Brioche with sugared almonds
by Ibán Yarza (lamemoriadelpan.com, tequedasacenar.com)
I am a home baker, and my domain is the kitchen counter and the house’s old oven. However, over time I have had the opportunity to bake bread in bakeries of different sizes and recently I have been working regularly with small restaurants and bakeries that are interested in baking good bread. Most small home mixers have a tiny capacity (bowls of barely 5 litres) and little power and have trouble kneading a good brioche with over 500 g of flour. However, higher powered machines are either too heavy or too big or too expensive. I got to know the Sammic food mixer BE-10 in the restaurant of Martín Berasategui (where Pablo David and Juan bake excellent bread) and I really liked its reduced size, making it a countertop mixer that has the ability to produce substantial amounts of dough while occupying little more space than the typical home mixer. The truth is that I have been delighted with the way it works (quiet, reliable) and the fact that it has a clock with an alarm (which domestic mixers don’t usually have). When you are doing a thousand things in a kitchen, it’s natural that if your mixer doesn’t warn you, you will over-do the dough. It’s definitely a good machine.
The brioche (as with the loaves of high hydration bread in general) is one of the doughs that requires most kneading, so when it comes to kneading 2 or 3 kg of brioche dough for more than half an hour, having a good ally is a great idea, and that’s where I think the BE-10 shines. Let’s see how.
One of the classic French pastries is the Saint Genix, a brioche from Savoy whose taste is as spectacular as its appearance, because it is filled with a praline typical of the area with a bright pink colour, which, combined with the spongy yellow centre, gives a surprising and delicious result. I discovered this brioche thanks to a great French baker, Philippe Hermenier (MOF 2011).
Without going quite so far, it is not uncommon to find delicious additions to the brioche such as sugared almonds or light nougat. These select ingredients will make this brioche into something exquisite. We must try to choose sugared almonds that are darker in colour and with the greatest covering of caramel that we can find, as this is what will guarantee both the marbled tone of the centre (when the caramel melts), and also the flavour and the juiciness when we eat it.
The amount of sugar in the dough is relatively low, as the sugared almonds will bring their own sweetness to the dough. As always, it is important to use the best ingredients, so it is worth investing in especially good sugared almonds and good butter, which will make our brioche outstanding.
- Medium strength flour (240W) 1250g
- Eggs 350 g
- Water 200 g
- Sugar 100 g
- Honey 30 g
- Milk 210 g
- Yeast 45 g
- Salt 20 g
- Butter 300 g
- Sugared almonds 500 g
All the ingredients (including the flour in summer) must be at refrigerator temperature. We place everything in the bowl of the blender except for the butter and almonds. We mix for 4 minutes at speed 1 until the dough amalgamates, and then 10 minutes at speed 2 so that there is a good development of the gluten and the dough is almost smooth.
We prepare the butter by hitting it with a rolling pin until it can be folded without breaking (but is still cold). We cut the butter into small cubes and toss it into the bowl. We knead at speed 2-3 for 5 to 7 minutes, until the butter is fully mixed in and the smooth dough passes the membrane test (see photo).
We transfer the dough to a container (preferably a flattened type) for fermentation. We ferment at 26° for 1 hour, we fold the dough, gently degassing, and we put it to the refrigerator at 4° overnight.
The next day, we divide and shape (about 500 g for a rectangular mould of 20 to 22 cm), we brush with egg and leave to ferment at 26° for 3 hours, until it has tripled in volume. Bake at 180° for 25-30 minutes for this size. Leave to cool on a rack.