Bread and Better: Breakfast Brioche Bun

“A good food is mouthwatering when you see it and finger licking when you eat it.” Amit Kalantri

Yeasted breads and pastries made with enriched dough can be found all over the world. In the bread world, the term “enriched” means that these doughs are made with all the good stuff: milk, butter, eggs and sugar. The list includes universal bread favourites like challah, babka, and brioche, and it includes pastries like Danish and croissant (though in those cases, enrichments aren’t just added to the dough—they are added through the process of lamination, where butter is layered throughout the dough via folding). However, enriched doughs can be made via very simple processes as well, resulting in pillow-like pastry, with buttery taste and soft crumb. I call the process my 5M method: measure-mix-maximize (knead and let it rise)-manipulate (form)-make (bake).

500 g flour
300 ml full fat milk
40 g yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
A pinch of salt
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rum
100 g butter
50 g duck fat

“Heaven to be the first one up and to eat breakfast all alone.” Katharine Hepburn

Mix the yeast, warm milk and sugar in a bowl. Let it stand for 5 mins until it becomes frothy. Tip the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the butter, the fat and rub together with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the buttery flour and add the warm yeast mixture and the eggs. Finally add rum, lemon zest and vanilla.Use hands to mix it into a sticky dough . Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for 10 mins by stretching it on the work surface. The dough is ready when it feels soft and bouncy, so the gluten strands have developed. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to rise for 1-3 hrs or until doubled in size. Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out and knead again. The dough should be much less sticky, but add a little flour if it needs it. Divide the dough into 12-16 even pieces. With hands, roll one piece into a long rope. If the dough starts to stick, mist the work surface lightly with vegetable oil spray or wipe it with a damp towel. Don’t use flour. Wrap the dough around fingers into a loose knot; there should be about 2 inches of dough free at each end. Wrap the left end of the dough up and over the loop. Wrap the right end down and around the loop. Lightly squeeze the two ends of dough together in the center to secure them. Gently squeeze the whole piece of dough into a nice rounded shape. Put the roll, pretty side up, on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Mist the top of the rolls with vegetable oil spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Arrange on lined baking trays. Loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave for about 1 hr or until doubled in size again. Heat oven to 180-190 degrees C fan and place a shallow baking tray at the bottom.Uncover the trays, brush the buns with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Spray a cup of water into a baking tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake for 20 mins or until golden, then leave to cool on a wire rack.

For a touch of luxury in a festive, flavoured version add 2 tbsp of cocoa, 3 tbsp of milk and rum-soaked raisins to half of the dough and plait it into a glorious crown.

“We love our mother because she cares and also because she cooks.” Amit Kalantri

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