Wednesday 11 July 2007
If you see me now you could never guess I used to be grunge when I was fifteen. Kurt Cobain was my absolute hero, I worn torn pants (you know the kind of pants that you’ve been wearing so often that the bottom starts to hale holes) and smoky eyes were a *must*. This was, as you could imagine, much to the despair of my mum.
And then, I started getting the meaning of cute and I was obsessed with pink and hello kitty.
This period also seems to match with the switch from ‘I’ll never use yeast, it is stinky and never works with me‘ to ‘yeast is my best friend‘ (yeasts being the sweetest little bugs, I had to love them).
From that time – where I learnt how to use yeast properly (no you can’t just put the granulated sort directly in the flour without soaking it in warm water first; hmmm you should have tasted my first bread, which was flat with grainy bits of dry yeast – a pure delight!), I have been a yeast lover; my current obsession being brioches.
Armed with my brand new shiny and gorgeous ice-blue kitchenaid (can you tell from the adjectives I used how much I love it?) stand-mixer, I am finally ready to explore the brioche making. And this is not the easiest one. I did find a great recipe, but I can’t wait to try my hands at Melissa’s, who is – as always – a fantastic source of inspiration.
This recipe from Pierre Hermé (adapted from the Cook’s Book, p.520) is a delight. Sadly I made the mistake of putting the whole dough into one pan while it says 1/4 dough so the cooked texture wasn’t as ropy as I expected it to be.
However I’m sure that if you closely follow the recipe (self-note: this includes reading it carefully) you’ll get a gorgeous brioche with a soft mie [crumb]. I am positive about it because the uncooked dough’s texture was perfect – with my little sister we had a hard time restraining ourselves from eating it raw. Yes, it was this good!
Note – The recipe suggests crumbling the fresh yeast directly into the flour. The yeast has to be crumbled very finely. It works but if you’re not confident – like me the first time I tried this recipe you can either:
– place the crumbled fresh yeast into a small bowl with two tblsp of warm water (just add a bit more flour because the dough will be stickier) OR
– use instant yeast (7g)
makes 4 brioches
500g strong white flour
12.5g fresh yeast
50g caster sugar (fanny: this gives a brioche that is not sweet nor savoury, so if like me you like your brioche on the sweet side, I recommend you use 85 to 100g)
1 tsp salt
400g unsalted butter, at room temperature
for the glaze
1 egg yolk
1 tsp caster sugar
Pour the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Ass the crumbled fresh yeast and sugar. Mix on medium speed and add four eggs. Mix again then add the 3 remaining eggs, one at a time.
Once the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, add the salt and the butter cut into small pieces. The dough is ready when it comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl again.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Lift the sticky dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough with your fist and put it back into the bowl. Cover with cling film again and place in the fridge for 1 1/4 hours. Press down the dough to check if it has risen agan, then remove it to the work surface and gently punch down to deflate.
Butter four 18 x 9cm loaf tins. Divide the dough into four equal pieces, then divide each portion into four. Roll each piece of dough into a ball on a non-floured surface. Set four balls closely side by side into a tin. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Leave at room temperature until it has doubled in size. Brush with glaze (just mix everything).
Using a pair of scissors, cut a cross in each ball. Bake into the oven, preheated to 180°C for 25 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.