31 October 2008

Kneadless Bread for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

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I spotted these intriguing raspberries at the supermarket today. They were marketed as Ghost Raspberries, but they didn't glow in the dark. They tasted quite nice, though could have done with some more sun to make them juicier and sweeter.

At the patisserie class I found out about a recipe for kneadless bread. The theory is that time develops gluten as well as kneading.

Now some time ago, I spotted a new type of flour at Waitrose - oak smoked stone ground strong flour. Needless to say, I couldn't resist this and so thought I'd try out the fab new kneadless recipe with this fab new flour.

Unfortunately this was a bad choice, but there were glints of hope, so I'll try this again, with regular white strong flour or more water.

Ingredients

7 dl strong white flour
1 tsp dry yeast or 2 tsp fresh yeast
2 tsp salt
3.5 dl water at room temperature
flour and course bran or polenta for sprinkling

Method

  1. Mix the flour and yeast in a large bowl; if using fresh yeast, rub it in well into the flour. Then add the salt and water.
  2. Combine into a wet dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for about 18 hours in room temperature.
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  3. Flour your work surface and turn out the dough, it should spread out on its own accord. Push it aside into a square of about 25 cm, then fold into thirds into a strip and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold into thirds along the long side to form a cube. Sprinkle flour and bran/polenta on a linen towel and place the dough cube carefully on top. Sprinkle more flour and bran/polenta over it and cover it up with the towel and leave to rise for 2 hours.
  5. After 1 hour of rising, place a casserole dish with its lid in the oven and preheat on the highest temperature - gas mark 9 or 240 degrees C.
  6. When the rising time is up, place the cube in the casserole dish and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for further 20-23 minutes.
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I should have reacted when my dough came together rather nicely last night. In fact I was quite tempted to continue kneading. I should have added more water then and there. And so, there was some gluten development, but not too much. A wetter dough would have made it better. It just struck me that the fresh yeast I used had been frozen, that might have affected it slightly.

Turning it out onto the work surface, it didn't spread out voluntarily, I had to push it out and 2 hours rising time didn't seem to make any difference. Even in baking, it didn't rise much. I also should have brushed off some of the flour and polenta that I covered it with.

I've left it to cool now and will try it out tomorrow. Overall, I'm looking forward to making this work.



28 October 2008

Toffee sweets

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was quite a bit of the toffee mixture left and I really didn't want to throw it away.

So I lined a baking tray with aluminium foil, then mixed the toffee with puffed rice and walnuts and shaped it into a bar in the baking tray. The toffee had started to go hard, so I re-heated it slightly to make it easier to stir in the puffed rice and walnuts. Then I left it to cool down.

I cut it into bite size pieces, it was very tasty. Lundulph keeps nipping into the box.

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Birthday Cake For Lou

Lou is my oldest niece and we celebrated her birthday yesterday. She's into diving with ambitions for the London 2012 Olympics and so I thought a swimming pool cake would be in order.

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First I made the outer cream, which is the mousseline cream from my patisserie class, this time in it's original state - vanilla flavoured.

Ingredients

250 ml semi-skimmed milk
0.5 vanilla pod
110 caster sugar
2 eggs
1 yolk
15 g cornflour
10 g plain flour
125 unsalted butter at room temperature

Method

  1. Put the milk in a large saucepan together with half the sugar. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise, then scrape off all the seeds and put in the milk. Finally add the pods themselves as well. Stir in and bring to the boil.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk, half the sugar, cornflour and flour to a pale fluffy mixture.
  3. When the milk has come to the boil, take off the heat, then add a few tablespoons of it to the egg mixture slowly, while whisking in order to temper the eggs.
  4. Take out the two vanilla husks, then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and put back on the hob on low heat.
  5. Keep stirring until the custard thickens and bubbles start to form.
  6. Take off the heat and stir in a third of the butter, then cover the surface with cling film and leave to the side to cool.
  7. Once cold, stir the remainder of the butter light and fluffy, then stir it into the custard cream and it's ready to use. Or cover again with cling film and keep in the fridge.


For the cake base, I made an old favourite - sponge with ground nuts. I made the double amount for this particular cake and I used almonds, which I had left over from all the macarons.

