Homemade Brioche

 

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If I had to describe brioche to someone who had never tried it before, I guess I would say that it’s a hybrid between cake and bread. It often comes in loaves just like bread, but as soon as you slice it you can see the texture is lighter, and more buttery, yet not quite spongy enough to be cake. It’s because of exactly these properties that the French class Brioche as a viennoiserie, along with pastries like croissants and pains au chocolat.

The first written reference to Brioche was in the 15th century and though it’s origin isn’t confirmed, it’s generally believed to been a Norman creation (i.e. from the north of France).

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Savoury brioche is often eaten at breakfast in lieu of bread in France. Sweetened varieties can be likened to Greek Easter bread, and in fact, my favourite kind of sweet brioche, called Mouna, is also served around Easter time. Mouna is traditional in Pied-Noir or Algerian cuisine, and because this is where my Mother was born, she has made it for Easter ever since I was born.

You can use brioche to substitute for bread wherever you want to add a richer flavour and fluffier texture. For example, use it as burger or hot dog buns, or slather some cheeky nutella on top of a slice at breakfast, or, use it to make French Toast like many Aussie cafés are already doing.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 g strong flour (bakers flour or OO)
  • 20 g salt
  • 20g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk, warm

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Method:

  1. Crumble the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm milk to it and dissolve the yeast using your finger tips or if using dry yeast, sprinkle it over the warm milk and let it activate for about 10 minutes (or until it starts bubbling on top)
  2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in an electric mixing bowl with the hook attachment (I like to use a Kitchen Aid) and mix the three ingredients together.
  3. Add the yeast to the flour and mix a little. Then add the eggs one by one and mix until combined.
  4. Knead the dough on high speed for 8-10 minutes to really work the gluten in the flour and give the brioche dough the strength and elasticity we want ( the dough should not stick and the sides of the bowl should be clean).
  5. Add the butter a little bit a the time, wait until the butter is incorporated before adding more! Knead for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Loosely cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest until double in size. Then, knead the dough on a lightly floured bench to knock the air out of it and put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.
  7. The dough will be easier to work with and have a better flavour by proofing slowly overnight.

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The next day:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge and slightly knead it on a floured bench.
  3. Portion the dough in 100g balls, this recipe should give you about 10.
  4. Now you can form whatever shape you want, I chose to make buns with my brioche because I was having homemade Hotdogs for dinner!
  5. Place your Buns on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, you may need to use more than one tray as we do not want them to close to each other. Loosely cover them with glad wrap and leave to proof in a warm spot until double in size.
  6. Brush the brioche with a couple of beaten egg yolk mix with a little bit of milk and sprinkle some hail sugar on top if you’re making sweet brioche or some sesame seeds for example for savoury brioche.
  7. Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes, the brioche should be golden on top.
  8. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Tip: Do not let the yeast come in direct contact with the salt as it would kill it.

 

 

 

Fresh Homemade Pasta

 

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Pasta is synonymous with Italy and despite theories that suggest it was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo in the 13th century, its Italian origins go back much earlier than that.

It’s now more widely accepted that pasta in Italy dates back to Etruscan times (1st century AD) when the Romans ruled the area we now call Italy. The kind of pasta that existed was known as “lagane” (where the term for modern day lasagna comes from), but it was baked instead of being boiled in water.

Pasta in its modern form is thought to have been brought to the southern part of Italy, in particular to Sicily, by Arabian invaders and then settlers from the 8th century onwards. The first term for pasta was “macaroni” which in Sicilian meant “kneading dough with energy”.

From a process that used to take almost a whole day to complete hundreds of years ago, pasta has now become one of the quickest and easiest recipes to make! The recipe I am sharing with you today should only take you about an hour to complete (and that’s including resting time for the dough!).

