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M-J de Mesterton

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Elegant Bread Recipes

Pita Bread

Yield: 8 Pitas

Ingredients

3 cups of unbleached white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of yeast
11/2 cups of warm water
2 tablespoons of butter or your favorite vegetable/peanut oil
 
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add oil/butter and water.
Knead for ten minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and coat with oil, set into a bowl, and let rise for 90 minutes.
 
Preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit. 

Punch down your dough-ball, then divide it into 8 balls. Dust them with flour on both sides and, using a rolling-pin, flatten them into discs.
Bake the pitas in your 400º oven on a stone or heavy, flat pan for approximately 15 minutes, or until both sides of pitas are golden brown.
 
©M-J de Mesterton 2009

M-J's Simple Pain de Mie Recipe

Making two 13" pain de mie loaves takes the same amount of effort and oven-energy as one 13" loaf--and, given the versatility of this delicious bread, you will be glad to have an extra one at hand in the freezer.I have simplified the ingredients and method for making this French bread, which was Julia Child's stand-by loaf making for canapés, breakfast toast, and sandwiches. My version of the classic bread recipe appears below. ~~M-J

  • Two Pain de Mie Loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm milk or buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 7 cups of white flour (unbleached "white" flour is ideal), plus another, separate cup for possible use during kneading process--different conditions may require more flour--so you need to have a total of 8 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1.5 standard sticks of butter, sliced into about ten or twelve pieces to more easily incorporate it into dough-mixture 

  • YOU WILL NEED TWO 13"-long Pullman pans, also known as a pain de mie pans. These specially-constructed pans with lids are non-stick; they will not need to be greased (click here for my source). 
  • M-J's Notes
  • Pain de Mie simply means, directly translated from the French, "Bread of the Center", or the "crumb", which is bakers' terminology for the interior of a loaf of bread. Pain de Mie  is not supposed to have a deeply browned exterior or a pronounced crust. In fact, if you see a recipe for pain de mie that instructs you to pull the lid off during baking to 'brown the top", ignore that suggestion. If you prefer a crust, just leave the lid off during baking and you will have what is simply called a sandwich loaf. One of the beauties of an authentic pain de mie is that, when using this bread for canapés or tea sandwiches, there is no dark crust that needs to be removed, which is a tedious and sometimes problematic process. This doesn't mean that the edges cannot be trimmed if you wish. Pain de mie also makes perfect grilled cheese sandwiches, croques monsieurs, and panini.

M-J's Pain de Mie Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, beginning with the lukewarm  milk, yeast and sugar, gradually adding flour, salt and butter;  knead this mixture to form a smooth, soft dough. I always use a standing mixer with a dough-hook attached, but it's not necessary. Kneading is good exercise.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured or greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for at least one hour or until doubled in bulk. In cooler kitchens, this may take an hour and a half.
  3. Punch-down the dough, divide in half, transfer it to a flour-dusted counter, shape it into two 13" rolls, and fit them into the Pullman pans--each of these dough-rolls should leave room in the pan to rise until triple in bulk. Cover the pans with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise to within an inch of the tops of the pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The dough will likely rise a further inch in the oven. Do not worry that it will touch the lid of your Pullman pans, because the heat of baking and the nonstick quality of these vessels will prevent the top crust from sticking, as you will discover when sliding the lids off after baking.) Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  4. Remove the plastic, and place the Pullman pan covers on the pans. Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, let cool for ten minutes, then slide-off the lids. Turn the two loaves out of their pans onto a rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing. These pain de mie loaves freeze well.
  5. ©M-J de Mesterton
 

Versatile and fun to make, brioche dough has many uses. It can be filled with savouries or sweet ingredients. When formed into a loaf called pain brioché, it makes light and lovely-tasting sandwiches. Sliced and soaked in a spiced egg-milk batter, then fried as pain perdú or French toast, it is magnificent.

Brioche au Sucre: M-J adds a half-cup of sugar to her basic brioche recipe, shown below, and tops the brioches with Belgian or Swedish pearl sugar.