Ingredients

50 g unsalted butter or margarine
2 large eggs
2 dl granulated sugar
3 dl plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 dl ground nuts
1 dl single cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at gas mark 3 (175 degrees C) if making one cake, or at gas mark 6 (200 degrees C) if making cup cakes.
  2. Gently melt the butter or margarine and let it cool down.
  3. In the mean time whisk the eggs and sugar white and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, than slowly add to the egg/sugar mixture, followed by the almonds and the cream.
  5. Finally pour in the fat carefully while still whisking. Grease and flour a cake tin or line with baking parchment. Dessicated coconut is also good instead of flour.
  6. Pour into a cake tin, about 1.5 litre volume or into cup cakes and bake for about 35 - 40 minutes.


Because I made the double amount, I had to bake it for an hour and 15 minutes.

While waiting for the sponge to cool down, I made the jelly for the water effect. I followed the instruction on the packet of leaf gelatine, which said the full packet of 15 leaves to 1.25 litres of liquid. I guessed that I needed about half that, so I used 7.5 leaves. As liquid, I'd bought some elderflower squash concentrate from IKEA. Normally it would require dilution of 6 parts water to 1 part of concentrate.
Before I made the jelly, I made the mould for the ripples on the surface. I'd decided to try and make the mould out of aluminium foil, because there wasn't time for anything more advanced. After a bit of experimentation, I bluetacked three bowls one inside the other.

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On top of this, I placed the aluminium foil and formed it so that the bowls would form ridges on it.

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The main thing is to pour the jelly into the reverse side of the mould. Before pouring, the edges of the foil must be bent up or the jelly will run out on the sides. Also aluminium foil is very soft, so extreme care is required or the mould will be ruined.

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I also made a mini rectangle to test things out.

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This I put aside to set. After a few hours it was still fairly runny, so I put it in the fridge, at which point the thought struck me that using aluminium might affect the jelling, but decided to hope for the best. The fridge strategy worked out well.

Ingredients

7.5 leaves of gelatine
250 ml elderflower concentrate
300 ml water
1 tsp blue food colouring

Method


  1. Soak the gelatine leaves in some cold water for a few minutes
  2. Mix elderflower concentrate, water and blue food colouring in a jug.
  3. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the gelatine leaves and place in a bowl and melt on low heat, this doesn't take very long.
  4. Once melted, pour into the jug with the blue mixture and stir in well. Then pour into the mould.


For moisturising, I made the sugar stock syrup from my patisserie course:

Ingredients

300 g granulated sugar
350 g water
2 tbsp dark rum

Method

  1. Bring the sugar and water to the boil and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool down to room temperature (or plunge in cold water to speed things up), then stir in the rum.
  3. Store in the fridge


I sliced the cake to make two layers, then brushed on some of the stock syrup. I thought I was being quite liberal with it, but the cake ended up fairly dry, so obviously I got the wrong impression.

The very last thing I made was the filling, and I made the toffee from my birthday cake from last year. Again I made the double dose and discovered that adding butter at the end is a big mistake. Like with my eclairs, the butter and the toffee separated. Actually they never came together and I spent some time draining the thing. Line a collander with lots of kitchen towels and leave in the sink, stirring it occasionally. It was a bit of a struggle to spread it and I had quite a lot left over.

Once I'd sandwiched the cake, I spread a thin layer of the mousseline cream on top in order to make the blue jelly come out more clearly. This was easy enough. But the jelly, although nicely set by now, had large surface and was very thin and trying to prise off the small rectangle, I realised it would not come off from the aluminium foil. At this point Lundulph came in to the kitchen to check on what I was doing and that added to the stress levels a bit. A deep breath and I flipped the whole thing on top of the cake, almost in the centre too. This didn't change the fact that the jelly wasn't going to come off without a fight. And now the idea struck me to warm up the foil a bit, thus melting the jelly ever so slightly and forcing it to let go. Hand warmth didn't do it, neither did all my spoons pre-warmed in hot water, so I turned up the edges of the foil and poured the hot water. This had an immediate result and I quickly ran out of hands to cope with getting the foil off as quickly as possible before everything melted, while preventing any water dripping into the cake.

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I noticed that a few air pockets formed between the cake and the jelly, so I let the air out with a skewer, the jelly was still runny enough to completely hide the holes.

I took a short break, then covered the sides of the cake with mousseline cream, saving some to cover up the edge of the jelly.

