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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A lazy day baking

Brioche with honey

So what are you guys up to today? Slaving away for the man, taking timed toilet breaks and drinking insipid instant coffee over a crumb stained desk? I thought so. I, meanwhile, have been tucked away in my warm little house, baking and watching cooking shows. It's a hard life.

Two days off (on top of the three we had for the long weekend in Victoria) has proven incredibly fruitful for my baking stocks. I've made some sausage rolls (pork with pistachio and sage), cronuts (uh-huh, those cronuts), regular donuts and some sneaky treats for a meeting at work. Happy days. But my greatest success over the last 5 days? A new brioche technique.

I've already bored you stupid with my bounties of brioche in the past. My problem with my previous method lay in the shaping on the loaves. I couldn't quite seem to get them shaped into gorgeous looking loaves like the glossy pages of my cookbooks. They'd always pucker and expand in strange shapes, leaving a delicious but unsightly loaf.

Who solved my quandry? I'd love to say I developed this technique on my own, but once again, Philippa Sibley came to the rescue. Her book, PS Desserts, is a total lifesaver, as well as a constant source of inspiration in my kitchen. Her recipes are so clear and concise, with helpful tips and substitutes for when you may not have all the ingredients (like fresh yeast in this brioche dough). The photography demonstrates each stage of the recipe, so you know you're on track by comparing your progress with the images in the book.

Brioche with honey

Her technique for shaping brioche? A little folding. Gently squish the dough flat and fold each corner into the middle. Flatten again. Roll the brioche up like a towel and place gently in your tin. I skipped the rolling part as I was making teeny tiny loaves for our engagement party (mini burgers may or may not be on the menu).

But as you can see, I couldn't resist sneaking on before they were sent to the freezer to percolate before the big day. A simple drizzle of honey was just the right accompaniment for this soft, buttery loaf. Perfect reward for a big day of baking.

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