 

 

M-J's Original Recipe Makes Twelve Brioches, or Six Brioches

and Six Hamburger Buns

 

M-J's Original Brioche Recipe in Pictures

Posted on April 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Six eggs plus one egg-yolk, five or six cups of unbleached flour, one teaspoon of honey, one tablespoon of sugar, one half-teaspoon of salt, one half-cup of lukewarm water, one heaping teaspoonful of yeast, and three sticks of butter are M-J's ingredients for brioche. Her recipe makes twelve brioches à tetes, or six of those and six hamburger buns. There are silicone pans made for this purpose, available at Amazon.com. You will need a stand-mixer with a dough-hook to make M-J's brioche recipe, since brioche dough requires a long period of vigorous beating. Also, for the traditional finishing egg-wash, you will need to mix a seventh whole egg with a half-teaspoon of water.
Mix warmed water with yeast, add one egg, one cup of flour and the teaspoon of honey. Mix well and cover with another cup of flour. Let rise uncovered for thirty minutes, until the sponge is two or more times its original size and its surface resembles cracked earth.
Adding brioche ingredients is a gradual procedure.
Begin adding flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, salt and room-temperature butter cut into small sections, in alternate measures, gradually, in the bowl of a stand-mixer. The amount of flour you will add varies. Sometimes it only requires five cups total, including the two initial ones for the sponge. Here is how you can tell when enough flour has been added: beat the brioche dough with your dough-hook attachment until it pulls away from the side of the machine's metal bowl. Turn off the stand-mixer motor now and then to let it cool off a bit. Mind the mixer as it goes through its paces, because with this vigorous dough-beating it will inevitably move across the work-surface. Ideally, you will beat the brioche dough for thirty minutes. The name "brioche" refers to this process.
This is the proper texture for brioche dough. This batch is almost finished being beaten after twenty minutes. Notice the sides of the bowl; they are almost cleaned of sticky dough by the slapping motion of the process. The dough is allowed to rest for a few minutes while the stand-mixer motor cools off a little. Ten more minutes of beating will follow.
It is now time to unplug the stand-mixer, raise its head, remove its dough-hook, and then, grabbing the machine to stabilise it, bump the stationary bowl out of position with the heel of your hand against its handle. Your brioche dough can now be left to rise in this stainless steel bowl, covered loosely with plastic-wrap.

M-J's Brioche Dough Rising

After the brioche dough has risen to two times its original size or larger, punch it down and form into shapes. M-J usually lets hers rise a second time, to develop flavour, before finally shaping the brioches à tetes and hamburger buns. Allow your brioche dough, once shaped into your desired form, to rise until it is about twice its original size, and brush them with egg-wash (yet another egg, mixed with a half-teaspoon of water and applied with a pastry-brush) before putting them into the oven. 

Because of brioche dough's high butter-content, greasing pans will not be necessary. Bake the brioches in their respective pans on the center-rack a medium-hot oven (375 Fahrenheit) for about twenty minutes. The time and temperature of baking will depend upon the conditions where you live, and the phase of the moon, therefore you must keep a close-eye on the brioche while it is baking. Lower the heat to 350F if their bottoms or tops begin to darken unevenly. Serve the brioche after it has cooled for at least ten minutes. If you are serving them the next day, these gems will benefit from being warmed in the oven first. Keeping the dough for more than one day in the refrigerator will sour its taste considerably in an undesirable way. However, brioche dough freezes well. If you wish to make Scandinavian pulla rolls, just add ground cardamom to the brioche dough, and decorate the layer of egg-wash with pearl sugar.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

 

 

M-J'S SWEDISH RYE-FLAX BREAD

 


The Elegant Cook Presents: Health-Promoting, Tasty Rye-Flax Bread
 

M-J's Swedish Flax Bread


This is my own recipe. You won?t find this bread outside of Sweden, unless you are on an SAS flight.

