eggs and melted butter and mix, first with a round knife and then with your hands – until it forms a ball.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. It should be soft and not sticky.
Butter generously a large bowl. Place the dough in the buttered bowl and let rise overnight in the fridge.
The next morning, allow the dough to come at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Knead the dough and form small 90g balls and insert a chocolate square in the centre of each ball.
Fill two 12-bun muffin tin with the dough balls and let rise for 20 minutes. Brush with a little milk, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
If the tops get too brown loosely cover with foil.