On the scale from rice to bread, Croatia is a bread country. We eat bread with every meal. Indeed, one of the main meal-related things that was the most difficult for me to get used to in Switzerland was the position of bread in the food hierarchy. Do not get me wrong, there is very nice bread here, and it is consumed in respectable quantities. But it is not there on the table by default to soak up your sauce or help that piece of meat go down.
Now, you might wonder, how can you make a wonderful bake such as bread better? Enter butter.
Brioche is a type of enriched yeasted dough. Fluffy and soft, the added butter and sugar make it perfect to pair with some very nice jam.
I got the recipe from Paul Hollywood’s webpage. He uses one 28 cm pan, but I divided the dough between two 20 cm pans. Of course, I made a few tweaks to the recipe, but I am sure that it does not make a large difference: I left the dough in the fridge for about three hours, and rolled and shaped it after that; I rested the shaped brioche in the fridge over night; in the morning, about two hours before baking, I took the brioche out of the fridge; for the brioche in the photo, I brushed it with egg wash before baking, as I like the shine; I increased the baking time by about 10-15 min, despite having smaller cake pans.
I will copy the recipe literally here.
– 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
– 7g salt
– 50g caster sugar
– 10g instant yeast
– 140ml warm full-fat milk
– 5 medium eggs
– 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1. Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for a further 6 – 8 minutes, until you have a soft, glossy, elastic dough. Add the softened butter and continue to mix for a further 4 – 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl periodically to ensure that the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The dough will be very soft.
2. Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover and chill overnight or for at least 7 hours, until it is firmed up and you are able to shape it.
3. Grease a 25cm round deep cake tin.
4. Take your brioche dough from the fridge. Tip it onto a lightly floured surface and fold it on itself a few times to knock out the air. Divide it into 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball by placing it into a cage formed by your hand and the table and moving your hand around in a circular motion, rotating the ball rapidly. Put the 8 balls of dough around the outside of the tin and the final one in the middle.
5. Cover with the clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 2 – 3 hours, or until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the tin.
6. Heat your oven to 190°C.
7. When your brioche is proved, bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough will make it take on colour before it is actually fully baked. Remove the brioche from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.