Four cups of hot water, to which a half-cup of buttermilk has been added

Two tablespoons of yeast

One third-cup of molasses (substitute: dark corn syrup)

Two tablespoons of salt

Two cups of rye flour

Half cup of ground flaxseed

White flour?amounts vary, but it will be about  six cups (the amount of flour needed depends upon the climate, the altitude, and the phase of the moon)

 

Dissolve the yeast in warm water/buttermilk mixture. Add the molasses and some of the two flours?enough to make a sponge. After it has bubbled up, add salt and the rest of the flour except for one cup. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes. Keep adding more white flour as needed until the dough no longer sticks to the surface. Knead dough for eight minutes. Form into a ball, set into a buttered bowl, cover lightly with waxed paper or a tea-towel, and let rise until it is double the size. Punch down the bulk, kneading it again for a minute or two.  Shape dough into loaves, dust pans with cornmeal or flax-seed, let rise until nearly double in size, then bake for one hour at 350* (moderately hot oven). Optional: brush the loaves with beaten egg-white for a shiny, crispy crust. This recipe will yield two slicing loaves and two baguettes.  ? Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 25th August 2007


Povitica, Povatica, or Pavatitsa:  

an Elegant Walnut Bread from Europe

pavatitsapotica

My mother, Lorraine, wrote and published this recipe in her 1990 book.

Povatica (updated and adapted by M-J from book)

Dough for Six Twelve-inch Loaves:

2 packages of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup of warm water
1/2 cup of soft butter
2 cups of scalded milk
4 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
About 9 cups of sifted flour (I prefer unbleached, white flour)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Combine scalded milk, sugar, salt, and butter.
Cool until lukewarm.
Stir slightly beaten egg yolks into yeast mixture. Add 4 cups of flour, mixing thoroughly. Add the remaining flour one cup at a time, forming a stiff but not sticky ball of dough.

Knead the dough until it is soft, light and smooth. Place it in a greased or buttered bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let dough rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Walnut Filling for Six Twelve-Inch Loaves

1 lb. finely ground walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of cream or half & half
1/4 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups of granulated, white sugar
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of salt
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Process walnuts until they're finely ground. Heat cream in a large saucepan until almost boiling. Add the butter and let that melt. Mix the walnuts, sugar, salt and vanilla bread crumbs into the hot cream and butter. Then, gently fold your stiffly beaten egg whites in to the walnut mixture.

Divide the dough into six equal parts; do not knead. With a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a large rectangle. Spread thickly with the walnut filling. Roll this jelly-roll style, carefully from the short end, pulling the dough thinner as you go along, so that the filling will be thick in between the dough layers. Twist the ends of loaves to seal them. Place loaves on greased cookie sheets (or, use loaf pans).

Let the loaves rise in a warm place for an hour. Bake them in a 375* oven until lightly browned. After cooling for 15 minutes, remove loaves from the pans. and butter the tops of them lightly.
Pavatitsa (also spelled "pavateca", potica, and povitica) can be frozen.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Survival, December 2008

©M-J de Mesterton 2010 

 ELEGANT FRENCH BREAD

French Country Bread

 

M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe

3 cups of white or unbleached white flour

3 teaspoons of baking powder

One teaspoon of salt (I use Himalayan salt)

1 and 1/4 cups of buttermilk

One stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup of lard (manteca)

1/2 cup of flour for working dough on the counter

¼ cup of melted butter and lard for brushing layers?composed of equal parts of each 

Arrange bits of butter and lard over the 3 cups of flour in a large bowl. Toss butter and lard with flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the fats into the dry ingredients, and add a tablespoon of cold water, mixing until the dough looks like a bunch of small peas. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put into refrigerator for about ten minutes. Remove to counter again and incorporate the buttermilk, mixing gently. 2. Turn dough out onto your counter, which has been dusted with flour. Gently knead the biscuit dough 3 or 4 times, adding a bit of extra flour if necessary. With floured hands, form dough into a rectangular shape, about ½ inch thick. Brush dough with a bit of your melted fat mixture, and dust it with flour. Fold dough over onto itself. Roll it out into a new rectangle, brush again with melted fat and dust with flour. Repeat the last two steps once more. Cut 3/4 inch high dough into biscuits with a small glass or my favorite, an empty, clean  tomato paste can. If you are using the biscuits for canapes, roll the dough 1/2 inch thick. Brush tops with melted fat. These layered biscuits are easy to crack open and fill with marmalade or, if one uses them as canapés, various meats. To make a croissant biscuit, cut the dough, which has been flattened to 1/8 inch, four inches wide and brush with melted fat as above. Roll and pinch ends together.

