Thursday, 7 June 2012

Brioche


I'm sure that most people reading this will remember some point of their childhood when they had to pester their parents to let them do something and then feeling an immeasurable amount of happiness when said parents relented. This funny shaped loaf is the product of my incessant pestering of my mum until she said "Yes, I want you to make that". Well I wasn't getting a straight answer so I had to keep trying didn't I? I should explain. Both my parents are very supportive and will for the most part try anything I make as long as it hasn't got tomatoes in (for Mum) or spaghetti (for Dad). However, my dearest mother is what I shall term a traditionalist. She is a very mummyish mum who favours farmhouse cooking and shuns anything that is not staring-you-in-the-face British. For a long, long time Mum refused to even contemplate a recipe if it wasn't in pounds and ounces and more than once I have had to sit with a calculator and translate an ingredients list (1 ounce = 28.375g to be most accurate). I have been trying to get her to buy some didgital scales for months so when I came home from university for the weekend  one time and saw some on the kitchen table I nearly fainted from shock. It is only now that Mum may possibly consider using them to follow a recipe in 'foreign lingo' without my conversions and only if it is one she really wants to do. The trusty and very old Salter balance scales in the cupboard need not fear that they will be retired in the near future.

Brioche is something I've wanted to try for ages, mostly because I didn't have much of a clue what it was, so when I saw a free mould was going to be included with issue 29 of Baked and Delicious I got very excited. It has taken me about two months to persuade my Mum that it wasn't so much as foreign muck as harmless French and when she tried some for supper the night I made it, I think even she was pleased I had. Dad was just pleased I'd baked. 

The enriched bread is very soft and light with a lovely buttery taste and goes really well with strawberry jam.  If you can get hold of it I'd recommend Marks and Spencer's strawberry conserve. It's worth the cost, trust me. (Once I've had chance to play around with the homemade version, I'll post the recipe for that on here too.) It didn't fry out as quickly as I expected either but I still tried it toasted with jam and, well, all these cereals that go on about them being a good way to start the day, I reckon they have it wrong. 

I have to admit that I wasn't expecting the brioche to turn out properly but it seems to have apart from the smaller top half of it being lopsided which I tried to disguise with my minimal photography skills. I haven't had much luck with bread recipes before you see. Fingers crossed that I've passed a turning point when I made hot cross buns at Easter. I ignored the bit in the recipe which says leave to rise for an hour or so until doubled in size. Mum judged the rising then despite my growing impatience, and I'll follow her rules in future because they turned out pretty decently.  I let the brioche go to about four times its original size (about 2 hours in the warmish airing cupboard) until the dough just started to dimple. Of course, everyone will have their own bread rules but now I would follow these even if master baker Mr Paul Hollywood said I was wrong, unless I was pushed for time of course. Just remember that enriched breads (more sugar and fat I think that means) are more difficult to rise so do a such recipe on a day when you can chill and not panic if it doesn't go perfectly to plan. Baking rarely does.

Hope you enjoy!

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