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Our local kitchen shop has a very good section for sugar craft, where I spotted small ballerina figurines and I got one and stuck in upside-down in the middle of the ripples. I also made a diving tower from marzipan. It wasn't very pretty, but I hope you can get the idea.

In hindsight, I shoul have used maybe 10 gelatine leaves for that amount of liquid, to make it stiffer and easier to work with.

24 October 2008

Slow cooked rabbit

Inspired by trendy Fred and Ginger, I've now also cooked rabbit. In my gyuvetch dish. I decided to use Delia's Rabbit in Cider as a base, but with a number of differences:

Ingredients

8 large mushrooms
1 jointed rabbit
25 g salted butter
1 tbsp grape seed oil
15 small shallots
2 cloves of garlic
250 g unsmoked streaky bacon
2 tbsp plain flour
0.5 l dry cider
0.5 l mushroom stock
500 g potatoes
100 g mange tout
100 g baby sweetcorn
sprigs of fresh thyme
12 juniper berries
salt and pepper

Method
  1. Peel the mushrooms, but don't remove the stems. Grill on medium until well done.
  2. Wash and cut the potatoes in chunks and steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Wash the jointed rabbit and make sure there are no hairs left on it.
  4. Peel the shallots and garlic and chop finely. Dice the bacon.
  5. Heat up the butter and oil and brown off the rabbit joints. Then set aside.
  6. In the same pan, fry the onions, garlic and bacon until the onion is soft and the bacon has browned.
  7. Sprinkle the flour and stir vigorously for a minute or two, then pour in the cider slowly, it'll go foamy and fizzy at first. Then add the stock and stir in well.
  8. Put the rabbit joints back in and bring to the boil for a few minutes.
  9. In the mean time, transfer the mange tout, baby sweetcorn and potatoes to the guyvetch.
  10. Slice the mushrooms and add as well. Transfer carefully the rabbit and the stew liquid.
  11. Add the thyme. Crush the juniper berries and add as well. Season well with salt and pepper.
  12. Set the oven on slow cook setting or similar low temperature and leave overnight.


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I had some doubts about this, but it turned out to be a similar experience to when we first had guinea fowl. The rabbit was so tender, the meat just came off the bone. Lundulph actually thought it was too bony, and said we should try and get a filleted rabbit next time. I'm not sure this is possible, but this stew was fab.

19 October 2008

Chicken cushions

Yesterday I wandered down to the butchers with no particular plan in mind. Lundulph had asked for more chicken and I was contemplating a meat ball soup towards the end of the week. I also asked for turkey, which they didn't have at the moment, but recommended a chicken cushion. This is two breasts of chicken, with their skin and with onion and sage stuffing, tied up with string. They looked pretty, so I bought one. I also enquired about rabbit, at which point the butcher turned around and pointed at two skinned bunnies hanging behind him. Having read (and drooled) over the casserole that Fred and Ginger did the other day, I couldn't resist the temptation and bought that as well. I put the rabbit in the freezer for now and cooked the chicken cushion today.

I took the opportunity to consult my Mum on rabbits and received about 20 different recipes, so will go through them and see which one reads tastiest.

So chicken cushion. I forgot to ask at what temperature to cook it and for how long, I guessed at gas mark 6 (200 degrees) and left it in for about 45 minutes, while I got everything else ready. This is what it looked like as a whole:
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The only thing I did was to spray the tin foil with grape seed oil and also spray some on top. I also gave it a couple of sprays while it was roasting too.

To accompany the chicken, I steamed some broccoli, we haven't had that for a while and made a creamy warm potato salad.

Ingredients

300 ml créme fraîche
1 bunch of chives
1 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper
1 kg waxy salad potatoes

Method
  1. Stir the créme fraîche smooth.
  2. Cut the chives finely and add, along with dill, salt and pepper. Stir in well and leave to stand in the fridge for a few hours. It should taste a bit too salty and will become right once mixed with the potatoes.
  3. Wash and dice the potatoes, then steam them until just done. Be careful not to over-cook so they go mushy.
  4. Let cool slightly, then pour in the créme fraîche mixture and stir in carefully and serve straight away.


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This turned out to be quite delicious.

15 October 2008

Macaron part 3

OK, the pink macarons didn't manage to bake properly after 15 minutes on gas mark 3, so I decided to attempt a rescue, rather than make another batch.

