I hosted a belated birthday tea party this weekend. It was all I could have wanted and more, in celebration of being another year older; I cooked up a storm and had friends and family around to eat it all. We had an absolute feast! Recipes from a few of the things will be making there way to you, just hold tight! The savoury crown (no pun intended) was given to this baby, a savoury brioche couronne. This particular one was made by my lovely man, it is a favourite of ours and I hate to say, he does a far better job of it than me. He always does when it comes to bread; irritating, given I showed him how to make it in the first place! Anyway, I secretly am glad he is so good at baking bread, as this was to die for. Everyone at the party kept saying how gorgeous it was, and kept going back for seconds, thirds and even fourths! It would be criminal not to share the recipe. It is a recipe from the bread master himself, Paul Hollywood.
I’ll give you a couple of seconds just to bask in the glory of this bread…
Ok, so as much as I love this couronne, gluten and I don’t get on particularly well but it was my birthday and I was going to eat couronne if I wanted to. Also, the amount of butter in this, makes it a special occasion thing. Brioche is very much an enriched dough, and the world is probably a much better place for its existence.
I am completely blessed with amazing friends and one of (the very many, I was so spoilt this year) beautiful presents I received was a book I’d been longing for for a while, ‘Surprise-Inside Cakes‘ by Amanda Rettke. I can’t wait to make some of the beautiful cakes in this book but I think it is going to teach me a whole lot that I never knew about cake.
Before I crack on with the recipe, here is the table (minus the couronne, which was in the oven and the sour cream strawberry ice cream, which was in the freezer) from my tea party, featuring my stunning new cake slice, courtesy of my sister:
This recipe requires you to have a food mixer/hand held electric whisk with dough hook attachments (those curly ones that come with your whisk that you never use and get in the way in the box – this is their moment!).
- 500 g of strong white bread flour, plus some extra for dusting
- 10 g of salt
- 10 g of yeast
- 170 ml of tepid, full fat milk
- 4 medium eggs
- 250 g of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ~10 slices of Parma ham
- 3 balls of mozzarella (~375 g)
- A handful of basil leaves (Paul says a small handful, I’d say a BIG handful, I LOVE basil)
- 1 medium egg, (beaten, for glazing)
- Grated Parmsean (optional, to top the couronne, not used here)
- Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, followed by the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. If the salt and yeast mixed at this point in proceedings then the salt would kill the yeast.
- Add the milk and eggs and mix, using food mixer/electric whisk (dough hooks), until well combined.
- Add the butter bit by bit, it is important to take your time with this part, over 5 minutes.
- Plonk/pour/scrape the dough into a well oiled plastic container and cover with cling film or an oiled lid. Leave the dough to rise, until doubled in size, ~ 1 hour.
- Tip out the dough, on to a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle (don’t knock it back first). It will make your life much easier if you get it into as rectangular shape as possible at this point. Here Paul and I differ, he says ~1.5 cm thick, I’d say 0.5-0.75 cm thick. He is the expert but I’ll leave the decision up to you. You want the long sides of the dough to be 40-50 cm long.
- Lay the Parma Ham evenly over the dough, followed by the mozzarella (torn into pieces) and basil.
- Roll the dough into a sausage, starting at a long side. For example, in the picture above, start along the right hand side and roll the dough, across the picture to the left hand side. You want to roll the dough into a long, thin sausage. If you rolled from the short sides, you’d end up with a short, fat sausage, which would not be able to twist into a couronne.
- Now for the scary bit! Once nicely rolled up, cut lengthways, all the way through the middle of the sausage, this will reveal the filling.
- Grab each end tightly and twist your hands in opposing directions, to make the dough into a twisted sausage.
- Form a ring with the twisted sausage and firmly press the ends together.
- Place your couronne onto a lined baking sheet (or pizza stone, which is what we used – line it with baking paper otherwise the escaping cheese will cause a sticky problem). Put the couronne into a roomy plastic bag, or place a cup in the centre of the couronne and cover with cling film, ensure that the clingfilm does not make contact with the dough.
- Leave the couronne to prove for 1-1.5 hours, until it has doubled in size, at least.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- Brush your couronne with egg and dust with Parmesan (if desired).
- Bake for 25 minutes, until a beautiful golden brown.
- Leave to cool slightly and serve, warm or cold.