--- Join baker Paul Hollywood as he makes his savoury crown and other favourites in Paul Hollywood’s Bread, double episode Monday 8.30 pm 20 July on SBS Food and then also available on SBS on Demand ---
“The filling is supposed to burst out!” says Paul Hollywood reassuringly, of his impressive brioche crown, stuffed with mozzarella, ham and basil.
This delicious twisted bread is one of the crowning glories (sorry, couldn’t resist!) of both his Paul Hollywood’s Bread TV series, and the book of the same name. It’s a great project to try if you’re looking to explore the world of baking with enriched doughs: a buttery brioche dough, transformed by clever cutting and shaping.
“An enriched dough is one enhanced with ingredients such as milk, sugar and eggs, and sometimes butter or lard,” Hollywood says in his book. These doughs require careful handling, he says, but “once you know what to look out for, these rich breads are straightforward to make and a treat to eat.”
His savoury brioche couronne recipe is an adaptation of a sweet brioche crown that’s more common in Europe: “It’s a table-topping celebration bread, inspired by six years I spent working in the Mediterranean,” he says in the show.
Here are some tips to inspire you to give his recipe a try.
- It’s a soft, buttery dough so although you can make it by hand a mixer will make it a lot easier.
- When you add the yeast and salt to the bowl, put them on opposite sides, as Hollywood suggests in his recipe. Salt can retard the action of the yeast, so you want to avoid too much salt being right with the yeast.
- Mix well before adding the butter: “What you’re doing is fully developing a dough by mixing it slowly, making it glutinous even with the eggs in,” Hollywood explains.
- To create the glorious yellow brioche dough, you’re adding plenty of butter. “It’s important to add the butter very gradually,” he instructs. You should end up with a soft, glossy, shiny dough.
- The next stage is to rest the dough. Unless you are in a very cold kitchen, you’ll need to put it in the fridge so it firms up.
- Have everything ready to go before you start the next stage: “After a couple of hours in the fridge, make sure your ingredients are lined up and get ready to rumble! You have to work fast with this dough before the butter melts,” Hollywood says.
- Roll it out to a rectangle that’s no more than 1.5cm thick.
- After you’ve scattered over your filling (“I’m only putting in things that I like!” Hollywood says in the show), roll it up steadily and firmly. “Fold over the top bit and then you begin to roll up. As you roll it, just pull it back to give you that tension that you need,” Hollywood says. Be gentle - don’t force it, he says, as you're aiming to avoid tearing the dough.
- The next step is to cut the rolled-up log into two long pieces. “Do this carefully as you need to make both halves as close to the same size as you can.”
- Dust your hands with flour before you start twisting the two strands together. One hand twists clockwise, the other counterclockwise, twisting the pieces together quite tightly. “Take your time over twisting it into shape – think about the end result and remember the filling is supposed to burst out,” Hollywood says.
- Pinch the ends slightly, coil the twist into a ring and press the ends together. Put it on a tray and place the tray inside a roomy plastic bag – this is so that there’s plenty of room for it to rise.
- Stop and appreciate your achievement! “To get to that stage you should feel very proud of yourself,” Hollywood says in the show.
And finally, enjoy baking a bread where you probably won’t have a chance to test out the fact that it should keep well for several days: “The fat in these enriched breads mean they keep for a bit longer than normal breads, though somehow they don’t stay on the table for long. Once your friends and family smell them cooking, they tend to drift towards the kitchen and you’ll have trouble keeping them away!” Hollywood says. It's easy to see why - look at that golden crust, the crusty cheese on the edges, those twists and folds with hidden filling – a treat to eat indeed!
Crisp and golden brown on the outside, yet light and fluffy within, these are magical. Once you’ve tried making them, you’ll never pick up a packet in the supermarket again. Crumpets do take a bit of practice to get right but you’ll soon get the knack.
With flaky golden pastry and extra flavour from pickle and thyme, these jumbo rolls will satisfy any appetite (or you can make them smaller for great portable picnic fare).
These triangular pasties are based on a Lebanese speciality called fatayer, and use soft bread dough, rather than pastry, to enclose the filling. I like frozen spinach for this recipe – it’s very easy to use and actually produces a less watery mixture.