Pain Brioché - Brioche Bread

This is not your typical white bread. It's not brioche either. It is in between, perfect slightly toasted and works with savoury or sweet toppings.

I tried a French recipe I found on Youtube.
First I had to make a fermented dough (link to the video in French here). A portion of it is used to make the brioche bread, the rest can be added to bread and brioche dough and frozen.
Here is the fermented dough after resting.

Je voulais essayer de faire du pain brioché pour Noël (pas trop le choix, le pain pas cuit sous vide du supermarché anglais n'est pas appétissant...).
La recette de 750g sur Youtube avec l'addition de pâte fermentée m'inspirait bien. 
La vidéo pour la pâte fermentéé est . La pâte restante peut être ajoutée à d'autres pâtes à pain ou briochées et même congelée. Voilà la pâte fermentée prête.

I followed the recipe for the final dough but used the dough setting of the bread machine (video in French here). So far so good... Problems started after...
The loaf was very heavy, barely baked in the centre and burnt on top (by leaving it longer trying to bake through...). To say that I was disappointed, at 10pm on Christmas Eve, knowing that the oven would be used up most of Christmas morning, would be an understatement! I cried for a bit and then programmed the bread machine to have another batch ready for 5.30am. I halved the dough to make two breads but seeing how much they still rose (they were touching in the middle after baking), I woud make three next time.

J'ai utilisé la fonction pâte de la machine à pain pour préparer la pâte finale (vidéo ). Tout allait bien jusque là... mais...
Le pain était très dense, à peine cuit et brulé sur le dessus à force de le laisser dans le four  pour essayer de le cuire au centre... Bref, à 22h le soir du Réveillon, en sachant que le four allait être utilisé pratiquement toute la matinée de Noël, j'en menais pas large! J'ai pleuré un bon coup et puis programmé la machine à pain pour 5h30... deuxième essai! J'ai divisé la pâte en deux pour faire deux pains, mais je pense que je pourrais même en faire trois (les deux pains se touchaient au centre après cuisson).

I'm not giving up on this bread. It's a good one to have in your repertoire. I'll give this recipe another go, without the time pressure and if not convinced, I already have a few others in the pipeline... Brioche Bread Test, anyone?

Je n'abandonne pas... c'est un pain à avoir dans son répertoire. Je vais réessayer cette recette tranquillement et si besoin, j'en ai déjà trouvé quelques autres... 

Pain de Seigle - French Rye Bread

Smoked salmon: check, salted butter: check, lemon: check, rye bread: argh... It's times like this when I wish I could just go to the boulangerie and order my pain de seigle, ready to pick up for Christmas dinner. Not an option where I live so I had to go without or find a recipe! It's not the Scandinavian style dark rye, it relies on a rye chef and several refreshments with white flour so it's full of flavour but not dense. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again. Recipe from The Complete Book of Bread & Bread Machines.

Quand on ne peut pas aller commander son pain de seigle chez le boulanger, il faut faire sans ou partir à la recherche d'une recette vite vite!

DAY 1 - The Chef

200ml water
175g rye flour
1/4tsp fast action yeast

10min on the dough setting then turn the machine off. Leave 24h in the machine with the lid closed.
Here is what it looks like after 24h.

DAY 2 - 1st Refeshment

70ml water
50g plain flour (not bread flour)

Add to the chef. Mix 10min on the dough setting then leave 24h as before. Here is what it looks like after 24h. If you need the bread machine, tranfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth (make sure it doesn't dry out or a crust will form).

 DAY 3 - 2nd Refreshment

1Tbsp water
50g plain flour (not bread flour)

Add to the previous mixture and mix 10min on the dough setting. Leave for 8h only. This is what it looks like after 8h. 


Add to the 2nd refreshment:
1Tbsp of water (I had to add more than that as the dough seemed too dry)
225g white bread flour
2tsp salt
1tsp honey (I put black treacle)
1/2tsp fast action yeast

Mix on the dough setting (my machine takes 1h30 for mixing and first rise). 
I needed the bread machine so I transfered the dough after mixing to a bowl covered with a damp cloth until doubled in size.


In the book they shape the bread in a big twist: divide the dough in two, make two ropes and twist. But I realised too late that it wouldn't fit on the tray... So I turned it into a couronne (which was obviously a stupid idea, as I realised when we had to slice it later...) Anyway, next time, I will make two twists. 