Bake biscuits in a pre-heated 450° oven until they are lightly browned.

 

Serve with chicken dishes of all kinds; these biscuits also complement beef and pork. If you have company for breakfast, making these fresh biscuits is sure to be appreciated, especially if served with a selection of jams, jellies and marmalade.


 

M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits Bentley

Buttermilk biscuits are filled with sausage patties that have been coated with hot sauce, for an appetizer that men cannot resist.

Traditional Baking, Lard, Biscuits, Breakfast, Buttermilk Biscuits, Canapés, Dinner Rolls, Himalayan Salt, Hors d'Oeuvres, Jams and Jellies, M-J's Recipes, Sausage Patties, Scones

 

 Pogne de Romans Made by M-J de Mesterton, Photo Copyright 2009

POGNE DE ROMANS

Yield: Two Round Loaves

 INGREDIENTS

The Starter 
3 teaspoons of dry yeast

3/4 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit.)

One teaspoon of sugar or honey

1 1/2 cups of flour


The Dough
7 cups of unbleached white flour 
6 eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup of sugar 
2 teaspoons of water 
2 teaspoons of salt 
1/4 cup of orange flower water 

 8 ounces (1/2 pound) of soft, salted butter 


The Finishing Glaze 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon of milk

Optional: white pearl-sugar

Cut two 16 inch round parchment or wax-paper discs to fit under each pogne; butter their top surfaces. Place the buttered discs on a large, rectangular baking sheet.

 In a small bowl, dissolve the three teaspoons of yeast in 3/4 cup of warm water. Add one teaspoon of sugar.
Stir in the cup and a half of flour, creating soft dough. Let this dough rise in a covered bowl at room temperature (70-80 F) until it is double in size. On a counter or other solid work-surface, form a well within 1 and ½ cups of flour. Break 4 eggs into its center. Bring the flour and eggs together to form a mass, then lift it into a big mixing bowl. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer.  This will make a smooth, light yellow batter. Incorporate the salt and orange flower water into this mixture.
Gradually add your softened butter while continuing to beat the batter. When all the butter has been stirred in, add two more eggs and the one cup of sugar, beating at medium speed. Knead the remaining 4 ½ cups flour into the mixture, about a cup at the time, until it becomes soft and elastic dough. You may need extra flour, depending on the size of your eggs, the weather, and the phase of the moon, so keep a jug of flour at-hand. Form this dough into a ball when it has ceased to be sticky, then put it into a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, while you prepare to add the starter.  Clean and dry your work-surface, then dust it with flour.  

It is now time to add the starter, which has developed and grown to twice its original size, to the big ball of dough. Spread the yellow dough onto your work-surface and flatten it. Empty the starter dough onto this, patting and covering it, and then fold the two lots together. Knead the starter into the yellow dough until it is completely incorporated. Place the new dough in a large, clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until it is doubled in bulk. Empty your risen dough onto your work-surface. 
Divide it into 2 balls. Flatten them into rounds of about 8 inches in diameter. 
Open a 4-inch diameter hole in the middle of each pogne-loaf. Place them atop their buttered discs on the baking sheet. Cover the two pognes with wax paper or parchment, and let them rise at room temperature for 2 ½ hours. Brush the pognes with your prepared glaze (one teaspoon of milk beaten into one egg). Optional: press some pearl sugar (I use Swedish pärlsocker) onto the glaze. With a sharp knife that has been dipped into cold water, make 3 connecting cuts along the top of each pogne, forming a triangle. 

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until you see a deep brown colour on the shiny crust of your two pognes de Romans
 
Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2006 
 

 

 

M-J de Mesterton's Savoury Fougasse

Accompaniment to Dinner, Baking, Cheese, Foccaccia, Fougasse, Fougasse Dough, Fougasse Recipe, French Bread, Hors d'Oeuvres, M-J's Original Recipes, Pizza, Pizza Dough, Pizza Provencale, Provençal, Provencale

Fougasse is similar to the Italian bread known as foccaccia. Here is my recipe for a savoury version of the Provençal bread, which was named for the wild gasses created by its yeast-starter. It is different from the sweet, anise-and-orange-flavoured fougasses which are popular at Christmastide.This fougasse serves as an accompaniment to dinner or cheese:

Ingredients for the Yeast-Starter, or ?Sponge?