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To the right, yesterday's failed underbaked one and to the left a rescued one with additional 10 minutes at gas mark 2.

I had 8 egg yolks in the fridge because of the macaron insanity and made a nice omelet with them for dinner. Instead of adding milk, I used up some créme fraîche I had left from the other day. With salt, pepper and dill, it turned out very nice indeed and tasted a bit like an omelet with feta cheese in it. Lundulph liked it too, so I guess it wasn't too cheesy for him.

But back to the macarons, all is not lost if they are undercooked - just bake a bit longer but after pre-heating the oven properly first.

I also learned another very valuable lesson - make them and eat them straight away. The chocolate macarons I made last night have now gone extremely soggy and required some scraping off with a spoon. But the macarons themselves can be kept for a few days in an airtight container and the mousseline cream in the fridge and just put them together just before serving. So I'll keep my pink macarons in a box and the pink cream in the fridge for now.

On another happy note, my temporary aversion to chocolate from last Thursday is now over, I had a go at some of the first failed batch of macarons, they were tasty despite all.

14 October 2008

Macarons part 2

Some time ago I read this article. I couldn't quite relate to the obsession, but my curiosity arose about macarons.

Having tried them out, I'm beginning to understand what the guy means.

Last night I rushed to the supermarket after work to get more eggs and ground almonds and made a single batch of chocolate macarons. Still the mixture felt a bit thick and even after about a minute of banging the tray on the table, they wouldn't really settle down.

I decided to try increasing the baking temperature to 180 degrees (gas mark 4). I also piped badly and ended up with one tray of large ones - about 5 cm diameter and one tray of tiny ones - about 2 cm diameter.

I baked the large ones for 20 minutes and the small ones for 15. They went a bit light in colour. I baked them one tray at a time in the middle of the main oven, then left them to cool down on their trays completely before prising them off. This time they'd baked nicely and came off the baking paper. They'd also risen quite a bit and cracked.
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I must remember to use large eggs next time, so the mixture is a bit runnier. The little ones looked more like amaretto biscuits than macarons and in fact they are closely related according to Larousse Gastronomique. So there.

I also skipped the first resting period.

Tonight I combined them with the chocolate mousseline cream and here is the result:
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Crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle and creamy with the cream. Lundulph approved, he's good like that.

Tonight I made a second batch with rose water and red food colouring, they're cooling now and I'll assemble them tomorrow. I increased the cornflour to 30 g and still the mixture was very runny, so will try making a Swiss meringue to make it firmer. As these set very nicely indeed because of that, I lowered the temperature to gas mark 3, 170 degrees. I wonder if the cornflour made them rise, but they did and cracked of course too. And went yellowish, not nice at all, they were supposed to be pink! Should probably have skipped the cornflour altogether. And drop the temperature to gas mark 2 (150 degrees). They baked for 15 minutes as well, fingers crossed that's enough. Here rescue instructions.

12 October 2008

Classic Patisserie Master Class

Last Thursday it was time for the second course I'd booked at The Bertinet Kitchen. Classic Patisserie with Ghalid Assyb. I was quite looking forward to this as the web site implied that macarons would be involved. Lundulph keeps saying how wonderful macarons are and now I'd have a chance to try them out. I'd read about them before, they're supposed to be very difficult to do.
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Indeed, the class had 4 classic pieces of patisserie planned - chocolate financiers, opera gateau, mille-feuille and chocolate macarons. Sounds ambitious?
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We were divided into 4 groups and each made one of these and were to discuss the recipes during the lunch. I was in the macaron group and tried to look at what all the others did as well, but was a bit disappointed that there was only time for one recipe. Never mind. Still, couldn't quite see what the fuss was about, the macarons were very straight forward.
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We tried out all the resulting puddings and I was so heavily overdosed on chocolate, I've no trouble looking at the Nutella jar and resisting it. Hard to believe indeed.
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Still, I picked up lots of useful tips, and I'm planning to try out all four recipes before Christmas. This week-end I wanted to do the macarons, because they ran out in the tasting session and there weren't any to take home.

Well, there is certainly a reason to fuss - I failed miserably. I had to cook them for almost twice the time an still they were undercooked. I wonder if it could be because I have a gas oven which has a moist heat, whereas at the school we baked in an electric oven which has dry heat. I asked Ghalid about this and he said it shouldn't be any difference. But I'll have to experiment. Some recipes I came across ask for higher oven temperature, might try that as well.

