22 November 2010

Brioche Roulée

In order to treat Lundulph and my parents to a special breakfast, I decided to finally try out Lenôtre's recipe for Brioche Roulée.


His dough recipe is a bit different from Richard Bertinet's one, that I've been successful with, so I was a bit nervous, especially due to some of the instructions that didn't quite make sense in my head.

Besides, I've had trouble baking and cooking things in my Mum's kitchen for some reason. It's just not the same as at home, I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's because my Mum is there and historically she's been the one to cook for the family, not me, whereas at home, I'm the one that does the cooking. Who knows. But I was determined to give this a try.

The original recipe is called Brioche Rulée aux Fruits Confits and is translated to Rolled Brioche with Candied Fruit. It would have almond or vanilla cream in it, along with candied fruit and raisins soaked in rum and be decorated with a sugar glaze. Problem nr 1: My Dad doesn't like dried fruit in yeasty breads. Now I had some mousseline cream left over, which I thought I'd use up. As it turned out, I had to throw it away, since it had fermented. I guess 3 weeks in the fridge is just really pushing my luck. That makes Problem nr 2. What were the alternatives? Well, there are 5 jars of jam in the fridge and by far the most popular is bilberry, so I decided to use that instead. Thus also the issue with the fruit was resolved and I decided to add some chopped walnuts for a bit of crunchiness.

I also decided to actually do the brioche properly, i. e. prepare it the night before and let it rest in the fridge, I generally skip that bit. The recommendation was to make in small amounts, rather than big. The roulée was supposed to be made from 400 g dough in a 20 cm cake tin. I didn't weigh my dough, but I knew it would be more than the required amount. This worked out OK, since my Mum's cake tin is 23 cm.

Brioche dough ingredients

9 g fresh yeast
1 tsp warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp full milk
250 g strong white flour
3 eggs
225 g unsalted butter at room temperature

Brioche dough method
  1. In a small bowl, crumble the yeast into the water and stir to make a runny paste.

  2. Combine the salt and sugar in the bowl where the dough will be mixed and add 1 tbsp of milk to it and stir to dissolve as much as possible.

  3. Add the flour to the salt/sugar mixture, then add the yeast paste on top and mix to combine.

  4. Add 2 of the eggs and continue to mix the dough until it is firm and smooth and evenly blended. If it seems a bit dry, add the remaining tablespoon of milk.

  5. Add the remaining egg, then continue to knead for some 10 - 15 minutes (if using a machine, possibly longer if by hand). The dough should become light and soft, but not too sticky.

  6. Now divide up the butter into ice cube sized chunks and add to the dough and incorporate well, but don't over-work the dough.

  7. Cover the dough with a cloth and set aside in a warm place and let rise to double volume, about 2 h.

  8. Punch it down, fold a couple of times, then let rise a second time to double volume, another 2 h or so, then cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

The bits I was wondering about was the almost ridiculously small amounts of water and milk in order to dissolve the dry-ish ingredients. But having done them, I realise that the point is to make it easier to blend them into the dough, rather than add liquid to it. Brioche dough generally only gets liquid from the eggs, so this is a very neat trick to incorporate yeast, salt and sugar and get them well distributed throughout.

From the instructions I got the impression that the dough would be soft, but not sticky. I didn't end up with anything near that. The eggs I used were on the small side and the overall amounts were a bit too small for the Kitchen Assistent, so I ended up kneading by hand and also adding the extra tbsp of milk in order to get it to come together.

The most disturbing thing was the amount of butter, I think I might have got it wrong, because it was way too much and the final dough that I put in the fridge was more of a very thick batter, than a dough. I just about managed to incorporate it all. I certainly struggled to punch it down and fold it between the two rises.

Roulée ingredients

unsalted butter
1.5 dl granulated sugar
1 dl water
2 dl jam
1 dl chopped walnuts
1 egg

Roulée method
  1. Butter a round cake tin.

  2. Take the brioche dough out of the fridge and take about a third of it and roll out to a circle, large enough to cover the bottom and walls of the cake tin. Then place it in the tin and spread some of the jam on the bottom of it. It must be a thin layer.

  3. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle, about 60 x 20 cm and spread the remainder of the jam on it. Sprinkle the walnuts over the jam, then roll up to a 50 cm long sausage.

  4. Cut the roll into 12 pieces 5 cm thick and arrange in the cake tin, making sure they don't touch each other or the dough at the edge. Cover and let proof until the pieces begin to touch, about an hour.

  5. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

  6. In the mean time bring the sugar and water to the boil to make a simple syrup. Let simmer for a couple of minutes, then set aside to cool.

  7. Just before putting the roulée in the oven, whisk up the egg and brush the surface well. Bake the roulée for about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

  8. Remove from the oven and immediately brush or drizzle the syrup over the roulée until it's all absorbed.

  9. Allow to cool a bit, then serve warm.

The night in the fridge did wonderous things for the brioche dough, it was very much like modelling clay than dough, but most definitely not like batter.

I tried to work as quickly as possible, and used copious amounts of flour when rolling.

I also baked it at 185 degrees and used the hot air fan. This mainly to save a few minutes on waiting for the oven to heat up, rather than anything else.

The result was fabulous, albeit on the greasy side. I also put in too thick a layer of jam at the bottom under the rolls. This is mainly due to the bilberries being whole in the jam, I should have prepared it and blended it beforehand.

On the whole, it was an interesting experience, but I think I'll stick to my original brioche recipe next time, it seems a bit less hassle.

I also suspect other types of jam would work just as nicely.

Everyone liked it and there's only a small piece left over. Dad and Lundulph even had seconds. So I'm happy too.

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