those blueberry brioche


The family had intimated that Sunday morning blueberry brioche could become a tradition, if the cook were so inclined. This morning the cook did feel inclined: I made the dough & left it on the bench for its first rising** while I biked down to the local farmers’ market, & then made the actual little buns (for want of a better word) when I got back.

** It’s so hot here at the moment that there’s no need to rise dough in the hot water cupboard!

The recipe itself is one I found in the Sunday Star-Times a couple of years ago now, where it was reprinted from The Great New Vege Road Trip: Vegetarian Recipes from around New Zealand, by Nicola McCloy & Fiona McRae. I don’t have a copy of the book, but if this recipe is anything to go by, perhaps I should get one! Incidentally, I’ve made the dough for this recipe the ‘proper’ way, ie by hand, but I’ve also used the bread machine to do the mixing & rising, & that’s worked well too. The only thing to watch for there is that this recipe will give a very very soft dough, & in fact I tweaked the quantities a little when using the machine, so that the flour/fluid ratio was a bit closer to the ‘standard’ quantities. Still got lovely brioche from it, though. Also, the original recipe uses frozen blueberries & so will I, when it’s no longer blueberry season. But for the moment, I’m using fresh 🙂

Oh yes, & in the interests of not producing too many dirty dishes, I’ve changed things around a bit – I don’t activate the yeast in a separate bowl, then mix it with the various liquids, & then add the flour. Here’s my order of events (which represent a habit I got into years ago, from regular use of Ursel & Derek Norman’s classic Use Your Loaf):

  • Put 4 c high-grade (‘strong’) flour & 1 tsp salt in a large bowl, & stir through to combine. Make a well in the flour and into it put 2 tsp active dry yeast, 2 Tbsp sugar, & 1/4 c warm water. Leave for 5-10 minutes until bubbly (which means that the yeast has activated).
  • Into that bubbly yeast mix add 1 c warm milk (not too hot or you may kill the yeast), 150 g softened butter, 2 large eggs & 2 egg yolks.
  • Whisk gently to combine the liquids with the yeast mixture, & then fold in the flour. You’ll end up with a very, very soft dough with a lovely rich yellow-y hue.
  • Tip this out onto a well-floured work surface and knead the dough until it’s smooth – it’ll be almost silky to the touch.
  • Wipe out the original bowl & put a Tbsp of oil in it, then turn the dough in the oil to coat (this means it won’t stick to the bowl). Cover the bowl with gladwrap & leave somewhere warm for an hour.
  • Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface & knead again to remove all the big air bubbles; knead a bit longer until the dough is shiny.
  • Roll it out into a 25 x 60 cm rectangle. Sprinkle 3/4 c brown sugar (or the same amount of white sugar combined with 2-3 tsp mixed spice) & 1&1/2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen) over the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a log, starting with one of the long edges. Cut this into 12 equal portions and place each piece in a greased Texas-muffin cup, with the spiral facing up. (I don’t have any Texas-muffin trays but I do have some nice silicone mini-quiche cups, which do the job very nicely.) Leave to stand – again, covered with plastic wrap – somewhere warm for 15 minutes or so, while the oven is heating to 190 degrees C. (The original recipe notes that at this point you can freeze one 6-cup muffin tray in the freezer, to defrost & cook at some later date.)
  • If you like, brush the top of each brioche with beaten egg & sprinkle with sugar before popping the trays in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar to serve. (I’ve never actually done the glaze-&-dust bit, but those steps would make the brioche look particularly attractive for a special brunch or lunch.)

Sit back & wait for the compliments 🙂



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