DURING her working visit to Boston, North Dorset-born chef Philippa Davis cooked as lot of lobster. She also learned to cook the classic brioche for the US East Coast traditional sensation, lobster sandwich.
She says it is definitely not one of her quicker recipes but she has become obsessed with making it now that she has mastered the perfect sugar-butter ratio in the mix.
80 ml warm whole milk (100F approx.)
12g dry active yeast
1 large free range /organic egg
500g plain white flour
100g caster sugar
5g fine sea salt
4 large free range / organic eggs, lightly beaten
350g plain flour
180g cold salted butter plus 2 tbs. approx. extra for greasing
1 tbs whole milk
I used an electric mixer fitted with a kneading attachment but you can make it by hand if you don’t mind getting sticky and messy. Also it was pleasantly hot in the States, so if making it somewhere cooler your resting and rising times may be longer.
The sponge: Put the milk, yeast, egg and 250g of the flour in the mixers bowl, turn on to a low speed and mix for a couple of minutes (you can do this stage by hand or with a wooden spoon if it looks like it will be easier). Once mixed remove the bowl from the machine and sprinkle over the other 250g of flour. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour, it should be at least doubled in size and the coating of flour cracked.
The dough: Grate the butter with a cheese grater on the large side then leave out to soften. Once ready add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 200g of the flour to the sponge. Place the dough back in the machine with the dough hook and turn on to low. Let it come together then add the rest of the flour. Turn up to a medium speed and mix for 10 mins. The machine may need stopping and the dough pushing back into place as it can wrap itself up the dough hook. After mixing add the butter in three stages over a couple of minutes it should incorporate itself into the dough but again you may need to turn off the machine and give it a helping hand. The dough should be shiny, and feel quite moist in comparison to a basic bread dough.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl and leave to rise at room temperature for 2 – 3 hours – it should double in size. After this rise knock the dough back, form into a ball in the buttered bowl. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 6 hours. By then it should have risen again and is now ready for its final rising and baking. Shape the dough into loaves – you can make a regular loaf or make six balls placed side by side in two rows depending what you want. It will be just over double in size when baked so choose the appropriate pan/ tin.
Leave at room temperature, covered loosely with some buttered cling film for two hours till doubled in size. Pre heat the oven to 190°C place a baking rack near the bottom of the oven and a baking sheet at the top (this will help the loaf not take on too much color).
Mix the egg and milk for the glaze together. When risen and ready brush the loaf with the glaze and bake for 30 mins on the bottom rack. Once cooked leave to cool for five minutes then remove from tin.
It is delicious warm or cold, as is or toasted and especially good when used for a lobster sandwich.
For more of Philippa’s travels and recipes visit her website www.philippadavis.com and see her monthly column in The Field magazine.