Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brioche, Ricotta & Matcha Honey

Brioche. Oh how I love brioche. I've always wanted to make it but been scared off by the amount of time it takes. But the other Friday night, while glutting myself at the incredible feast we enjoyed at Perama, I was enjoying the ekmek (brioche with syrup and cream) so much that it pushed me over the edge and the next afternoon I took the plunge and started to make my own brioche, in the hopes of creating a similar dessert to that fantastic ekmek.

First of all, making brioche is not as hard as you might think. It does take a long time from start to finish, but most of it is waiting time to allow the dough to rise. I started this on Saturday afternoon, rested it for a few hours before kneading it again and leaving it over night, then I had to let is rise once more I put it in the tins ready for baking. I was so pleased with the outcome, the bread was wonderfully eggy and buttery, just the way I expect brioche to be. I made one small loaf and a tray of mini buns. I preferred the texture from the loaf, it was slightly more crumbly and cake-like, which made it perfect for this dessert.

(recipe from the Golden Book of Patisserie)
7g (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs, beaten
200g butter, cut into small pieces and softened
Egg wash: 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp milk

Mix the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes until frothy. Combine the flour, remaining sugar and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the eggs, milk and yeast mixture.

Knead the dough with an electric mixter fitted with a dough hook for 8-10 minutes, until smooth. Beat the butter, one piece at a time, into the dough with mixer at low speed. Mix for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and leave to rise at room temperatre for 2-3 hours, until doubled in bulk. (The temperature should be about 24 degrees C, no hotter, as the butter will melt and separate out from the dough)

Punch the risen dough down, trn ot onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Return to the bowl and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, ready to bake for breakfast the next day.

How you decide to split your dough up into the baking tins is up to you. Either a large 1 litre brioche mould or 18 small brioche moulds were recommended by the original recipe. I split my dough in half and placed one half in a medium loaf tin the other half were split up into 12 mini brioche buns with the usual small ball of dough on top. Butter the baking trays well before you place the dough in them.

Cover and leave for 90 minutes for a large brioche and 20 minutes for the smaller buns. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Lightly glaze the brioche top with egg wash. Bake the large brioche for 20 minutes. Decrease the oven temperature to 190 degrees C and bake for 15-20 more minutes. Cover loosely with foil towards the end of baking if the glaze begins to burn. The brioche is done when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Brioche buns only need to bake for 8-12 minutes at the higher temperature, until golden brown on top. Remove the brioche from the tray immediately and let cool on a rack. (I may have had the temperature a bit high for the mini brioche because they got a bit dark on top, but you couldn't taste it).

Brioche, Ricotta & Matcha Honey
1/2 small loaf brioche
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp water
1 tsp matcha powder

Beat ricotta with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside. Place a small saucepan on low heat. Add honey, water and matcha powder in the pan and whisk until matcha powder is dissolved. If there are still lumps of matcha that you would prefer to remove, strain the honey mixture. Keep on very low heat while toasting your brioche.

Thickly slice the brioche loaf. Melt some butter in a small frying pan on medium heat. Use the leftover eggwhite from making your brioche and brush both sides of the brioche slice. Fry the brioche until golden. Dunk your toasted brioche into the honey to let it soak it up, or drizzle it on top if you prefer less honey.

Scoop a tablespoon of smooth ricotta on top of each slice of brioche. (Yeah ignore how much I used in the photos, I got a little over-excited) Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top and drizzle some extra honey on top. EAT.

I was particularly happy with the way the matcha honey turned out. The sweetness of the honey matched will with the slight bitterness from the green tea flavour and it retained its colour very well. It wasn't as soaked through as the ekmek at Perama, so I would soak it for longer in a more watery honey next time for extra honey goodness!

Oh and for dinner the next day I made brioche burgers with store-bought lamb, mint & feta patties, grilled onions, melted cheese, beetroot, tomato and baby spinach. And smeared some mayo and HP sauce on the buns. YUM. The rest of the buns were enjoyed either with more ricotta and honey or with Maggie Beer Pheasant Farm pate and cranberry jelly. Double yum!

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  1. Oh my gawd, why couldn't you be around me when I had a recent sugar / brioche craving?!

    Oh and is that a Maxwell & Williams blue polka dot tea and saucer plate? I have the set in pink :P

  2. Those brioche buns look so cute!!

  3. Heya. I'm a new reader of your blog and I just wanna say I absolutely love it, especially the baking posts. Everything looks so yummy! Makes me wanna bake bake bake! Thanks for the recipes and keep up the good job. :)

  4. Karen - It is!! I got the whole set on sale + teapot + coffee mugs for something like 30 bucks! Lisa has the set too, in red :)

    Anita - Hehe thanks!

    Chrissy - Aw thank you so much!! You just made my day :) Baking makes me happy, I can't stop doing it at the moment. Thanks for reading!

  5. The brioche you baked looks great - especially that burger. Delicious. And the matcha honey sounds really intriguing!

  6. Those mini burgers are double yum indeed! Clever idea too with the matcha honey :)

  7. I love brioche too... the thick cut looks so lovely.. Have you try brioche at Victoire, Balmain? They make very nice one.. but $4 for a small piece ^ ^''

  8. when i first started reading this post, i was wondering about the amount of ricotta you had on the brioche! hahah....I think we all have our moments when we get 'over-excited'

    love the idea of matcha honey (something i'm gonna try) and neat little idea with the burgers!

  9. Forager - Thanks! I was a bit worried the matcha honey would be too bitter at first but after a day in the fridge it was really well balanced and very fragrant!

    Y - :D Thank you! The burgers were very satisfying, I'm obsessed with brioche as a burger bun now.

    Bean Sprout's Cafe - Ooh no I haven't tried it there, will have to check it out sometime thanks!

    panda - LOL yeah I had whipped up so much of it that I just dolloped it on the plate without really thinking! Thanks!

  10. Oh wow. the brioche looks beautiful and delicious! And OMG. The mini brioche burger - amazing!!

  11. Hehe I love the mini brioche buns! They're just perfect :) I remember seeing how much you liked the Ekmek, it was so funny/cute!

  12. Betty - Thank you so much! :)

    Lorraine - Hehe thank you! LOL *embarrassed* I couldn't help it, I have a weakness for brioche!


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