Cover the bread and let it rise until almost doubled in size. Bake at 220°C. The couronne took about 30min. It should have a good colour and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Switch off the oven but let the loaf inside, with the door ajar, for 5min. Cool on a wire rack.

So... the bread is fab, there is nothing difficult BUT, as you've noticed, it's several days of timings to get right, so not ideal and way too stressful on Christmas morning! I want to make it again: bake it in the evening and see how it is the next day and also freeze to see if it could be done ahead. I'll update this post when I do.


Veg Harvest 2016

It's the end of the season, it's cold, I'm about to lift the dahlias and tidy up the foliage that has turned to mush... It's nice to look back at the harvest!

Some of my favourite summer meals...

Salad with roasted roots, chicken, feta, lettuce, chickpeas, nuts and seeds

Artichauds à la barigoule (recipe from my grandma, slightly adapted for little ones)
artichokes, potatoes, bacon, herbs

Homemade mini pizza

Torta verde (perpetual spinach, courgettes, rice, cheese)

Frittata (eggs, veg, goat cheese)

Flatbread with roasted roots, onion, sausages and spicy yogurt


2016, here we go...

I need to do a serious garden update to show what has been happening. We have been harvesting rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks, artichokes, swiss chard and leaf beets, salad leaves and radishes. Fruits are starting, with strawberries and gooseberry thinnings.

Il faudrait que je fasse un billet pour montrer les transformations du jardin... Récoltes pour 2016, rhubarbe, broccoli, poireaux, blettes, artichauts, salades et radis. Les fruits commencent, avec les fraises et les premieres groseilles à maquereaux, trop dures et acides pour manger crues mais parfaites pour cuire avec du sucre.


Harvest 2014

As I'm getting ready to bake Christmas biscuits again and getting the garden ready for winter, I realise the last thing I posted was about forcing chicory... So before I go into hibernation, I should really keep a record of this year's harvest.

Avant de commencer ma période d'hibernation, retour sur la récolte 2014.

We also had loads of peas but they never made it to the basket. J and I were munching on them raw as we were going round the garden! I haven't got a picture of the pumpking either. I'm sure I'll get round to it as I cook it over winter.

Il manque les petits pois, mais J et moi les avons picorés crus au fur et à mesure... Je n'ai pas de photo des citrouilles non plus, mais je suis sure que j'aurai l'occasion cet hiver quand je les cuisine.

Strawberry harvest was incredible this summer, it was hard to keep up! J loves fruits and he learnt where the plants were and how to work out if they were ripe or not (even the white alpine strawberries!). Unfortunately the birds got the gooseberries, black and whitecurrants but next year... grr! They'll be for us!

La récolte de fraises a été fénoménale cet été, on a eu du mal à suivre! J adore les fruits et il a appris où étaient les plantes et comment reconnaitre les fruits mûrs (même les fraises des bois blanches!).
Malheureusement, les oiseaux nous ont mangé les groseilles à maquereaux, groseilles blanches et cassis, mais l'année prochaine... pour nous! grr!


Chicory Success!

Last summer, I decided to try to grow chicory. A few years ago, I didn't even know how it grew and now I'm going to tell you how I forced it. Yep, that's how it grows.
I forgot all about it in the seed bed for ages so the plants weren't thinned, then I transplanted them to late, the pigeons had a good go at them, I pulled out the roots early January (it should be done in Autumn) and put too many in a pot of old compost, with a bucket on top. Despite all that, 3 weeks later, Mother Nature delivered. It can be cooked with ham and béchamel sauce but I prefer it raw in a salad (usually beetroot and hard boiled eggs). But those were my first: they deserved centre stage with a vinaigrette. Yum!

L'été dernier, j'ai planté des endives pour la première fois. Il y a quelques années de ça, je savais même pas comment ça poussait, maintenant je vais vous dire comment je les ai forcées. Et oui, c'est comme ça que ça pousse!
Pour commencer, j'ai oublié les semis et les plantes n'ont pas été éclaircies, je les ai transplantées trop tard, les pigeons les ont attaquées, je n'ai levé les racines qu'en janvier (ça devrait être fait en automne) et je les ai entassées dans un pot de vieux terreau couvert d'un seau. Malgré tout ça, Mère Nature a fait son travail. Je prèfère les endives crues (en salade avec de la betterave et des oeufs durs). Mais c'était mes premières: les voilà au premier plan avec une vinaigrette. Miam!