This past weekend I went on my first long bike ride of this year. It was great to be in nature and breath fresh air. I like cities and I also like the huzzle and buzzle of cities but nothing beats the calmness of nature. I can clear my mind and relax in nature; and nature keeps me grounded.
So, last Saturday I bundled up in lots of layers since it is still very chilly outside and I went on a three hour bike ride. At this time of the year there are not many people in the countryside and there are hardly any bike riders which I like. Many people do not favor this time of year because nature seems grey and not very inviting. Years ago, I thought so, too but this has changed a lot. Without questions blooming and green trees look pretty but there is also so much beauty in naked trees. Whenever trees are covered in leaves, no one can see how the trees really look like. Next time you see a naked tree, have a close look and find the beauty in it.
Of course, I did not leave the house without a snack for my little bike ride. I prepared a big pot of hot tea, wrapped up a freshly baked brioche in a kitchen towel and I prepared a little container with butter and honey. This was my picnic that I had halfway through by bike tour. I could not think of a better picnic food for a chilly February day. A dense freshly baked brioche is such a comforting food. It is my favorite Sunday breakfast treat and my favorite picnic food. This is why I have a few brioche recipes on the blog because I can never get enough of different brioche recipes. The following recipe is a new favorite of mine, besides my chocolate brioche recipe. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Makes 9 brioche buns
- 50 g / 3 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 100 ml / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon whole milk (3,5 %)
- 20 g fresh yeast , 3 teaspoons active dry yeast, 2 1/4 teaspoons instant active dry yeast *
- 1 pinch of salt
- 25 g / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 50 g / 1/3 cup raisins
- Zest of 1/2 organic / untreated lemon, finely grated
- 1 egg (medium sized)
- 260 g / 2 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus some extra for kneading
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (3,5 %)
- Almonds flakes
- Pearl sugar
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the milk and heat until the mixture is lukewarm.
- Crumble the fresh yeast into a medium sized bowl.
- Pour a little bit of the butter milk mixture to the yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved, then add the remaining liquid.
- Add the pinch of salt, granulated sugar, raisins, and finely grated lemon zest and mix well.
- Lightly beat the egg and set one tablespoon aside. Add the egg to the mixture and mix well.
- Add the flour and stir until the dough comes together.
- * If you use active dry yeast: heat the milk until lukewarm. Add the active dry yeast to a mug and dissolve the yeast with two tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter. Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, add the melted butter, remaining lukewarm milk and dissolved yeast. Proceed as written above.
- * If you use instant active dry yeast: mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, then add the lukewarm butter-milk mixture and proceed as written above.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour.
- Place the dough back into the bowl; cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a draft-free and warm place until it is doubled in size. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes. I place the dough in the oven and switch the oven to 40 °C / 104 °F.
- If you make raisin buns without any brioche moulds, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you use brioche moulds, grease and flour the moulds.
- Knead the yeast dough again. Divide the dough into nine pieces and form each piece to a ball.
- Place the balls onto the baking sheet or into the brioche moulds (place the moulds onto a baking sheet).
- Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 390 °F.
- Mix the remaining egg (one tablespoon) and the milk well. Mix the almond flakes with the pearl sugar,
- Brush the buns with the egg-milk mixture and sprinkle the top of each bun with the almond flakes and pearl sugar mixture.
- Bake the buns for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden in color. The buns baked in brioche moulds take a few minutes longer, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- The buns taste the very best lukewarm with a little bit of butter and honey.
- The brioche freeze well. Heat the frozen brioche buns in the oven at 75 °C / 160 °F.