As I’m sure you can imagine, I have a lot of cookbooks. The majority of them are patisserie or baking books though, so I’m a bit lacking on dinner party inspiration and evening meals, but the dessert course is usually already decided.
A lot of my cookery books have some great unique recipes of their own, but you always come across a few recipes that feature in every book. Puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, choux pastry and brioche are the recipes that seem to be in every patisserie book. Whilst these are classics and it’s completely understandable that they would be included, the real question is, will the recipe be any good? Why all the variations in the base recipe and how do I know it will work?
I’ve had this issue with brioche, I have tried lots of different recipes for brioche and unsurprisingly the best recipe I’ve used comes from Mr Bread himself Justin Gellatly of Bread Ahead. Brioche is a very rich dough and because of this I think it needs a long resting/proving time. I’ve used recipes where the brioche is made in under 3 hours and in my opinion it’s been lacking in flavour and isn’t deliciously buttery and fluffy like you would expect a brioche to be.
I’ve also tried some recipes that don’t use very many eggs, or they add milk, or the butter quantity just isn’t right. So I’m prepared to say that I think I’ve found the perfect brioche recipe and it’s Justin Gellatly’s. If you take your time and don’t rush the brioche, you will have a delicious, rich, almost creamy, buttery fluffy bread that is very moreish.
I couldn’t leave the recipe alone without adding my own twist, so to this brioche dough I have added a swirl of homemade hazelnut praline paste (purely because I wanted to use my Magimix and I hate how much this stuff costs to buy) and some chocolate chips.
I shaped my brioche into mini loaves and packed them in the tin, but you could make this in a babka style and plait/twist it, or you could make mini loaves or buns and prove them individually.
The hazelnut praline paste is really easy to make and so much cheaper than buying your own. I’ve never understood why something that is simply nuts and sugar can command such a high price. You will need a powerful food processor to make this though. Please don’t be tempted to use an immersion blender to make this. I burnt out the motor on the one I had, trying to make things like this.
So here is Justin Gellatly’s brioche recipe from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding with my spin on it.
- 500g Strong White Bread Flour
- 6g Salt
- 7g Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 30g Caster Sugar
- 6 Eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
- 250g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 35g Dark Chocolate Chips
- ***Hazelnut Praline Paste***
- 375g Hazelnuts
- 140g Granulated Sugar
- 45g Water
- Place the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a food mixer with the dough hook fitted.
- Crack the eggs into a jug and mix with a fork, then pour this into the flour mixture and beat on a slow speed for 6-8 minutes until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
- Take the butter and cut it into cubes and slowly add it to the mixer beating on medium speed until all of the butter has been incorporated. Make sure the butter has been mixed in before adding the next lot.
- Mix on medium-high for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and pulled away from the sides.
- Place a towel or some cling-film over the bowl and leave it to prove for two hours or until doubled in size.
- Then knock back the dough by knocking the air out of it and giving it a light knead.
- Cover the bowl again with Clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight to rest.
- To make the hazelnut praline paste, place the hazelnuts on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about 10 minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the syrup to 116C.
- Add the warm hazelnuts and stir to coat them evenly. Continue cooking the hazelnuts and syrup until they are a deep amber colour and no sandy white bits remain. Spread onto a baking sheet to cool completely.
- To turn this into praline paste, put the caramelized hazelnuts in a food processor, blend until a smooth and runny paste forms this will take about 8 to 12 minutes. This recipe will make more than you need. Place the excess in a sterilised jar.
- The next day, grease a standard loaf tin, divide the dough into 5 balls, approx. 205g each, roll the dough out to about 1cm thick and spread a layer of hazelnut praline paste leaving ½cm gap around the edge so the paste doesn't spill out, sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.
- Roll up the dough, so that it is like a Swiss roll, then tuck the sides under to gently seal everything in, a bit like a 'u' shape.
- place the mini loaf shape in the tin with the smooth side facing up and the sealed side on the bottom. Repeat with the four remaining balls of dough.
- Cover lightly and leave somewhere warm to prove for 3 hours or until it has risen to the top of the loaf tin.
- Then pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark and glaze with beaten egg bake for 35 mins, or until golden and crunchy to the touch.
- Leave to cool and then remove from the tin, slice and eat.
Thanks for reading.