This was the August Fresh from the Oven challenge. Surprise surprise, I didn't manage to get it done in August. I did, however, manage to get it done in the first week of September, I just haven't had a chance to blog about it until now.
When I was about 8, my mum took a cookery course at the local college. For a few years, every Wednesday night, we would not know whether to look forward to dinner with anticipation or trepidation. Mostly it was good. Some were just weird.
One week, the topic was bread, and mum brought home a hand-made brioche. It was, quite simply, the most delicious bread I had ever had, and although I distinctly remember loving it, I have eaten it only rarely since, and have never made it.
So I was really pleased when brioche was the challenge for August. It's a sweet, egg-rich bread, which is delicious with jam. The recipe is taken from The River Cottage Handbook: Bread by Dan Stevens and I have copied it below.
I confess to using a mixer for the dough , as flour seems to aggravate my eczema, but I have to say, this was the most successful challenge I have done so far. We ate most of one loaf, and finished up the last slices with French Toast this morning. The other loaf went in the freezer - I'm already looking forward to defrosting that one and using it for bread and butter pudding.
400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
5g powdered dried yeast
10g fine sea salt
90ml warm milk
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g butter, softened
4 medium free range eggs, beaten
1 medium free range egg
2 tbsp milk
to knead by hand: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and bring it all together to form a dough. Knead for about 10 mins, until smooth and shiny.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add all the dough ingredients to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, and leave to knead for about 10 mins, until smooth and shiny.
Shape the dough into a round, place in a bowl and cover tightly. Leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, divide the dough in two and form into the shape of your choice. Lightly flour the loaves, lay them on a wooden board or linen cloth and cover with a plastic bag. Leave them somewhere nice and warm to prove until almost doubled in size; this could take 3 or 4 hours, as the dough is cold.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. For the glaze, beat the egg and milk together. Transfer the risen loaves to a baking tray and brush all over with the glaze. Bake for about 10 mins, then lower the oven setting to 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 30 mins or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 2 small loaves
River Cottage Handbook No.3 - Bread