For work I get sent lots of fun things people want us to try out in our products, and other times it’s best to get out there and see what all the cool kids in the food world are doing. So on a Friday a few weeks ago, setting off really early (I don’t normally do early unless I have a plane to catch and even then I drag my feet!), went on a road trip with my boss to London to sample the delights the capital has to offer us.
To save you all being bored to tears with a huge long massive post about everywhere we went and what we sampled, I’m going to do a series, where I put what we ate and either try a version of that dish or try out a recipe from the places book.
The first port of call was Gail’s Bakery, having multiple locations across London, this bakery has all sorts of baked delights, also beautifully presented and with the little touches that turns it from a nice bakery to a great one, like their own jams, nice coffee menus and bakery bags. I personally liked their take on savoury tarts by using brioche dough as a base rather than pastry. We also tried their sausage rolls – wow – really meaty and lovely seasoned meat, buttery flaky pastry. Also liked the mix of nigella seeds and sesame seeds as a sprinkle on top.
With the brioche tarts, their was a nice balance of the toppings and the feta in the above tart was nice and seasoned and the red pepper hadn’t made the brioche below it doughy or undercooked.
Using these tarts as inspiration, I decided it was time for me to try my hand to making some brioche, with the bonus that my beautiful kitchenaid mixer has made it to my new flat! YIPS! My old flats kitchen was tiny – one person cooking in it was one person too much. So have all the tools to hand and a mountain of butter and eggs I sent to work.
- 4 cups plain flour
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- 4½ tsp active dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 large free range eggs, plus 1 or 2 more to glaze
- ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- sugar nibs or sugar cubes
- In a stand mixer, such as my beautiful Kitchenaid, with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt on a low speed until well combined. Add the four eggs and milk to the flour and mix on a low speed to combine.
- As soon as the dough starts to clump together, change to the dough hook attachment. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrap down the sides and continue mixing at medium speed for another 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add half the butter, a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides, then add the rest of the butter, few pieces at the time. Once all the butter has been added, mix for 4 minutes. Scrape again and mix for another 4 minutes.
- At this stage, grab a clean tea towel and cover the mixing bowl and place it somewhere warm and draft free to rise. In my new flat I didn’t know where this was so tucked the covered bowl in my bed, with my duvet on top. Worked a charm! Leave it tucked in bed for an hour.
- On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough lightly and form a loose ball with a smooth top. Return the dough to the bowl and cover again. Tuck the bowl back into bed for another hour.
- With all this waiting, you have time to butter your baking tins. I have got some traditional brioche à tête moulds at the rentals but had to make do with normal cake tins- which I had a stack of disposal foil dishes from work to use. Now after the last session of the dough in bed, divide the dough into quarters and reshape to a smooth ball with the edges tucked underneath and place into the buttered tin. Now for the last proving session, I couldn’t pop the tins in my bed as they were shallower. So risked a empty kitchen cupboard (that’s right in my new place we have SPARE cupboards!!!) and left the doughs for an hour.
- Whisk the remaining two eggs in a bowl to use as a glaze, when the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 170C . Brush the risen doughs liberally with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with sugar nibs (again another freebie from work as my boss thinks they make products look like service station croissants - I personally like the look of them!) or if you can’t get hold of any nibs, sprinkle with lightly crushed sugar cubes.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and beautiful on top and hollow sounding when tapped on its bottom. Cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and scoffing down with more butter and jam! Use any staling slices to make luxurious French toast. I took one loaf to work and one colleague went to town on it and had 4 slices- very moorish. Thin crust and buttery flavour and soft texture – doesn’t get any better!
2 Responses to “The Great London (Food) Marathon and Brioche Making…”
- Bonjour ma Petite Pâtisserie (French Bakery Course, London) - foodnerd4life | foodnerd4life - […] made brioche back last summer, you can see my efforts here. I was a coward when I made it.…