25 November 2010

Oh, November, November, November...

Wherefore art thou November? You're so confusing.I don't understand you. Why do you even exist? You are, in short, the poster child for chapped lips, dry skin, early sunsets, little light and ridiculous amounts of work. You've made yourself a cozy nest, snuggling in between autumn break and Christmas. Sneaky, sneaky. Very spiteful. Not nice.What on earth am I supposed to do with you? You're simply a mess.

This year, November kept me busy. Theatre rehearsals lasting four – five hours, five or six times a week takes its toll. In my case, my motivation to do schoolwork (!) and even, sob, to bake had to pay the price.Fortunately for me (as my German mock exam is nearing in on me rather hastily!), my career as a prostitute in Les Misérables is nearly over. Just one more show to go.And, true to my personal philosophy, I will analyse the time spent in the theatre by baking. To be more specific, baking brioches
As Les Misérables is a play about life before and during the French Revolution, I felt I had to bake something that fitted in with the Revolution, hand-in-glove. A suitable bread/pastry/dish was rather hard to find, as the history books fail to mention any specific dish people ate at the time, or any food that held any significance whatsoever. Finally, I thought of Marie Antoinette. La pauvre. The Austrian Queen of France who got her head chopped of for no reason in particular. Except for the fact that she was spending rather a lot of money. She was also, I may add, rumoured to have quipped ''If the people can't eat bread, let them eat brioche'' or some such nonsense (which, of course, she never said.)

''Ah, yes'', I thought, ''now I have something to bake.''

A rather impulsive decision was made to bake it, ehm, today. So I did a silly, silly thing. I didn't read the recipe thoroughly, specifically the part where it said, '' Place the dough in the buttered bowl and let rise overnight in the fridge''.

*Slaps forehead.*

Oh, I am just as pathetic as November. Still, I wasn't going to let a minor detail deter me from baking and tasting the brioches today. I accepted the challenge, and the consequences that might have occured. I was prepared for a less-tasty brioche. But bake it, I did. And I don't regret it either.

{Brioches au coeur de chocolat}
Source: The Food Beam
Makes about 24

500ml warm milk + extra milk
42g fresh yeast
1kg flour
200g caster sugar
A pinch of salt
2 large eggs
160g melted butter
24 milk or dark chocolate squares (I used Freia Melkesjokolade)

1.Combine the milk, yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar in a bowl. Stir once or twice and allow rising for at least 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture on top of it. Add the eggs and melted butter and mix, first with a round knife and then with your hands – until it forms a ball.

2.Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. It should be soft and not sticky. Butter generously a large bowl. Place the dough in the buttered bowl and let rise overnight in the fridge. The next morning, allow the dough to come at room temperature (I left them a little bit cold, as it's easier to work with the dough when it's not completely at room temperature - less sticky - but this is just my opinion.) Preheat the oven to 200°C.

3.Knead the dough and form small 90g balls and insert a chocolate square in the centre of each ball. Fill two 12-bun muffin tin with the dough balls and let rise for 20 minutes. Brush with a little milk, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes (or just until lightly brown.) If the tops get too brown loosely cover with foil.

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