Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Flavours Column: Easter Chocolate Brioche

Om nom nom. Brioche! I love this stuff. So bready. So flaky. So buttery. It's completely different to other breads. Hence why it has its own special name. Brioche. 


It's lovely to say out loud. 

Somewhere along the line I've developed an incredible super power that enables me to say no to naughty but delicious pastries like brioche and croissants. Cake on the other hand I am not immune to. I succumb to even the most average looking cake... although, in my defence, I am quick to shut it down if they don't taste good. If you're going to eat cake you really must make it good cake. There is no good reason to consume bad cake.

It's my understanding that I can avoid said pastries because their goodness is basically guaranteed and therefore they must be avoided otherwise I will gorge myself. There will be no stopping. Limiting exposure to these treats (basically pretending like they don't exist. Croissant? What croissant?) is the safest path. Unless you're in Paris. Then you should do as Parisians do. 

In saying all that, here is a recipe for brioche. It's a little fiddly and time consuming but, seeing as it's a rare treat, it is SO worth the effort. There is little more delicious in life than this warm, chocolatey brioche. Again... om nom nom.

Image: Quinn & Katie Photography

Freshly Baked Brioche for Easter Brunch
Published in the Bay of Plenty Times, 27th March 2013

If Hot Cross Buns aren’t your cup of tea at Easter, wake the family up with this incredible, buttery, chocolate filled brioche instead. Yes, brioche is bread and because of that some of you may not want to give this a try – but please do, it’s so worth it! Making your own bread is hugely rewarding. Disclaimer: this recipe is easier with a stand mixer and dough hook but you can do it by hand too.

Chocolate Brioche
40ml whole milk
50g caster sugar
1 packet (7g) instant dried yeast
250g plain flour
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
175g unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
Extra egg for egg wash

Chocolate Filling
180g good dark chocolate, finely chopped
35g butter
35g brown sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
Warm milk slightly, whisk in 1 tsp sugar and add yeast. Cover and set in a warm spot until frothy (10mins). Place flour, salt, eggs, remaining sugar and frothed yeast into a bowl and using a dough hook (or your hands!) mix until dough forms. Increase the speed and ‘knead’ for 5mins. Scrape down the bowl and knead for a further 10mins. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Incorporate a few pieces of butter, reduce the mixer speed and add remaining butter one piece at a time. Increase the mixer speed and knead for 5-10mins – the dough is ready when it is smooth, shiny, elastic and not sticky. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size (45-60mins). While waiting, make your chocolate filling by blending butter, sugar, cinnamon and chopped chocolate together with a food processor or knife.

When doubled in size, knock the dough down slightly (gentle punches to remove some air) and turn out onto greaseproof paper. Pat into a flat rectangle with the long edge facing you. Place the chocolate mix along the bottom half of the dough leaving a 2cm border. Brush edges with egg wash, fold the top half over and pinch edges to seal chocolate in. Cover loosely with cling wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size again. Preheat oven to 180C, brush with egg wash and bake for 30mins or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on top. Enjoy warm from the oven.

Weekly Tip: Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the amount and taste of salt in baking. 

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