On the odd occasion, you just have to spoil yourself. You’ve worked hard - in my case - barmaid by night, student by day! Its time to take a break, and I don’t mean a KIT KAT!! I’m talking about the holy grail break … a macchiato, accompanied by freshly baked brioche served warm from the oven, and slathered in butter … rich, slightly sweet, pillow-like bread that has been marbled with indulgent flavours. Who wouldn’t swop their toast for a little slice of morning glory - BRIOCHE.
Every so often I re stock the kitchen with food that I love - brioche is part of that ritual. When I make this recipe, it takes a whole day. For me this is not a bad thing because I know, the good things in life take time, and more often than not, a little work. There is no substitute for homemade food, prepared lovingly for the people we love.
A loaf of freshly baked brioche is so versatile. If I have left overs, I can make a delicious bread and butter pudding; French toast with fruit compote; fig and brie panini; or an ice cream sandwich… the list is endless. Brioche is a crowd-pleasing comfort food and very easy to make. Prepare a batch on the weekend and watch it disappear amongst friends and family!
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food”
George Bernard Shaw
1 tablespoon dry yeast
½ cup warm water
3 ½ cups bread flour, plus extra
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
½ cup butter, softened
2 x block Lindt 80% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 x jar of fig jam
Whisk the yeast in warm water and allow it to sit for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Now whisk in 1/2 cup of the flour to form a thin paste. This is called a poolish. Let the poolish rise in a warm place out of direct sunlight until the dough has risen and fallen and is full of bubbles. This will take about an about 1 hour.
After the dough has risen and fallen, add the eggs, sugar, salt and the rest of the flour to the poolish. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth, adding a bit more flour if the dough becomes too sticky. Then add the butter and knead until it is completely combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rise in a warm place out of direct sunlight until doubled. This will take about 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of the room. The colder the room, the more time it will take and the warmer the room, the less time it will take.
When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured bench. Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan-forced and line a shallow baking dish with non-stick baking paper. Divide the dough into three even portions. Rub some flour into your hands and begin to roll one portion of dough into a log shape. The log should be roughly 3 cm thick in width. Repeat for the remaining portions off dough.
In the prepared baking dish, gather the ends of the three portions of dough and press them together until they stick. Now you can plat your brioche just like you would plat hair. However whilst you plat the dough, add in the pieces of dark chocolate. Push some pieces into the dough, and place some near the surface. You should be left with a plat of brioche, studded with dark chocolate.
Place a damp cloth over the brioche and let it rise in a warm place for a further 30 minutes. Once it has risen slightly get a pastry brush and generously coat the entire surface of the brioche with the fig jam. I used ¾ of the jar because I love the caramelised flavour it creates. However you can use less if you’d prefer. Place the brioche in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is golden. Serve on a breadboard and allow people to help themselves!