We've just returned from a weeks holiday in the South West of France and very nice it was too. As usual I returned armed with a load of recipe cards and a recipe book - my first one in French. My O Level French isn't quite up to translating these cards so I've been getting some help from @KateDeCamont on Twitter. Kate runs a culinary retreat in Gascony and I've added a visit there to my bucket list!
I had a go at making a Fougasse, which is a sweet brioche type loaf. It was OK for a first attempt but needs more practise. The recipe included a mystery ingredient Fleur D'Oranger. With Kate's help I worked out this was the same as the Essence of Orange Water that you can buy quite readily in delis & some supermarkets in the UK ( If you're in Shropshire I got mine in Broad Bean in Ludlow but I think I have also seen it in Tuffins )
As I didn't have much time one evening I decided to return to my tried & tested brioche recipe. This is the recipe from the Panasonic Breadmaker book with my own adjustments. Brioche is quite a difficult dough to work with as it's quite wet, so it's ideal to do the mixing, kneading & rising in the breadmaker. I use the dough setting then form into rolls or a loaf, leave to rise overnight in the fridge and then bake in the morning. This is perfect for getting that fresh baked smell for your guests without having to get up at 4 in the morning.
You could, of course, make it in a mixer or by hand. Once the mix is kneaded to a soft dough, leave to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours then knock down and make into rolls as below.
Because brioche is such a soft dough it's usually made in a mould. I have traditional brioche moulds but they can stick, so I cheat and use a 6 hole silicon muffin tin ( or if I'm making a loaf, a 1lb loaf tin with a paper liner ) - works perfectly.
When I make a loaf I slice into thick slices then put in the freezer. Brioche is perfect for making French Toast. I also serve it toasted and topped with roast tomatoes & halloumi as a breakfast special. Just be careful when you toast it as it has a high sugar content and so toasts more quickly then normal bread.
A warm brioche roll with some homemade apricot preserve & freshly brewed coffee is one of my favourite breakfasts.
1 tsp Fast Action Yeast
250g Strong White Flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
75g soft butter
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp essence of orange blossom water ( or the grated rind of a washed orange also works very well )
1 egg to glaze
Put all the ingredients into the breadmaker in the order specified by your machine makers and put on the dough setting ( or mix together the dry ingredients, rub in the butter. Beat together the eggs & milk, add to the dry and mix together, then knead till you get a soft dough. Leave in an oiled covered bowl for 1.5-2 hours to rise )
Put the dough onto a well floured surface and knock out the air. Split into 6 balls and put into a 6 hole muffin tin ( Silicon doesn't require greasing or you can use a tin one with muffin cases ). Leave to rise till doubled in size - about 45 minutes in a warm place or overnight in the fridge.
If I rise them overnight I bring them out of the fridge to get them back up to room temperature before baking.
Put the oven on to about 200 degrees. Brush the buns with beaten egg and bake for about 15 minutes till they're very golden brown. If you're making a loaf this will about 20 minutes.