There is nothing more rewarding than successfully making a dish that appears difficult because it involves leavening and good temperature control. I have an old, temperamental oven so I approached the making of small Brioches with trepidation this week. This was a recipe that I wished to master because I love to eat them at breakfast time. Brioche is another famous product of the French chefs of old. The earliest mention is in the 1400s in Normandy where the access to plenty of butter and eggs allowed the local farmers wives to elaborate on their traditional dough recipe used for bread. The name derives from the ancient Norman verb “ Brier” which was a tool used to knead the dough. The best results are by using ones hands to knead the dough. The recipe was not too difficult except I find the kneading is really messy as the dough sticks to everything, so remember to remove all jewellery, roll up your sleeves and wear an apron. When I opened the oven on my first attempt at Brioche last night my heart warmed in pleasure as I looked at the well risen, golden topped little cakes. If you serve them as a light snack you can accompany them with a delicious glass of Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru from Marguet Pere et Fils at Ambonnay.
Ingredientsfor 10 small Brioches
- 250g Flour
- 1 sachet dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm milk
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon cognac (optional) from the French Market shop
- 3 eggs
- 100g unsalted butter – allow to soften
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 flat teaspoon salt
A bottle of Marguet Pere et Fils Champane Brut Rosé Grand Cru from Ambonnay from the French Market shop
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix in the yeast.
- Add warm water and warm milk, mix together with your hands for 1 minute. It is very sticky so use a wooden spatula to help scrape dough off sides of bowl.
- Break 2 eggs into a small bowl and mix with a fork. A
- dd cognac (optional), sugar, salt, and mixed eggs into dough and knead with hands for 10 minutes.
- Soften butter and add dollops to dough and knead in
- Knead dough into a ball. Leave in bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm area to rise for 50 minutes.
- Knead dough for 1 minute then form into 10 little balls and place in buttered muffin containers.
- Or you can make slightly smaller balls then a tiny ball and place it on top of the larger ball like a cap
- Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 70 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 175 C degreees.
- Separate egg yolk and brush top of brioches with egg yolk.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove straight away from containers and leave to cool
These very light cakes are versatile as they go perfectly with some butter and home-made jam at breakfast, they can also be served on their own as a light snack with a glass of Champagne or they can be filled with a sweet or savoury stuffing.
I recommend pairing with a glass of Marguet Pere et Fils Champane Brut Rosé Grand Cru from Ambonnay available at the French Market shop. This beautifully hued pink Champagne is a perfect accompaniment.