I made two lots - one with cocoa, one with rose water. The cream is enough for both.

Ingredients

110 g icing sugar
50 g ground almonds
12 g cocoa powder or cornflour
2 medium egg whites at room temperature
40 g caster sugar
1 tbsp rose water (if using cornflour instead of cocoa)
2-3 drops of red food colouring (if using rose water)

Mousseline cream

2 medium eggs
1 medium egg yolk
110 g caster sugar
250 ml milk
15 g cornflour
10 plain flour
125 unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp rose water
2-3 drops of red food colouring

Method
  1. Make the cream first by whisking eggs, egg yolk, cornflour, flour and half of the sugar until the mixture is fluffy and pale.
  2. Bring the milk and the rest of the sugar to the boil in a pan large enough to take the egg mixture as well. As the milk is heating up, pour a few tablespoons into the egg mixture while still whisking to temper it.
  3. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the milk and keep stirring energetically until the custard heats up. Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time, so that it doesn't burn.
  4. Remove from the heat and add one third of the butter an whisk in well. Then cover with cling film straight onto the surface to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.
  5. When the custard has cooled completely, divide in two. Add 1 tbsp cocoa powder to one half and stir well. Add 1 tbsp rose water and the food colouring to the second half, stirring them in well.
  6. Divide the remaining soft butter in two and stir in into each half. Cover with cling film again and store in the fridge.
  7. Sift separately the icing sugar and the almonds and the cocoa powder, then mix together well.
  8. Beat the egg whites to soft peak stage, then add the caster sugar slowly while beating until the meringue is smooth, but not too dry.
  9. Add the almond mixture and fold it in carefully. Leave to stand for 30 minutes in room temperature. Skip this rest if you're in a hurry.
  10. Pipe small blobs, about the size of a macadam nut onto a tray lined with baking parchment. When the tray is full, lift it about 5 cm from the work top and drop it. Repeat a couple of times. this makes the macarons take shape and flatten. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes. Do not skip the resting this time, it is very important for the macarons. The mixture should give at least 40 macarons.
  11. Preheat the oven at 140 degrees (gas mark 1). Bake the macarons for precisely 15 minutes, then take out and leave to cool completely.
  12. In the mean time, take out the mousseline cream from the fridge and stir it to soften it up.
  13. Prise off from the baking parchment and turn half of the macarons upside-down. Pipe some cream on each of the upside-down macarons, then press the others on top, to form a sort of hamburger.

For some reason my macarons didn't bake properly and when I tried to prise them off, the bottoms stuck to the parchment. I'd baked them for about 30 minutes already, so I suspect I might need to increase the temperature at my next attempt.

The idea was to have the chocolate macarons with the chocolate mousseline cream and the rose water macarons with the rose water mousseline cream. The creams worked out really well.

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The rose water one was a bit grainy, but both tasted very nice.

The rose water macaron mixture went too runny, so I'll increase the amount of corn flour next time, it was difficult to pipe and the blobs ended up flowing into each other.

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The chocolate macaron mixture felt a bit thick, but that may have been due to the very small nozzle I had to use, I only had that and an eclair sized one which I thought would be too big.

So after some 30 minutes of baking:

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In theory, the mousseline should keep for a few days, so I'll get more ingredients and try again.

At the school we made only the chocolate version and then with a ganache cream, but the recipe for the mousseline is quite large, so I decided to use it instead, it feels a bit lighter too.

The main point on macarons is that they need to rest after having been piped and that the tray needs to be tapped to make them as flat as possible. They are very close to meringues and if they aren't flat, the steam inside will try to come out at the top and they will crack. If they are flat, the steam will exit around the edge. The baking time is crucial, the macarons need to be baked on top bottom to give the crunchiness, while remaining sticky in the middle.

So not so easy at all! I'll post a follow-up once I've worked out things for my oven.

4 October 2008

Baking Master Class

Once again I've lapsed in my cooking and also missed out the September Daring Bakers challenge (unforgivable!), but I fully intend to catch up.

Last Thursday I used up a birthday voucher on a master class in croissant making at The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath run by Richard Bertinet himself.

We also made brioche, which I hadn't expected, so it was a nice bonus. I hadn't realised how much effort goes in to make these wonderful things.