? 1 teaspoon sugar
? 1/2 cup warm water (105?115°F)
? 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
? 1/2 cup of unbleached white flour

Ingredients for the Dough

? 1 more teaspoon of sugar, or a teaspoon of honey if available

? 1 tablespoon of dried herbes de Provence


? 2/3 cup of lukewarm water


? One teaspoon of lemon juice


? 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing your pans and loaves


? 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus another half-cup on-hand for the counter, and kneading


? 1 1/2 teaspoons of flaked (Fleur de Sel) sea salt, Himalayan salt crystals, or coarse sea salt

Preparation of Savoury Fougasse

Make the Yeast-Starter:
Stir together sugar and warm water in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast, and let stand for about five minutes, until bubbly. Using a whisk, incorporate the half-cup of unbleached white flour into this mixture. Let the starter rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, 30 minutes.

To Make the Fougasse Dough:
Add sugar, salt, herbes de Provence, water,  lemon juice, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 11/4 cups flour to the prepared starter, and beat the mixture until smooth. Mix in the remaining 2 cups of white, unbleached flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, regularly sprinkling the dough?s surface with flour, until smooth and elastic (dough should still be a bit sticky), for about 8 minutes. Form this into a ball and transfer to large bowl with enough olive oil in it to coat the fougasse dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough (do not knead), then, with a light hand, divide it into two sections. Flatten each one into an ovate leaf-shape (about 12 inches long and 1/4 inch thick), and then transfer them to baking sheets that have been brushed with olive oil.

With a very sharp knife, make 2-inch incisions at angles, alternating left-to-right, down the length of each oval ?leaf,? cutting all the way through. Leave an inch at the outside edges as uncut area. Gently pull the incisions open with your fingers, so that they don?t close during baking. Let the dough rise for about 40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375°F.
Brush the two fougasse loaves with olive oil, and sprinkle with your preferred salt. Bake until the fougasses are golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped?this should take approximately forty minutes. Remove fougasses from oven and place on a rack to cool. A French rule: never cut and eat bread until it has cooled to room-temperature.

My Savoury Fougasse Dough Is Ideal for an Artisanal Pizza
 (Photo Shows Dough In the Rising Process)

Photo and Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

M-J de Mesterton's Pizza Provençale,

Made with Savoury Fougasse Dough

M-J's Elegant Hamburger Buns

Ingredients:
? 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
? 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water (110° to 115°)?hotter water will kill the yeast
? 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (do not use canola oil, which tastes fishy in baked goods; peanut, corn or pure vegetable oils are preferred)
? 1/4 cup of sugar, any variety
? 1 egg
? 1 teaspoon of salt
? 3 to 3-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Then, add the egg, salt, and flour.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead for about four minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball, cover, and let it rise for ten minutes. Divide the dough into 12 flat, round pieces. Place 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake on top oven rack at 400° for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. This recipe makes twelve hamburger buns. For dinner rolls, do not flatten but shape your twelve dough pieces into balls.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Survival 2008


M-J's Elegant Websites

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006-2010

 

MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT ENGLISH MUFFINS

 

 

M-J's Elegant English Muffins, Cooked on the Griddle

6 cups of unbleached white flour

2 tablespoons of yeast

One cup of warm water

One cup of buttermilk

One tablespoon of honey or agave nectar

One tablespoon of salt (Himalayan, sea, or regular salt)

Two tablespoons of butter

Shortening or lard to grease the griddle

Cornmeal or masa for dusting

In a large mixing bowl, mix the yeast with one cup of warm water, one tablespoon of honey and two cups of flour. Let it sit for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Add the buttermilk, salt, butter and honey.

Gradually incorporate the remaining four cups of flour into the existing mixture. Knead on a hard surface for a few minutes until all  ingredients are well-blended. Form this dough into a ball.