Try making the real stuff next time you feel like a delicious pasta dish, the taste is worth it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 500g “00”Flour
  • 100g Fine Semolina
  • 6 Free range eggs
  • Pinch of salt

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Method:

  1. Place the flour and semolina in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth.
  3. Using your finger tips, mix the eggs with flour a little at a time until everything is combined.
  4. Knead well until all the ingredients combined and give you one smooth pasta dough! You can use a food processor if you’ve got one, just put everything in and mix until combined.
  5. Once you’ve made the pasta dough, you need to knead it to work the gluten in the flour to make your pasta springy and not flabby! Knead it until it feels smooth, then wrap it in cling film and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

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To Roll the Pasta:

  1. If you’re using a machine make sure it is attached securely on the work surface (you’ll need the longest work surface you have)
  2. Dust the bench with “00” flour and set the machine to the widest setting.
  3. Take a piece of dough and flatten it slightly with a rolling pin, then feed it through the machine, if it sticks a little slightly dust the pasta with flour. Change the machine down a setting and roll the pasta through again.
  4. Fold the pasta in half, change the machine back to the widest setting and roll the pasta through again. Repeat this process until the dough become really smooth(3-4 times).
  5. Then roll the pasta through all the settings, down to the thickness of a playing card for pasta like tagliatelle or lasagna, a little thinner if you are making stuffed pasta (to the point where you can to see your hand through the pasta)
  6. Once you’ve made the pasta you need to cut it or shape straight away because fresh pasta dries quicker than you might think, so don’t leave it on the bench for too long or you can cover it with a damp cloth which will prevent it from drying!

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Country Terrine

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Terrine and patés have been around for a very long time. Egyptians used to fatten geese with dried figs and use their fat oozing organs like the liver for example to make patés and terrine. Paté became very popular in France  around the 15th  century. By the 16th century the fattened goose liver paté, paté de Perigeux paté de la Contades was very popular. The pate de La Contades originaly contained no truffle until 1789 when a chef from the Perigord in the south west of France arrived in Strasbourg and introduced the concept which still continues today. Patés are a spreadable paste of meat, herbs, spices, wine or liquor and served with toast for texture. Terrine is a glazed terracotta mould  often of oval shape. Terrine mixture are chunky and consist mainly of feathered game such as quail, pheasant and venison, the mixture are then baked. The fat on top preserve the terrines and prevent them from drying out on top.

 

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Recipe:

–          1 Tbsp caster sugar

–          50 ml rum

–          50 ml port

–          6 tbsp olive oil

–          4 onion coarsely chopped

–          4 shallots coarsely chopped

–          3 garlic cloves gratted

–          400 g pork belly minced

–          300 g pork shoulder minced

–          300 g pigs liver or chicken liver minced

–          2 eggs

–          100 ml double cream

–          5 fresh parsley sprigs

–          2 fresh thyme sprigs

–          1 bay leaves

–          6-8 strips of bacon

–          100 g chanterelles mushroom ( dried or fresh)

Method:  Preheat the oven at  180 degree celcius• Mix together the sugar, rum and port together in a small bowl, stirring the sugar until dissolve• Heat the olive oil int a pan, add the onions, garlic, shallots and chanterelles mushroom ( soaked in warm water if using dried mushrooms), cook over low heat stirring occasionally  for about 10 minutes  until lightly brown• Stir in the rum mixture, heat for a few seconds and ignite• When the flames have died down, cook until caramelized then remove from heat.

Mix together the meat, eggs and cream. Add the onions, shallots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Mix the chopped parsley with  the thyme leave  and stir in• Make a lattice pattern (cross)at  the bottom of the mould then spoon  the mixture in the  terrine mould  put the bayleaves on top and repeat the pattern on to finish• Put the terrine in a roasting tray, pour in boiling water to come about half way up the sides and bake for two hours. Leave the terrine to stand for 48 hours before serving.

You can enjoy this terrine with a fresh baguette, fig bread, cornichons or other pickles.

Bon Appetit .

Le Fermier