There’s something particularly exciting about borrowing a cookbook. It comes with all of that new book excitement, but you can’t just stick it on the “Shelf of Good Intentions” like you might a book you bought. Nay! The clock is ticking. Any day could be its last. You’ve simply got to start baking before it is whisked away!
And so it was, the Culinary Klepto’s adventure into the world of bread started with a borrowed cookbook and the recipe for Savoury Brioche Couronne found therein. Although, let’s be honest, there is nothing crown-like (French knowledge. BAM!) about my couronne. This is because my flat was too hot, the butter became warmer than room temperature, and the resultant dough was overly sticky. Aesthetics aside, it was DE-LIC-IOUS!
Heat the oven to 200 C (180 C fan)
500 g strong white bread flour
10 g salt
10 g instant yeast
170 ml lukewarm full fat milk
250 g room temperature unsalted butter
250 g buffalo mozzarella
10 slices parma ham
handful fresh basil
For top of bread:
1 egg, beaten
handful grated parmesan
Put the flour (500 g) in a large bowl, with the salt (10 g) on one side and the yeast (10 g) on the opposite.
I then made a trench down the centre and added the 4 eggs and the milk (170 ml).
Mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth and shiny. (Not yet smooth and shiny in the picture below.)
Add the butter (250 g total) in small portions over five minutes, making sure to mix each bit of butter in thoroughly before adding the next. The recipe stresses that it is important to mix in the butter very gradually.
This is where things went a bit awry for me. Through a cruel trick of nature, the weather has ACTUALLY been warm of late. My butter was far too soft. It made my dough sticky and difficult to work with.
Oil a large plastic container and tip the dough into it. Cover with cling film or an oiled lid and leave to rise at least one hour. (You want it to have doubled in size, at least.)
I was on quite a time constraint — so I went onto the next step as soon as I thought it was about double in size.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1.5 cm thick. My dough was so sticky, I had to lightly flour the top and press it out with my hands. (Lesson of the day: sticky dough is not the end of the world.)
Lay the parma ham (10 slices) onto the dough. Follow with torn bits of mozzarella (250 g), and finish with torn basil leaves (handful). In hindsight, I wish I had used a bit more basil because I love it soooooo much!
Isn’t this picture pretty!?
Starting on the long edge furthest away from you, roll the dough toward you. Yet again, I was faced with overly sticky dough. I used a metal scraper to help it off the counter and dusted the newly pulled underside with a touch of flour as I rolled.
I tucked the parma ham on the last edge in a bit to allow the dough to stick to itself and hold together in the roll.
Once your dough is rolled into a log, cut it down the centre longways.
Another picture of cut roll, because the filling looks so tasty.
Twist the two strands together (near impossible with sticky dough like mine) then join the ends so it forms a circle (yours just might even look like a crown 😀 ) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put the tray inside a sealed but roomy plastic bag and let it prove (aka: sit and get bigger) for 1 – 1.5 hours, until double in size.
Beat an egg and use a pastry brush to wash (aka: coat, paint) the bread once it is ready to go into the oven. Sprinkle with your grated parmesan (handful).
Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown, then let cool for a bit. Serve warm or cold.
Cut into it an enjoy! Seriously, this was too good to be true. Especially rewarding considering I was certain it would never be more than a time-consuming, sticky-dough disaster! Now I’m determined to invent some new filling ideas and try it again. Nom nom nom.