It has been about two months since my last post. I didn’t mean to go on a hiatus but it was doctor’s order (and my right arm was on strike). Since Spring, I was experiencing pain in my right arm and elbow and then it got too much for me to use it. So I was given order to let it rest completely (as in not to use the right arm for any repetitive movements). Impossible task but I rested it, and thought I could start resuming typing again. I started this post on May 7th, as you can see I couldn’t get very far with this post because my right arm took the doctor’s words to heart and demanded a holiday. After some time off and therapy, my right arm is about 90% happy again. So I am going to finish this post (albeit 2 months later) and get back to blogging again!.
Before the annoying condition put a screeching halt to my normal routines, I started a bread baking project that was on my to-do list. That meant waking up the sourdough starter (Chef) that had been neglected in the forgotten realms of my fridge for the past two years. After a deep hibernation and starvation (confession: less than six feedings in the past two years. If you starting a starter, don’t do what I did. ), there was hooch (greyish clear alcoholic liquid) sitting on top of the white paste part of the starter. I researched through The Fresh Loaf, Sourdough Home, and some other sites on reviving it. I had so many questions about the process, why’s, when’s, and how’s; Korena of Korena In The Kitchen was kind enough to help me with all those questions (Thanks Korena!).
Once I got the starter going, it was time to bake. Korena posted a delicious sourdough brioche babka recipe. I followed her instructions on making the dough, but used different filling and topping because someone in the family has an aversion to chocolate. (Aversion to chocolate?! I know right?). Instead, the filling was raisin and cinnamon with coconut streusel topping. The cinnamon and toasty coconut permeated the air as it baked. The final product was a moist middle brioche with a slight tangy hint and a crunchy top. Needless to say it was a perfect after school snack because my kids only managed to save one slice for their father. So here it is, baking with sourdough starter for the first time. If you don’t have a starter and you may be interested in starting one, check out Nancy Silverton’s sourdough starter video, and The Fresh Loaf has great information on this too.
- This recipe requires pre-planning because it takes two days for the whole process (but it is so worth it). It took 5 hours for Korena’s dough to rise plus overnight chilling time. I made the dough late at night, let it rise overnight at room temperature, and accidentally skipped the chilling the dough because I forgot to! (but it turned out ok)
- You will need to use 100% hydration starter for this recipe. Here is how to build/maintain one.
- This dough is very wet I had to fight the urge to add flour! Korena’s didn’t seem as wet.
- I followed the slap-and-fold technique on my first attempt. It took me 30 minutes not 8 -10 as it did for Korena. So for the second attempt, I used the standing mixer and let the machine did its job with the dough hook (my tennis elbow was not thrill with this technique.) until smooth. But the dough was not forming into a tight ball. It looked like a smooth, flexible-more-liquid dough? (but it baked ok)
Makes 2 loaves
Sourdough Brioche Dough
For the dough recipe, click here for Korena’s, and she also included pictures for reference.
- 150 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 28.3 grams (2 tablespoons) cinnamon
- 340 grams (1 1/2 cups) raisin (preferably organic)
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 63 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
- 4 grams (1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 93 grams (1 cup) shredded coconut
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. Add in the butter. Using your fingers, quickly rub the butter into the flour to resemble coarse breadcrumbs. set aside.
Brioche Bread Assembly and Baking
- Preheat oven to 350 °F ( 176 °C)
- Lightly grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Set aside.
- Lightly flour the counter top or flat surface with flour, gently transfer the dough from the bowl onto it. Divide dough in half.
- Gently roll out each half of the dough into an approximate 8 inches x 16 inches rectangular shapes.
- Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture and raisin onto both rolled out dough.
- Starting with the end closest to you, roll each dough into a log.
- Gently place them into the the loaf pans for a final proofing, about 1-2 hours. The second-proof dough should touch the side of pans.
- Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle streusel toppings over the top.
- Bake @ 350F for 55 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven; transfer to cooling rack, and cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
During the last ten minutes, brew your favorite tea or coffee and enjoy it with a slice of just-baked brioche. Yum!
Aahh, it feels so good to finally finished this post, and now I am going to submit it to YeastSpotting.