Set your dough-ball in a buttered  bowl, covered, in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Sprinkle your work-surface with flour. Flatten out risen dough and fold it over itself, making two layers, which you will now flatten together into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Using an empty tin, cut out approximately twenty English muffins.Dust them on both sides with masa or cornmeal.When they have risen to double their height, place them on a hot griddle-pan that has been greased with shortening or lard. Cook the muffins for ten to twenty minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. These muffins are best left to cool completely before splitting open and toasting them.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton

The Elegant Cook ©2010

 

Cardamom Bread, a Scandinavian Tradition

 finnishcardamombread-001

 Cardamom Braid, or Finnish Pulla

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
  3. Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled.
  4. Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I use Swedish pearl sugar, or parlsöcker
  6. Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily. 
  7. ©M-J de Mesterton 2008

 Cardamom Braid Recipe by M-J de Mesterton 

Elegant Bread, Elegant Breakfast, Elegant Host, Elegant Guest, Elegant Weekend, Elegant Party, Elegant Dining, Elegant Luncheon, Elegant Food, Elegant Cookery, Elegant Cooking, Elegant English Cookery, Elegant English Muffins, Make Your Own Bread, Make Your Own English Muffins

 

30 APRIL 2011

M-J's Instructions for Making Brioche

 M-J de Mesterton's Original Brioche Recipe in Pictures
©Copyright April 30th, 2011

Six eggs plus one egg-yolk, five or six cups of unbleached flour, one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of sugar, one half-teaspoon of salt, one half-cup of warmed buttermilk, one heaping teaspoonful of yeast, and two sticks of butter are M-J's ingredients for brioche. Her recipe makes six brioches à tetes and eight full-sized hamburger buns. You will need a stand-mixer with a dough-hook to make M-J's brioche recipe.
Mix warmed buttermilk with yeast, add one egg, one cup of flour and the teaspoon of honey. Mix well and cover with another cup of flour. Let rise uncovered for thirty or forty minutes, until the sponge is two or more times its original size and its surface resembles cracked earth.
Adding brioche ingredients is a gradual procedure.
Begin adding flour, eggs, sugar, salt and room-temperature butter cut into small sections, in alternate measures, gradually, in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Beat the brioche dough with your dough-hook attachment until it pulls away from the side of the machine's metal bowl. Turn off the stand-mixer motor now and then to let it cool off a bit. Mind the mixer as it goes through its paces, because with this vigorous dough-beating it will inevitably move across the work-surface. Ideally, you will beat the brioche dough for thirty minutes. The name "brioche"refers to this process.
This is the proper texture for brioche dough. This batch is almost finished being beaten after twenty minutes. Notice the sides of the bowl; they are almost cleaned of sticky dough by the slapping motion of the process. The dough is allowed to rest for a few minutes while the stand-mixer motor cools off a little. Ten more minutes of beating will follow.

It is now time to unplug the stand-mixer, raise its head, remove its dough-hook, and then, grabbing the machine to stabilise it, bump the stationery bowl out of position with the heel of your hand against its handle. Your brioche dough can now be left to rise in this stainless steel bowl, covered loosely with plastic-wrap.
M-J's Brioche Dough Rising


After the brioche dough has risen to two times its original size, you may punch it down and form it into shapes. M-J usually lets hers rise a second time before finally shaping the brioches à tetes and hamburger buns. 
Because of their high butter-content, greasing pans will not be necessary. Bake the brioches on the center-rack a medium-hot oven (375 Fahrenheit) for about twenty minutes. The time and temperature of baking will depend upon the conditions where you live, and the phase of the moon, therefore you must keep a close-eye on the brioche while it is baking. Lower the heat to 350F if their bottoms or tops begin to darken unevenly. Serve the brioche after it has cooled for at least ten minutes. If you are serving them the next day, these gems will benefit from being warmed in the oven first. Keeping the dough for more than one day in the refrigerator will sour its taste considerably in an undesirable way. However, brioche dough freezes well. 

