31 December 2011

Brioche | Eating France

The epic adventure continues. The first nine regions of France kept me busy, busy! The remaining thirteen (eek!) will only make me busier, although I'm happy to say I look forward to the challenges ahead. Now we've reached western France – admittedly a bit later than I had originally planned – but here all the same, and ready to start. Before I begin, though, I want to properly say adieu to 2011. It's so strange, it feels very surreal. The year has just whizzed by, but in a rather slow manner (contradicting, yeah, I know), and I still can't get my head around it!

Many food bloggers have been compiling their ''best of 2011'' lists about their favourite food and travel events of the year, and it got me thinking too. It's awfully bizarre, but fun as well. I've travelled quite a bit this year, which has been exciting! The first trip was to idyllic Israel for Easter with dear friend M. to visit her family and celebrate Pesach together. I have to admit that I do miss Israel; the smells of the bazaars, the freshly-squeezed pomegranate juices, the history lessons, the people... oh, and the soldiers! Don't even get me started on those, for I am a young girl after all, not unlike the two youngest Bennett sisters in some respects. No siree.

Next trip – if you don't count a couple of hours in Amsterdam - was to brilliant Brittany – Finistère to be precise – back in June. Happily I ate my way through dishes upon dishes of traditional Breton food, supported and helped by my Italian fellow-foodie-friend. Crêpes, galettes de blé noir, kig ha farz, macarons with salty caramel filling, quatre-quarts, Breizh cola, kouign amann in Douarnanez... yum. It does not do to think of it. Those were good times, good times. Germany lured me away from my humble abode in August, and I spent two wonderful, and very tasty, weeks in Hamburg and Lübeck. Fish of all shapes and sizes; fish in bread, fish and chips, fish in salads and, well, sausages. But summer came to end eventually, and the only remedy I could think of to cure me from ''I'm just a little tired of doing my homework in the weekend'' was, as you can imagine, a trip to Paris. So, in September, off I went.

There was plenty of food in Paris; homemade chocolates, macarons from Ladurée, pastry from Pierre Hermé, croissants for breakfast every day (yes, every day!), baguettes from Eric Kayser, a cuppa or fifty of coffee, salt caramel ice cream and blueberry sorbet from Berthillon, late dinners with Bordeaux, some more sweets at Versailles, omelettes after my first Catholic mass at Notre-Dame and so much more... Oh, and brioche. Lots of brioche.

Now brioche is positively one of my favourite breads, and always a huge hit in my house for ages. This recipe is the best I've tried yet, though I cannot remember where I found it. I love it all the same.And like most things I love, it drives me crazy. Crazy! The downside to them is that they just don't seem to last long. They'll be fresh and warm and in abundance in the morning, and by the evening, they're gone. Poof! Just like that. And suddenly I'm left without brioches in my lunch box (or my mouth). How is this possible? It must be my brother and his friends. How rude. Then again my brother gave me these wonderful brioche moulds for Christmas (aren't they cute?), which I actually bought in Paris. I've been drooling over them since September, and couldn't wait for Christmas to come, so I could use them!

I like to keep my brioches simple, like the original ones probably were in Basse-Normandie, so I don't go too crazy with flavours. Of course, I add the occasional chocolate piece, but that's pretty much as far as I go. But the real secret to a good brioche lies in the butter. A good-quality butter can make a bad brioche dough good, if you use good butter, oh baby... You won't regret it. Pinky-promise! 

And now, time to welcome a new year. There will be more foods to make, new recipes to try, places to eat, ingredients to test and places to travel. My summer holiday trip next year – whereto I shan't say yet – is already booked and paid for, but there will be no travelling to foreign lands before May, I'm sad to say. Woe is me. So I'm curious, what is on your travel agenda or wish list for 2012?

Happy happy New Year!

I'll be submitting this to Yeastspotting.




500 g. flour 
25 g. fresh yeast
6 eggs
250 g. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. salt
70 g. sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
60 g. half-and-half, tepid
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash

In a bowl, mix the yeast with the half-and-half. Add sugar, flour and salt. Blend well. It will be dry! Then add the eggs. It should be very sticky.

2.Add the butter, a few cubes at a time and knead into the dough. You'll probably need some extra flour every now and again, and don't worry about adding too much! It may be dry, but the butter will absorb the flour as you knead. Knead until the dough is elastic.

3.Put dough back into bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled at room temperature. Then leave in fridge overnight, or at least for 12 hours.

4.Divide the dough into 20 balls of dough à 50 gram each. You have to shape the balls quickly, so the dough doesn't warm up. If it does though, just place it in the fridge for a few minutes and continue :)

5.Let rise for two hours. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Glaze with the egg wash. Make sure you only glaze a little; too much egg wash will hinder rising! Bake in oven for about 12 minutes, or until they're all golden and lovely!



500 g. mjøl
25 g. fersk gjær
6 egg
250 g. smør, ved romtemperatur
2 ts. salt
70 g. sukker
60 g. mjølk- og kremblanding, ved romtemperatur
1 egg + 1 ms mjølk, for eggvask

1.Bland saman gjæren med mjølke- og kremblandinga i ein bolle. Ha i sukkeret, mjølet og saltet.
Rør saman. Blandinga skal vera tørr. Ha i egga. Blandinga vil vera våt.

2.Kna smøret inn i deigen. Av og til må du ha i litt ekstra mjøl. Smøret trekker til seg mjølet ganske mykje, så det er berre å ha i ekstra mjøl. Kna til deigen er elasktisk.

3.Legg deigen tilbake i bollen, dekk bollen til, og la han heva seg i to timar. Legg bollen i kjøleskapet og la stå over natta, eller i 12 timar.

4.Del deigen i 20 ballar à 50 gram kvar. Du må forma ballane raskt, slik at deigen vert varm. Er deigen for varm, kan du berre leggja han i kjøleskapet i nokre minutt.

5.La dei heva i to itmar. Varm opp omnen til 200°C. Ha på eggvask. Ikkje ha for mykje eggvask på kvar brioche; det kan hindra hevinga. Steik i omnen i omlag 12 minutt, eller til briochane er gylden.

9 comment (s):

mOR said...

Desse er kjempegode og rike på smak! Eg pleier å eta dei slik som dei er. Dei toler også å etast dagen etter!

Marion said...

Tusen takk!

M said...

these look really good! :)
and I have to say I envy your food year!

Marion said...

Thank you so much :) It was a great food year. Let's hope 2012 will be even better!

Robin said...

so exited to try these...question...once dough is rolled into 20balls...and prior to final 2hr rise..could they be frozen at this point without compromising the quality of the baked breads...
thanks for sharing

Marion said...

Hm... good question. Yes, I think you should be able to freeze them before the final rise, but I'd defrost them overnight (if you want them for breakfast, for instance) and let them rise for two hours and bake :)

Nick P said...

would it be better to let the yeast-milk mixture sit and foam a little, or just to mix everything together immediately?

Marion said...

I use fresh yeast, so I just mix everything together immediately. No matter how much I try, fresh yeast mixtures just don't foam in my kitchen. However, if you're using dry yeast, I'd let it foam for 5-10 minutes. I'd also add a little bit sugar to the yeast mixture.

Bridget said...

So beautiful, my little painted birds are going to eat it!! Thanks!

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