Orange blossom brioche bread
[caption id="attachment_3135" align="alignnone" width="680"] The brioche are still pride of place on the counter in the bakery where Vanessa did her apprenticeship.[/caption]
Orange blossom brioche bread
Heaven is lightly toasted brioche, marmalade and a pot of tea.
The very first job I was given when I started my apprenticeship the bakery in the south of France was to break the eggs for the brioche. We had an order and I had to break 360 eggs to make about 80 brioches for an order and for market day. The smell in the bakery was what I imagine heaven to smell like. We’d sell out by eleven. The brioche were incredible (they still are) but it wasn’t just the fresh eggs, butter or sugar that made them so delicious. It was the addition of a few drops of orange blossom water. It is so very delicate, and so very French, so this recipe really captures that pure unadulterated French baking sophistication.
In stark contrast to its delicacy this dough needs heavy mixing. Really, unless you have great upper arm strength, or you are feeling like you need something to take some pent up frustration out on then I suggest using a freestanding mixer, simply because mixing this dough requires a lot of effort, due to the amount of soft butter. Expect the dough to look far too malleable to handle, but as it is left overnight in the fridge the butter will harden and form a firmer dough so you can shape the brioche. I also love using the Pullman tin. It's very forgiving and versatile.
My most important piece of advice is to have patience. Organic yeast is wonderful stuff, but this is not a fast rising dough, so relax, and give the yeast chance to do its thing.
Makes: 1 x large loaf
- 125g warm milk @ 28 degrees
- 70g fairtrade white caster sugar
- 25g fresh organic yeast
- 4 free range eggs at room temperature
- 1tbsp orange blossom essence
- 500g 00 organic flour
- 15g fine sea salt
- 175g unsalted butter, cubed (butter needs to be room temperature), plus extra for greasing
1 free range egg, beaten with a tablespoon of milk
1 x 33x 10cm Pullman or Pain de Mie tin
- Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift the flour and salt together and set to one side.
- Add the eggs and orange blossom water and mix on full power for a couple of minutes until combined. Turn the mixer onto its lowest setting and slowly, just one tablespoon at a time, add in the flour.
- Once all the flour has been incorporated a few cubes at a time, add the soft butter. Once a few cubes have been incorporated into the dough, add more and mix on a high setting, for about 8 – 10 minutes, until all the butter has been incorporated and you have a smooth dough.
- Once the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, place in a buttered bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for a few hours until doubled in size. Ideally cover and place in the fridge to prove slowly overnight. This is not essential, but it will improve the flavour and harden up the dough, which makes it easier to handle.
- The following morning, remove your dough from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface, shape and place into the greased tin. Give the pullman pan a very light oil (including the lid).
- Allow to rise for about another 2 hours, then slide on the lid when the dough has risen to about an inch from the top of the pan.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Brush the loaves with the egg wash. Bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes and check. Remove the lid and place back in the oven for the top to become more golden for a further 5-10 minutes.