Here are some photos of what the class of 12 produced.

Pain aux raisins
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Danish pastries
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Croissants
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Brioche
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And the leftover dough from the brioche and the cut-offs from the puff pastry were deep fried and rolled in sugar resulting in wonderful doughnuts and crispy sweet twiglets.

Needless to say that I was in a happy place all Friday, despite hurting feet and all that.

So while things are still fresh in my mind, I'm in the process of making brioche according to the recipe we used at the school.

Ingredients

500 g strong white flour
15 g fresh yeast
50 g caster sugar
10 g salt
6 eggs
225 g butter

Egg wash
1 egg
pinch of salt

Method



  1. Measure up everything and have ready to add at the right moment. Ensure the work surface is clean, as the dough is entirely worked by hand.
  2. Cut up the butter into 1 cm cubes and leave on the side.
  3. Rub the yeast into the flour until well incorporated.
  4. Add sugar, salt and eggs and incorporate into a very sticky dough. This doesn't take too long. Mr Bertinet recommended using a dough scraper, but I haven't managed to get hold of one yet.
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  5. Turn out on the work surface. Do not add any flour, it's supposed to be sticky.
  6. Now work the dough by sticking your hands under the dough on either side, palms up like fork lifts. Bring your thumbs together on top of the dough and lift. In the air, turn your hands and the dough down and slap it back onto he work surface, then pull the part you're holding towards you and fold over the part that's stuck to the table. This brings you back to the starting position approximately.
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  7. As you can see a lot sticks to the work surface, but that's OK, keep doing this movement and about 30 minutes later the dough will stop sticking to the table. Use a dough scraper or similar to incorporate whatever's stuck to the surface every now and then. This is quite good exercise and I recommend standing with one foot forward and one behind to get the better swing to it.
  8. Once the dough stops sticking to the surface, flatten it out a bit and put the butter dice on top of it. Tuck in from all sides an keep doing this until enough butter has been incorporated so that you can start the flap and fold motion again. The butter will try to ooze out, but be persistent, it'll all get in and the dough will feel easier to work with.
  9. Once all has been incorporated and the dough seems smooth, make a nice fold to get a smooth top side on it, flour a bowl very lightly and put the dough in. Dust a little flour on top, cover with a cloth and leave to rest for a couple of hours.
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  10. In the mean time, scrape off any leftovers from the work surface, but do not wash, as the dough will need further work. Just make sure there are no dry bits stuck, as they'll ruin the dough in the next run.
  11. When it's rested, take it out on the work surface again, making sure the smooth side of the dough ends up underneath. Imagine there are corners along the edges of the dough, pick one and fold towards the middle. Working in one direction only, keep folding the corners that appear towards the middle until you've done a couple of full circles on the dough. At this point I decided to add 100 g of sultanas that I'd rolled in a little flour.
  12. Put back in the bowl and leave in a cool place (about 10 degrees C) overnight, to allow more flavours to develop. Or leave to rest for another couple of hours if you feel a bit rushed.
  13. If you kept the dough in the fridge, take it out and let it come up to room temperature before you form the brioches. This is a good time to make the egg wash by whisking lightly an egg with a pinch of salt and leaving to stand until needed.
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  14. Make shapes of your choice with your fingers, avoid touching with the whole of your hand or the butter in the dough will start to melt. Generally avoid fiddling with the dough too much, it should still be as soft as after the first rest. I just rolled balls and snipped at the top. Not too pretty with the raisins
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  15. Leave the ready shapes to rise until double in size, about an hour or so. If the kitchen feels a bit cool, turn on the oven on a low heat to warm it up. Pre-heat to gas mark 6 (200 degrees C) shortly before it's time to bake the brioches.
  16. Brush carefully with egg wash. Baking time depends on the size and shape. For the buns, it took 22 minutes and I swapped the two trays after half the time.
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    I also put some balls into a loaf tin, which took a bit longer. Once they're baked and out of the oven, carefully prize them out of the tin mould and leave on the side to cool. This will ensure that the crust stays nice and crunchy.

This was a definite success, despite some initial doubts, and Lundulph had to be pulled away from them, after he'd eaten two in very quick succession. The crust was wonderfully crunchy and inside they were light as a feather. Quite oily though, so I think I'll reduce the amount of butter next time. Once they have cooled, they can be frozen.