©M-J de Mesterton 2011

30 APRIL 2011

M-J's Instructions for Making Brioche

 M-J de Mesterton's Original Brioche Recipe in Pictures
©Copyright April 30th, 2011

Six eggs plus one egg-yolk, five or six cups of unbleached flour, one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of sugar, one half-teaspoon of salt, one half-cup of warmed buttermilk, one heaping teaspoonful of yeast, and two sticks of butter are M-J's ingredients for brioche. Her recipe makes six brioches à tetes and eight full-sized hamburger buns. You will need a stand-mixer with a dough-hook to make M-J's brioche recipe.
Mix warmed buttermilk with yeast, add one egg, one cup of flour and the teaspoon of honey. Mix well and cover with another cup of flour. Let rise uncovered for thirty or forty minutes, until the sponge is two or more times its original size and its surface resembles cracked earth.
Adding brioche ingredients is a gradual procedure.
Begin adding flour, eggs, sugar, salt and room-temperature butter cut into small sections, in alternate measures, gradually, in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Beat the brioche dough with your dough-hook attachment until it pulls away from the side of the machine's metal bowl. Turn off the stand-mixer motor now and then to let it cool off a bit. Mind the mixer as it goes through its paces, because with this vigorous dough-beating it will inevitably move across the work-surface. Ideally, you will beat the brioche dough for thirty minutes. The name "brioche"refers to this process.
This is the proper texture for brioche dough. This batch is almost finished being beaten after twenty minutes. Notice the sides of the bowl; they are almost cleaned of sticky dough by the slapping motion of the process. The dough is allowed to rest for a few minutes while the stand-mixer motor cools off a little. Ten more minutes of beating will follow.

It is now time to unplug the stand-mixer, raise its head, remove its dough-hook, and then, grabbing the machine to stabilise it, bump the stationery bowl out of position with the heel of your hand against its handle. Your brioche dough can now be left to rise in this stainless steel bowl, covered loosely with plastic-wrap.
M-J's Brioche Dough Rising


After the brioche dough has risen to two times its original size, you may punch it down and form it into shapes. M-J usually lets hers rise a second time before finally shaping the brioches à tetes and hamburger buns. 
Because of their high butter-content, greasing pans will not be necessary. Bake the brioches on the center-rack a medium-hot oven (375 Fahrenheit) for about twenty minutes. The time and temperature of baking will depend upon the conditions where you live, and the phase of the moon, therefore you must keep a close-eye on the brioche while it is baking. Lower the heat to 350F if their bottoms or tops begin to darken unevenly. Serve the brioche after it has cooled for at least ten minutes. If you are serving them the next day, these gems will benefit from being warmed in the oven first. Keeping the dough for more than one day in the refrigerator will sour its taste considerably in an undesirable way. However, brioche dough freezes well. 

©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Ciabatta, a Light and Elegant Italian Bread

CIABATTA

Starter (biga):

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 cup lukewarm water (110-115F degrees)

2 cups flour

1/4 cup whole wheat and/or rye flour

3/4 cup water

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Measure out 1 teaspoon of the yeasty water and add to the second quantity of fresh (3/4 cup) water. This second batch of water is what you will use - discard any yeasty water remaining from the first cup in which the yeast was dissolved. The purpose of this step is only to measure out a tiny amount of yeast for the biga so that you will have a slow, controlled fermentation which takes overnight to develop. Knead the ingredients together and set aside overnight or for 24 hours before use.

Dough:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon yeast

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups lukewarm (110-115F degrees) water

The biga (prepared the day before)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the water and the biga, and turn out onto a clean surface or bread board. Knead 5 minutes, creating a soft, sticky dough. Do not add more flour or the bread will not be light and airy and instead will be tough and heavy. It helps to oil your hands with olive oil when handling the dough. Oil a large bowl and turn the dough around in it a few times to coat, then cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth (depending on whether your house is drafty or not). Place in a warm place, free from drafts, and allow to rise about 3 hours until it is doubled in bulk.

When dough has risen, turn out onto a floured work surface and divide into two equal pieces. Handle dough lightly to avoid deflating the air pockets created during fermentation.

Fold each piece loosely into thirds, business-letter style.

Place seam side down onto a clean, heavily floured bread cloth or couche, sprinkle with flour and allow to rise again for about another hour.

About 45 minutes after setting aside the dough to rise, preheat oven to 450F degrees. A pizza-stone, if you have one, is beneficial. Place on center shelf or slightly above. I use a silicone pallet instead of a pizza-stone.

When oven is ready, slip dough onto a baking surface, seam-side up and bake until browned, about 35-45 minutes (check often during the last minutes of baking but try not to open oven for very long).