'Someone is sneaking into the kitchen and eating all the brioche, but don't worry, I scared them off!' wrote Peter in a comment when I posted this photo on Facebook.
While I was out in the garden, he was secretly having a boy's own brioche party. I suppose he had good cause to celebrate... because there's not been too much baking at The Blue House lately.
He and I have been dieting, you see. His decision, and mine.
As much I love to bake biscuits, breads and cakes on a regular basis, with only the two of us it means we're eating our way through those deliciously fattening things all of the time. And the middle aged spread is spreading... BIG time.
But I could hardly let Easter slip by without sharing a fabulous recipe.
This one is from my friend, Sally Hammond, a fellow cook, traveller and food writer, who wrote about brioche in Just Enough French (New Holland, 2002), one of her numerous books.
Sally's title for the recipe caught my attention: "Sixty second brioche dough". She advised that the use of a food processor sidesteps the long beating usually required by standard brioche recipes, but warns that you will need a heavy-duty food processor for the job.
A perfect task for the Tefal Cuisine Companion (CC). My adaptation, which is studded with couverture chocolate, appears below, with sincere thanks to Sally.
SALLY'S SIXTY SECOND BRIOCHE DOUGH WITH CHOCOLATE
1 teaspoon dry yeast granules
2-3 tablespoons warm water (for the yeast)
3 tablespoons plain (all purpose) baker's flour (for the yeast)
1 teaspoon of sugar (for the yeast)
280g plain (all purpose) baker's flour
1 heaped tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder
180g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 free range eggs, room temperature
100g dark couverture buttons or callets (optional)
extra flour, as needed
1 free range egg, extra, lightly whisked (to glaze, if desired)
First work up the yeast. Combine the yeast, warm water, and the three tablespoons of flour with the teaspoon of sugar in a small Pyrex jug. Stir with a spoon. Cover with cling film and leave on a warm and sunny windowsill for 10-20 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy.
Fit the kneading and crushing blade to the bowl of the CC (if using).
Place the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla bean powder into the bowl of a sturdy food processor (or the CC). Arrange the cubed butter over the top of the flour and process for 30 seconds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Setting 12 on the CC).
Now break the eggs over the top of the flour mixture, then add the milk, followed by spoonfuls of the fluffy yeast mixture. Process for 25 seconds longer, until a ball of dough has formed. Add the chocolate callets and process on speed 10 for 5 seconds.
Note: at this point, Sally advises that if your food processor says "no go" and refuses to do what the recipe dictates, tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Bring it together with your hands and proceed according to the next steps of the recipe.
If using your CC, carefully remove the blade from the bowl. Gently work the dough into a ball and pop the lid back on.
Otherwise, transfer the dough to a medium sized Pyrex bowl and cover it with cling film. Now leave it to rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
Punch it down and, either get ready to bake the brioche, OR, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough overnight, or for up to three days.
When you are ready to bake the brioche, grease a brioche or loaf tin with butter. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and work it gently to a round shape. Note, the dough may be extremely soft. Use just a little extra flour if needed.
If you have a fluted brioche tin, you can cut about one-fifth of the dough away and form a teardrop shape from that piece. Form the remaining dough into a ball (or loaf shape) and place it into the greased tin. Press a hole into the centre of the dough and place the teardrop shaped piece into the dough (note, you don't need to do this if you are baking the brioche in a loaf tin).
Cover with plastic once more and allow the dough to rise for up to 4 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Bake the brioche in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer tests clean. Turn out and cool the brioche on a rack. Serve sliced, fresh from the oven, or toast it the following day. Your brioche will make a superb bread and butter pudding.
This quantity serves 8.
Preparation time: 60 seconds in the food processor. Allow around six hours for rising and baking time.
Tell me dear readers, how often do you bake biscuits, cakes and breads? Are you feeding a large family, or just one or two? If you have any strategies for NOT eating all of your baked goods, I would love to hear from you.
And may I take this opportunity to say 'Happy Easter' my friends xx
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